Anyone who claims influence to not be a part of their lives, either hasn’t given it much thought or hasn’t ever interacted with another human.
This year I set out to discover what causes people to make decisions. Influence is the best summary I’ve seen. Cialdini’s work is the source material for the likes of Tony Robbins, who has positively influenced over 40 million people around the world to make significant life changes (I’m one of them). And it happens to be Warren Buffett’s partner, Charlie Munger’s, often mentioned number one book recommendation. I met Cialdini at the Berkshire Meeting in Omaha last year and what I’ve learned since then has been nothing short of amazing.
The beauty of it is that Cialdini has done decades of reasearch to prove the points he makes (which take about 300 pages to explain), but the nature of the points is simple as can be–and I bet a number of you have already experienced them. Whether you knew it or not is a different story.
So here are the 6 top influence tactics along with a quick guide of how you can use them TODAY. Use them wisely, be honest and go with a good heart–please do not abuse them.
1. Reciprocation: We always want to return the favor. Do things for others and they will feel obligated to do something for you in return. Even tiny acts of giving often result in disproportionate acts in return. The interesting part here is that the size of the favor or gift does not matter much. As long as you do it.
2. Authority: We listen to people who seem important. Be it someone wearing a suit or a uniform, with an MD after their name or with a big sounding title on their business card. Who cares if they are actually powerful or if their expertise is relevant to our situation–we still listen. Dress and act sharp and position yourself accordingly.
3. Commitment and Consistency: We want to stay consistent to past decisions. Once someone makes a decision, no matter how small, they are likely to act consistent to that in the future. Even the smallest sale takes someone from a prospect to a customer–much more likely to buy again (and a larger quantity) in the future. If a customer talks about or endorses a product they are much more likely to refer and keep buying. Testimonials don’t just provide credibility. They solidify that customer’s commitment.
4. Social Proof: People follow the crowd. The more people doing something, the more likely others are to follow. We find safety in numbers. This is another reason testimonials are huge. Do everything possible to show that the masses endorse you, your product or your service. Much less selling is required when you can point to countless other happy customers. Why do you think bar tenders often have a visible tip jar? If others are tipping then maybe I should too. Whether you have one customer or one million, leverage it.
5. Liking: People say yes to those they like. Rapport is the foundation of all interactions. Find something in common. A hometown, sports team, the same bus route. Move and talk similar to the way they do. The more they like you and feel you’re like them, the more they act in your favor. How difficult is it for you to say no to someone you genuinely like?
6. Scarcity & Urgency: We want what we can’t have. Whether it’s a woman, a backordered iPhone, acceptance to the premier business school or the club in Vegas with the longest line. The harder it is to get, the more we want it. Make your products exclusive. Create waiting lists. And set purchase deadlines. We rarely act unless we have to. Interview your customers to be sure they’re a good fit. The second someone realizes they have to work for something, is the second intrigue sets in. Maybe playing hard to get is a worthwhile strategy after all.
So there you have it. Just the tip of the iceberg, but honestly, this is likely all many of you will need to make a significant improvement in your abiblity to influence others. This stuff can and should be used everywhere, not just in business. Very rarely does an interaction occur where influence isn’t involved. Deciding on where to go lunch with the guys in the office, where to go on vacation, whether to take a bus or a cab, what to register for your wedding…influence is everywhere. I don’t care what you’re doing. If there is someone else there, someone is doing the influencing and someone is being influenced.
Oh and keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with being influenced as long as you are ok with that before entering the situation and you recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes it feels good to be sold on something.
Now that you have the tools, a final word of guidance: Be genuine. This stuff will blow up in your face and damage your relationships if you don’t mean what you say and do. Don’t tell someone there’s a deadline if there’s not. They’ll see right though it. It may yield a little short term success, but that’s about all the good it will do.
I repeat, these are not tricks to deceive. They are tools to help others make what you feel to be the best decision. Have fun with them. And please be genuine.
What have you noticed often influences you? Have you ever been duped? What’s your best technique? Share them with us in the comments.If you liked this article, please Tweet about it or tell your friends about it on Facebook.
Other books you might enjoy: