2. Cialdini and Influence

To get yourself scam-free, you have to first quit being a patsy…

A patsy, a chump, a dupe, a target, a victim — — you know, one of those guys with a big target on their back which says “kick me”…

We’re all that way a little bit. Even Professor Robert Cialdini, author of the book “Influence” admits he’s one in the opening line. But after 15 years of research, he came up with an incredible book which is still being circulated and brought out in new editions with updates. I got a copy of his fourth edition after I read where a scammer said Cialdini had the reasons people will buy whatever you have to sell.

That scammer missed the point. The reason Cialdini wrote the book was to help people get out from under all the mis-training they had received in their lives and start taking more control over it.

  • The first thing you have to do is quit kicking yourself. (It feels so good when you quit, believe me.)
  • The second thing is to really study how come you fell for their scam — hook, line, and sinker.

The basic reasons (there are only 7, according to Cialdini) have to do with the way you were raised. But they are trained-in, not genetic, so you can un-train yourself.

Six principles of influence.

Dr. Cialdini laid out six principles:

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Commitment and consistency
  3. Social proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity
  7. (And a seventh, Self Interest, he found so common as to only include it as a footnote.)

Reciprocation — give someone a gift and they want to give you one. With every free offer you give, always enable the person to pay you back in some way. Leaving their e-mail address is one. Including an ad for a low-cost service is another — or also include an ad for your main service, which gives them a choice of how valuable they think your initial free gift is.

Commitment and consistency — get them to take a baby step and they’ll want to take another and another. They also expect that once you’ve held their hand, you won’t let them fall — you have to be consistent, too. Once a person takes a step toward a goal, they will be more likely to continue. Your opt-in is one such commitment. As you allow them to be consistent with their goal, they will take another. Build inertia in your buyers and not let them stop.

Social proof (consensus) — people like to follow the crowd.

Humankind is a social species. We like to know what other people like.

They want to buy a popular product — a common solution that others have found workable. If you are starting a new product, then tell how products like it, or products it was based on, have helped “countless thousands of individuals just like you to succeed.” Allow people to herd.

Liking — people elect politicians because they are most like them, not because they are able to do the job. Sales people who make the customer feel appreciated, who build up their esteem with honest compliments — these people get the sale more easily. Don’t send a drill sergeant out to sell vacuum cleaners. Again, the honest smile and honest compliment will win the customer, not insincere flattery. People want to like other people in their herd. Humor can help here, as will being included in a common goal. Build rapport.

Authority — the general always commands the troops, regardless of whether they like it. Credibility is one factor in this. Build your authority in their mind and they will be more likely to follow your request to “buy now”. When people deal with experts, they can put their trust in them. If you only deal in absolute truth, you will win loyal followers.

Scarcity — is what drives shoppers crazy on Black Friday, that they annually stampede when the doors open at 4 am. And pity those poor people who got knocked down every year. There is an Internet equivalent two days later, called “Black Monday” when people return to work to look for bargains while they should be doing their jobs. Both phenomenon are driven by scarcity. Ebay sees the same effect when the price on certain items skyrocket just before the deadline approaches.

Self Interest — Really, this is pretty straight-forward: “What’s in it for me?” And the salesperson uses this: “I think I can get you a really good deal.”

– — — –

You can go over the above as a checklist of sorts for your own life, but before you get into that, let’s look at our next guest expert — Maslow

Download Transcript: Lesson 2 — Cialdini and Influence