The Stanley Milgram shock study is an age-old experiment that demonstrates our habitual response to authority. We, by instinct, obey authority even if the orders from that authority appear unethical.
In 2009, nearly 50 years later, Jerry M. Burger repeated the experiment and discovered:
People are still just as willing to administer what they believe are painful electric shocks to others when urged on by an authority figure.”
Mentioning a product was designed by a distinguished Ph.D. or endorsed by a blue chip media company can build credibility. Also consider co-opting expertise.
For example, pharmaceutical companies recognize the influence generated when doctors talked to other doctors about drugs. Doctors lower their defenses when someone they can relate to as an authority is talking to them. A sales rep is not a credible authority in this circumstance.
In the course of a writing copy, fall back on the results of experts and critical studies.
You can read other articles in this series:
- A Simple Way to Get People to Believe Your Big Claim
- What the End of the World Can Teach Us about Being Specific
- How to Be More Successful When You Ask a Favor
- Want to Sweep Away Skepticism? Demonstrate Your Product
- Will People Trust Your Copy If You Ignore Their Objections?
P.S. Want a daily, but small, dose of essential web writing advice? Then check out my new podcast Rough Draft.
This article originally appeared as part of this Salesforce article (which I am told by a source close to the company is their most socially popular post).