24 Mar Make More Sales: Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence
Starting a business is not about luck—although there are some who get lucky anyway. Owning and operating a business need a lot of hard work and some real skills. While luck is something that just comes along, hard work and skills are things you do. But there is another essential element in business that you need to learn and earn through time: KNOWLEDGE.
In business, an important knowledge that owners should possess is on attracting customers to buy or revere the product or service. There are six principles of influence, according to Robert B. Cialdini, in his book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Cialdini is a Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at the Arizona State University. His book sold over three million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. It had been in the New York Times bestseller list and was named as one of the 75 smartest books in business, according to Fortune magazine.
Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence to close more sales:
1. Principle of reciprocity
It’s like the golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” Now that the cliché is out of the way, Cialdini’s reciprocity principle indicates that if you do something nice or good, people tend to return the favor. But how does this work in business? Free samples! If you let people taste your food, chances are, they will buy the food that you are selling. There’s a chance that they just bought the food because it’s really good, or it could be the principle working. Either way, that’s a point in your direction. The thing is, there is a 50-50 chance that people will buy your product just because of a free sample, or pay for your service just because of a free trial.
Cialdini invokes human nature. There is an innate clamor within a person to return the favor to someone who did him good. This is why when you go to a mall, there are so many free food tasting or free trial for makeup or perfume. In the case of online materials, some websites allow potential buyers to browse the first part of a report that you want to purchase. As a human being, there is a social obligation to reciprocate the kindness extended.
2. Principles of commitment and consistency
When we give our word, it’s hard to take it back. That’s why when we RSVP positively, chances are we force ourselves to attend an event even when something comes up. We have already given our word, and we don’t want to seem uncommitted and inconsistent. Again, this goes back to human nature. If we commit to do something, our brain will record it. And because it is recorded, essentially our action follows in the name of consistency.
3. Principle of social proof
This is like the bandwagon effect. People do things because other people are already doing it. And in this generation, it’s called FOMO—fear of missing out. Again, the principle tackles human nature. If other people are already doing it, buying it, getting it, why haven’t you? It makes you question if there is something wrong with you.
Here’s an experiment of social proof. Get a group of people to look up the sky for some time. It is guaranteed that all people who pass by this group will also look up. It’s also called conformity. You must be a freak if you don’t conform to society. Conformity by the majority breeds norm.
So how does this relate when it comes to business and marketing? As long as you have the numbers, you can easily make a claim in marketing: Millions of people are already using (name of a product), why haven’t you? You could claim that thousands of people have shifted to your brand and those using the other brand could question their decision not to have shifted yet.
4. Principle of authority
People with authority are respected—more often than not at least. Even the most hated president in the world still commands respect. His words, no matter how nonsensical they sometimes are, continue to be covered by all media outlets. He is still the president, and he has authority.
This is why, concerning business, it is best to have a person with authority to promote a product. There will be a better chance for people to patronize your product or service if you have somebody in authority to talk about it. Michael Jordan is one of the most famous athletes in the world, and for that reason, he is an excellent spokesperson for Nike. Oprah Winfrey has never been the slimmest celebrity in the world. But she lost a ton of weight while working with Weight Watchers. Winfrey’s experience with Weight Watchers plus her rise to power makes her one of the most effective spokespersons in the world and a big part of that is because of her authority.
5. Principle of liking
People are said to be easily swayed by people they like. This is why there are so many products or services that hire actors and actresses to promote their products. How many advertising deals have each Kardashian signed? How many perfumes has Jennifer Lopez promoted? Lopez and the Kardashians have millions of followers on social media. They have a huge following, and these fans are more likely to use products their idols promote.
Cialdini enumerates five factors that prompt the principle of liking:
a. Physical attractiveness
d. Contact and cooperation
e. Conditioning and association
6. Principle of scarcity
This is another principle of influence that prompts people to purchase your product or service. The principle indicates demand because of the perceived scarcity of a product or service as shown in marketing taglines: “for a limited time only” or “until supplies last.” These kinds of marketing ploy merit action from customers who are afraid to be left out if they don’t get the product or service while the promo is ongoing.
So there you go, six principles of influence. When you employ either one or all of these principles, you are bound to reach success in your business.