Robert Cialdini is a famous psychologist and researcher at the University of Arizona in the United States. He made himself known internationally after publishing his book “Influence. How to get others to say yes ”, in 1984.
To write this book, Robert Cialdini worked undercover for three years . He has infiltrated car sales companies, telemarketing companies, charities, and many other businesses. The book collects all his conclusions and has become a reference point for the psychology of persuasion.
According to the New York Times Bussines , all of his books were among the best sellers. Likewise, Fortune magazine has cited its books as one of the 100 smartest books published in recent decades. Robert Cialdini proposes 6 principles of persuasion which continue to be applied in various areas. Are the following.
Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion
1. The principle of reciprocity
During his research, Robert Cialdini was able to verify a principle that many already understood out of common sense. According to his research, people treat others in the same way they perceive being treated by them. So, for example, we tend to be friendly to those who treat us kindly.
Advertising uses this principle. The reason why a brand sometimes gives its products for free is precisely the principle of reciprocity. They know that consumers appreciate this gesture and become more loyal to the brand. An example would be a restaurant chain announcing that it will offer free coffee on Mondays.
2. The principle of scarcity
Robert Cialdini found that people tend to value more what they perceive as scarce or exclusive. It doesn’t matter if it really is or not, the point is that when something is cataloged as accessible only to a very few, it immediately awakens desire.
Advertising also exploits this principle. It is the basis on which concepts such as “Promotion for a few days” or “Discount for the first 50 buyers” and other similar campaigns are built. They usually work very well. On the other hand, a continuous succession of “last chances” for the same product ends up dissipating this effect.
3. The principle of authority
This principle states that people who have a leading position or notoriety enjoy greater credibility. In general, we tend to believe certain things simply because “x” or “y” testify to them. People are less critical of celebrities.
This is why there is such a profitable business around so-called “influencers”. Others tend to identify with them, to imitate them. In this case they are less demanding with the validity of the proposals of these figures. They are more open to believing what they say.
4. The principle of commitment and consistency
Robert Cialdini suggests that the principle of commitment and consistency implies that the people are more willing to take actions consistent with what they have done in the past, even if they have not acted in a particularly reasonable. People tend to seek what reaffirms them and is familiar.
This principle of persuasion is applied in sales; in order to attract new customers, their behaviors and habits are first studied. This provides the guideline for knowing which offer to make. If we are dealing with impulsive people, for example, situations arise that lead them to act impulsively to buy.
5. The principle of consent or social proof
This principle states that people tend to follow the majority. They usually fit the opinion of most. If many think something is right, they tend to think the same way and vice versa. If the majority believe that something is wrong, many others will gradually think that it is.
Both in trade and in politics, therefore, great efforts are made to “create trends”. They are not always inspired by certain or reasonable elements. However, once they start to “form a wave”, they are usually successful.
6. The principle of sympathy
This principle concerns the so-called “halo effect “. More attractive people physically have a greater ability to persuade. They are subconsciously associated with other positive values such as honesty and success. This effect also occurs with people who inspire sympathy for other attributes besides the physical one.
For this reason, stereotypes that generate this principle of sympathy are almost always used in advertising. Whether they are very beautiful models, or people who have an appearance that generates identification or desire.
Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion have been applied in many fields. However, their greatest impact has been in the world of marketing, to the point where we can say that contemporary marketing is based on the research of this psychologist.