Very few, if any of our decisionsare made without some form of influence from others and/or our environment.
Though we walk around every day with the illusion of free-will, we areconstantly barraged by stimuli that nudges our behavior, in one way or another.Everywhere you go, someone is trying to influence. From the lady in thesupermarket urging you to sample her freshly grilled sausage with onions, sothat you can buy that specific brand of sausage, to the real estate agenttrying to gain a commission through the sale of a house, to the politiciansthat campaign for elections every few years. Persuasion and influence arethings none of us can shy away from, unless we decide to become hermits andlive in some far away secluded cave.
Everyone, everywhere, is working to us. Butin the same breath, we also go through life as individuals trying to influenceothers in our favour. Fromthe kid negotiating a higher allowance with their parents, to the office workerthat decides to start coming to work earlier in order to have leverage to askfor a raise. Influence and persuasion are all around us. In the followingpaper, I will discuss the works of Dr Robert Cialdini, looking atthe 6 Principles of persuasion and how these principles fit into the compliancetechniques and how to use pre-suasion to influence the behaviour of others as well as thedifferent social nudges that are used.
Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent hisentire career researching the science of influence earning him an internationalreputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, andnegotiation. Having written ‘Influence: Science and Practice’ as well ashis latest book ‘Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary way to Influence and Persuade’,his works have set the foundation for this track of psychology. In his foremost work, Dr Cialdini discusses how there are 6Principles which guide how we are persuaded. Althoguh the brain is in mostsituations presented with as much information as possible, it seems that inorder for the brain to be able to make decisions in the most efficient way,with the least friction, certain rules are, by default, made to guide ourdecision making.
These principles are:· Reciprocity· Authority· Scarcity· Consistency· Likeability· Consensus and These principles make it possible to influencepeople in an ethical manner, avoiding all forms of manipulation.The first principle of influence is reciprocity. Reciprocityis basically the obligation people have to return that which has been given tothem, like if a person does one a favour, the other is obligated to return thefavour later. If a friend gives you an invite to a party then you we them aninvite to your party later.
In Cialdini’s experiment, it was found thatbringing restaurant patrons sweets/mints in a situation that felt genuine ledpatrons to leave a higher tip than if they we’re not given the mint. The best example of reciprocity comes from numerousstudies conducted in restaurants. The next time you go to the restaurant, it isvery likely that the waiter or waitress will give you a present and probably atthe same time or they will give you your note for dinner.The question is: does having a mint candy influenceyou on the amount of tip you leave? Most people answer NO , but this mint candy canmake a surprising difference. According to an experiment, when you give a singlemint candy after the meal, the tip percentage left by patrons increased by 3%, but,if at the end of a meal, we give two candy mint, tip percentage increases by14%.
On top of that; if the waiter gives you a mint candy and before movingaway from the table, he says to the customers ‘only for you who are goodcustomers’, the amount of the tip will explode! You can expect up to 23%increase in tips and only because a gift has been given in a personal manner. Thus, for reciprocity to work in your favourremember to give first and make sure its personalisedand unexpected. The second universal principle is the Scarcity This principle can be defined as one where peoplewant more of those things that are not available in copious quantities. In2003, British Airways announced that it was no longer flying in Concorde London- USA because it was no longer profitable, the sale for its same flights surged.Nothing had changed compared to the Concorde before, it did not fly faster andthe service was always the same, and the ticket had not dropped. But it hadsimply become a resource that was going to be scarce and so the result was thatpeople wanted more.
Effectively convincing others to use the principleof scarcity Lack, the science is clear, it’s not always easy to tell people thebenefits they will have if they opt for your product and service but you willalso have to tell them what is unique in what you propose and what they risklosing if they do not consider your proposal. This principle is observed duringauctions, or during sales with the rush to have the precious garment, thedesire for something scarce influences our behavioursin some very strange ways. The third universal principle is that of’authority’.
The idea is that people will follow informed and credible experts.Physiotherapists, for example, can convince their patients tosubmit to recommended exercise programs by displaying their degrees on the wallof their surgeries. People are more likely to make the exact change fora parking meter if this request was made by someone wearing a uniform ratherthan a civilian. What studies tell us is that it is important to signal toothers your authority, competence and credibility before trying to influencethem.
A group of real estate agency could increase someevaluation of their properties as well as the contracts they had by setting upa telephone service – customer service that responds to complaints and anyother information that customers would like to have by calling on hisexpertise. Instead of just putting them in touch with a salesperson, theyvalued these and their experience. Thus, if a customer is interested in arental, he will offer the services of “Sandra” who has more thanfifteen years of experience and who deals with his region, and if a customerwishes to have information on sales of properties, they will put him in touchwith “Peter” the sales manager who has more than twenty years ofexperiences in this field. This valuation of staff (even unverifiable) has adirect and positive impact on the number of appointments and contracts signed,20% and 15% increase respectively! This slight change is both an ethical methodand does not cost anything … The next principle is ‘consistency’, which means that peoplelike to stay consistent in the things they say or do.
