6 key principles of influence

Posted by Mar30, 2015 Comments Comments Off on 6 key principles of influence
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Dr Robert Cialdini is the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. A short explanation of his work is that he says that we need to look for the six principals of persuasion when we work with a client. If one exists (i.e. it needs to exist naturally – it shouldn’t be manufactured), we should communicate it to the client and use it to our advantage. Last week I watched Dr Cialdini present webinar which reminded me of his excellent work. Below I summarise the six principals, some examples of what to look for and how to use them when dealing with clients.

  1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favour, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. For example, a fast food restaurant provided visitors a free gift when they walked into the store: they gave people either a key ring or small tub of yogurt. The key ring saw people spend on average 12% more. The Yogurt resulted in a 24% increase in sales… why? Giving people something they want is more powerful. Obviously they were at the fast food restaurant because they were hungry – so a free gift of feed was more relevant/valuable.

Look for ways to add value and solve a client’s problems. Maybe offering a free RP Data report, offer to seek an interest rate discount at their existing bank, give them a book on property investing. Find a way to give first to enact the law of reciprocity.

  1. Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honour that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honour the agreement. An example is if you ask someone to sign a petition in support of a cause and then a week later you are that person to donate to support that cause, there’s a high likelihood of them donating.

Maybe asking the client upfront if they want to work with someone they trust to help them build wealth – is that something that they are looking for or appeals to them? Then, once you have demonstrated value you can revert back to their previous agreement as if to say “hey, you said you were looking for this… here it is”.

  1. Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in a restaurant they marked some items on the menu as “popular dishes”. As a result, sales of these dishes increased 18% to 20%.

Ask satisfied clients to write you a short testimonial and then send these to prospects. Date the testimonial because research shows that the more recent the testimonial is, the more powerful it is. A very successful accountant I know always answers the same way when a client asks him “how’s business”. He says “wonderful, we have never received so many referrals from our clients”. This shows good social proof.

  1. Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures. For example, Bose has some products that weren’t selling very well. They decided to advertise the opinions of some high-profile audio experts about how great these products were. Sales increased by over 60%.

Talk about how many clients you have helped. How many years’ experience you have. Your qualifications. That you are licensed (ACL). Try and establish authority in the early stages of contact with the prospect.

  1. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them.

Be likeable, friendly, personal, caring, funny, find common ground, etc.

  1. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, a supermarket advertised that customers were limited to “a quantity of only 3 items per person” resulted in a doubling of sales.

If you get an interest rate discount approved and the approval expiries within a certain time, tell the client. If a bank valuation is only relevant for a certain period of time, tell the client. If you expect fixed rates to change, tell the client.

Remember, the goal in not to manufacture or “invent” these factors to persuade the client to act i.e. if the interest rate discount doesn’t have an expiry – don’t make one up. That would be dishonest. However, the goal is to keep your eye out for these factors that do influence clients and when one exists, use it to your (and ultimately the clients) advantage.

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