When I first got into marketing and selling online I remember thinking wouldn’t it be useful to understand the psychology and mental process a person goes through before making a purchase.
What was really at the heart of this curiosity was to find out if it was possible to actually influence a person’s buying decision or even accelerate it for quicker results.
In the pursuit to find and understand this knowledge I stumbled upon a book called ‘Influence‘ by Robert B., PhD Cialdini, which ended up being in my opinion an absolute masterpiece jam packed with useful information with research to back up the claims.
(I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.)
Because the book is a monster and takes much time to consume, I would like to layout most of the principles from it and from my own experience to give a really useful overview that you can start putting to work in YOUR business straight away.
How to Use this Information
It needs to be said that before we look at different ways in which to get an edge over your competition, each section should be really thought about to relate it to your own individual circumstances. As this is pretty complex stuff, please take the time to research further and uncover more – IT WILL BE WORTH IT I PROMISE!
1. Social Proofing
Social proofing is all about observing an action or belief of a group and attributing value to what they are doing.
I remember when I was on a seaside holiday to a small, yet well known seaside resort in England, I saw a long queue of people formed outside of what looked like a very standard fish and chips restaurant.
My curiosity went crazy; why were these people all waiting in line for something at this one particular place when the same type of food was being served from over 100 different similar looking restaurants along the same stretch?
Surely because a group of individuals were taking the time to wait in a massive line for their food there must be something AMAZING going on here.
Well I had to find out for myself, so I complied with the masses and waited patiently to see what it was all about. 2 hours later I received a standard bag of fish and chips! Not quite what I was expecting to be honest, but hey an important lesson was learned.
So why do we feel the need to comply to a group in this situation?
The truth is our brains are fairly lazy and because of this they constantly try to identify patterns around us to make us act in a certain way. If there is a quick way to do things the brain will usually jump on the bandwagon and this is pretty much what happened!
When humans were more like apes many years ago this same type of social proofing would have still been used. For example when a Neanderthal witnessed a group of other cavemen feasting on a type of food they had not yet tried and not falling ill, then this pattern would have triggered a response in the caveman to say it is safe to eat that type of food.
So how can this be used in your business?
You have probably seen mailing lists, TV ads and marketing campaigns that use social proof to create trust and generate more sales. They do this by highlighting how many people have already used their product; how many people have already subscribed to their mailing list or showcase multiple testimonials to show how many people are satisfied with their service.
Look at Amazon for example. One of the best ways to create a steady income stream on Amazon is to get many good reviews. This uses social proofing to a great extent and encourages others to jump on the band wagon.
What you must therefore do to use social proofing in your business is highlight how many people have used your services or bought your product and really do this in a way that makes it impossible for a potential customer to say no.
2. Being Consistent
This principle comes down to one important word ‘TRUST’.
Trust is vitally important to the human existence, even though you may not trust a number of people in your life or businesses for that matter, without any trust it would be impossible to function.
Big multi-million dollar brands like Apple create an emotional connection with their tribe and unwavering trust is built, which keeps them loyal to that business keeping them coming back for more and more.
You will find what these successful businesses do is be consistent on a daily basis. This is at the core of creating trust!
There are many examples that could be used here. One example that resonates with me is my previous managers.
I had two managers I worked closely with in a previous job role. One manager was consistently supportive and helpful. I felt this person wanted me to grow and become a better person and the reason mainly was due to her attitude being consistent for almost four years.
On the other hand the other manager I want to introduce here was even nicer to me at times and even made me feel a part of his family; however, over time I perceived this to be more of a management strategy than genuinely wanting to help me.
This was because he was inconsistent, always acting differently on a daily basis to an extent that this person could have been deemed to have a personality disorder.
To cut a long story short your business needs to be seen to be consistent. Provide top quality services and make sure the world sees your consistency. The TRUST will build automatically.
3. The Law of Reciprocation
When was the last time someone did something for you and asked for a favour in return. Could you say no?
As Wikipedia states it:
“Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.
As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model; conversely, in response to hostile actions they are frequently much more nasty and even brutal – Wikipedia.”
So in essence if you do a good deed for somebody, they will feel obliged to provide something of similar value back to you.
Have you ever wondered why so many companies provide freebies, usually in the form of pens, notepads or other branded gifts. Well this sets the Law of Reciprocation into motion, once you receive something for free you will usually want to return the favour or more likely buy something from that business in the future.
The question you need to be asking is:
“What I can give away or do for free that will put the Law of Reciprocation into Action”
When a limited amount of a certain product that has very high perceived value is scarcely available their can be huge sales made.
Having a restricted amount of something makes the human brain throw logic out of the window and focus on the fact that it must HAVE a certain thing now or it will never be available for ownership again.
Online nowadays SCARCITY is used pretty much everywhere to make more sales. This includes your favourite ecommerce stores, e-learning courses and the latest promotional voucher that expires at the end of the month.
So what can you do to make your product/service massively desirable whilst making it limited at the same time to close those much needed sales?
5. The Use of Authority
When we say authority you will think power, police, royalty or someone in a long coat. Okay so these are types of authority, but I want to touch on a different type that you should be aware of.
When we hear the word author want do we think of? Well really an author is somebody who has authority or specialist knowledge on a particular subject.
These individuals build trust and make YOU believe in their teachings.
So are these so called authors really that knowledgable and trustworthy as they appear to be? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, but what can’t be dismissed is the psychological effect authors/authority has on the human mind.
Have you positioned yourself as an authority in your NICHE? If not, get yourself positioned be more believable and therefore more persuasive.
Putting All This Into Action
I would recommend focusing on one of the above influencing techniques per week. There is much to learn on each principle so don’t try to rush this!
When you come into contact with people always be thinking “How can I use X to achieve your desired outcome”.
We are all governed by these principles, and no doubt have unconsciously used them to get what we want in the past in some way or another; however, the vast majority don’t know how to put these powerful principles into practice to get the business results they crave.
If you really do want to take this to the next level and become an expert influencer then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Robert B., PhD Cialdini book ‘Influence’.