Do you want to persuade more people to become customers?
Wondering what the latest science on influence and persuasion has to say?
To discover new ways to prepare people for a sale, I interview Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
In this episode, I interview Robert Cialdini, author of Influence and CEO of Influence at Work , a company that provides speakers and training on behavioral psychology and influence in business. Having sold more than 3 million books, he helped coin marketing phrases such as “social proof” and “scarcity.” His latest book is called Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade .
Robert explores the science behind influence and persuasion.
You’ll discover how to put these concepts into action to benefit your business.
Listen as Robert Cialdini shares what marketers need to know about the science of persuasion and how to prepare people for a sale.
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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Influence and Persuasion
Robert’s First Book
Influence, written in the mid-1980s, shares the most successful strategies that professional influencers use to get people to say yes. It was written for consumers so they could recognize and resist these strategies when used in an unwelcome way.
Influence by Robert Cialdini.
The initial response to the book was so mild that the publisher called back the promotional and publicity funds for promoting the book, Robert recalls. They told him it would be like “throwing money down a pit.”
What happened to change things?
Robert explains that times changed. The idea of evidence-based decision-making began to dominate the business world, and Influence provided a compendium of evidence on what factors influence people. About three or four years after publication, the book skyrocketed to bestseller levels, where it’s stayed ever since.
There were two sources of information for the book. To see what was especially successful in moving people toward a sale, he looked at research literature from the behavioral sciences, marketing, psychology, communication, management, and other fields.
He also looked beyond the research literature and began infiltrating all of the training programs he could get access to in the areas of sales, marketing, recruiting, fundraising, etc. This let him see what the professionals were using to train and he gleaned information from those experiences.
While he expected consumers to be the audience for Influence , it was actually embraced by the business community first. They wanted to know, scientifically, which factors incline people toward yes, and how to include those factors in messages, marketing campaigns, and more.
The interest in harnessing the most powerful practices and procedures for creating change led Robert to write his new book, Pre-Suasion. It’s designed for people who want to become more influential.
Listen to the show to discover how I was introduced to Robert’s work.
Robert thinks the ideal audience for Pre-Suasion is people who want to increase the extent to which their messages successfully move people in their direction. While this includes salespeople and marketers, it’s also for people who want to be more influential inside their families, network of friends, charity boards, etc.
Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini.
Robert says that while Influence covers what to build into a message to get agreement, Pre-Suasion describes the process of gaining agreement with a message before it’s sent. The process may seem like some sort of magic, but it’s not. It’s established science.
The key is to create a state of mind in the recipient’s head that’s consistent with the forthcoming message. This step is crucial for maximizing desired change.
For example, Robert explains how in one study, researchers approached individuals and asked for help with a marketing survey. Only 29% agreed to participate.
When researchers approached the second sample and preceded their request with a simple pre-suasive question, “Do you consider yourself a helpful person?”, 77.3% volunteered to participate in the survey.
Why do you think that is?
Robert says that when asked before the request if they were helpful, nearly everyone said yes. So when the request for help occurred, most agreed to participate to be consistent with the recently activated idea of themselves as helpful people.
It’s a two-step process involving reverse engineering the typical strategy or sequence of persuasion.
First, decide what your major strength is: identify the greatest benefit to someone choosing what you have to offer. Is it reliability, durability, cost, or quality? Second, to attune people to the message that’s about to come to them, go to the moment before the message is delivered and present an idea or an image consistent with that strength.
To illustrate this point, Robert talks about an experiment conducted by an online furniture store, which offered high-quality comfortable furniture, as well as lower-end inexpensive furniture.
They sent half of their visitors to a landing page with a depiction of fluffy clouds in the background. Why? Clouds are associated with comfort. The visitors who saw that landing page rated comfort as the most important factor for choosing furniture. They searched the site for features related to comfort and preferred to make a purchase based on the comfort of the furniture involved.