How to Make Your Call to Action 55% More Effective


As a business person who makes a living marketing and selling your products and services, you wind up making a lot of requests of others, don’t you?

Read this…
Click here…
Share this…
Buy this…

Sometimes they cheerfully do what you ask, sometimes they reluctantly do what you ask, sometimes they ignore you, and other times they tell you to insert your request into certain uncomfortable places where “the sun don’t shine.”

And that’s all fine and dandy, right? It’s part of the game and a normal part of daily life for an entrepreneurial spirit such as yourself.

But here’s the thing: It’s in your best interest to figure out how to get more people to say yes and fewer people to say no.

What if I told you that with one simple mental tweak (which you can master before the end of this post) you could increase the number of people who say yes to your requests by as much as 30%?

It’s not only possible, it’s downright easy to do.

Why the Universe Doesn’t Beat Around the Bush

A funny thing about the universe: It’s not a subtle teacher.

It tends to put what it wants you to pay attention to within eye range and then hope you’re smart enough to recognize it.

If you don’t pay attention, it will move that thing closer to you. If that doesn’t work, the universe will put what it wants you to pay attention to smack-dab in your path so you trip over it again and again and again.

I had one of those experiences this week with a very simple but powerful persuasion concept that was dangled in front of me so many times, I had to stop and pay attention to it.

The Reason People Say ‘Yes’

Let’s say you’re in line to check out at the grocery store and some guy behind you taps you on the shoulder and says, “Excuse me… can I go first?”

What about a woman on a street corner asking, “Can I use your cell phone?”

If they asked that way, what are the odds you’d say yes? Not great, right?

To understand why the odds aren’t good, you have to put yourself in the role of the person being asked.

Why would you say no to a random guy wanting to cut in line, or a woman asking for money?

You say no because you don’t know the other person’s why.

Why is critical.

Why is golden.

Why is magical.

Look at those same requests again – except this time they’ll explain why they’re asking.

“Excuse me… can I go first? I just have this one thing to buy and I’m late for work.”

“Can I use your cell phone? I locked all my stuff in my car.”

Now how would you answer?

When someone gives you a really good reason why (a ‘because’), the odds of you saying yes shoot way up.

The Power Is In the ‘Because’

Now, here’s the interesting part.

Common sense would seem to suggest that the reason we’re more likely to say yes when given a good reason for the request might be that the reason given was actually… well, good.

But that’s not even true.

In his book Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini cites a study by Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer which proved that we as human beings are so hard wired to respond to a ‘because’ – that it didn’t even really need to be a good because.

“Can I use your phone? I’d like to make a phone call” is almost as effective as, “Can I use your phone? I locked all my stuff in my car” – even though the first one just reiterates the request and adds no new information.

By the way, if you haven’t read Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, you need to. It’s One of the best books ever written on the subjects of persuasion and influence.

The study concluded…

  • Requests without a, “because” were granted 60% of the time.
  • Requests that included any old “because” were granted 93% of the time.
  • Requests that included a good “because” were granted 94% of the time.

That’s a 55% increase in “yes” answers – just for giving them a good reason.

What does 55% more sales look like for you? What about 55% more revenue?

How to Make ‘Because’ Pay

The question, then, is: What can you take from this? What’s the lesson?

The lesson is that you need to tell your audience, your customers, your followers why you want them to do the things you’re asking them to do.

Read this because it teaches a method to cut your refund rate in half.

Click here (because) your free download awaits!

Share this because it makes you look like an authority.

Buy this because it will teach you how to create professional quality videos.

How many times a day do you see just “click here” or “Share this?” How many times do you personally type those things?

Is taking a few seconds to come up with a compelling “because” worth a 55% raise or a 55% increase in revenue?

I promised you simple. How’s that for simple?

Now go use ‘because’ to your advantage!
Because you can 🙂

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About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

24 Replies

  1. Cialdini! A genius.

    This post! Also genius. 🙂
    Sophie Lizard recently posted…Come Slay Your Freelance Blogging Dragons in the Kingdom of PaidalotMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Ms. L!

      Good to see you… if only in avatar form.

  2. Welcome back Gary !

    I’ve already made changes to my site copy on the back of this post !

    Since ‘click here’ buttons are quite small, I’ve added the why in the copy before. I DID have ‘why’ text in there, but added a because, and re-jigged, to make it sound more compelling.
    Razwana recently posted…(Build your coaching biz) How the F@!K did they do it (and was there wine?)My Profile

    1. Thanks, Razwana.

      Glad to be “back” – lots of very cool stuff coming, too!

