Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini

  • The amount of stimuli/messages we receive everyday is more than our brains can process.  To get by, we rely heavily on shortcuts - principles that allow us to make decisions based on a trigger.  For example: based on experience and teachings, we might assume that if a piece of jewelry is expensive it must be very nice and valuable.  Expensive (trigger) = good.
  • When we understand what these principles and triggers are, they can be used to take advantage of peoples automatic response to them.
  • Reciprocity Rule: if I give you something, you have an internal obligation to give something back to me of equal or greater value.
  • Contrast Principle: my perception of something is strongly influenced by what I have previously seen, especially immediately before it.  If I see a $1,000 shirt right after seeing a $10 shirt, I perceive its value and price point differently than if I were shown the $10 shirt before seeing the $1,000 shirt.  Or what if I saw a $100,000 shirt right before seeing the $1,000 shirt?
  • Rejection-then-Retreat tactic:  Offer something large, when denied, retreat to a smaller offer - the one you ultimately wanted to sell.  When they feel responsible for the outcome they are more likely to do it.  When they "influence" you to a concession/compromise, they are more satisfied and likely to agree to do more business in future.
  • Commitment and Consistency:  two things we are hardwired for.  Once we take a stance on something, we are way more likely to act in a way that is consistent with what we have committed to.  How to use in business:  start potential customers with a small commitment.  They will be more inclined to continue in that direction (working with you, supporting that cause, spending money on that type of service/product) in the future.  Even better if commitment is public = more likely to stay consistent with that action.
  • Social Proof: if everyone else is doing it, it must be good/right.
  • Liking: people are more willing to engage if you seem similar to them, or if they just generally like you.  Find/point out way you are similar.  Physical appearance should be similar or one step above them.  Compliment them.  "I am on your side/we are in this together."  Association principle:  be associated with things they like/want/respect.
  • Authority Principle: if someone with authority claims it, it must be true.
  • Scarcity Rule: people don't want to miss out.  If it's in limited supply/will expire/might miss out, they will act less rationally.