You are a lot easier to persuade than you think.
Salespeople and marketers have been using the exact same tactics to close deals, to become likeable, and to convince you to buy for a very long time. Now, what if you could use those exact same persuasion strategies for your business and get what you want from clients, team members, or from anybody you come across?
I’m not teaching you to steal or do anything unethical. I’m sharing with you ways to get ahead in business and your personal life using persuasion science.
When you can persuade others, you can get them to do large favours for you. You can ethically get special treatment and free upgrades in private clubs, in restaurants, or on airlines. And you can make more sales and influence other people to join your team or work with you.
Not only that, but life becomes easier. Imagine if you could get anyone to do whatever you asked anytime, anywhere. How much easier would things be for you never to hear “No” again. For example, what if you could get more clients to answer “Yes” at negotiations?
Imagine how your business would change. Now consider the results of this study. Psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini applied persuasion techniques to a series of negotiation studies at two well-known business schools. Some MBA students were told to get straight to the negotiations and avoid social chatter. For this group, 55% were able to come to an agreement.
A second group was told to discover similarities with the other person and have a conversation before beginning negotiations. In this group, 90% were able to come to an agreement. Leveraging common ground was a way to cement deals.
So how can you apply tactics like these to your business? I’ll share three persuasion secret techniques, starting with something practical and easy and moving to more advanced. Even if you’ve heard of them already, keep an open mind. You might learn something new.
Secret 1: Adding “because”
The first secret is adding the word “because” to any request you make. This tactic was proven by the Harvard Social Psychologist Ellen Langer. In one of her social experiments, she discovered people are more likely to do us a favour if we provide a reason for asking.
In her experiment, she went to a library where they had a photocopy machine and she asked the people in line a favour. She said she had five pages and asked to use the machine because she was in a rush. When asked this question, 94% let her skip ahead of them.
When she asked to be excused because she only had five pages, only 60% complied. She tried again by saying she needed to use the copy machine because she had to make some copies, and 93% let her skip ahead.
Just by adding “because” after a request, you are significantly more likely to get the other person to say yes, even if the reason for asking is obvious.
This works because it gives the other person a reason to comply. Similarly, using the magical word “because” in business increases your chances of making a sale.
Giving a special offer and a reason for it will make people less suspicious. Telling a customer there is a product delay, or a service problem, and then giving a reason will make them more understanding. Now let’s go to the next tactic, getting people to agree to a specific outcome.
Secret 2: Rejection And Retreat
This proven persuasion tactic was developed by the world’s top psychologists and salespeople. This tactic works by asking a large request that you know won’t get accepted. Once your initial request is rejected, ask for a reasonable request. It’s much more likely to be accepted.
Here’s an example. Imagine a teenage boy is asking his dad if he can stay out until 4 a.m. His dad says no. Then he asks if he can stay out until midnight. His dad is more likely to comply because he had rejected the first request.
Here’s another example. Imagine you’re at a business negotiation. You want three things from the person you’re negotiating with but you ask for ten things and they say No. Then you say, how about five things, and they say No again. Then you say, let’s settle for three, and you get the deal done.
Secret 3: Celebrity Association /Authority
This third technique is extremely powerful and if done correctly you’ll be more likeable and gain authority. Your ability to influence others will skyrocket. The secret is called celebrity association. When you are associated with celebrities, you come across with more authority, likeability, and credibility.
Large brands hire celebrities to be part of their commercials for this reason. Sportswear companies spend millions of dollars to sponsor professional athletes. It all comes down to trust and prestige.
The product borrows credibility from the celebrity to get more people to buy. Saying that your product is endorsed by Warren Buffet, for example, will impress your clients. And even if you don’t know any famous people, you can still apply this concept.
A group of real estate agents increased property appraisals and contracts by asking reception staff to answer customer inquiries a certain way. Customers that asked about selling their property were told to “Speak to Peter, our head of sales. He has over 20 years’ experience selling properties.”
That type of staff positioning increased appointments by 20% and increased signed contracts by 15%. And all it took was a small change.
Now that’s three proven persuasion tactics. Here’s a bonus persuasion tactic with powerful results.
Secret 4: Reciprocity
You’ve seen reciprocity many times on websites whenever you sign up for a free eBook. You’ve given away your email address or signed up for a mailing list because you got something in return.
People feel obliged to give something back after they have received a gift or service first. If your colleague buys you a coffee, then you feel like you owe your coworker a favor that you must repay in the future.
So if your coworker asks you for help the next day, you’ll feel more obliged to say yes. Now let’s take a look at how you can apply this technique in business.
In another of Cialdini’s studies, they noticed that if guests at a restaurant got a mint after their meal, they were likely to tip 3% more. If they got two mints, tips increased 14%. But if the server leaves one mint, starts to walk away, and then says something like, “You were so nice, here’s another mint,” tips increased 23%. That’s the power of giving a free gift.
There you are. Three persuasion tactics, plus a bonus, to get you what you want. Here is a quick summary:
- Add “because” after a request.
- Ask someone for something that you know they will reject, then ask for your real request.
- Associate your request with a celebrity.
- Give someone a gift or do something for them first so they will feel obliged to obey when the time comes.
Watch this video about effective persuasion tactics.
Which secret tactic did you like? Comment below.