6 Principles of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini Influence
One of the most important things we can do as parents is teach our kids the necessary skills to get them ready to enter the real world. I wish someone would have forced me to learn the three main ones I think are critical no matter what field you choose:
- Customer Service
It’s a semester-long paid internship in which students:
- work in a front-line role at Disney’s theme parks and resorts
- participate in college-level coursework
- live in company-sponsored housing with other students
The education that they’ll receive in Disney customer service, marketing and sales is nothing like they could get from anywhere else at that age.
Another key to success is learning how to get someone to say “yes” to do what we feel is in their best interest. This is especially crucial in sales (even if you’re selling them on a particular treatment that they need performed).
One of the best sources for this information is a must-read book that can be found on The Resource Page:
Who Is Dr. Robert Cialdini?
According to Wikipedia, Dr. Robert Cialdini is the Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.
He is best known for his book (mentioned above) originally written in 1984. It’s based on three years he spent “undercover” applying for and training at:
- used car dealerships
- fund-raising organizations
- telemarketing firms
He did this to observe real-life situations of persuasion. This is like what the “mystery shoppers” do today.
He found that influence is based on six key principles:
- Commitment and Consistency
- Social Proof
Doctors Influence Patients
Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence & Persuasion
Science tells us is that it’s important to signal to others what makes you a credible, knowledgeable authority before you make your influence attempt.
The vast majority of the human population is made up of followers and are looking for someone to lead them. If you have a well-defined niche, then it is possible to become the authority in that niche.
Have you ever heard that content is king? It’s true, and we’ve seen it first hand in our practice.
When I first started practicing, I realized I was answering the same questions from patients over and over again.
So, I decided to do something about it and created a pamphlet which over time turned into a book:
Little did I know that this would be one of the major factors patients sought us out due to being seen as an authority.
If you’re looking for help with something (ex: personal finance) and read a book about it, more than likely the author will be seen an authority in your eyes. Most people don’t have the time researching and look for an authority to help them short cut the process.
Remember, if you want to use this principle, realize that your expertise isn’t always a known quantity, so be sure to convey it when you get the chance.
4) Commitment & Consistency
People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made.
There’s a great example in the book that highlights a famous set of studies where researchers found rather that only a small number of people would be willing to erect a large, ugly wooden sign in their front yard to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.
However in a similar neighborhood, only a few streets over, there were four times as many homeowners that indicated they’d be willing to put it in their yard.
Because only ten days earlier, they had agreed (committed) to place a small postcard in their front window that showed their support for the campaign.
Little did the researchers know that small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger but still consistent change.
We use this principle daily which helps to reduce the number of people who don’t show up for their appointment. We do this by having their patients fill out their own appointment cards. Small commitment? Yes. But because they wrote it down themselves, they are now more likely to show up for that future appointment.
When you’re dealing with patients/clients/customers, make it a point to build rapport and find common ground with small talk. If you can connect with them on their hobbies or interests, you’ll have a solid ground to build from.
6) Social Proof
“Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” – Cialidini
People will do things that they see others doing. This is why in advertisements, certain social networks show you which of your friends like a page, or are going to an event. This is also known as, “Monkey see, monkey do.”
A perfect example of Social Proof can be seen whenever someone is shopping online. If I’m searching to buy something on Amazon, such as a pair of hunting boots, I’m more likely to buy the ones that have the best reviews.
In our practice, when patients are undecided about whether or not they should have their procedure performed with IV sedation, we use social proof.
We say, “Mrs. Jones, most of our patients tell us that being sedated under these circumstances was the best thing that they have done in a long time.”