Among the topics Dr. Cialdini and I discuss are how his own experience of being “a pushover” led him to research how people are influenced to make decisions; the six (now seven) central precepts of influence and how to use “pre-suasion” to prime prospects to receive the value of your messaging.
Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Dr. Robert Cialdini, New York Times bestselling author, with three million copies of his books sold. Dr. Cialdini is known for his international best-selling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, as well as his latest book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Dr. Cialdini is the Regent’s Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, as well as the President and CEO of Influence at Work.
Robert says he’s always been a pushover to buy things he didn’t want, and to make contributions to causes he didn’t know, while people walked away with his money. This is why he started studying the psychology of influence.
He wrote Influence to inform people how to recognize and resist unwelcome influences upon themselves. All of his clients, though, want to harness influence, not to deflect it.
If we tap into those fundamental motivations that are universal to humanity, then we have a set of influence tools that will be most successful over the widest set of situations and populations.
The 6 key precepts of influence.
A tactic used on American POWs during the Korean War, was to ask for a neutral agreement before asking for a big one. The agreement mentally turned them from prisoners to assistants. This also works, to turn prospects to customers.
Dr. Cialdini once found he was influenced to make a contribution to a man at his door, who had presented no credentials, and no evidence of validity. Dr. Cialdini made a donation, and felt good about it, until he realized how he had been influenced.
Savvy communicators Pre-Suade, before they deliver their message. It is not changing a person’s mind, but changing their state of mind, so that they willingly receive your message.
If you want to sell by quality, rather than price, show an environment of quality in your marketing materials. Dr. Cialdini tells of a study of clouds vs. pennies for landing page backgrounds, for a furniture store. Listen, for what happened!
What has been most recently elevated to top-of-mind, when you’re about to make your pitch? That is what will determine how receptive people will be to it.
Dr. Cialdini discovered a seventh principle of influence: Unity (being one of us). People say, “yes” in the boundaries of, “we.” Point to existing memberships you share before you ask. Ask advice (as of a partner), not opinion (as of a customer).
These principles work effectively in person. But even in an email, if we start it with a personalizing, connecting message, then that re-establishes the human basis for exchange.
Andy recommends to all his listeners to read both books: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.