Six key principles of persuasion
Robert Cialdini: “Influence – Science and Practice”
“Influence: Science and Practice” (ISBN 0-321-18895-0) – a Psychology book from 2003 examining the key ways people can be influenced by “Compliance Professionals”. Written by Robert B. Cialdini, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University.
The key premise of the book is that, in a complex world where people are overloaded with more information than they can deal with, people fall back on a decision making approach based on generalizations. These generalizations develop because they allow people to usually act in a correct manner with a limited amount of thought and time. However, they can be exploited and effectively turned into weapons by those who know them to influence others to act certain ways. [WIKI]
The six generalizations or key principles
|People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing.
Application: Give away value to your prospects – through your blog, newsletter, and free products (ebooks, videos, reports). Once you do this, people will appreciate the valuable content that you provide and reward you by buying your products or subscribing to your feeds.
|Perceived scarcity will generate demand.
Application: Build scarcity into your product offering and marketing. Emphasize the fact that there is limited supply and that people need to act fast in order to reap the benefits. For example, if you’re selling an information product, package it with a consulting bonus (only X spots available) and a special price for a limited time. The scarcity component will force potential customers to place more value on the offer and act fast so they don’t miss out on a great opportunity.
|If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image.
Application: Choose a niche that you have a passion for and build a business in it for the long term. Make a commitment to providing value with your sites and be consistent with your work and your marketing. For example, if you want to make money online with a blog, choose a posting frequency and stick with it, even when you think no one’s reading.
|People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.
Application: Work on becoming a top authority in your niche. Share your ideas through a blog and back up your knowledge base with solid examples and case studies. You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to know more than your target audience.
|People will do things that they see other people are doing.
Application: Highlight social proof factors in your business. If you have a high RSS feed count for your blog, prominently display it for everyone to see. If you’ve sold a million copies of a certain product, use it as a key piece in your marketing. If you get so much traffic that your server crashes, write about it and apologize for the down time. You get the idea. Sometimes it pays to brag about your accomplishments and popularity.
|Perceived scarcity will generate demand.
Application: Use various outlets to show people who you are and connect with your audience. Write blog posts injected with personality and opinions, create videos introducing yourself and explaining your thoughts, and be active on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The more you put yourself out there, the more people will like you. The more people like you, the more influence you’ll have.
Influencing as a process
The concepts presented above may be incorporated into a process to be followed by prospective influencers.
Phase 1: Before the influencing session
Step 1: Prepare and plan:
- Determine exactly what the influencer needs from the people to be influenced, or client(s).
- Determine what the needs and wants of the client are.
- Prepare the opening statement.
The opening statement should present an offer that, if accepted, will also help to satisfy the influencer’s needs.
- Anticipate possible negative reactions
- Plan useful responses.
Role-play is a good way of maximizing the effectiveness of the preparation.
- Consult “Influence – Science and Practice” for details and examples.
Phase 2: At the influencing meeting
Step 2: The opening statement is presented.
Step 3: The client’s needs are confirmed.
Step 4: Listen to the client’s response and respond appropriately.
Step 5: Ask the client to accept the prepared offer.
Step 6: The client reacts:
- If the client accepts == thanks are expressed and any required formalities are completed.
- If the client refuses == another attempt may be made at another time or another potential client may be visited.
Phase 3: Analysis after the meeting
Step 7: Review the influencing experience to achieve a better outcome in the future:
- Take the time to review each element.
- Ask oneself, “what went well?” and “what could be improved next time?”