Get a Commitment, Get a Sale – The Power of Commitment and Consistency

I read this a quote by Leonardo Da Vinci that got me thinking about a “secret” conversion technique that is startlingly successful. The quote is:

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end

Essentially, what this means is that once someone has started down a path it is much easier to continue down the path than to change to a new path.

There have been psychological studies showing this to be true, even if there is no rational reason to continue, even if there are reasons not to continue.

In fact, my mother did just that. She started down a career path that she didn’t like due to circumstances and necessity when she was young and stayed in that career for decades long after the necessity passed; in fact, she is still in that career while admitting she has always hated it.

That’s a large scale example but I used it to show the point Da Vinci was making in a big way.

Fortunately for us, it is true even in small things and can be used to turn your conversions from simmering to boiling.

It’s all about what is called…

Commitment and Consistency

Psychologists have found that we have a desire, bordering on obsession, to be consistent with what we have done in the past; or at least appear to be consistent. Some call it one of the prime motivators of human behavior.

Once a person has made a choice, that is, a commitment, they are hell-bent on being consistent with that choice; this is caused by internal and external pressures and often causes us to act in ways that are harmful (remember my mother).

Now matter how tentative or concerned someone is about making a decision, after that decision is made they become, at least for some period of time, significantly more confident in it.

There are many theories of why this is true and in many aspects of life commitment and consistency is very valuable (don’t you want it from your friends, family co-workers, etc.); in fact, think of what things would be like without, it actually be hard to trust or rely on anyone because you’d never know what they would do or say.

Using Commitment and Consistency

That’s what it is but how can it help you increase your conversions?

It’s really “easy” if you think about it.

Remember that once a decision is made, no matter how small, the next one will be easier to make in a consistent manner and it gets easier and easier.

So, just get a commitment, or series of commitments, and your prospects are more likely to remain consistent with those choices and decisions.

What’s interesting and useful to you is that the commitment can be small and not always even directly related to the ultimate goal.

What you want to do is to turn a lead into a prospect and a prospect into a customer.

So you need to get the lead to make some commitment to you and the path you want them to take; that is, the path to being a customer.

How to Get a Commitment

The first step in the process is finding something where you can get an easy commitment from the person.

I remember reading in Cialdini’s Influence book about how the Communist Chinese successfully did this with Korean War prisoners and it really hit home.

I may not have all the facts right but it went something like this…

The prisoners would be asked to make a very small “commitment”, for example, they’d be asked if America was “perfect”.

Now, most people will say, “no America isn’t perfect.”

They may have difference reasons for thinking why it isn’t perfect and they many people even might think or say “but it better than the alternatives.”

In that one small answer, the commitment was made.

Then they’d be asked for something that wasn’t perfect and so it would go slowly.

Eventually they’d be asked to write a list of the things they’d already said and then the list would be talked about in “discussion groups” and eventually it was broadcast to both prisoners and to soldiers still fighting throughout Korea.

Now the person was a collaborator and many of the prisoners made subtle, subconscious changes into their mindset and do actual acts of collaboration.

The percentage of people who did this was astonishingly high particularly for trained soldiers who were just supposed to stick to name, rank and serial number.

It really shows you the power of commitment and consistency and how you can use it to help you get more sales.

To start you need to get even a trivial commitment or agreement from the lead or prospect to get them to make a decision in your favor and subtly change their self-image in relation to you.

Then get increasingly larger commitments that are internally consistent with their previous decisions until they make the final commitment and purchase.

You can do that same thing on your sales and squeeze pages.

Start, like the Chinese, by asking a series of questions that you know people will answer in the way you want, particularly a positive answer.

Maybe it is a “do you want” type question of some kind “do you want more money”, do you want to lose weight”, etc.

When they answer yes, now you have that seed of a commitment and they have started the habit of answering yes.

Sprinkle these types of questions throughout, making them increasingly specific towards your goal and adding to their commitment (and their desire to be consistent).

What I and others do is to create a plan and included in that plan are questions and statements that lead to a commitment.

Then consistency kicks in as the person become more and more committed.

It’s not hard but does take some practice to get it right.

Try it, you bank account will thank you for it!


Commitment and consistency are innate human behaviors that are consistent through time and culture.

They can be used to drastically increase your conversion rates.

The key is to get a small, essentially trivial, commitment from the person reading your sales copy and slowly build on that by getting further commitments from them that are consistent with the ones already made.

Eventually you lead the person to make the decision you want them to make.

To learn more about commitment and consistency and about having better sales copy, just sign up here

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How do you use commitment and consistency?

How does it use you?

Leave a comment and let me know.

Talk soon,

David Husnian

The Shameless (Ethical) Marketer

O.Y. Don’t forget to retweet this! Use the button on the page or Tweet this:

Get a Commitment, Get a  Sale – The Power of Commitment and Consistency (via @DavidHusnian)

O.O.Y. There is a lot more to this commitment and consistency stuff but I am trying to be consistent with my commitment not to write huge blog posts so sign up for my free copywriting course to learn more.

O.O.O.Y. Cialdini’s Influence book has a chapter about commitment and consistency; it’s one of his 6 rules of influence. It’s an interesting book if you want to learn more about how to influence people and how people influence you. Get it at


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