Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive Robert B. Cialdini with Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin
Six Universal Principles of Social Influence • Reciprocation • We feel obligated to return favors performed for us. • Authority • We look to experts to show us the way. • Commitment/Consistency • We want to act consistently with our commitments and values.
Scarcity • The less available the resource, the more we want it. • Liking • The more we like people , the more we want to say yes to them. • And we like and trust people like us – similarity. • Social Proof • We look to what others do to guide our behavior.
Social Proof • When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look outside themselves and to other people around them to guide their decisions and actions. • Ad writer Colleen Szot changed the line at the end of an infomercial from, “Operators are standing by” to “If operators are busy, please call again.” • Sales skyrocketed because operators waiting meant no one wanted the product. Busy operators meant others were calling and wanted the product. • Testimonials from satisfied customers are powerful social proof.
Social Proof/Similarity • Social proof is powerful, but even more powerful when the proof or endorsement comes from people like us – our tribe, our family, our colleagues. • Positive social proof is much more effective than negative social proof. • 2004 election, “4 years ago, 22 million single women didn’t vote” focused target audience on prevalence of problem and validated not voting, rather than the undesirability. Negative affects of drug use doesn’t work, showing wellness does.
Positives • Reward good behavior, don’t punish bad behavior, it just represses it, doesn’t change it. • Rewarding good behavior is the only way to change it. • Appreciation and recognition are infinitely more powerful than criticism.
Too Many Choices Confuse • The more choices offered in a retirement plan, the less often people enrolled than when fewer were offered. • Participation dropped 2% for every ten options offered. • Participation rates zoomed when only two options were offered. • Don’t give people too many choices – it confuses them.
People Don’t Value Free Stuff • Instead of offering a “free software program,” offer a “$100 software program at no cost to you.” • Put a value on your gifts or bonuses or free stuff.
High, Middle, Low • If you offer a high-priced, premium product for $1,000, your medium priced $350 product seems like a bargain. • Even if you were selling it before at $250, but without a comparison it might have seemed high. • Always give a comparison to something higher to reinforce the value of your offer.
Fear Often Paralyzes • Fear-arousing communications usually stimulates an audience to take action to reduce the threat. • However, when the fear-producing message describes danger but the audience is not told of a clear, specific, effective means of reducing the danger, they may deal with fear by “blocking out” the message or denying it applies to them.
Do Favors For People • We too often ask, “Who can help me?” • Instead ask, “Whom can I help?” and do them a favor. • Sets up an obligation for reciprocity. • Management is about getting results through other people, so set up a web of indebted colleagues who have benefitted from favors, attention, and listening.
Personalize Requests • When you ask people at work to do something, like filling out a survey, instead of sending out a mass email, personalize your request with an individualized PostIt note.
Giving Gifts • Gifts are appreciated much more if they have three qualities: • Significant • Unexpected • Personalized
No Strings Attached • To increase the sense of obligation to reciprocate, act first with no strings attached. • For example, you give a donation to a charity or a candidate at a party you are giving, announce it, but indicate that there is no expected quid pro quo. • Others’ donations will increase.
Foot-in-the-Door Technique • Get agreement with a principle. • “Do you believe in safe driving?” • Make a small request (commitment and consistency will work in your favor). • “Will you put up a small Safe Driving sign in your yard?” • “Yes” • Come back next week and ask them to put up a bigger sign. • Commitment and consistency will work in your favor again.
Door-in-the-Face Technique • Get agreement with a principle. • “Do you believe in safe driving?” • Make a small request (commitment and consistency will work in your favor). • “Will you put up a huge Safe Driving sign in your yard?” • “No” • “Will your put up a medium-sized Safe Driving sign in yard?” • “Yes” • Commitment and consistency work in your favor.
Labeling • Assign a trait, attitude, belief, or other label to a person, then make a request of that person consistent with that label. • Luke to Darth Vader, “I know there’s good in you.” • Darth Vader saves Luke from the Emperor.
Ask For Commitment • Instead of asking, “Please call if you have to cancel your reservation,” ask, “Will you please call if you have to cancel?” and wait for a “yes.” • Waiting for “yes” seals the commitment.
Write Down Commitments • Writing down your goals and commitments strengthen them. • For you and others, too. • People make judgments about themselves based on observations of their own behavior, and they infer more about themselves based on their actions than on their notations.
Behavior Changes Attitudes • Ask someone who doesn’t like you or opposes you to do you a favor, and if they do it, they will like you better. • People are motivated to change their attitudes in ways that are consistent with their behavior. • They avoid cognitive dissonance.
Even a Little Helps • “Even a dollar will help” works. • Simply pointing out that even a small amount would be acceptable and worthwhile to you is likely to be an effective strategy. • People who can afford a major contribution think a small amount won’t help the cause. • “Even a dollar will help” worked for Obama’s campaign.
Start Low or High? • If there are going to be lots of bidders, start low and social proof will result in the bids going up. • If there are going to be only two bidders, start high to anchor a perception of high value.
Groups Make Better Decisions • If you’re the brightest person in the room, you’re in trouble because you don’t ask for advice. • Groups of people collaborate and work hard to come up with a better solution than one person. • Diversity works.
Devil’s Advocates Aren’t Convincing • A true, authentic dissenter is much more effective than someone selected to act as a devil’s advocate. • When making a decision, find an authentic, committed dissenter. • It avoids groupthink.
