The Big Idea: The presence of cognitive biases means we don’t always act rationally. Cialdini outlines six weapons of influence which can be used to influence behavior. Even if you aren’t a salesperson, you are a consumer so it’s good to be aware.
- We tend to reciprocate a favor, even if it is unsolicited.
- Start by asking for a large favor and then expect a concession to the real favor you want.
- Selling down works better than selling up.
2. Commitment and Consistency
- After making an initial choice, we tend to stand by that choice over time. People usually don’t switch sides after they have committed.
- In a debate, start with a small area of agreement or concession and build from there. People want to stay consistent.
- We are more consistent in our commitment if we did it for our own purpose rather than from external reward or pressure.
- Bribing children doesn’t work.
3. Social Proof
- People like to follow the crowd (of people like them or people they want to be.)
- Examples: canned laughter, tip jars, Jonestown, peer learning, bystander effect.
- People want to please others whom they like.
- Attractive people are more persuasive.
- People like others who are similar to them.
- Compliments and flattery work.
- Familiarity increases persuasiveness.
- Establish a connection between your product and an attractive or winning person.
- We obey authority mindlessly in many cases.
- Titles, uniforms, and appearances convey authority.
- Losing something is more painful than gaining something.
- Something that is hard to obtain is more valuable than something that is easier to obtain.
- People fight fiercely to retain something they worked for.
- Sometimes it’s better to be censored than publicized. (Eg. Some “secret information” the industry doesn’t want you to know.)
- Indifference towards a lover becomes passion when a rival appears.
- Scarcity+rivalry drives up prices in bidding wars. Always mention a rival buyer when selling something.