Have you ever heard of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion? If not, I can tell you two things:
- You’re in the right place.
- You’re in for a treat.
Allow me to explain why learning the law of persuasion is so valuable.
Ask entrepreneurs and salespeople what ‘superpower’ they want to acquire and they’ll likely yell one thing in perfect unison. Nope, it’s not flight or having laser beams shoot out of their eyes. I bet you One Thousand Canadian Dollars that it’s the irresistible power of persuasion that they crave most.
Because the ability to persuade others can open doors, create opportunities, and generate sales, increasing revenue. There is nothing quite like the feeling of ethically persuading someone to buy into your idea, product, or service. Sadly, being persuasive is a birthright that not every sales rep or business owner has. Or is it?
What if I told you that you could achieve this weapon of influence and use it for your business?
Enter: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
This book packs the psychological weapons of persuasion as outlined by renowned social psychologist, Dr. Robert Cialdini. In it, you will find Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion that will make your offers impossible to resist. We both know that’s what you want, and I’ll share his research in this article. Discover the coveted tactics to getting people to say “yes” through Cialdini’s six-part persuasion tactic.
Who is Robert Cialdini?
Discovering the methods of influence that Dr. Robert Cialdini shared in his book is all well and good. However, what credibility does Cialdini have to be an authority in persuasion? Let’s first discover who Robert Cialdini is.
Dr. Robert Beno Cialdini, or more popularly known as Robert Cialdini, is an American psychologist, best-selling author and academic. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1967. Three years later, he earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Carolina. Finally, he received his postgraduate training at Columbia University for the same degree program.
His educational background alone already speaks layers of his credibility as an academician. However, what really skyrocketed his name in the persuasion field is his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
Given his background and his stints as an author, Cialdini received various commendable visiting scholar appointments. This includes Ohio State University, UC-Santa Cruz, Stanford University, and the Annenberg School of Communications.
Today, Arizona State University awarded Cialdini as Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing.
What is Cialdini known for?
While packed with many academic feats, it is not for these reasons that Robert Cialdini is prominent in sales. His book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” is the secret behind his overarching popularity.
Cialdini’s book is based on three years being undercover – applying and training for various business models including:
- Used car dealerships
- Fund-raising organizations
- Telemarketing firms
During those covert years, Cialdini observed how persuasion operated in real life. He then distilled it into his famous six principles of persuasion found in his book.
To date, over three million copies of the book have been sold worldwide. It has also been translated into thirty languages. New York Times and Fortune listed it in their arsenal of favorites and best sellers.
Cialdini’s prominence is no accident. After all, uncovering the law of persuasion is a valuable tool that many companies desire. For tightly competitive markets like the residential home service industry, this is equally valuable. If you want to learn how you could use his principles to your advantage, read his books.
Sadly, not everyone has access nor the patience to read, read, and then reread through his writings again. Yes, that’s how long it will take to master it. But we have good news for you. Wizard of Sales® has taken his principles to heart and has trained salespeople in many residential home service businesses before.
Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion To Improve Sales
With almost four decades since his book was published, many still look to it for sales guidance. Principles of persuasion never change because human psychology never changes. Since all businesses (yours included) use the internet to promote your solutions, conversion has to remain your top priority. Converting people is all about persuasion.
When users happen upon your website or advertising, you want to get them hooked, and hopefully, converted. Your goal is to get them from shoppers to buyers. Furthermore, with impeccable delivery of solutions and customer service, transform casual buyers to repeat customers.
Note: We have a separate article that tackles how to build customer loyalty among your buyers. Give it a look!
In a world where conversions thrive, you will need every bit of persuasive skills you can get. Here are Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion:
- Commitment and consistency
- Social proof or consensus
Let’s dig into each of them in the following texts:
You could look at reciprocation in two ways:
“Give a little something to get a little something in return.“
“Give and take… and take.“
Certainly, you want the second one, but it comes with caveats.
Allow me to explain:
The first of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion is reciprocation. It states that our humanity is hardwired to repay debts and return favors or treat others in kind. Behind the concept of reciprocity is the psychological truth that people NEVER like to feel indebted to others. When we receive favors from other people, by nature, we feel obliged to return the same perks.
