Babies and psychopaths have one thing in common: They’re brilliant at getting what they want.

How do you make people think and behave in a different way? Influence is an art—If you force too hard, you will risk being aggressive. If you nudge too lightly, you may turn into a pest. You should be thoughtful to generate persuasive arguments that can lead you to getting what you want. This week’s article will show you how:

We all want to control and dominate our lives. But in a world in which all interactions are interdependent, nobody has total control over anything. Including ourselves. Instead, what everybody of us have is influence. Influence is the ability to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself. Even if we do not learn a systematic influence we just do it. Our attempts to influence don’t require our conscious intent. The closer personally and physically others are to us, the greater our influence over them. Nevertheless, we can develop some methods. Find the six basic tendencies (based on R. Cialdini) for an effective influence and use these classic salesperson’s principles carefully, and beware those who might use them on you:

Principle 1: Reciprocation: Reciprocation recognizes that people feel indebted to those who do something for them or give them a gift. Consider the in-store wine tasting, or the free cookie at the coffee shop. We think we’re coming out on top, but the expectation to give back is strong within us, and leads us to buy something.

Principle 2: Commitment & Consistency: We like to see ourselves as consistent souls with unwavering beliefs. So if you ask me to publicly declare my devotion to animal rights, for example, I’m more likely to donate money to PETA later because people do not like to back out of deals. Getting friends, customers, co-workers, … to publicly commit to something makes them more likely to follow through with an action or a in sales with a purchase.

Principle 3: Social Validation: When people are not sure about a course of action, they tend to look to those around them to guide their decisions and actions. They especially want to know what everyone else is doing –especially their peers. We are more likely to do something if we see that many other people like us have also done it. In Marketing and Sales this tool is very common. Testimonials from satisfied customers show your target audience that people who are similar to them have enjoyed your product or service. They’ll be more likely to become customers themselves.

Principle 4: Liking: We prefer to say “yes” to the ones we like. You’re even more likely if he or she is physically attractive or similar to you. And if he or she compliments you, well, that works, too. Sales people could improve their chances of success by becoming more informed about their customers’ existing preferences and adapt their behavior.

Principle 5: Authority: People respect authority and they follow the opinion of experts. How do we judge expertise? Business titles, impressive clothing or even the ownership of an expensive car could help. Four out of five dentists recommend using the reassuring gloss of authority to sell this toothpaste.

One of the most known experiments conducted in social psychology was Stanley Milgrams experiment.

“Stanley Milgram, Psychologist, Yale University, conducted a 1974 experiment where ordinary people were asked to shock ‘victims’ when they answered questions incorrectly. Those in charge were dressed in white lab coats to give the appearance of high authority. The participants were told that the shocks they gave increased 15 volts in intensity each time the person answered incorrectly. In fact, the shocks were completely imaginary. Respondents were acting. As participants continued to shock their victims, the respondents feigned increasing discomfort until they let out agonized screams and demanded to be released. Astoundingly, about two-thirds of participants ignored these cries of pain and inflicted the full dose of 450 volts.” Find here more Information.

Principle 6: Scarcity: In fundamental economic theory, scarcity correlates to supply and demand. Fundamentally, the less there is of something, the more valuable it is. The more rare and uncommon a thing, the more people want it. Familiar examples are frenzies over the latest holiday toy or urban campers waiting overnight to get the latest iPhone. If your product or service is unique, be sure to emphasize its unique qualities to increase the perception of its scarcity.

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