Robert Cialdini’s “The Science of Influence” was a recommended reading by some internet marketers and so I downloaded a video of his talk. I had no idea what to expect, but after watching for 10 minutes, I was hooked.
According to Cialdini, people’s preferences and actions can be influenced by using the following 6 principles:
Principle 1: Reciprocity
It is the nature of people to give back. Cialdini cites an example when Ethiopia, a dirt poor country, sent millions of dollars in aid when Mexico was struck by a devastating earthquake. Curious as to why a country with no money to feed its own people would even send money out to help another nation, he went to ask Ethiopia’s minister. The minister replied that they wanted to reciprocate what Mexico had done when they were in need during their country’s strive for independence 50 years ago.
There is a moment of power after every “thank you”. If you do the following, the chances of receiving a favor the next time you need it increases significantly. After every “Thank You”, instead of the usual reply, you can say, “I’m sure you would have done the same”.
Meet Me Halfway
You can also use this principle on concessions. Say you need a favor from somebody. Instead of just asking for 1 favor, present a larger request beforehand that will surely take a “no” and then present your “real” favor. Think of how many times some other person or salesman have used this on you.
The thing to remember here is “always start with a larger request” and use the structure of “If you can’t do this for me, how about this smaller favor?”.
Principle 2: Scarcity
People want what they can’t have.
People are more motivated by the idea of losing something than gaining that very same thing.
Instead of saying:
“If you do this, you will GAIN this”
You can say it in a more convincing way:
“if you don’t do this, you will LOSE this”
Principle 3: Authority
If an expert says it, it must be true. Nobody knows you’re an expert until you say so. You must establish your own authority in every situation.
When presenting features or attributes, present the weakness first before the strength. Presenting the weakness makes you look more credible.
Present the weakness and say “However,”
Principle 4: Consistency
People are consistent in a way that when they commit to something, they usually follow through. Always ask for commitment. People who gave a commitment are more willing to act on it later on.
Principle 5: Consensus
People are more willing to act if they know other people are doing the same thing. This is also sometimes called “Social Proof”.
Principle 6: Liking
People generally like those who are like them and those who like them.
Similarities: We like those who are like us.
Compliments: We like those who like us.
Cooperative Efforts: We like those who work with us to achieve success.
There is so much value in Mr. Cialdini’s findings and teachings that can be applied in business. No doubt why this was a highly recommended reading by marketers.
What other ideas do you have to apply these principles in everyday situation?