If you work in sales and marketing, you probably spend most of your time coming up with ideas and strategies to persuade people to buy or try your products.
Persuasion is an important skill that can help you quickly achieve your goals, whether in business or your personal life. But is it an art that only advertisers, sales people, or politicians are gifted with?
After reading Robert Cialdi’s book, “Influence: The psychology of persuasion”, I discovered that influence is a science. The good news is that you don’t need to blessed with good looks or charms to be good at influencing oer persuading.
How can you become better at influencing people? Robert’s book discusses the following 6 principles as playing a pivotal role in persuading or influencing people: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency.
Cialdi’s book is based on his years of observing and studying influence methods of sales professionals, cult leaders, and politicians. According to Cialdini, each of these principles has the ability to create an “autopilot” compliance responses from people.
Ready to learn the secrets of persuading people? Here are the six “Weapons of Influence” you can use to help you quickly achieve your goals:
Weapon of Influence #1 - Reciprocity
The reciprocity principle implies that when someone do something nice or give something to you, you would naturally feel obligated to return the favor. It doesn’t matter if the favor is wanted or unwanted. We just feel a sense of indebtedness toward that person. Sometimes, the returning favors can be much bigger than the received favors too!
How to apply “Reciprocity” in your business – Giving gifts to your prospects or clients is an effective method to gain goodwill and endear your company to your clients or prospects.
While the gifts don’t have to be expensive, they should be useful and have perceived values. One of the best gifts to give to your prospects or clients is promotional usb flash drives. Promotional usb flash drives can be customized with your company’s logo and preloaded with your product catalog, presentations, or videos to give your promotion a big boost.
Additionally, you can also give away useful and educational content in the forms E-books, white papers, and videos. Giving away content is very effective for lead generation.
Weapon of Influence #2 - Commitment and Consistency
This principle is based on the premise that people like to behave in a consistent manner. Once we make a decision or take a stand, we would act and respond in ways that are consistent with what we decided. Furthermore, we would strongly justify and defend our earlier decisions.
The idea here is to get someone to believe in something small or take a small action first. Once they are committed, they are more likely to agree to a larger task or larger idea later.
Moreover, people would even try to defend their actions, even if their actions are not popular or wrong. This method’s effectiveness is amplified when the agreement is made in front of other people.
How to apply this principle in your business – Most people are unlikely to buy from you upon first exposure or first meeting. Why? They don’t have enough information or data about you yet.
But if you can get them to commit to trying out your product or service for free (free trial or free samples), then they might eventually pay to use your products or services. Alternatively, you can convince them to start out with a cheaper plan first, and then convince them to upgrade later. The key is to get people to commit to something small or low risk first.
Weapon of Influence #3 - Social Proof
We tend to follow what others do, especially when we don’t have enough information or experiences to act independently. This technique is used prevalently by most marketers.
One example is at the clubs. Back in my clubbing days, my friends and I would drive around SanFrancisco on Friday nights trying to find a dance club. We often see lines formed outside a club. We thought that it was happening inside the clubs, but we found out that the bouncer was just holding the line to make it seems like it was a happening place.
How to apply “social proof” to your business – Showing logos of current customers and customers’ testimonials on your website is a great way to apply the “social proof” principle. Additionally, using celebrities or well known public figures who closely match the demographics of your target market to endorse your products or services is a powerful “social proof” method.
Weapon of Influence #4 - Liking
People are more likely to buy or respond to people whom they like. While it is not fair, attractive people usually are better at convincing others than average looking people. Other factors that affect liking include: having the same background, sharing similar interests, friendly and warm personality.
How to apply “liking” to your business – You can increase significantly increase your liking factor by improving your presentation and your relationship with people:
Weapon of Influence #5 - Authority
We place more trust on people with authority and are more likely to respond to their requests or commands. Authority status can be achieved by earning certain titles and qualifications (doctors, professors, gurus, masters) or through years of training to achieve expert level status.
How to establish “authority” in your business – You can establish authority for yourself and your business by showing or revealing your credentials, licenses, certificates, years of experiences, awards, etc.
Weapon of Influence #6 - Scarcity
I’m sure most of you can relate to the principle of “scarcity”. When something is scarce or hard to get, we just want it more whether it’s a date or a product. The idea of scarcity increases our fear of losing out something possibly good.
This can be a powerful motivator and lots of marketers and advertisers have successfully used this tactic.
How to apply “scarcity in your business” – You can use scarcity in your marketing by offering your products in limited quantity or have a deadline for a special promotion.
The idea is to let people know that if they don’t take actions now, they would miss out on a chance to get this special product or they would have to wait a few months to have the opportunity to buy the products again. Just make sure the deadline or limited quantities are true.
Apply these principles and Improve Your Business Starting Today!
The above 6 influencing principles are powerful techniques you could use today to get more customers and increase your sales.
By understanding more about human behavior and what triggers people to respond positively to your requests, you could quickly achieve success. However, power must come with responsibility. Please do not use these powerful techniques to manipulate people in a bad way or for other unethical purposes!
Got any other influencing or persuading tips to share?
If you have successfully used other influencing or persuading techniques with success, please share by commenting below! :