Cialdini Influence: Be Consistent and Unwavering

On lazy fall weekends, I love spending a couple hours wandering through funky shops, antique stores and vintage clothing boutiques, and then tucking into a quaint small coffee shop for a strong Americano. Yet, on a day-in-and day-out basis, when I take a break from work and need my caffeine fix I head to Starbucks. Why? Consistency. I know my coffee will be perfect and not burnt. I know exactly what I am going to receive and my dog, aBoo, knows exactly what she will receive (her puppaccino).

Consistency is huge for consumers, clients, and even prospects. People want to know services, products, and businesses are true to their word. They want to know you are unwavering with what and how you represent yourself and your business yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion author Robert Cialdini says “a high degree of consistency is normally associated with personal intellectual strength” while someone whose actions are inconsistent is considered “indecisive, confused, two-faced or mentally ill.” A little extreme, but you get the idea.

Starbucks, Apple, Disney, Nike, and many others understand this need for consistency in branding. Each company has created a tight mission statement and message that permeates every touch point from logos to ads to products and websites. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner likened branding to a series of small dots that together form a picture much like pointillism (for more on this idea see First Impressions are Lasting Impressions).

While your financial services business may not be anywhere near the size of these business conglomerates, your consistency can be just as steadfast.

Consider just one product or service in your financial services business. Are you consistent with all the touch points? Be sure to review the messages on your website, social media postings, newsletters, presentations, training materials, and so on.

If you find inconsistencies, fix them, and then go through the same evaluation with each product or service. While you’ll want to keep in mind your overall value statement, consider each element under that umbrella one at a time so you can stay focused. If you need help with this process, take a look at my Touch Point audit.

Consistency in business not only helps your branding, it can also help you be more productive. Cialdini says our brains use consistency and commitment to establish regular cues and reactions to simplify our lives. So take that cognitive desire and apply it to your blogs and newsletter.

Think about what you can really produce, write down your plan (which our brains consider a commitment), and then be consistent. Maybe you write one blog a month and send a newsletter every 6 weeks. Sure, you might prefer a blog a week and a newsletter every month, but if that’s not realistic then stick with what you can do on a regular basis.

Just be consistent. Your clients will appreciate and reward your actions!