For example, imagine you’re a residential home service business that offers valuable insight to readers through your blogs. Let’s say, you’re teaching them how to DIY their own plumbing. When readers find your information practicable and actionable, they will likely recommend your site to others looking for plumbing tips. More importantly, for plumbing problems beyond their capability, you’ll be the frontrunner in their minds.
However, as business owners, the idea behind reciprocation takes a different form. Remember, you are more in need of customers than people are in need of you. Why? Act out of turn and buyers will seek someone else for their needs – in short, you are not unique.
That’s why the implication of reciprocation for marketers applies differently. What I mean is that you will always go first and take the lead, before the buyers react and reciprocate. You will reach out to them, not they to you.
How can you do this?
Give something first. This could be:
- Valuable pieces of information
- Free product/service samples
- True priority service
- Incentives like gift cards
- Exclusive access
By giving something first, you set the precedent for customers to reciprocate with a purchase. Or if not, they’ll be keener to hear your offer out.
Commitment and Consistency
Commitment and consistency… hmm… for sure this principle talks about your business, right?
This persuasion tactic talks about your customers – their commitment and consistency.
Always keep in mind that it takes two to tango. You play the game of persuasion while your customers also participate in the same game. Allow me to explain.
People feel naturally repulsed about the idea of backing out of an agreement. Picking up from where we left above, it’s all a matter of reciprocation. You don’t like people backing out on you, similarly, people also dislike those that back out on them. In other words, humans have a deep and unexplainable need to be viewed as consistent individuals.
Let me ask you, how did it feel when you had to take your word back on something? It certainly felt shameful on your part, while the other person may no longer trust you after that incident.
This law of persuasion anchors on this belief. People are more likely to do something after they have verbally or in writing committed to the activity. From a psychological standpoint, they need to validate their actions and words by following through with them. Of course, marketers have found a way to exploit this trait, and you can too.
In a residential home service business, this principle can work wonders in getting customers to commit to your solutions. A simple move can be offering them a trial period before they officially sign on the dotted line.
For example, it can be as absurd as getting them to freely try your HVAC unit for one month. You shoulder all installation, labor costs, and any other fees. If for any reason they are unhappy with the results, you will buy back their system from them – no questions asked.
You are showing the customer that you trust the effectiveness of your product and service. Plus, it’s something that they have committed to so backing out no longer becomes a reasonable option.
Now, onto the third of Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion: social proof.
When looking at an item on Amazon, what is another important metric your look at past the price and images? Reviews, right? This is because when people feel uncertain about a certain action, they tend to look around them for validation. Others could guide your actions and possibly give direction on whether to pursue something or not.
Social proof is no different from the idea of “finding safety in numbers.”
When we see a local restaurant getting the buzz for serving great food, we’re likely to try it out ourselves. If your friends rave about a certain product, we’re more inclined to buy it as well. That’s how social proof works and it operates in two ways:
- We’re unsure of our own decisions on something we have not yet imagined ourselves using.
- The people providing social proof likely seem similar to us.
As a residential home service business owner, you can leverage social proof to get more buyers hooked. A few examples include customer testimonials and reviews on your website or social media pages. When people send in their video testimonials demonstrating their satisfaction it gets other prospects to highly consider your business. It’s important to note that these should come from real customers and not fabricated stories.
When you have a satisfied customer, try asking for their help in spreading the word about your business. Given reciprocation, when they’re really satisfied with your solution and customer service, they’ll be ambassadors. That means spreading your good news through word-of-mouth or by posting a public review online. This provides social proof for clients, while also showing value and appreciation for your customers.
Keep in mind, that when one does something, others are inclined to follow suit. Notice how laugh tracks in comedy shows tickle your internal mechanism to laugh along?
The liking principle is the 6th of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion and it follows a very simple yet truthful concept. It’s that people are more likely to say yes to those they like. After all, if a stranger and a friend sells the exact same solution, you’d be keener to choose your friend.
However, his concept of liking someone is not based on relational ties per se. Cialdini argues that it could mean sharing something similar like traits, experiences, or backgrounds.
“I like buying from people like me. So do you.”
– Ryan Chute
Alternatively, it could mean superficial interests like the physical attractiveness or disposition of a seller. Sometimes, even things as simple as compliments and flattery could work.
