6 Weapons of Influence

megaphoneThere is a fantastic book written by psychologist Robert Cialdini called The Psychology of Persuasion and this book goes into the psychology of why people say yes and teaches you how to apply this understanding.

I highly recommend everyone add this to your library.

Now to gather this information Cialdini went undercover working a verity of jobs for 3 years studying the words and behaviors that moved people to comply.

And from this he developed 6 principles which describes how people are persuaded and he also explains is great detail how each one of these principles produced a distinct kind of automatic mindless compliance from people, which is the willingness to say YES without thinking.

All of these principles are mental shortcuts you can use when writing an ad or your sales copy. It will provide you with the skills to become an expert persuader, and you can also use this information to defend yourself against them as well.

Here are Cialdini’s principles:

1. Reciprocation

2. Commitment/consistency

3. Social Proof

4. Liking

5. Authority

6. Scarcity

So let’s go over each one of these principles and see how you can use them to increase your profits.

1) Reciprocation

Without a doubt the most potent weapons of influence is the one of Reciprocation.

Why is it so powerful?

Simple, when someone gives you something and you accept it by virtue of the reciprocity rule we are obligated to give something back.

Reciprocation is so pervasive in human culture that sociologist like Alvin Gouldner has reported that there is no human society that does not subscribe to this rule.
A perfect example of Reciprocation in action is used by the Hare Krishna religious group, they first provide you a free gift and then ask you for a donation, because you already accepted their gift you feel obligated to comply and give a donation.

This technique is so powerful that airport authorities have restricted where the Krishna‘s can solicit, and have gone as far as posting signs and announcing on the public address system that the Krishna are soliciting here.

Reciprocation is the sole marketing campaign of many companies, you’ve seen it and you’ve been apart of it.

For example “Free Samples”, have you been in the supermarket where they give you a small piece of cheese or a sample of some kind of meat.

Many people find it difficult to accept the free sample, however the ones that do feel obligated to buy some product even if they have not like it.

So how can this help you online?

What can you give away? And don’t give away something cheap, make sure it has value, also make sure it is not something they have to request, if they do then it’s a favor.

How about a free 30 minute consultation, a free sample, an ebook, or a gift certificate.

2) Commitment/consistency

Like all of the weapons of influence commitment/consistency lies deep within us and is very powerful, it is nearly an obsessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done.

It works like this; once we have made a decision, choice or a stand we (you) will encounter internal pressure to behave consistently with that commitment.

So that pressure to stay consistent will cause you to respond in very specific ways to justify your earlier decision.

Commitment/consistency is so powerful many theorists such as Leon Festinger, Fritz Hieder and Theodore Newcomb view this weapon as the central motivator for behavior.

To prove this psychologist Thomas Moriaty took an experiment to the streets, well actual to the beach to see if perfect strangers would put themselves in harms way to stop a crime.

Here’s what he did, he a two others went to the beach, one of the participants set up a blanket about 5 feet away from some randomly chosen people already on the beach.

After a few minutes of relaxing and listening to a radio on the blanket the experiment subject got up and took a stroll down the beach.

Another experiment subject posing as a thief moved in and took the radio; out of the 20 times they did this experiment only 4 people intervened when the theft was staged. However when they did this exact same experiment with one tiny change the results were extremely different.

Just before taking his stroll the participant in the test would simple say to the test subject that was close by “could you watch my stuff” each one of the test subjects agreed too.

Now when the thief came and took the radio 19 out of 20 people intervened by chasing or even taking the radio and demanding an explanation, some even restrained the thief.

It is the power of consistency that drove these people to intervene, they said they would watch the participants property, and to justify their actions and stay consistent they put themselves in harms way when the thief tried to steal the radio.

So how do you engage in this powerful force of consistency? The answer is commitment.

If I can get you to make a commitment or take a stand I have set the stage where you will stay consistent and the natural tendency is to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with that stand.

Now granted this is much more effective in person because Social Pressure is added to the situation. When you’re writing an ad there is no human interaction where someone is walking you through to the next step in the sales process so there is no social pressure for you to be consistent with your answers.

However this is overcome by the use of Long Sales copy. The writer takes you by the hand and walks you through every step of the sales process by the use of a story and if he/she has written effective copy the end result is a sale. This is why some copywriters charge $10,000 to $20,000 for a sale copy.

3) Social Proof

Everyone else is doing it why aren’t you?

This has a very powerful effect on us; this weapon is used through social proof.

Advertisers love to tell us when a product is the “fastest growing” or the “largest selling” because they don’t have to tell us the product is good they only need to say that many other people think so, which is all the social proof needed.

The message of social proof is being communicated to us all the time, a bartender will seed his tip jar with a folded bill, and this is social proof that this is the way to tip him in this bar.

When a charity telethon is being conducted the host will continually give a list of people who have contributed, and the message being delivered to all those who have not given is “look at all the other people who have decided to give, this must be the right thing to do”.

