THE SELLING ACADEMY
As much as understanding how to communicate with your prospects and clients is important, it’s also vital to understand what influences them. Whether you’re trying to influence through online content marketing or face to face interactions, Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence will help you have an edge over the competition and close more deals.
The 6 Principles of Influence were first developed by Robert B Cialdini, a well-known social psychologist, who spent three years undercover working in places such as used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, and telemarketing firms. In this time, he observed real-life situations of influence and persuasion.
Here are the 6 principles he discovered about why people are more likely to become influenced whether it’s to sell products and services, yourself, or an idea.
1. Reciprocity — This means you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Ever wondered why many businesses give you free samples or trials? Other than trying to give you a taste of how valuable the product/service is, they also understand that reciprocity works. If you’re a business coach, perhaps think about giving a free discovery session or webinar. If you have a software or app, give free trials and spend some time helping those who sign up using it. People feel more indebted to someone who has offered something for free, whether it’s a product, time, advice or service. But in the end, give because you’re a nice person who genuinely wants to help whether you get something back or not.
Questions to consider for reciprocity: Do you offer value, give free information, time and resources away? Do you go above and beyond to help your clients?
2. Scarcity — Many times, we are influenced to purchase something when there are not many of it left. It is human nature when somebody tells us that we can’t have it, we want it more. Other times, when a product or service is at an unbelievable low price for a limited time, we will be more inclined to purchase because of the fear of missing out. Now as a salesperson or a marketer, don’t ever drop your prices and say that they are limited unless they are limited.
Questions to consider for scarcity: Do you make your prospects and clients feel special? Perhaps give them a piece of information no one else knows? What are some specials that you have for a limited time? (But you need to do this with integrity and be honest)
3. Liking — Liking is a fundamental aspect of being able to sell. People prefer to say yes to those they know and like. For example, there was research done on Tupperware home demonstration parties. The research shows that the guests are three times more likely to buy products because they liked the party’s host and not because of the products themselves. So, it’s wise to make a good impression not only face to face, but online through your social media. Whether you put out videos, blogs or write Facebook statuses. Aim to come across as a positive inspiring person who people want to be around. Now in saying this, not everyone will like you, so make sure to stay real and not compromise your integrity or values to win a deal.
Question to consider for liking: Do you build rapport and connect well with prospects and clients? Do you take the time to listen to them, ask questions and help them? How do you represent yourself online?
4. Social proof — We generally follow the trend. We prefer to buy things that many other people have used and tested. For example, when you walk past a restaurant, which one would you prefer to go into? One that is busy and full of customers or one that is empty? Generally, we want to be doing what everyone else is doing. People usually follow the latest trends and use products and services that are working on others. This is why it’s vital to also collect testimonials from customers, and share photos/videos of your customers using your products and services.
Question to consider for social proof: Do you have testimonials and happy customer stories you can share with clients? Does the company you work for have credibility, and presence when you search for them online? Would your existing clients recommend you and your company? Do you highlight your company’s social proof in client meetings or even through your email signature?
5. Commitment and consistency — People are more likely to do something if it’s consistent with previous actions. Cialdini says that commitment and consistency is most powerful when the action is consistent with actions already taken. Also, a commitment that is made public or made of own free will, has more impact. Such as a person making an announcement via Facebook that they want to lose weight or give up smoking. So how does this principle apply to our clients? For example, if you show them an offering and ask them if this is something that would benefit them. Try and get a commitment and get them to agree and say yes if this is what they want. So, if you get your agreement at this stage with a yes, show them your final offer and gain some sort of commitment from them to take action.
Questions to consider for commitment and consistency: Do you ask clients to commit to their word in regard to showing up to meetings, renewals or even giving you referrals? Do you ask good closing questions to get the customer to close themselves?
6. Authority — Are you the authority in your niche or products and services it’s important to become the authority in your industry through your online personal branding and content, as you begin to grow your platform, assert your expertise, gain recognition and respect. One study showed that three times as many pedestrians were willing to follow a man into traffic against the red light when he was merely dressed as an authority in a business suit and tie.
Questions to consider for authority: Are you the go-to person in your field? Are you a trusted adviser? Do you professionally develop yourself weekly?(Authority, is also about how you show up, confidence, dress and behave.)
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