From quality logos and recommendations by others to statements like "only 1 left! Numerous influencing techniques tempt you every day to make certain decisions. Last September, we attended a seminar where, among others, persuasion guru Robert Cialdini shared his principles for convincing others. We picked up 10 tips that everyone could use:Tip 1: Use expert opinion
One of Cialdini's principles is authority. If an authority or expert says something, we tend to believe it. See if you can support your viewpoint or opinion with a testimonial or statement by an expert in that field. Can you cite scientific research that supports your ideas and that no one can ignore?
Your reasoning will be most convincing if you open with this statement. Your target group can hang everything that follows on this thread.Tip 2: Create a favour factor
If you treat someone well, chances are they will treat you well too. This idea is in line with the sympathy principle, which states that people like to say yes to people they find sympathetic.
Suppose you have a customer who experiences problems with his received product or service. You listen to them and reply: "Oh, I'm sorry that this has happened to such a nice customer like you! What do you think, will the customer forgive you?Tip 3: Explicitly ask for confirmation
People like to be consistent with what they did or said before. For example, during the seminar Cialdini discussed a way to reduce the number of no-shows in restaurants. Instead of the operator taking reservations saying, "We'd love to hear from you if you want to cancel or change your reservation," he asked, "Would you let us know if you want to cancel your reservation?
By explicitly asking this question, callers responded with a confirmed answer. The effect was 30% less no-shows. The conclusion is that when people have promised to do something, they are much more likely to actually do it.
Try this out on your colleagues too. Ask them explicitly if they are going to be able to carry out certain tasks or arrive at an appointment on time. Of course, the answer may be 'no', but the fact that you have clarity about this is also a bonus.Tip 4: Emphasise what others are doing
Social proof influences our decisions. Just think: if lots of people are doing something, it must be good. Because what others are doing removes uncertainty about what we are expected to do.
If you advertise one of your products or services as 'one of the most popular items', chances are it will only grow and become more popular. Be ethical in doing this by telling nothing but the truth to your customers.
Another example that demonstrates social proof is reviews, especially if it is clear what kind of person wrote the review. If you include age, gender and, for example, the family composition or function, people who can identify with this will easily let it determine their own choices.Tip 5: Start a discussion with the point of acceptance
Sharon Kroes is the Dutch, European and world champion in debating and shared the tip during the conviction seminar that you convince others fastest if you open your reasoning with your acceptance point: a statement that everyone agrees with.
How do you arrive at your acceptance point? Starting from your point of view or statement, list all your arguments by asking yourself: why do I think that? Why is this position important? Why then? This leads to a line of argumentation that arrives at your acceptance point.
Compare the two lines of argument below. In version A, we start with the point of view and reason through to the acceptance point, in version B we reverse the order.
Version A: I want the speed limit to be reduced from 130 km/h to 100 km/h. I think this is important because it would mean that fewer people would be killed. I think this is important because fewer accidents will happen then. Because if you drive slower, your reaction speed is greater and the risk of accidents is smaller. And when there are fewer accidents, there are fewer deaths, injuries and damage.
Version B. I think we all agree that we want fewer deaths, injuries and damage in traffic. To achieve this, there have to be fewer accidents. If everyone adjusts their speed limits slightly downwards, we will have more reaction time to intervene in time when an accident is likely. That is why I think we should adjust the speed limit from 130 km/h to 100 km/h. Tip 6: Use the power of scarcity
People want more of things that are rare and that not everyone can have. Scarcity is about losing an opportunity: if you don't buy this product now, your chance is gone.
If you want to get something done, mention that the clock is ticking and that there are still limited chances or opportunities. It is now or never! Tip 7: Point out what someone is missing
One way of convincing others to do something is by showing them what they would lose if they did not do it. Suppose you make an offer. Then you can add all the extras that will benefit the customer. Of course, this involves all sorts of costs and the customer will not agree to everything. In that case, state which benefits the customer is missing out on. Then look at what the loss aversion does to the customer.
Think about it: do you realise what knowledge and tips you are missing if you don't go to that one seminar? And what networking opportunities you miss? How you can't join in the conversation after that one company event? The term FOMO (fear of missing out) is gaining popularity for good reason. Tip 8: Ask for advice instead of an opinion
If you ask for someone's opinion, you facilitate that someone with a distance judges your product or project. If, on the other hand, you ask for someone's advice, you make them your partner. Involvement grows because someone becomes part of the process and influences the progress. This also increases the chance that someone will support the result later on. Tip 9: Use smart timing
Timing is a crucial aspect of your persuasion process. Be aware that your message is most effective when someone is receptive to it. In these 10 tips for smart timing, for example, you can read that you are more creative, smarter, faster or more sombre at certain times of the day than at other times. People are generally more receptive in the morning.
Suppose you want to convince someone else to try something new. Most people prefer not to change unless they have strong reasons for doing so. Timing can make all the difference. For example, most people are more receptive at the beginning of the year, which feels like a 'new start'. The same applies to the beginning of the month or the week. Typical examples are advertisements of cookbooks full of healthy recipes and gym subscriptions. Tip 10: Don't forget to laugh
Don't forget to laugh, because your audience likes to laugh too. Humour is an effective way to win people over. It evokes sympathy and makes people receptive. In short, use your communication cleverly to have more fun and achieve more results
Cialdini, R., Claassen, R., Burgers, J., & Kroes, S. e.a. (2019, September). Robert Cialdini: De psychologie van het overtuigen. Seminar van DenkProducties, Bussum.