from Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion’ 2006 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 5/13
There are six key psychological traits that affect how we influence or persuade others. They especially affect how people interact when they buy & sell. They are outlined below.
1. – Reciprocity
This is a social convention found in all societies where we feel we must “repay” in-kind what another person has provided us. We feel obligated to the future repayment. It is not dependent upon liking the other person at all. An uninvited first favour creates obligation. For example a direct mailing for charitable donations has twice the return rate if a free pen is included. This also works in situations where a request is refused. When we refuse someone, there is a deep feeling that we should somehow make up for it. In sales situations if you meet with a refusal you can then ask for a referral as a concession. It fulfils a need the client will have to rebalance the social interaction.
2 – Commitment & Consistency
Once a choice or stand has been made we are under internal and external (social) pressure to remain consistent with this commitment. In a sales context once a client has declared an interest in a product or said yes to particular benefit they are unlikely to go back on their decision. Once a commitment has been made, other reasons are found to support this commitment. Even if the original incentive is removed, the commitment remains. An example is the so called sales ‘Lowball’ where a reduced price is offered that is rescinded later after the client has sold the product more fully to themselves. Don’t use this technique. It is not a way to keep clients long-term.
3 – Social Proof.
One fundamental way that individuals decide what they should do in a situation is to look at what similar others have done. Hence, the “proof’ of what is correct isn’t grounded in the physical environment but in the social environment: “If a lot of people like me are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.” The principle of social proof states: “The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct”. This is where testimonials from satisfied clients and referrals are useful. They give credibility that the product and the sales person would not otherwise have.
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