Book Reviews,  General

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion book review

Do you need to step up your mental game? We all need to consider this from time to time as life throws its various challenges our way. I like to share book reviews on my blog and am delighted to share this one from Alex Laurie about  Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B Cialdini.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

As I was strolling through Barnes & Nobles, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B Cialdini caught my eye. I love the self help section and psychology section of book stores. I feel like it helps me grow on an individual level. As a salesperson, I’m always looking for the book that can take my skills to the next level.

It was a pleasant surprise. I expecting it to be dry and boring but there were a lot of takeaways and stories to connect to. This book definitely helped me become better at what I do.

The premise of Influence is to learn how to persuade using basic psychological strategies. These tactics get a person to agree with you and eventually buy your product.  The book uses numerous case studies and social experiments to make its case for these 6 ways that people can be influenced. Those 6 ways are: Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity

Reciprocation is the act of giving to get.  What I found most interesting about this chapter was that you don’t have to give something of equal value to get back a certain value.  According to the case studies, people will reciprocate EVEN if you offer them something small at first.   I’m a leasing specialist so I found this SUPER useful for sales tactics.

In my case when I’m leasing and trying to negotiate it would really help to let the client know, in a friendly subtle way, that I’m doing them a favor by getting their offer presented and considered to ownership.  In exchange, if I’m able to get some or part of their offer accepted, they tend to feel the need to reciprocate and proceed with the deal.

Commitment and Consistency were also very interesting chapters.  Several cases studies suggested that once you get someone to commit to a certain idea or perspective, they’re more likely to want to be consistent with that belief. The psychological reason is that people don’t like to see themselves as a person that backs out or as unreliable. Most people associate those characteristics as undesirable and so they want to act in a way that is consistent and allows them to be reliable, EVEN if it’s not always in their best interest.

Social Proof is about who we are as a society and how we’re constantly looking for social cues on what’s appropriate.  In general, most people will follow the crowd  but they’re also more likely to follow the crowd if they feel like the person/people they’re following are like them. Like attracts like, right?

Liking is about how people are more likely to be persuaded by someone they like.  And there are certain things that make you more likeable.  Things like attractiveness, similarity, compliments, cooperation and conditioning and association.   I found this chapter to be very straight forward with the basic takeaway that I should always aim to look my best, appeal to whoever I’m selling by aiming to be similar to them, compliment them, cooperate with their requests and try to make their experience as pleasant as possible. That way they associate the product as something positive.

Authority discusses how people are more likely to comply if they perceive the instruction as coming from a place of authority. My manager gets all the deals in the office that way. Just because he’s the manager people think that he has more power to give better deals and the clients think they’re cutting out the middle employees who have to defer to him over final markdowns. Authority can be a powerful tool for those in higher positions.

Scarcity is the last chapter and discusses how people immediately consider something more desirable if they feel like it’s out of their reach or a limited supply.  As a salesperson, we always try to create a sense of urgency by telling clients it’s first come/first serve and that there’s other interest. But another way I can create scarcity is to tell a client when we are about to increase pricing.  Ownership tends to raise pricing when people are buying heavily, so withdrawing the opportunity for clients to buy at a lower rate, the client will likely feel an urge to buy in order to keep from losing that lower rate or deal. People might see this as dishonest or unfair, but really it’s not. In any marketplace, there’s going to be limited availability, limited deals, etc. so the public needs a sense of urgency to keep from missing out.

For a seasoned salesperson Influence might have a lot of common sense, but for starters it will definitely help answer some questions about human behavior and why people act the way they do. I often find myself scratching my head after a client does something totally “left field.” Little did I know, it was just basic psychology!

Overall, I would recommend Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion for anyone trying level up their sales game or trying to break into sales.

Guest post written by Alex Laurie, who writes on about lifestyle, personal finance, relationship advice and career advice.

Will you read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion?

3 Little Buttons

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


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