Let me give you an example.
Creating an About Us page seems like a conventional practice nowadays among businesses. The truth is that the existence of this webpage is anchored on the principle of liking. In what sense?
Hear me out.
About Us pages are opportunities to tell visitors or buyers how they are similar to the company’s staff. In other words, like the visitors, they’re also real people with real hobbies and problems. Visitors will then have more inclination towards the people within that company.
This principle can be used in a residential home service business too. For instance, during a sales call, it is powerful to ensure your customer like and trust you. You can do this by building rapport with them like sharing the same interests or bringing up interesting topics.
Of course, you may not always see customers eye-to-eye interest-wise. For this reason, doing background checking and knowing your customers beyond the surface level is crucial. Do your research before each sales call. Make sure you press the right buttons when talking to them, so you’re both on common ground.
Let me ask you a question.
Who would you trust more to fix your leaking pipes: a non-licensed handyman or a licensed, certified plumber? Chances are, you would trust the licensed plumber because they have credibility in the field. This is just one example of Robert Cialdini’s principle of persuasion – authority.
People have a natural respect for authority. If we didn’t introduce Dr. Robert Cialdini and explained his credentials from the start, would his principles have the same impact? Perhaps, perhaps not. But people follow the lead of real-world experts. In fact, having fancy business titles or even a high-end vehicle is enough to establish authority to some.
In the context of businesses, authority comes in many shapes or forms. It could be industry expertise, customer reviews, or even awards and recognition. Highlighting these credentials can make our business more persuasive in the eyes of potential buyers.
Here’s the rub. Even the mere appearance of authority is a powerful tool you can use. Some people may even subscribe and comply despite illegitimate authority as long as the presentation sells.
For residential home service business owners, double down on your social media and websites. Establish authority wherein one glance is enough to make customers say, “they’re pretty convincing.”
Naturally, you can’t pretend expertise because it will show in the final output. The point of this principle is to strengthen your show of authority and make your business irresistible.
Scarcity is another principle that many successful persuasive businesses have tapped into. Offering limited-time deals and exclusive offers creates a sense of urgency in potential customers. This leads them to make purchases they may not have otherwise considered. Or nudge buyers to fully commit to an item they were still considering.
I’m certain you notice many businesses use this weapon of influence. One of the most common we see is the limited-time sale. Another example is offering limited quantity items.
The truth is that scarcity isn’t just about the number of products available. It can also refer to the availability of time, information, or options.
In the home services industry, this could mean offering a limited-time bonus item for scheduling annual maintenance checks by a certain time. Or maybe providing exclusive offers for customers who book multiple services at once.
Allow me to share something.
Being a Master Strategist for residential home service entrepreneurs for years, I gained extensive awareness of the industry. It’s not uncommon for these businesses to have club memberships for customers. To some, the lifeline of their business is anchored on their club members who pay monthly fees.
You can use scarcity in your invitation for customers to join your club. For example, saying there’s exclusive access to services and front-of-line services for your members. If not, you can give a limited-access discount held exclusively for club memberships.
In conclusion, persuasion is NEVER a birthright. It’s a skill acquired through years of practice and research. Thankfully, this expert already did the hard and covert investigations for us. All that’s left is reading his book (or undergoing training in persuasion) and learning his seven principles of persuasion.
Wait, what do you mean seven?
Ah. In 2016, he introduced the seventh principle which is unity.
It says the more we identify with other people, the more they are influenced and persuaded.
So as entrepreneurs, think about how you can highlight the similarities and common ground between you and your potential clients. Show them that they are not just dealing with a residential home service provider. Display the persona of a fellow homeowner or member of the community.
By utilizing all principles of persuasion effectively, we enable our businesses to close more sales and ultimately, increase revenue. It begins with reading his book, or better yet, taking us on our exclusive offer.
Through the years, Wizard of Sales® has mastered and implemented Robert Cialdini’s principles. What makes us unique is that we tailor-fit Cialdini’s persuasion principles to match your company’s needs and settings. This way, we can help your business achieve the same feat and become your industry’s leader.
Interested? Book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Sales® and let the persuasion lessons begin.