Seattle Marketing Strategy: Six ways to persuade people and grow your business

I sneeze.

I sneeze Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini just about any time I have a marketing conversation (which is often). It’s an easy read, very entertaining, and details six behaviors that, well, manipulate people to your will. Kinda what marketing’s all about — and fun!

1. Reciprocity. Easy. I do something for you; you do something for me. I love the anecdote he tells. People come in to take a survey. Half the time, the moderator excuses himself and returns with two sodas saying, “I got one for myself so I picked one up for you.” The survey continues. At the end the moderator says, “I’m selling 25-cent raffles for my kid’s something-or-other.” People with sodas were twice as likely to buy a raffle.

Then the punch line: This is 1960-something and the cost of the soda is a nickel. The moderator increases his return fivefold on every sale! Love that one.

What little something can you give to your prospects to increase the likelihood they feel obligated to give you something in return?

2. Commitment and consistency. You said you’d do something; if you don’t you look bad. It’s the essence of the timeline. Show up to your next client meeting without the work you promised. See how that goes for you. Trust, at the center of everything, really, relies on your ability to do what you say you’ll do.

Get your customer to say (out loud), “You provide the best service.” They’ve committed, to themselves anyhow, you are the best. Ask them to put it in an email. It would be inconsistent to turn around and give business to someone else.

Here’s another: Give $100 to the customer who can write the best testimonial for your service. After posting “Paul Medrzycki improved my credit score and changed my life,” how likely is Paul’s customer to recommend a competitor?

3. Social proof. Paint a picture your target can relate to.

Back in the late 90’s I did some serious fundraising for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Ann Fudge and Jim Craigie were wonderful – they let me persuade hundreds of fellow Kraft Foods employees. I painted a picture of everyone walking together in New York’s Central Park on a crisp spring morning. I showed photos including a sales guy from last year’s event that everybody loved, with his adorable three-year old beaming atop his shoulders. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Pat on a fun day like that?

I recruited Doug by saying that Helen was going. Donna went because Michael was going. Then Adina came too.

Never did talk much about homosexuality, syringes, or death. Raised $300,000.

4. Scarcity. I have an extra ticket I’m trying to sell, so I email a score of folks and say, “I’ve got one ticket left, call me today if you want it.”

Another favorite: the scarcity of time. Tell your six- and four-year olds that Daddy’s leaving with or without you in three minutes. Open the garage door. Get in the car. Watch the hi-jinx ensue.

5. Authority. “License and registration, please.” ‘Nuff said.

6. Liking. This is the nicest one: I like you. Of course I’ll help you.

If you liked reading this, you may visit again. In fact – see point #2 and repeat after me – “I like Joe Hage’s writing. I can’t wait to read his next missive. I’m going to join his guest list right now.”

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