Authority is a powerful factor that influences people’s behavior. They tend to follow the guidance of experts who have credibility and expertise. Having a professional title, dressing well, and driving a luxury car are some of the ways to enhance one’s authority and persuade others to comply with requests – even if they are not legitimate.
This was demonstrated in a 1974 experiment by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist from Yale University. He asked ordinary people to administer electric shocks to ‘victims’ who answered questions wrongly. The people in charge wore white coats to look like authoritative scientists. The participants were told that the shocks increased by 15 volts each time the victim made a mistake. However, the shocks were fake and the victims were actors.
The actors pretended to suffer from the shocks and begged to be freed. Surprisingly, about two-thirds of the participants ignored their pleas and gave them the maximum shock of 450 volts.
“Milgram explained that the main reason for the experiments was the [participants’] inability to resist the orders of the boss, the researcher in the white coat who encouraged and, if needed, instructed them to do their duties, despite the harm and pain they were causing.”
Note: The participants in Milgram’s experiment were men from different ages, occupations and education levels. Later studies showed that the gender of the subjects did not affect their readiness to shock the victim.
How marketers can use this: When people are unsure, they look for external information to help them make decisions. Since authority figures have a lot of influence, it would be smart to use testimonials from legitimate and recognized experts to help convince prospects to take action or buy products.
Cialdini says that people agree more with those they like. Likability depends on physical attractiveness, similarity, or compliments. Even having the same name as your prospects can boost your sales.
Experiment: Randy Garner sent surveys to strangers in 2005 with a return request. The request was signed by someone whose name was either similar or different from the recipient’s. For example, Robert James might get a request from Bob Ames.
According to Yes!, “Those with similarly named senders were almost twice as likely to return the surveys as those with differently named senders (56% versus 30%).”
Application for salespeople: “Salespeople can report how their product or service – or their providers – are similar to the audience and understand their challenges, preferences and so on,” Cialdini says. For instance, salespeople could improve their sales by learning more about their prospects’ preferences.
People tend to stick to their word. According to Cialdini, we are more likely to follow through with something if we have verbally or written agreed to it. We want to be consistent with our commitments and align them with our attitudes, values and actions.
In 1987, Anthony Greenwald, a social scientist, asked potential voters on the eve of the election if they would vote and why. All of them said yes. The next day, 86.7% of those who were asked showed up at the polls, compared to 61.5% of those who were not asked. Publicly committing to vote increased the likelihood of actually voting.
This principle can be used by marketers to influence customers or co-workers.
- Ask your team members to support your next initiative and explain why.
- Get people to say yes to something and they will be more committed to it. For example, instead of saying “Please call if you have to cancel”, ask “Will you please call if you have to cancel?” This will increase their response rates.
However, be aware that age matters.
As we get older, we value consistency more and find it harder to change. A 2005 study by Stephanie Brown et al., published in the Journal of Research in Personality, confirmed that older people become “set in their ways”.
To persuade them, you need to praise their past decisions and show how they are consistent with the new ones. For instance, you can say “You made a good choice based on the information you had at the time. Now you have new information that shows how this product or service is aligned with your values.”
In our previous post, we had discussed about the reciprocation. In the current post, we will talk about the 2nd principle of influence:
2: Social Proof
People often look for cues from others when they are unsure about what to do. They want to know the behavior of others, especially their peers, in the same situation. Cialdini explains that this is why comedy shows use laugh tracks to influence the audience.
Cialdini and his colleagues conducted an experiment wherein they wanted to find out which kinds of signs would make Arizona hotel guests reuse their towels more. They tried four different signs:
#1 Mentioned environmental benefits of reusing towels
#2 Promised to donate some of the money saved from laundry to an environmental cause
#3 Said the hotel had already made a donation and asked: “Will you please join us?”
#4 Said most guests reused their towels at least once during their stay Percentage of guests who reused towels per request:
- Sign #1: 38%
- Sign #2: 36%
- Sign #3: 46%
- Sign #4: 48%
The guests were more likely to reuse their towels when they learned that most other guests did the same. Cialdini says, “What I find most interesting is that the most effective strategy didn’t cost the hotel anything. But I’ve never seen any hotel use it in any city.”
Application for marketers:
Testimonials from happy customers show your target audience that people like them have enjoyed your product or service. This can make them more likely to become customers themselves. The same principle applies to TV ads that say: “If our lines are busy, please call again.” Instead of saying “Operators are standing by.” The first message suggests that your offer is so popular that the phone lines are busy, which can motivate others to act similarly.
In our last post, we mentioned about the 6 ‘Principles of Influence’ that can be used in one’s professional and personal life. Today, we will be briefly discussing about the 1st principle:
Randy Garner’s experiment showed that the principle of reciprocation is effective in marketing. His study demonstrated that people who received a hand-written sticky note requesting completion of a survey had a 69% response rate, while those who received a blank sticky note had a 43% response rate, and those who received no sticky note had a 34% response rate. Additionally, the quality of the answers given by those who received the hand-written note was significantly better. This shows that marketers can use the principle of reciprocation to their advantage by giving something – such as information, free samples, or a positive experience – to their customers, which will cause them to feel indebted and more likely to respond positively to the marketer’s request.
Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, is an essential read and provides valuable strategies for marketing to others as well as how to resist the tactics of others. Recently, Cialdini and two other authors have condensed his original book into a new one, “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Persuasive”. This book is based on Cialdini’s 30 years of research on the science of influence and persuasion, and it provides practical advice on how to get people to say “yes” to your ideas and requests. It is backed up by scientific studies and can be used in both professional and personal settings. Cialdini has identified six key principles of persuasion, which are outlined in the fifth edition of “Influence: Science and Practice”. He cautions that these tools should not be used unethically, as any short-term gains will be outweighed by long-term losses.
In our upcoming posts, we will be discussing 6 ‘Principles of Influence’ that can be beneficial to everyone, from business owners, office workers, salespeople, and managers, in their professional and personal lives. Stay tuned!
Businesses should have consultants onboard to help them for a variety of reasons. Consulting professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table that can help businesses identify and solve problems, improve efficiency and operations, and develop new strategies and tactics to stay competitive in the marketplace. Here are 4 reasons to do so:
First, consultants can provide businesses with an outside perspective. Consultants can provide an unbiased, objective opinion that can help businesses assess their current situation and identify areas for improvement. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that are struggling to make progress or that are stuck in a rut. By looking at the business from an outside perspective, consultants can provide valuable insights and advice on how to move forward.
Identify root cause & solution:
Second, consultants can help businesses identify and solve problems. Businesses often face difficult or complex problems that they may not have the resources or expertise to address. Consultants can help businesses identify the root cause of these problems and provide solutions that can help the business move forward. This can also help businesses avoid costly mistakes and save time and money.
Third, consultants can help businesses become more efficient and effective. Consultants can help businesses find ways to streamline operations and improve efficiency. This can help businesses save time and money, as well as improve customer satisfaction and the overall quality of their products and services.
Research & Strategies:
Finally, consultants can help businesses develop new strategies and tactics to remain competitive in the marketplace. Consultants can provide valuable insights into emerging trends, customer needs, and industry developments that can help businesses stay ahead of the competition. This can help businesses stay relevant and competitive in their industry and create long-term success.
In conclusion, businesses should have consultants onboard to help them for a variety of reasons. Consultants can provide an outside perspective, help businesses identify and solve problems, help businesses become more efficient and effective, and help businesses develop new strategies and tactics to remain competitive in the marketplace.
Are you shutting down from clients when you are actively avoiding family members? You tend to get angry or restless when you feel someone has done you wrong? Having a bad day, a tiff with a loved one, or feeling like you are not being heard can easily travel with us to work. Human beings are not perfect, so it is common to want to vent in some way, shape, or form, even if what or who you are venting on is not the problem. However, displacing negative feelings from one phenomenon to another causes business issues that are willing to snowball.
So how can you cope with these feelings? Rationalization and acceptance are positive coping mechanisms that can help. Rationalize your thoughts about the real problem and solve it, preferably before starting work. Next, move to accept reality and work on business priorities. Need help with how to do that? Let the experts at Ima Solution help you with prioritization and process management such that coping with negative emotions does not affect your work day! Get in touch here to set up a business consultation session.
Relationships and networks are great when you are in a sticky spot. Nevertheless, often, burning bridges is more common than maintaining friendships. We’re not relationship experts, but we know business! So the business advice about relationship building is to transact in cash. The more you do this, the better your relationships and, subsequently, your business.
What is the problem with credit, you ask? When you give something on credit, you are trusting a third party to pay you as per the agreement. If I had a dime for every time someone mentioned how their trust was broken! The problem with credit is that when the ball is no longer in your court, the person liable decides your worth on their priority list. Anything from a car, vacation, or a family member’s health can be above the value you have provided. Some may be justified, some not, but nobody asks you. You are not allowed to moral police anyone; remember the century?
You lose control of credit transactions. You invite yourself to problems that would otherwise not faze you. You are creating a relationship mess that is very hard to clean. What could you do instead? Transact in cash. Easier said than done? Call Ima Solution to help you fix processes and your supply chain to make this work!
I cannot say for sure, but the internet states that Albert Einstein said, “I am thankful for all those who said NO to me. It is because of them that I am doing it myself.” As a business owner, I find nothing more irrelevant than wasting time on those who responded negatively to me. I have heard things like, “My supplier bailed, and now I will have to cancel the order,” and “There is no way I can perform without this venue being available.” And so many such stories that clearly state that people saying no hurts businesses terribly. It does not always lead to more efficient ways of doing things.
We would instead focus on those that said yes. Those who helped us carry the weight of things in our lives so we could concentrate on growing the business. Those who cleaned the house, helped us with a warm meal every time it was time, took care of the children while we attended to our clients, and who believed we could take this through. They say it takes a village to raise a child. However, the business that is every bit like a child has to be done alone on this long, tiresome road.
Everyone is not lucky enough to have all of the above, in any case. Some of us must bear down on life while hoping to succeed at work. Ima Solution is helping create a balanced lifestyle within your business. Get experts to create processes involving your team members and get feedback from your clients. Identify the best ways to induct your precious young ones into your business. With a total experience of 30+ years, team Ima Solution will be your tribe to be successful in your business.