6 Principles Of Influence

6 Principles Of Influence

The 6 Principles Of Influence (also known as the 6 Principles Of Persuasion) were identified by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He published them in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, (Cialdini, Robert B. "The psychology of persuasion." New York: Quill William Morrow, ISBN 9780061241895, 1984).

Source: http://soundmovementinfo.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/influence_honeycomb.gif

Cialdini identified the six principles through experimental studies, and by immersing himself in the world of what he called 'compliance professionals' – salespeople, fund raisers, recruiters, advertisers, marketers, and so on. (These are people skilled in the art of convincing and influencing others.)

1. Liking: People like those who like them, and are more influenced by those they like.

Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.

Likability comes in many forms – people might be similar or familiar to us, they might give us compliments, or we may just simply trust them.

Companies that use sales agents from within the community employ this principle with huge success. People are more likely to buy from people like themselves, from friends, and from people they know and respect.

Ensure that you put in the time and effort needed to build trust and rapport with clients and people you work with, and behave with consistency.

2. Reciprocity: People repay in kind, we generally aim to return favors, pay back debts, and treat others as they treat us, because we're uncomfortable with feeling indebted.

Give what you want to receive.

For example, lending a helping hand to a collegue might make them feel obliged to help you in return. You might decide to buy more from a supplier if they have offered you an aggressive discount. Or, you might give money to a charity fundraiser who has given you a flower in the street.

Think about what you want from the other person. You then need to identify what you can give to them in return. Sometimes, this principle can be used by simply reminding the other person of how you have helped them in the past.

3. Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others, relies on our feeling of 'safety in numbers'.

Use peer power whenever it's available. Influence is best exerted horizontally rather than vertically.

For example, we're more likely to work late if others in our team are doing the same, put a tip in a jar if it already contains money, or eat in a restaurant if it's busy. Here, we're assuming that if lots of other people are doing something, then it must be OK.

We're particularly susceptible to this principle when we're feeling uncertain, and we're even more likely to be influenced if the people we see seem to be similar to us. That's why commercials often use moms, not celebrities, to advertise household products.

Work on generating support from influential people in your organization or community. Use statistics on usage / take-up rates, testimonials, publish successful case studies or generate buzz with social media.

4. Consistency / Commitment: People align with their own clear commitments, we're more inclined to go through with something once committed.

Make people's commitments active, public, and voluntary.

Once someone has decided on a position and goes on record in favour of that position, they are more likely to stick to it even if the decision was trivial or made in error (Cannot lose face).

For instance, you'd probably be more likely to support your colleagues project proposal if you had shown interest when they first talked to you about the idea.

Get a small commitment early-on, either verbally, on film, or in writing. Or, if you're selling a product, sell a very small quantity (a "taster"), or make it easy for people to change their mind once they've bought it (Here, buying the product is the early commitment, even though they have the right to return it if they want to).

5. Authority: People defer to experts, those in positions of authority, or knowledgable third party opinions.

Expose your expertise, don't assume it's self-evident.

For example, advertisers of pharmaceutical products employ doctors to front their campaigns, and most of us will do what our manager requests.

Job titles, uniforms, and even accessories like cars or gadgets can lend an air of authority, and can persuade us to accept what these people say.

Get support from influential or powerful people, and ask for their help in backing the idea.

If you're marketing a product or service, highlight well-known and respected customers, use comments from industry experts, and talk about impressive research or statistics.

Things like well-produced brochures, professional presentations, impressive offices, and smart clothing can also lend authority.

6. Scarcity: People want more of what they can have less of, things are more attractive when their availability is limited, or when we stand to lose the opportunity to acquire them on favorable terms.

Highlight unique benefits, selling points, and exclusive information.

For instance, we might buy something immediately if we're told that it's the last one, or that a special offer will soon expire. Related to the laws of supply and demand.

If you're selling a product, limit the availability of stock, set a closing date for the offer, or create special editions of products.

This principle can be trickier to apply within your organization if you're trying to influence others to support your ideas or projects. You can, however, use urgency to get support for your ideas. For example, you can highlight the possible urgent consequences of the problem that your idea helps to solve.

Resisting Influence
You can also use this tool when others are trying to influence you.

In these situations, bear the following points in mind:

Before accepting a free gift or a discounted service, or before agreeing to hear confidential information, ask yourself whether you're going to feel obliged to give the same or more in return. Should you decline, so that you don't feel indebted?

Before agreeing to a course of action, even at a very preliminary level, think about the consequences of your decision. Will you feel so invested in this new course of action that you won't want to change your mind?

Though everyone else is pursuing a particular route or buying a product, it may not be right for you. Avoid falling victim to the "herd mentality." You might decide that it's best to go against the trend.

When you feel tempted to buy a product or sign up for a service, ask yourself whether you've fallen under the spell of a particularly likable salesperson. Is the salesperson similar to you, familiar to you, or extremely complimentary?

Carefully note your reaction to authority figures. Has the person you're negotiating with triggered your respect for authority? Are you making your choice because you want to, or are you swayed by an "expert" opinion? And does this person genuinely have the authority he is implying, or is he merely using the symbols of that authority?

Before you fall for a sales pitch claiming that a product is running out of stock or that a discount deal is soon to expire, think again. Do you really want or need the product now, or has its lack of availability caught your attention?

Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/six-principles-influence.htm

A Word Of Caution
Be careful how you use the 6 principles – it is very easy to use them to mislead or deceive people – for instance, to sell products at unfair prices, or to exert undue influence.

When using approaches like this, make sure that you use them honestly. Be completely truthful, and only persuade people to do things that are good for them. If you persuade people to do things that are wrong, then it's manipulative and unethical. And it's clearly wrong to cheat or lie about these things – in fact, this may be fraudulent. Remember the principle of Reciprocity!

A good reputation takes a long time to build. But, you can lose it in a moment!