The Science of Persuasion

The science of persuasion


Robert Cialdini is a professor of marketing, business and psychology and is best known for his 1984 book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which sold over three million copies and has been translated into thirty languages.
The six key principles of influence are:

  1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favour. Give a little of your knowledge or expertise on your website. Not only does it establish your credibility but you are also building up good will that will eventually be reciprocated by your followers. A great example is http://deliciouslyella.com/ which started off with Ella creating and sharing healthy recipes. This grew into two books and an app.
  2. Commitment and Consistency – if people give their word they want to keep it.
  3. Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. This is where use of social media is very powerful. The more people liking your facebook page or commenting on your blog, the more sway they will hold.
  4. Authority – find out what gives authority. A real estate agent refusing to take off his suit jacket in sweltering conditions is a good indicator his suit is an important element in his creating his aura of authority. Authority may be established by qualifications, experience or even other people’s opinions, testimonials are a great way to promote your services on your website.
  5. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like or are similar to. You do not have to be too personal if you are not comfortable with this but even sharing your philosophy behind the work that you do can help your customers create an affinity with you.
  6. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. This should be done ethically because it can be very powerful. The threat that the Government is about to remove the subsidy or rule against being allowed to do this creates a sense of scarcity. This is the philosophy behind sales, for only a “limited time” will this be available at this price.

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