Using the principles of persuasion to influence customers

The six principles of persuasion developed by Dr Robert Cialdini can be used as a great tool to influence existing and potential customers, and business relationships.

Centring around social obligation, the notion that people are more likely to give once they feel they have received something can be used to influence customers. When you give something to someone, that person, consciously or subconsciously, is indebted to you. It’s the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ mentality that is wired into human beings.

Not only should you sell a customer the benefits of working with you; you need to stress to them how they will be impacted adversely if they miss out on what they are offering.

People are more likely to comply with a figure of authority or someone they perceive to have credibility over someone they perceive to have no standing or credibility. Having on display awards, degrees, certificates, etc. that your business has accumulated over the years can add authority.

Consistency is a leading factor in persuasion and influencing people. If you want people to give, start small and gradually build up, all the while being consistent; with how you present yourself and your image, with your message, brand and values. Generally, it is human nature that we act consistently or in accordance with our previous actions. If a potential customer or another business get on board with your business in a small way, they are likely to continue to do so, possibly in bigger or more meaningful ways, because of the need to be consistent with who they believe themselves to be.

People are more inclined to agree with or say yes to someone that they like. Looking for areas of similarity is ideal when trying to influence people based on this principle. Individuals are inclined to like those that share beliefs or values with them, individuals who complement or are nice to them and people who are cooperative or easy to be around. You can accentuate these factors to persuade or influence others. The idea of buying off someone you like is an effective strategy used for events such as Tupperware parties or any other similar party: individuals are likely to purchase more of a product when it is in the home of a friend rather than in a shop.

When trying to persuade or convince someone, using the principle of consensus is a strong tool. Rather than simply just trying to convince someone of X, pointing out that others are already convinced and enjoying the benefits of X is more likely to be beneficial to you. Researching and preparing statistics and figures is effective for demonstrating consensus to your customer.

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