When Training, Focus on Errors • When training, use case studies of mistakes and errors so people can learn what not to do. • They don’t learn as well from what goes right.
Turn and Weakness Into a Strength • Be candid about weaknesses, it demonstrates honesty and objectivity. • The two-sided argument is very persuasive. • Reveal the bad, the negatives, and the weaknesses first. • Then talk about the good, the positives, and the strengths. • Your credibility soars.
Take Blame • Don’t’ play the blame game. • Take responsibility for mistakes and problems. • Internal locus of control • Don’t blame outside factors such as economy, luck, competitors. • Not credible.
Find Similarities • Potential clients (targets of persuasion) are more receptive to sales pitches from those who they share similarities such as: • Names (first and last) • Beliefs • Hometowns • Alma maters • Pointing out similarities can be the first step in resolving potentially ugly conflicts with coworkers and neighbors.
Mirroring • Waiters found they got much larger tips when they repeat customers’ orders back to them exactly as verbalized. • Mirroring creates feeling of liking and strengthens bonds of trust between two people. • Creates openness.
Smile Authentically • People can tell the difference between authentic and inauthentic smiles. • In order to be authentic, find something to like about a person so you can be authentic. • We spend too much time finding fault with people. Look for positives and we’ll like them more – and smile more authentically.
Exclusive Information • Because of the scarcity principle, people will pay more for a product/service they perceive to be scarce. • They’ll pay even more if the information about the scarcity came from an exclusive and truthful source not generally available to the rest of the public. • If you pass on information that is uniquely known by your but fail to point out the exclusivity of the information, you could be losing an opportunity.
Loss Aversion • People are more than twice as motivated to avoid a loss as they are to acquire gains. • Instead of presenting something as a saving, you’re more persuasive if you frame it in terms of what you could lose if you don’t act. • We also get sometimes get tricked by not wanting to lose the time spent in the buying or negotiating process when faced with a last-minute high demand.
Use “Because” • Using the single word “because” when associated with a request can more than double compliance. • To break in a line say, “I want to use the Xerox machine because I have only two copies.” • Always back up your requests or points with a strong rationale – a strong “because.”
Be Easy to Pronounce and Read • People have a greater affection for words that are easy to pronounce. • Company names, stock symbols, people. • Persuasiveness of a hand-written message is influenced by the quality of the hand writing. • On an easy-to-read font face.
KISS • Keep it simple, stupid. • No jargon or big words: • “We’re leveraging our assets and establishing strategic alliances to create a robust knowledge center – one with a customer-ruled business structure using market-leading technologies to maximize our human systems.” • “We’re consultants.”
Rhyme and Climb • Research suggests that when marketers have mottos, slogans, trademarks, or jingles that rhyme their likability and truthfulness perception increases. • “Caution and measure will increase your treasure.” • Not, “Caution and measure will win you riches.”
Perceptual Contrast • Baseball players swing a heavy bat in the on-deck circle so their regular bat will feel lighter in comparison. • Prior experience colors perception. • High-end hot tub costs $15,000. • “Having it is like having an extra room in your house.” • Sales went up 500% because people compared $15,000 to the cost of a $50,000 bedroom addition.
A Box of Crayons • Red, blue, and yellow – dull, not memorable. • Millennium orange, Kermit green – cool, memorable. • Unexpected names and ambiguous names cause consumers to think and, thus, are more desirable, likable, and memorable.
Social Norms Marketing • People are generally motivated to behave in line with perceived social norms. • When you send a message, accompany it with some evidence of social norms, because people do not have accurate perceptions of social norms. • “65 percent of students have three or fewer drinks when they party.” • Students thought the average was much higher.
Mirrors Reduce Theft • People tend to act in ways that reinforce the image they want to have of themselves. • Therefore, put a mirror on the wall so people can see themselves and they will act as if they are being watched … by themselves. • A mirror in a stock room reduced theft by 50 percent.
Emotions Affect Decision Making • When people are in an emotional state (especially being sad), it affects their decision making. • When in an emotional state people are persuaded to do things they would not do when in a neutral (unemotional) state. • When in an emotional state (anger, e.g.) people do things they would not do if in a neutral state. • Don’t send that email when you’re angry or emotional. Sleep on it.
Concentrate and Be Skeptical • When people are tired or distracted, they are more easy to persuade. • When you have to make an important decision, concentrate, eliminate distractions, stay alert and calm, and remain skeptical.
Give ‘Em Coffee • Caffeine keeps people awake and makes them more alert. • Make your sales pitch (if it’s good and well reasoned) or presentation when people are most alert. • In the morning after coffee, for example.
Face-to-Face Best • Face-to-face is by far the most effective communication. • Voice inflection, gestures, and non-verbal communication can be very effective. • If you can’t meet face-to-face, use a video conference or video chat. • Get to know someone via Facebook – picture and profile. • Emails do not convey emotion and can be easily misunderstood.
Know the Culture • Individualistic cultures (US, UK, Western Europe) • It’s about me. • Collectivistic cultures (Asia, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe) • It’s about we. • In individualistic cultures, ads and messages that appeal to individuals – make me better, prettier, richer – work. • In collectivistic cultures, ads and messages that appeal to the family, group, tribe – make us better, richer – work.