Study: 'Confuse-reframe' sales pitch works

September 14, 2007

A U.S.-led international study has found consumers can be easily confused into buying a product by a new sales technique called "disrupt-then-reframe."

Researchers led by Frank Kardes of the University of Cincinnati examined the effectiveness of the new sales technique that involves presenting a confusing sales pitch to a consumer and then restating the pitch in a more familiar way.

The researchers said by using the technique they were able to improve sales of a candy bar in a supermarket, increase students' willingness to pay to join a student interest group and even convince students to accept a tuition increase.

The study found a confusing sales pitch -- such as one utilizing technical jargon, complex terminology or large product assortments -- increases "cognitive closure," with the consumer eager to accept subsequent easy-to-process or unambiguous information.

The research that also included Bob Fennis of the University of Twente in the Netherlands and Edward Hirt, Zakary Tormala and Brian Bullington of the University of Indiana is reported in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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