More than a Poker Face

Cialdini's Six Universal Principles of Influence

One of the few people I listen to about the dynamics of deal making and negotiation is Robert Cialdini.  Cialdini is a professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.  

One thing that makes Cialdini's work stand out is that it is not just based on anecdotal experience, but instead on detailed studies of behavior.  Sometimes of what he reports is counter-intuitive, which is the most valuable find of all.

Here are 6 keys to influence in Cialdini's own words as reported by SmartPlanet (emphasis is mine):

Reciprocation. People give back to you the kind of treatment that they’ve received from you. If you do something first by giving something of value—be it more information or a positive attitude—it will all come back to you.

Scarcity. People will try to seize those opportunities that you offer them that are rare or dwindling in availability. This is an important reminder that we need to differentiate what we have to offer that is different from our rivals and competitors. That way, we can tell people honestly “You can only get this aspect or this feature by moving in our direction.”

Authority. People will be most persuaded by you when they see you as having knowledge and credibility on the topic. You’d be surprised how many fail to properly inform their audience of their genuine credentials before launching into an influence attempt. That’s a big mistake.

Commitment. People will feel a need to comply with your request if they see that it’s consistent with what they’ve publicly committed themselves to in your presence. The implication there is to ask people to state their true priorities, commitments and features of the situation that they think are most important. Then align your requests or proposals with those things. The rule for consistency will cause them to want to say yes to what they’ve already told you they value.

Liking. People prefer to say yes to your request to the degree that they know and like you. No surprise there but a simple way to make that happen is to uncover genuine similarities or parallels that exist between you and the person you want to influence. That person is going to like you more and be more willing to move in your direction.

Consensus. People will be likely to say yes to your request if you give them evidence that people just like them have been saying yes to it too. I saw recent study that showed if a restaurant owner puts on the menu “This is our most popular item” than it immediately becomes more popular.

I suspect readers in Sales or  one of the negotiation discipline have observed and practice at least one or more of these, I am highlighting them here because I think it's quite useful to see these six factors laid out in one place.  Like a plan.  🙂

Comments?  Have these worked for you?

Posted via email from Really Bad Ideas

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