Our Talent Development Manager, Sophie Finlay, looks at Dr. Robert Cialdini’s theory The Psychology of Persuasion and shares her top tips on how to influence people:
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just did what you wanted them to? But where’s the challenge in that?
Influence is a key skill that we should all aim to acquire. It is particularly important if you work in industries like sales, recruitment or marketing where your entire job is essentially influencing other people to buy into what you’re offering.
Being influential isn’t about tricking or deceiving others into doing what you want. It’s about helping them make the right decision and persuading them to think along the same lines as yourself.
I’ve listed 6 tools below that will help you to possess the power of influence. Consider each of these tools in turn and think about how you may be able to employ them in your role or business.
1. Reciprocation – We always want to return the favour.
Why do you think waiters give sweets along with the receipt at the end of a meal? That small gift can generate a large tip!
If you do things for others, they will feel obligated to do something for you in return. Size doesn’t seem to matter here, it is the act of giving that counts. A small gift can result in a much larger offering in return. Provide advice or introduce someone to a new contact and they may return the favour later on by giving you a job or signing a highly lucrative deal with you!
Plus, giving is a kind thing to do and it will make you feel good!
2. Scarcity & Urgency – We want what we can’t have.
The harder something is to get, the more we want it! It could be a limited-time product, the VIP room in a nightclub or acceptance to a top University, these things have become infamous for their exclusivity.
Make your service exclusive. Create waiting lists. Set deadlines, since people rarely act unless they have to. Once someone realises they have to work for something, the harder they will work for it.
Please use this wisely. You should always be genuine. Don’t tell someone there’s a deadline if there’s not. Your reputation will suffer as a result.
3. Authority – We listen to people who seem important.
The word VIP has a habit of garnering attention, but an ‘important person’ doesn’t just mean royalty or Kim Kardashian. An important person can be someone wearing a suit or a uniform, a company director, or an immaculately dressed official with an impressive business card. It doesn’t matter if they are actually powerful or if their expertise is relevant to our situation — we still listen.
Dress and act the part, if you believe yourself to be important, others will follow suit.
4. Commitment and Consistency – We want to stay consistent with past decisions.
Once someone makes a decision, no matter how small, they are likely to act consistently in the future. Endorsements and testimonials don’t just provide credibility, they solidify a person’s commitment.
Even the smallest “sale” takes someone from a prospect to a customer, and they become much more likely to buy/work with you again in the future.
5. Liking – People say yes to those they like.
Rapport is so essential in every aspect of communication. Mirror the person you are speaking with, reflect the way they move and talk. Find something in common – a sports team, a hobby, a favourite restaurant. The more they like you and feel you’re like them, the more they act in your favour. How difficult is it for you to say no to someone you genuinely like?
6. Social Proof – Most people like to follow the crowd.
If social media has proven anything, the more people are doing something, the more likely others are to follow – we can’t help being sheep! Showing that the masses endorse you, your product or your service means that much less selling is required. If you can point to endless happy customers, others will soon follow.
Give these tools a try and see what happens to your results!
Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for business insights, interview tips, advice and career opportunities.