PEOPLE – It’s Powerful Stuff

I’ve been blogging for more than three and a half years now. I chose the name Influence PEOPLE because we don’t persuade things. No matter how good you or I become at persuading, we can only persuade people, not things. In addition to that idea I specifically chose PEOPLE because it stands for Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. I’m going to revisit PEOPLE over the next several weeks for a couple of reasons. First, I have many more readers now than when I started and I want to make sure all of you understand the PEOPLE part of the name. My second reason is because my nephew, Max, reached out to me asking about ethics.

So the first P in PEOPLE stands for Powerful. I often use the term “the science of influence” because there’s more than 60 years of research from social psychologists and behavioral economist into what causes one person to say “Yes” to another. When I lead a Principles of Persuasion workshop I emphasize the reality that small changes can make big differences because understanding the psychology of persuasion can make a big
difference. Here are some examples.
If you knew there was a factor that was twice as important in the sales process than selling the traditional
benefits of a product, would you want to know what it is so you could tap into it? Well here’s an example – a study was done on Tupperware sales and it was found that the social bond (i.e., friendship) was twice as important in the sale of Tupperware as was the preference for the product. The principle of liking tells us people prefer to say “Yes” to those they know and like. Having people like you and coming to like them can make a big, big difference in sales.
If you owned a restaurant that takes reservations then you know “no shows” cost you lots of money. Would you like to know a simple way to cut the number of no shows by two thirds, a change that
will cost you nothing? A study was done with a Chicago restaurant owner who saw no shows drop from 30% to 10% by changing the way hostesses took reservations. Instead of saying, “Please call if you have to cancel,” they began asking, “Will you please call if you have to cancel?” Because of the principle of consistency – people feel internal and external pressure to live up to their commitments – people either called, allowing the restaurant to take a new reservation, or showed up.
Let’s say you work for a charitable organization. Would you be willing to try something different in order to
double contributions? Sending a free gift such as mailing labels can significantly increase donations because of the power of reciprocity. People feel obligated to give to those who first give to them and those free mailing labels trigger this psychological response. The American Disabled Veterans organization reported donations increasing from 18% to 35% when appeals are accompanied by mailing labels.
Sometimes you need just a few more people to do what you want but you’re not sure how to make it happen. Sharing what everyone else is doing, consensus, is a great way to pull those last few
people along because the principle of consensus tells us people feel compelled to follow the crowd. I saw this once when 45 of 55 people I was training had bought a copy of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. At the start of my training session I said, “I want to thank all of you because 45 of 55 of you bought Dr. Cialdini’s new book and that means we can literally be on the same page.” By the time the phone conference training was over and I returned to my desk seven of the 10 who had not bought the book emailed me to ask how much the book cost and who they should send the check to!
I could cite many more studies and real world examples but I think you get the point. Understanding the science of influence is Powerful! What I share isn’t based on someone’s good advice, or what worked for them; it’s rooted in decades of scientific research using controlled studies. I hope this persuades your thinking and that you’re starting to see that understanding how people think and behave and then adjusting your communication, can make a big difference with very little time, effort or money. I hope you’ll join me next week when we look at why persuasion is an Everyday skill.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

1 reply
  1. priyanka kumari
    priyanka kumari says:

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