Would you be happier in the long run spending $1000 on a brand new Plasma TV that can last for years or a short, weekend getaway? You might be surprised by the answer.
In a 2003 study by psychologists Thomas Gilovich (one of my favorite Cornell University professors) and Leaf Van Boven, it was determined that people derive longer-lasting happiness from experiences than purchases of tangible goods. In other words, you are more likely to feel enduring satisfaction from a temporary vacation than the purchase of a consumer good. Leisure activities where one can strengthen bonds and establish new relationships, are one of the most effective ways to produce (and maintain) long term happiness.
How can we utilize this discovery to craft more persuasive proposals?
Demonstrate the emotional and physical benefits of your product/service not just in the present and future but also in the lead-up until your customer purchases your product. Present customers with the memories they can create and emotions they can experience while using our product or service. The more vivid and poignant the imagery, the easier your client will be able to recall how wonderful their experience was with your product or service in the present and in the future.
In addition, you want to find a way to infuse excitement and anticipation for your product/service into the consumer experience. Everyone remembers the joy and excitement of the last week of classes during the school year. The onset of summer vacation makes that last day of school even more memorable. That last day, with no tests or essays on the horizon, was always a joyful and carefree experience. The last days of school are forever etched in the minds of kids and adults everywhere.
The lasting emotional experience in the pre and post-vacation time period is a big reason why most people report being happier with money spent on vacations in lieu of consumer goods. The joys of an experience are more easily recalled than the benefits of a good and can be savored for a lifetime.