Whether you are persuading someone to accept your service proposal or persuading your significant other to go out for tacos instead of burgers, science is involved.

In Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” he lays out 6 decision making “shortcuts” that guide human behavior. Take a look at how they can impact your pipeline – and maybe your dinner plans, too.

Reciprocity

  • How it works: At no cost or obligation to the customer, Amway distributors provides a free pack of home goods to use for up to 3 days. When a representative comes by to pick up the leftovers, many customers feel a sense of indebtedness and make a purchase.
  • How to apply it: Send prospective clients a small gift, like a book they may find relevant, or pick up the check when you go out for lunch. People are more inclined to give you what you want after they’ve received something from you.

Scarcity

  • How it works: A winery in California recently released a statement that their tours and tastings would be available twice a week instead of the regularly scheduled 5 times per week. Ticket prices didn’t change, service remained the same, but sales went up nearly 30%.
  • How to apply it: When something is less available, we want it more. When pitching your products or services, point out what is unique about your proposition as well as what your prospect may lose if they fail to move forward.

Authority

  • How it works: I recently visited a cosmetics store with the intent of buying a new foundation. Just when I realized I needed help, a sales associate with an immaculate complexion appeared and educated me on her various recommendations and complementary products. I ended up leaving with new make-up brushes and a facial cleanser in addition to the foundation.
  • How to apply it: The impact of an expert backing up your claim adds incredible validation to your argument. Include testimonials in your collateral and provide references who will resonate with prospective clients.

Consistency

  • How it works: The American Cancer society surveyed a number of prospects, asking if they would donate 3 hours of their time to participate in donation collections. When those who answered “yes” were called back and asked to follow through, the organization saw a 700% increase in volunteer recruitment. By answering “yes” to the first call, these people made a commitment and were compelled to turn their words into actions.
  • How to apply it: No matter how small it may be, a commitment is key when it comes to consistency. Turn “we should have coffee sometime” into ACTUAL coffee dates. Send calendar invites and prepare a list of items to discuss beforehand and map out a follow up schedule.

Liking

  • How it works: A negotiation study between MBA students tested 2 groups. The first was told “Time is money. Get down to business.” About 55% of the students were able to come to an agreement. The second was told “Before negotiating, exchange some personal information with each other, identify your similarities, and then begin negotiating.” 90% of the students in this group were able to come to an agreement.
  • How to apply it: Pay your prospective client a sincere compliment, find common areas of interest, and determine how your goals align.

Consensus

  • How it works: Like many people of the 21st  century, I do a good bit of shopping online. It can be risky, but I’m significantly more likely to purchase something if I see there are other satisfied customers, even if my knowledge of the product is limited.
  • How to apply it: Let others speak for you. Like the takeaway from authority, provide references as evidence of the quality of your products or services with your proposal.

Interested in how these tactics apply to your business pipeline? We’d welcome the chance to speak with you.

Emily is passionate about problem-solving and helping business owners identify and reach their goals. She assists with strategic research and analyses, systems development and implementation, and project planning. Emily is especially interested in effective recruitment and onboarding to ensure low employee turnover and high workplace morale.