by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
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The Give and Take, Take, Take: give a little something to get something bigger and better in return, later, as people feel obliged to return initial favors.
The Rejection-Then-Retreat tactic is used to convince people to accept an offer by first making a much more outrageous one, which they refuse, feeling emotionally compelled to accept the second, more reasonable one.
People want to appear consistent in their actions, but “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
The “low-ball” and “foot-in-the-door” techniques are used to get us to spend more by making us agree to an initially reasonable deal, followed by slowly spiking up the prices. Our subconscious desire of consistency pushes us to see the deal through, even though the price has risen to something we would not have initially accepted.
Safety in numbers: argumentum ad populum, social proof, or our belief that what the masses are doing must be correct and what we should be doing, too.
This is true especially when uncertainty is at play. We are more inclined to follow the lead of a similar individual to us more so than a dissimilar one. The “Werther” effect describes the influence the behavior of others has on us.
Accessories that suggest authority (i.e. ‘Dr.’ titles, business suits) exploit our tendency to believe those in the know, even when such titles hold little to no real value.
“Experts say” is a phrase we’ve heard way too often in advertising campaign, and for good reason: it works; people do not question the status quo and the decisions of those of higher rank. The sense of duty to authority is underlined by the Milgram experiment.
As much as we may deny it, physical attractiveness plays a huge role in people liking us. Flattery works to get compliance, and we are biased to accept requests from those we fancy. We think favorably of those who dress like us, or who share our passions. This works the other way around, too: guilt by association.
“The nature of bad news infects the teller”, as Shakespeare once said. The luncheon technique is often applied to persuade, and we must be on the lookout for a sense of undue liking towards a compliance practitioner.
Our decisions are shaped more by how much we could lose than by how much we could gain. We value limited information and we are more affected by a drop from abundance to scarcity than scarcity in and of itself.
It is more dangerous to give people freedoms for a while, then take them away, than not to give them at all. Our joy comes not from experiencing a scarce commodity, but from possessing it.
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