Researchers have been studying the factors that influence us to say “yes” to the requests of others for over 60 years. There can be no doubt that there’s a science to how we are persuaded, and a lot of the science is surprising.
When making a decision, it would be nice to think that people consider all the available information in order to guide their thinking. But the reality is very often different. In the increasingly overloaded lives we lead, more than ever we need shortcuts or rules of thumb to guide our decision-making.
Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles, outlined in his 1984 book, Influence, in one way or another to move them through this stage:
- Principle of reciprocity — This is achieved by delivering lots of value, either through whatever it is that you provided them as a free offer (lead magnet) in the very beginning, or in an ongoing exchange through your emails. One of the best demonstrations of the Principle of Reciprocity comes from a series of studies conducted in restaurants. So the last time you visited a restaurant, there’s a good chance that the waiter or waitress will have given you a gift. Probably about the same time that they bring your bill. A liqueur, perhaps, or a fortune cookie, or perhaps a simple mint.
- Principle of commitment & consistency — When people commit to something, they’re far more likely to purchase from you. That’s why getting them to agree to something like a free + shipping offer or by agreeing with something you’ve said in some way. This is a powerful principle in sales and if you pay attention to some of the best marketers in the world, you’ll notice that they work fervently to get your commitment to something, even if it’s very small in the beginning.
- Principle of liking — When people like you (i.e. they relate to your stories) they are more likely to purchase something from you. How well you craft your story and convey that to your prospects is going to play a big role in whether they decide to act or not.
- Principle of authority — How much authority do your products or services have? Are their respected people in your community that have endorsed it? Scientific studies that are backing it? Are you yourself an authority? All these elements come into play in this process.
- Principle of social proof — Do you have social proof? Are people on social media raving or talking about how great your products or services are? Do you have some other type of social proof? Best-selling books? Something else? It’s importnat that you present this to prospects if you do have them.
- Principle of scarcity — How much scarcity have you baked into your email sequence? Again, people are smart, but when you apply the principle of scarcity, as in there are only a limited amount of some offer or time left before a discount expires or slots available for an online class, it entices people to take action.
So there we have it. Six scientifically validated Principles of Persuasion that provide for small practical, often costless changes that can lead to big differences in your ability to influence and persuade others in an entirely ethical way. They are the secrets from the science of persuasion.