Testing, experimenting

Roman Order Effect (Dealing with Goliath #005)

Show Notes:

This is a solo espresso podcast episode where Al discusses insights from tour guiding in Rome many years ago.
Topics discussed:
  • A tour guiding co-operative
  • Sometimes free is hard to sell
  • Bolder questions / Challenge respectfully
  • Test and experiment
  • More than 200% increase in results
  • What’s the implied story?
  • Change the order change the feel



Welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. This is a solo espresso episode, which I’m calling Roman order effects. So, way back all the way back there in the summer of 2003, I think it was. I was working as a tour guide in Rome, in the ancient Roman Forum or forum Romano as they call it. So the ancient roman forum is basically the city center of ancient Rome is where it all happened.

And a few other little solo episodes i have sketched out for you that will be relevant to this but what I wanted to talk today was about this idea of order effects, which I found fascinating even as everyone was at the time 20 something early 20s I’ve been a tour guide Before and Florence did my own thing, again on my doodle episode on some of the lessons learned from that. But it was a lot easier in Rome The following year, because I worked sort of as a contractor or semi loosely with a company with with a main tour guide who gave me a load of business. But in addition to that, we do what was called promo tours. So there are a little there are freebies.

And there were to promote the fully paid tours that we’d also be doing. And you’re, of course, allowed to and encouraged to get tips for these as well. So there are an awful lot of young folk, they’re in their early 20s, mid 20s, somewhere a bit older, usually early 20s, mid 20s, who are doing tours of the forum. I know a lot of them were had studied classics, or ancient Roman history, that kind of thing. And it was an amazing lesson in collaboration, first of all, because we’d all start Up at the top, so a one end is at the Coliseum, the arch of Constantine. And then there’s the via Sacra, the sacred road, which led right the way through the forum and then at the other end and the hill was the Capitoline Hill. And what you do is you’d start at the Arch of Titus with just three people, two or three people, I think it was. And then several other people who’d be waiting to give promos.

We have a little line, we have a queue line of free promo people prefer promo tour guides, right. So when was your turn, you go up, you get through, and then a few other people, other tour guides who are waiting their turn, patiently would float around the background. And when they’d hear people looking, an ease dropping on your little tour, they’d say, Oh, it’s a free tour and then kind of why is it free?

Actually, that was an interesting thing for cultural self because you tell you tell Americans the free to And they go, why is it free and it was suspicious, which was very interesting. They immediately get suspicious. And you say, Oh, it’s a promo tour, it acts like an ad. So, you know, you can leave at any time. If you’re not enjoying it. If you’re stay until the end, you’re you’re most welcome to give a tip but you don’t have to. You might just take a flyer for some of them the paid tours, that’s really what it’s advertising.

So Oh, okay. Okay. Funny thing was generally British, Irish and Australians, however, you’d say free and they’ll be gone. They’re all straight there didn’t need an explanation. They were just in like Flynn, no matter No. Back free stuff after go right. But as the Americans were very sort of cautious require you’re trying to rip me off.

Anyway. So you gather and as you go through some people will do 20 minutes of a tour through the Roman Forum. Other people like my good self would end up doing 45 minutes nearly an hour. Right. And you know, you could choose to Totally your own thing. So you could choose what you wanted to focus on. But you couldn’t take tips until you went out at the back up overlooking the forum, not the Capitoline Hill, but a little little perch beside it. And when I’d be up there. I’d finished with this grand story of the death of Caesar and killed on the steps of the Senate. And all of this and I stabbing the air with my water by doing full drama bit it was great fun and I hear from independent sources. It was pretty good actually, it wasn’t just my imagination.

But what was interesting was the effects because sometimes you’d make tips, you know, and the whole point was you’d I’d usually would sell, you know, give the little promo speech. Thank you very much. Here’s the promo. I do a little You know, 20 or 32 second little spiel on the other tours that the company gave and their main one was the Vatican tour. Then the others were like the evening Walking Tour, which I give and then the catacombs tour which was quite interesting but I never gave that one and people would then go Oh, that sounds kind of interesting and most of them would take a flyer on thanks very much and if they didn’t they do or we’re flying out tonight actually, so we kind of don’t have time that’s fine.