Have you every noticed when a salesman is in the throws of his sales pitch he/she will give you plenty of accounts of people who have purchased what you’re looking at to purchase.

Motivation consultant Cavett Robert states: “Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent are initiators, people are persuaded more by actions of others then by any proof we can offer.

So how can this help you online?

On your web page or in your sales copy have testimonials, have videos of people talking about how great your product or service is.

4) Liking

Liking is building connections to yourself or your company, people will buy from you just because they like you. People prefer to say yes (buy) from people they know and like.

The biggest exploitation of the weapon of liking is the Tupperware party. Your friend invites you to your home for a Tupperware party and you agree.

Now the demonstrator of the Tupperware (usually not the host of the party) is not the person influencing the buying, it is the host serving drinks and chatting. Why?

Because people will buy from a friend rather then an unknown salesperson, it is the obligation of friendship. This social bond is twice as likely to determine the product purchase as to the preference to the product itself.

Liking is so powerful the friend does not even have to be there for it to be effective. Shaklee Corporation uses this to their advantage, using what they call the “endless chain” method.

Shaklee specializes in door to door sales of all kinds of household products. Once a customer admits they like a product the salesperson can then ask if they have the names of any friends that would be interested in learning more about their products.

Armed with these names the salesperson can then approach the individuals on their list, the secret to the success of this is when the salespersons calls on these people he says; “Your friend David suggested I call on you regarding our……”

The person will find it very hard to turn the salesperson away because it is almost like rejecting his friend.

Other powerful factor of liking is called “identification” contrary to popular belief men are attracted to other men in pictures and the same goes for women being attracted to other women in pictures.

And this goes for everyone, even you. Why? Because we are primarily interested in ourselves, no one is more important then you!!

So for example when ad shows a beautiful successful woman, other women will identify with her, they will briefly step into that persons shoes and become beautiful and successful. Why do you think every newspaper, magazine or catalogue ad has happy beautiful people in them?

So how does Liking help you online?

It’s your mailing list. Every successful marketer who focus on getting people onto a mailing list have stronger long term sales then marketers who send people to a sales page.

By consistently staying in contact and building that relationship with their list, they are using the power of liking. “If you like me, you will buy from me”. It is the Know, Like and Trust factor that will make you money.

Also statistics show it takes on average 7 to 10 contacts with someone before they feel comfortable purchasing from someone.

5) Authority

You’ve seen it in T.V. commercials, a person standing there in a white lab coat holding a clip board telling you the power of the latest cold medicine, or fuel for your car, and we believe them because of the authority figure they represent, even though we know these people are actors the authority weapon is so powerful we still are persuaded.

Major companies use to (well they still do) hire actors to play authority figures such as doctors, dentists to sell their products, this weapon is so powerful FCC put their foot down.

But even after the FCC forced the actors to say “I am not a real dentist, but I play one on TV” it made no difference, now the actors don’t even have to say that, if you notice in very small and usually light text you’ll see something like this at the bottom of the screen *this is an actor and not a real dentist.

Other then clothes how else can the authority weapon be triggered? The title someone has can do it, doctor, judge, chef, nurse, police officer.

Trappings is another trigger, you find this in such things as jewelry and cars. In one experiment to test this, testers had a person in a very prestigious car sit at a red light and when it turned green the driver did not move, it was noted that motorists would wait significantly longer before honking their horn as apposed to someone in an economy car where motorist had little patience and immediately honked their horns.

So how can you use Authority online?

Well what authority does your market respect? Find this out and get testimonials or an endorsement with an image, and then get permission to use these in your marketing efforts. Use them on your website; you could even produce a DVD.

6) Scarcity

The weapon of the few, the idea of potential loss plays a huge role in human decision making. In fact more people are more motivated by losing something then gaining something of equal value.

Probably the most used and straightforward use of scarcity is in the “Limited Number” tactic. When a customer is informed there is a limited number and there is a short supply the compulsion to purchase is much greater.

Using scarcity is just like using a deadline; one day sale, for a limited time, for the next 24 hours and so on. The reason companies and people use this weapon is because it works!!

The more you can’t have it the more you want it.

Scarcity highlights the importance of competition in the pursuit of limited resources. Not only do we want the same items when they are scarce, we want them even more when we are in competition with for them.

Here’s a great example to illustrate this. You know that movie theater arm rest you’re not using and could really care less about. Someone sits down beside you and starts using it, and of a sudden you have this very strong urge to somehow now use it (want it). It’s like they took your arm rest.

And for the rest of the movie this may bother you, and the funny thing is when you had it you did not want it, but when someone else had it, you could not have wanted it more.

How can you use scarcity online?

Maybe you only have a limited number of copies of your ebook, maybe you’re only allowing a limited number of members in your membership site, maybe you’re having a 24 hour sale, or maybe the first 50 people are only eligible for your bonus.

Those are the 6 weapons of influence now that you know them go out there and use each one of them to your advantage and explode your profits!

Have a kick ass weekend and I’ll see you on the other side

I believe in you
Leo

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