Six Ways To Get Them To Say Yes – The Art Of Persuasion
Whether it’s a job interview, a date, or a negotiation – we want them to agree with us, or at least be willing to negotiate around our demands.
Luckily, the psychologists and the experts in the field have done the hard work for us. After years of studying persuasion and observing what works, psychologist Robert Cialdini put forth six principles he believes are crucial in negotiation. If you apply them (ethically) in your daily life, you are likely to get a favorable response from others in arguments or negotiations.
In his book 1984 bestseller, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini describes the six principles as follows:
1. Principle of Reciprocity
The gist of the idea is – humans feel an obligation to give when they receive. If your friend buys you a beer first, you will want to buy the next round for him. Reciprocity is the mutual expectation of exchange of value or service. In other words, to get something, you have to give something. YOU have to take the lead by first giving something in order to get something. By the very human nature, they will want to reciprocate by giving you something back… even if it is just a “thank you.”
When you lead by giving, you, for that moment achieve power over the other person, and the other person will respond to that – depending on the value of the offer. To get the job, first, you have to prove your worth and offer value to the company. On a date, you have to show that you are the person of their dreams.
In customer service, if you go out of your way to meet the customer’s needs, the customer will likely pay what you ask for. If you give someone a compliment on something, they will respond with a “thank you,” and a compliment to you later.
2. Principle of Scarcity
“I want the one I can’t have and it’s driving me mad.” – The Smiths.
People want what they can’t have. They are attracted to that which cannot be had by everyone else. That’s why they want to wear gold necklaces, not aluminum necklaces. That’s why they long for Porches and Rolexes and all those expensive and exclusive things.
If you can prove that you are a scarce resource, they will want you and want you now, before someone else grabs you. If you give them a hint of not only what they will gain by having what you are offering, but also what they will lose by not having that, you have nearly locked the deal. You have to come across as a person who is cool whether they take your offer or not because you have other buyers lined up to take it. This is true in all aspects of life – job interview, selling, dating, etc.
To summarize – it’s not enough to show them the benefits of your offer, but also what is unique about it and what they stand to lose if they don’t take it.
3. Principle of Authority
They will come to you if they think you are someone with authority. The authority can be signaled by the knowledge you posses on a topic, or your credibility in that market. Your application of the rule of “scarcity” is meaningless if you can’t exhibit your authority. Authority makes it easier for them to trust you.
Before you attempt to influence them, show them what makes you a credible and knowledgeable authority. Your job candidacy will carry more weight if your reference is someone with authority.
A simple example according to Cialdini: people are more likely to give change for parking meter to a complete stranger if that requestor wears a formal uniform instead of casual clothes.
4. Principle of Consistency
People prefer to be consistent with actions and beliefs. They don’t want to appear inconsistent by others around them.
If you agree in writing to do something, you are more likely to carry it out, versus, if you just said you will do it – because you want to be perceived as someone who is committed to and consistent. If you give $10 to a charity, establishing the fact that you care about a specific cause, you will be more willing to give $20 to that charity next time because you are someone who cares about that cause.
In business situations, say in relation to a job offer, or a contract, have them put it in black and white, and you will see the agreement manifested in action.
5. Principle of Consensus
“People who bought X also bought Y.” You see these “testimonials” often on online shopping sites. They show that message because people who bought X formed a consensus to buy Y, and since you bought, or want to buy X, you may also want to buy Y.
If your friend on Facebook “liked” or “shared” something, you will click on it to see what it is, and maybe even like or share it forward. You can think of it as the “herd mentality” of the humanity –– If it's good for them, maybe it's good for me too.
If several people in your school want to date someone, you will also want to date that person – despite that you are not be really attracted to that person.
So, if you are a business, accumulate testimonials. There is a reason why many businesses have a testimonials section on their website. If you are a job seeker, collect recommendations.
6. Principle of Liking
According to the science of persuasion, there are three key factors:
- We like people who are similar to us – People feel safe and comfortable with people who are similar to them. The similarity could be based on beliefs and perspectives, or on external characteristics like age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or politics. People tend to ignore differences when they bond over something important to them.
- We like people who pay us compliments, of course.
- We like people who have goals similar to ours – There is a sense of deep connection amongst people marching towards the same end-goal. That’s why cults exist. That’s why some startups are successful because the founding group is collectively running towards the same milepost. That’s why a savvy salesperson spends some time chitchatting about some random stuff to find similarities between them before beginning the selling part.
There you have it. To sum up, remember these six keywords: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Consensus, and Liking. Try to keep the words in your consciousness; the meaning will find its way to the brain and pop-up when the situation arises.
And remember American economist Mark Skousen's words:
The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society.