A recent study from the University of Minnesota, Yonsei Universtity in Korea, and Concordia University, Montreal found that when consumers are concerned about feeling stereotyped, they buy less. Consumers who are members of a group that are subject to a negative stereotype hesitate to buy from those company representatives who are outside the group.
The study focused on women as the group and brought up the stereotype “women aren’t good at math” before the subjects were to meet with a financial advisor. Sales were lower when these women met with men as opposed to with women. The researchers found that the subjects did not even have to believe in the stereotype themselves, but merely be aware that there was one that they might be judged by.
The experiment was repeated with auto repair and auto purchases with the stereotype of “women don’t know about cars,” with the same result. Subjects reported higher anxiety when meeting with a sales person outside of their group (females), and were reluctant to purchase.
Interestingly, the presence of a soothing scent, in this case a vanilla scent, relieved the subjects’ anxiety and neutralized the anxiety caused by the anticipation of being stereotyped.
The lesson for companies trying to sell to people who may feel pigeonholed? Be proactive and calm their anxieties using scent. You’ll see a big boost to your bottom line!
Source: Independent Aroma Group
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