      Good to hear it’s made a difference for you. Interesting how little tiny adjustments make such a difference, isn’t it?
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  3. Gary, I love this post. What’s compelling to me is that you can still make your request simply – while persuasively. I look forward to sharing this with my team, and deploying this strategy in the business to business marketing I’m involved in. Thrilled your back in action – and congratulations on pushing through the last several months like a “Champ!”
    Mark recently posted…Six Failures Leaders Make For No Good ReasonMy Profile

    1. Hey, Mark.

      Because is a big deal. It’s also part of the “talk benefits instead of features” rationale. Hope it helps your team. And thanks for the support these last months. It’s appreciated.
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  4. Nicely done, Mr. Korisko. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go attend to my sales products. Because I need to increase responses by 30%!
    Bobbi Emel recently posted…Feeling stuck? Here’s something to help you see the forest instead of the treesMy Profile

    1. Tell ’em why, Bobbi. 🙂
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  5. It’s great to learn just one, simple thing that makes all the difference.
    This post is outstanding!
    Mary Jaksch | A-List Blogging recently posted…Take this Fun Quiz to Find Out What Makes a Blog SuccessfulMy Profile

    1. Thanks Mary.

      Agreed. So many people spend so much time, money, and effort trying to get fancy – while the basics are so powerful and simple.
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  6. It is indeed hard to make someone take an action, I am not sure if your tips will work for me, but I will apply them indeed, I will let you know about the progress I’ve made. I am hoping to be on the better end of the online community because right now I am not where I want to b. GOOD POST!

    1. Thanks, Hernando.

      I’m glad you joined in the conversation. Another way to look at the message of this post that might help you is – whenever you ask someone to take an action, make sure to tell them *what’s in it for them*

      Good luck!
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  7. Kinda reminds me of the song from the Wizard of Oz: “Because, because, because, because, because…because of the wonderful things he does!”

    Thanks, Gary. Good advice, as always, and easy to implement.
    Derek Thompson recently posted…Lessons from the Freelancing FrontlineMy Profile

    1. Ha. Thanks, Derek. I’m glad it hit home.

      But now I have that song stuck in my head. 🙂
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  8. I love “Influence”. Thanks for this great reminder and the excellent examples of how to use “because” in our calls to action! Fantastic post, thank you, Gary!
    Leanne Regalla recently posted…How to Boost Your Email Signups with Irresistible IncentivesMy Profile

    1. Influence is a WONDERFUL book. And for those who haven’t read it, but want to look into it more… you can find it on the main menu above listed under Resources > Influence Library.

      Thanks for the comment, Leanne. Good to see you here!
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  9. This is fascinating. I read Influence but hadn’t retained this particular anecdote. Getting in the habit of adding a because statement after a request sounds like a great practice to have. I think it sounds more natural if you omit the word “because” from the rationale, but it’s good to latch on to the word in order to ingrain the habit, don’t you think?

    Also, I’m sure you realized this, and opted for simple math in order to avoid being accused of exaggeration. So I’ll take that chance for you: an increase from 60% to 94% is a 55% increase. It’s more effective by half, not a third. Which is astonishing.

    Thank you for this little tutelage, Gary.
    Aaron Baldassare recently posted…Discomfort Makes You SuperhumanMy Profile

    1. Hey Aaron!

      It’s a 55% improvement, yes – but I went with the easy math for the headline and so I wouldn’t have to explain the math since most people see a 34% spread there between 60 and 94. 🙂 Good catch!
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  10. Like you said about things continuing to show up…This is the 3rd time in a few weeks I’ve read/heard about that book. Time to move from my Amazon wishlist to the shopping cart.

    The CTA has been challenging for me, I’m learning slowly but surely how to do this effectively. I love your simple method of explaining it as the “because”! Great post!
    Jenn Flynn-Shon recently posted…5 Ways to Look Like an Internet IdiotMy Profile

    1. Hi there, Jenn.

      Obviously I highly recommend the book. I know you’ll love it. Brilliant – and a fascinating, easy read.

      (Where’s your smiling Gravatar face?)
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  11. You’re back! I’m very glad because I spent the morning going through my bookmarked favorites and I had you on the “danger” list for scrubbing from my favorites because I thought you had hung up your spurs!

    Good post!
    Mike recently posted…Notes From This MonthMy Profile

    1. Hey Mike. Good to see you.

      Just for future reference… I doubt I’ll *ever* throw in the towel. I just don’t see it happening. I’m afraid you’re all stuck with me for good. In fact, I’m about to turn up the volume here. Stay tuned.
      Gary Korisko recently posted…How to Make Your Call to Action 30% More EffectiveMy Profile

  12. Can you add a search bar to your blog BECAUSE I would like to search for your blog posts that pertain to my interests 🙂
    Susan recently posted…Spoon Feed MeMy Profile

  13. Bhanu Uday

    These are some very useful tricks to improve conversions on my affiliate site.

    Thanks a lot for posting it and to my friend for sharing it.
    Bhanu Uday recently posted…How to earn money online as a teen?My Profile

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