Consistency starts fromthe moment you make a commitment or a decision or position. The researchersfound, not surprisingly, in a well-known study that few people would agree tohave a “drive cautiously” sign to support a road safety campaign intheir neighbourhood. However, in a similar neighbourhood, almost four timesmore homeowners have agreed to have this campaign ‘drive carefully’ poster on asign. WHY? Just because ten days ago residents of this neighbourhood agreed toplace a map on the front window of their homes that shows they support thecampaign of ‘driving cautiously’, and this little map was the initialcommitment made by its inhabitants who take us to its 400% increases on alarger scale but always in a consistent way. So, when one seeks to influencewhen using the principle of coherence, the influence sensor seeks’volunteering, energy and public commitment’ … The most powerful being tohave a written commitment.
for example, a recent study tells us how to reduceappointment cancellations by 18% simply by asking the patient himself to fillin his form for the date and time of the appointment instead of the secretaryor a member of staff who do it for him. The fifth principle, that of affection, is sincepeople prefer to say yes to the people they like. But what makes one person likeanother? Persuasion experiments show us that there are three very importantfactors: – we like people who look like us, – we like people who compliments us, – we like people who have the same goals as us andwho cooperate.
Nowadays, most of the interactions we have areonline and influence can also apply to online sales. For example, on Amazon youhave product suggestions, exclusive offers, free shipping, which sends you byemail products that interest you … Another example is in everyday life withnegotiations between two groups of MBA students from two different businessschools. One of the groups is told that time is money andthat you should stay focused on business. In this same group, 55% of them have reachedagreement In a second group, they were told that beforestarting any negotiations, it was necessary above all to exchange information,to find similarities with each other and it is only from then on, that thenegotiations could begin. In this “socialized” group, nearly 90% havereached an agreement, which represents 80% more success.
So, to honor this principle of liking – one must first look for similarities with theother and give a real compliment. The last principle is that of the consensus that isdefined especially when people will look, observe the attitude of others todetermine their actions and their behaviors. In most bathrooms in hotels, youwill find words that encourage customers to reuse towels or sheets. But forwhat purpose? The reason they do this is that they want to draw the attentionof their guests to the benefits that reuse can have on protecting ourenvironment.
And it turns out that it is an effective strategy that brings usto an ecological behavior of nearly 35%. But there is an even more effectiveway to encourage people to reuse towels. The purpose is to mention on cards andmessages in the bathroom and say that more than 75% of our guests reuse theirtowels, thank you for doing the same. In this case the proportion of reuse isthen up 26%. Simply by showing them the normal behavior of “others”.
Scienceshows us that instead of relying solely on our abilities to convince others, wecan take as an example what the crowd does …
So, we have seen the six principles of persuasionthat have been scientifically proven, that lead us to small practical changesthat often cost nothing, but that greatly increase our ability to convinceothers ethically. The foot inthe door is a compliance technique described by social psychologists. Itconsists of making an inexpensive request that will likely be accepted,followed by a more expensive request. This second request will be more likelyto be accepted if it has been preceded by the acceptance of the first, whichcreates a sort of landing and a phenomenon of commitment.
The phenomenon was highlighted in 1966 by Freedmanand Fraser. They contacted more than a hundred people over the phone to ask ifthey agreed to the researchers coming home to take inventory of theirpossessions. Some of them had been contacted three days earlier by the sameperson to answer a questionnaire about the soap they used. Those who answeredthe questionnaire (small request) were much more likely to accept the inventory(large demand) than those who were not contacted. In social psychology, the door in the face or doorto the nose is an inverse variant of the persuasion technique foot in the door.
It is to precede a request of expensive behavior by a request much more expensive,basically an over the top request.Previously known in the field of sales and prospecting, this technique was officially unveiled in 1975 during an experiment in which Robert Cialdini and his collaborators (Vincent, Lewis, Catalan, Wheeler and Darby, 1975) asked students to sponsor a juvenile detention centre for two hours a week for two years. Once this very expensive request was refused, the authors then proposed to the students previously solicited, a single two hours outing during which they would sponsor one of the boys of the detention centre. To precede this last request, the expensive solicitation, made it possible to triple the number of acceptances of sponsorship for the single exit, compared to a control group of students to whom only this single exit was proposed. The speaker asks someone to lend him his car for a week. He has a logical refusal, which he expected because he never really wanted to borrow the car for a week. He then makes a cheaper request, lend him his car for a day.
By contrast effect, perceived concession (he sacrificed himself in relation to his initial request) and guilt in the person to handle (I could not satisfy his request and therefore wants to buy me) this technique greatly increases the chances of acceptance of said person. The feeling of guilt works all the better that the person to handle feels close to the speaker and therefore does not want to lose his friendship. Following the first of these experiments, Cialdini was able to show: · that the firstrequest must necessarily be much more expensive than the second;· that the sameperson must proceed with the two requests, so that the technique is effective.In the case where these conditions are notrespected, the probability of acceptance of the least expensive request is notsignificantly higher than when it is presented alone. References