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Marketing 101 - How Persuasive Are You?

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Marketing 101: How Persuasive Are You?

By Elizabeth Slater

I have been reading about Robert Cialdini’s six influence tactics again. The 6 principles remind me of how important the science of persuasion is.

Cialdini is best known for his book The Psychology of Persuasion, published in 1984. He is a Professor Emeritus in Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and was a visiting professor of marketing, business and psychology at Stanford. He knows his stuff.

The six principles that Cialdini outlined can be of great help in all parts of our life. In this blog we are focused on helping our customers make decisions to purchase. We do this by using tactics that tap into common behaviors that work on us, not only consciously but subconsciously. i is best known for his book The Psychology of Persuasion, published in 1984. He is a Professor Emeritus in Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and was a visiting professor of marketing, business and psychology at Stanford. He knows his stuff.

We think we know what’s going on in our brain, but mostly we are clueless. Our brain has a life of it’s own. Plus we don’t have the bandwidth to take in everything that is going on around us consciously, so a lot of it goes directly to our subconscious and many of our actions are performed without much conscious thought. Have you ever been walking along and suddenly realized you have no idea how you got there? Well, your subconscious has been busy keeping you on the right path.

The six principles that Cialdini coalesced are: Reciprocity • Consistency • Social Proof • Authority • Liking • Scarcity.

Reciprocity

If someone does something nice for you, you are going to want to do something for them in return. When we offer something extra to a customer, something they weren’t expecting but something they will appreciate for any number of reasons, they usually feel obliged to do something for you. For example in a winery tasting room you give your visitors a taste of something they don’t expect or treat them to a walk around the cellar or a small piece of chocolate with a wine.

You have done something extra for them and they will do something for you, i.e. buy something.

Consistency or commitment

Most of us in the sales world know that if you can get people to say yes, you can keep them in a consistent frame of mind. In winery tasting rooms you can try the wines before you buy them and therefore up the odds of making a sale.

A tip of the glass from me to you.

Social Proof

Social proof is the third of the six influencers. Basically it means that we are influences by people we deem to be similar to ourselves. If a group of people is buying wine in a tasting room there is a greater chance that others in the room will do the same. The subconscious of the visitors persuades them that if other people are doing something that they should to. That’s why when someone is buying wine, if you can you put the bottles on the bar where they can be seen during the transaction. Then they are bagged or boxed and handed to the purchaser.

Authority

Most people will follow the lead of those who are seen to be authoritative in their positions. If you watch advertising for medical or pharmaceutical products you will often see a doctor as a spokesperson for these products. In today’s society people have been trained to listen to doctors and to assume they know what they are talking about. 

When visitors to your retail space visit, giving them information that they can take home and impress their friends with will make it easier to sell your products to them. As the salesperson you are the expert. Your job is to pass along some of that expertise to make your customers feel that they now have some expertise. Use language that is easy to understand and make the information interesting or your will lose your audience.

Liking

As well as being influence by authority, customers are also more likely to be influenced by people they like. If they like the salesperson, they are more likely to buy. So the key is while you are the expert be a nice expert and make them feel good about what they know or what they are learning. 

Scarcity

There is much more chance of your customers wanting what they cannot have if they wait. Scarcity will make people buy, which is why it is used regularly in advertising.

Putting into practice these six tactics will keep your customers happy and your sales higher.