Why Emotions And Bias Trump Facts
June 2, 2015
by Dan Solin
In August, Mohnish Pabrai took part in Brown University's Value Investing Speaker Series, answering a series of questions from students. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more One of the topics he covered was the issue of finding cheap equities, a process the value investor has plenty of experience with. Cheap Stocks In the Read More
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This interesting article on the role emotions play in making sales revealed some fascinating insights that savvy advisors can utilize.
The role of emotions
The article began by asserting that the decision whether or not to buy a certain item (or to use a particular advisor) is based primarily on emotion, not logic. However, it took this premise one step further. The article cited research using functional magnetic resonance imaging that found only 20% of the buying decision is based on logic. The remaining 80% is emotional.
The logical portion of our brain processes the pluses and minuses of a particular decision in a rational and objective way. The emotional part of our brain focuses on personal experience and feelings.
The role of “likeability”
What’s the primary emotional driver that will cause a prospect to react favorably to a proposal? According to research conducted by the American Research Foundation, “likability” is the chief factor affecting the ability of a brand to increase sales. The “likability” factor plays a similar role in the decision-making process that prospects employ when looking for an advisor.
Likability is a powerful personality trait. People perceived as having this quality attract others. Determining whether or not someone is likable has nothing to do with the merit of their proposal. It is solely based on emotion.
The role of “cognitive biases”
Extensive research has also demonstrated that, when confronted with a difficult decision, most people take mental shortcuts to avoid the tedious task of sorting out complex issues. These shortcuts are known as “cognitive biases.” People with these biases are often not aware of them. They believe they are acting rationally. But the research indicates otherwise.
By recognizing these biases at work, you can frame your offering in a way that accounts for them. Here’s a summary of the most common:
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