Graeme Newell

The Regret Lottery

It was an offer I never thought I’d pass up. My local supermarket let me know they’d already given me a $25 credit. I could see the money sitting right there in my account. All I had to do was try online grocery delivery within the next week. But when I missed the deadline, they took the money BACK!

This is the REGRET LOTTERY, and it taps one of our brain’s most powerful motivators…fear of loss. My supermarket understands that if they offer me $25 off delivery, I probably won’t take the bait. But those wily retailers are well schooled in the awesome power of LOSS AVERSION.

Once we feel as though we own something, we’ll usually move heaven and earth not to lose it again. That’s why the grocery store boldly proclaimed that they had already given me a store credit, but they would TAKE IT BACK if I didn’t act.

And this is why online coupons require that you click the screen to “clip” them. Taking that simple action flips a switch in our brain…now we OWN that money, and abandoning our shopping cart would require that we give it back.

So if you want to be more persuasive, don’t talk about what people will gain, instead, talk about what they won’t lose.