Convert the Confrontational Prospect

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When I was an advisor, I often had to deal with prospects who fundamentally disagreed with my investment philosophy. I espoused index-based investing. Those prospects were enamored with active management.

My persuasion strategy was informed by my training as a trial lawyer. I marshaled the facts and argued for my viewpoint, like giving a closing argument to a jury.

I was rarely successful.

Then, I did the research.

Everything changed.

The problem with persuasion

One study used two experiments to investigate the relationship between factual knowledge and opinions.

In the first experiment, participants were presented with a news article containing a factual error about the Iraq War and were then given corrective information about the error. While the corrective information led to a slight increase in factual knowledge, it didn’t significantly change their pre-existing opinion.