The forecast called for one to three inches of snow. We got six. I dread snow. Sometimes it makes me cry.
When we bought our house we paid no attention to the big wrap around driveway. Bigger is better, right?. We never stopped to think about the negatives. After four years, I despise it. Each snowstorm means several hours of tough labor. It takes a good hour to clear the driveway, even with my snowblower. Plus, I still need to shovel the walkway. I also need to shovel parts of the driveway where the snow blower falls short.
I thought about hiring someone to clear it for me so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. Here’s the problem. I spent a thousand dollars on a snowblower three years ago. How could I justify hiring someone when I have that kind of money already invested?
Why We Stick To Bad Decisions
When I write sales letters I often need to address scenarios where the prospect needs to break a previous commitment or investment. Almost always, that previous investment turns out to be a blunder. They usually hold on to the investment because of a nasty human habit. We hold onto things because of the emotional investment we’ve made. It’s often referred to as sunk cost fallacy.
I fall victim to it myself, even though I’m aware of it. My refusal to hire a snow plow makes no logical sense. Over the past two years I’ve wasted hours upon hours of strenuous work. Several falls on ice, bruises and a lot of tired muscles fail to sway me. Why? Because I am emotionally tied to the investment I made in a snowblower.
The rational part of me should reason:
“This is a lot more work than I expected, even with a snowblower. I should just hire someone to do it for me. The one thousand dollar investment I already made is gone. It should not play into this decision.”
The Key Takeaway
I still fail to look at it rationally. Instead, I struggle to think about how I could justify writing off the investment. The lesson tells you two things:
First, even if you are aware and conscious of your irrational behavior, it still affects you. I knew what was happening. This article lays out my own personal struggle. I still can’t bring myself to just chalk it up to a bad decision and move on.
Second, your customers and prospects will tell you that they approach decisions rationally. They tout cost benefit analysis. Listen to them when they say that, but discount it. They’re still human beings, subject to the same emotional baggage as the rest of us. They may struggle with breaking bad commitments. To get them out of the funk, you’ll need to provide them justification so it squares with their emotional well being.
Finally, like my snowblower story, just because you can provide awareness and justification does not mean they’ll accept it. I’m off to the gas station to buy more gas for the next snowstorm. Can someone knock some sense into me?Read More →