How to use The WIIFM Factor

Last updated on January 11th, 2021

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see an advertisement, hear a sales pitch or when someone walks in to present a presentation made on a familiar PowerPoint template? Unless you seem to have a stake, you might not even pay attention to either. This is because of one fundamental factor called WIIFM or What’s in it for me. Learning about the WIIFM factor can help you improve your skills not only as a presenter or salesperson but when dealing with people every day.

The WIIFM factor

What is the WIIFM Factor

WIIFM means ‘What’s in it for me’. This essentially means asking the question about what is the advantage of something on a personal scale for someone. For example, if you are a presenter, you might want to ask yourself about the advantages to the audience for your presentation. Why would they be interested in your presentation or call to action? Similarly, being considerate about WIIFM can be quite beneficial. This is not only true when dealing with people at the workplace but everyday life. Such as, when motivating someone or even when trying to set personal goals. WIIFM closely resembles another concept, WIIFT (What’s in it for them)! Though both concepts are quite similar.

How to Benefit from the WIIFM Factor

People have different needs. Some are related to self-fulfillment, some are psychological, whereas others are simply basic needs. These needs are often targeted during advertisements, persuasive YouTube videos, sales pitches, presentations and even everyday life. Someone such as your boss, colleague or a salesperson might use the WIIFM Factor to try to engage you to do something. Such as buy a product, work harder, achieve project goals, etc.

Using WIIFM in Communications

By incorporating WIIFM in your everyday life, you can make it easy to achieve your personal goals and to motivate or persuade others. This is not to say that you need to be manipulative and lie to others but rather show people a perspective that can help engage them. Whether you’re a communications expert or someone looking to improve the way you communicate with others. WIIFM can help you out.

Example: Different managers haven’t submitted their quarterly reports and you need to persuade them to submit the reports since the deadline has passed. You might fear not receiving the reports due to a lax attitude on behalf of the managers. In such as a case you can draft your email and keep a title that persuades people to comply. For example, you can mention that the deadline to submit the report has been extended and the ones not submitting the report will be held accountable. You can take this up with HR or a relevant authority before drafting the email to refer to organizational code of conduct or rules. So, a title such as ‘Please submit your report’ might not be as useful as ‘Disciplinary action on delay in report submission’. In such a case instead of sending out a generic email, each manager can be addressed individually by name and sent personalized emails, informing them of disciplinary action if the report is delayed.

Such an exercise might be tedious, but it is likely to help people comply in future even against generic emails sent to receive quarterly reports. What’s in it for the managers? They get to keep their job.

Using WIIFM in Presentations

No one likes a presentation with too many slides and a presenter that needs to read from slides. To avoid death by PowerPoint, you might want to use the WIIFM factor to engage your audience. If you are someone who needs to give a persuasive presentation or pitch deck, the WIIFM factor would require you to show something rosy to the audience. Such as better profits in a good investment or showing the audience how the issue affects them at a very personal level. To get some ideas, see our posts about persuasive presentations and public speaking. But sometimes, you might need to show your authority and ensure that people comply, such as in the example below.

Example: You have to present a presentation at the workplace but neither of your subordinates are usually attentive when you present a presentation regarding the project. They simply like to ask for slides later on. To create a WIIFM factor, you can say that no slides or handouts will be given to your team. You can also make it mandatory for them to submit suggestions after the presentation to ensure that they not only pay attention to the slides but are also engaged. This technique can also be used by class teachers to engage students during presentations.

If people at the workplace or students during a class lecture don’t get presentation slides, why would they pay attention to the presentation? Not doing so will result in a negative impact on their performance and understanding of the topic that can lead to a disgruntled manager or teacher reprimanding them. At the workplace this might result in a major embarrassment or disciplining from the boss. For a student, it might mean failing a test.

Using WIIFM in Sales or Advertisement

You might be someone selling products door to door, through the internet or designing an advertising campaign. You must incorporate the WIIF factor to ensure that your efforts aren’t in vain. Other than mapping out demographics, product, price, place and packaging, you need to make sure that your promotion is powerful enough to engage your target market.

Example: You need to market an Android game through social media marketing by persuading your target audience to install the game. But why would they play your game? You can use a number of methods to persuade the audience to install the game. A demo that makes the game look fun to play can be one factor. In this case you are using a personal need for entertainment. However, you can also pitch in ideas such as how the game can help you enhance your cognitive functions and keep your mind sharp. There are different games that use scientific research references to persuade people to install or play their game since it might lead to ‘a healthier brain’.

If you’re wondering what’s in it for people to install the game, the answer is simple. Ideas such as personal well-being, fun, getting your mind off a tiring day and improving your mood by using a game like an anti-depressant can be valuable for people worried about their mental health and well-being. This has been particularly the case during COVID-19, as people have been looking to keep themselves engaged during extended lockdowns and lockdown blues.

Using WIIFM in Change Management

Change management is a discipline for preparing and helping individuals to embrace change. Be it departments, individuals or entire organizations. But change is hard and people can be resistant to change. This is why change management requires engaging the workforce to show them the bright side of change to ensure that they embrace change smoothly.

Example: A new machine is being deployed by the company, but assembly line workers are used to the old method of assembling product units. In this case, showing the employees that the new machine will lead to increased productivity, better profits and can help improve their job security can be a few ways to help in the transition. Also showing that the new method is safer and healthier for them might help.

What’s in it for the employees? A more profitable company means better job security, especially amidst a bad economy. Similarly, if they believe that the old process was giving them physical issues like back aches and was more hazardous, they will work hard to adapt. Since this is a matter of keeping themselves healthy and employed. If there is any possibility that the increased profit might lead to salary increments, that would be a major boost. In other words, health and wealth factor is often the biggest motivator.

Final Words

Policies and concepts beneficial for people are often in place but employees aren’t engaged enough by the management to make them realize the benefits. Many employees are lazy and disengaged from their job. They end up losing their job because they can’t see the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor unless it’s too late for them. Sometimes, people simply need a nudge in the right direction to make more informed choices or to be motivated enough to do the right thing. Similarly, you can achieve success by engaging people to follow a call to action or buy a product. You can even use WIIFM in your personal life by motivating yourself towards personal goals that might help you achieve better health, a more promising career or just more time to relax and be happy.

What might best work for you when using WIIFM is to believe in what you preach and plan and do it with a lot of heart.

About Farshad

IT professional, communications specialist and Blogger!

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