And then you get a few tips and that will be it will be nice and I was talking to a colleague while we were on the little bench waiting to help other people gather gather free participants free audience you know, and waiting to do our own promo tours. I was talking to this lady think she was an English English woman and really sharp woman and really fiesty, a great characters was blast read hair, you know and quite a striking look about her and but she had a great attitude. And she said to me, that’s really interesting.

Flip it, experiment with it, flip it the other way. See what the order if that has any effect. Okay, that’s really interesting. Note, to be fair, she also used to ask much bolder questions, which I thought was very interesting because I’m usually very diplomatic and kind of, you know, softly, softly most the time, right? That was certainly my style. I’ve expanded it to be maybe slightly more assertive or even aggressive at times now, but that was definitely that that’s definitely where I would return to.

And she used to say to her group at the end said, I asked you this question was having a guided tour, a better experience, you think the walking around the forum with just your guidebook and hard and cheap stop and hold the question? And people kind of go Actually, yeah, it really was he really brought the place to life. You know, you really go great stories. And it’s great fun. And it was quite amusing. And it was interesting. And yeah, it was just it was vibrant. It was memorable.

And so I used to ask that question just borrow, beg, just borrow or steal the thing, you know, why not? So at the end of my tour, I put that question to them as posing the question and then I’d finish off. Sorry, I used to switch the order. So the order this was the point that I flipped to, as I finish to say, thank you very much. That’s the end of the promo tour. Thank you for being a great audience. They invariably would, they’re usually good fun. And then I’d say yeah, the winning way was when I the way I changed to was saying, Thank you very much. You’re a great audience. At tips are it was free, but tips are appreciated hugely, of course, thank you so much. But you’re under absolutely zero obligation, but it’s up tips are of course appreciated.

And this is the thing, they’d start rumbling in the wallets in the purses to find the money. And as I was doing that, then I’d start into now I just asked you very just reflect back on it. Was that better than walking around with a guidebook? A lot of people would say, yeah, it actually was, or at least you’d see them coming. Yeah, they’re rooting for the money. And as I just said that then I’d say, well, we do have more substantial tours with the tour company. If I can just give you a flyer and hold up the flyer and pointed the back and say, we have the Vatican tour at whatever time. Well, then I talk about that for a moment or two. Then we have the evening Walking Tour, which I give most nights where we meet on Victor Emmanuelle the steps of when we walk through this data on the other end, we finished Piazza Navona via Trevi Fountain, and yada, yada, yada. And then it also say and then Tuesdays or Thursday, whatever days it was, we also have an afternoon tour to the catacombs, which is particularly interesting if you like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And this was the thing. I think it increased the average tips by two to 300%. Yeah, it was usually twice, twice, sometimes three, or even once it was four or five times the tips. But yeah, we’d say to least double tips or double just by the order effect. So just a question if you’re making a request of people, whether to buy something to get on board on something or what they think. And you have to ask multiple people, you have iterations potentially, I fully encourage you to play with the order effect. Because when you think about it, because I used to wonder it’s gonna be really curious because when I tried to sell the tour and then asked for the tip, It set it up like Okay, so now you’ve had this free tour. And the payment is to take a flyer. That was the way it was set up. Oh, and you can give a tip.

Some people who were really impressed for give a tip, but a lot of people, even people who happen to go for lunch with late or whatever, would say, Oh, well, I didn’t because I was we were thinking of going on the tour. Now a lot of people would, and some, and a lot of people wouldn’t. But when you did it the other way around it set it up that here was the tour, I welcome tips, but you don’t have to not obligation, right. So the ones who wanted to give to would get that tip and give them a flyer. So it’s not or it’s and you know, so it was just it gave a totally different feel, just by changing the order effect not really even changing what I was saying. So it always kind of blew me away.

Those kind of the Roman order effect for me. So I often think how does changing the order have an effect here? It’s something I’ll go back to, in crafting any marketing messages. It’s big in making requests and negotiation or persuasion and influencing. And also how you the order of how you make requests in emails, it can have quite a powerful effect. But I’ll get into that another day. So for a minute, just remember the order effect.

Maybe try playing around with it when you have to send an email to a few different people play around, see what the responses are messing with that order. If you have to ask people for different things. See, just using even the same points. What I can do when you when you change the order, what’s the story that they’re that they’re subtly being conveyed? Because that seemed to be the difference in role. So yeah, play with that. Let me know your thoughts on it. And if you have any luck with it if it changes your results

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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