Cialdini used to buy less needed magazine subscriptions and other products before he realized he was manipulated in some weird way. He began to notice specific patterns used by the salespeople subtly. He thought to investigate further in order to validate his presumption. Soon, after thorough research, he concluded with 7 principles of persuasion that convince people into buying a desirable product.
According to Cialdini, these 7 principles worked as triggers for eliciting buying behavior. His book was written years ago but is still respected as a profound work in the field of buying psychology. The principles are:
Scarcity and urgency
I’ll break down these principles in easy language for you to understand it completely!
People are naturally wired to return favors and pay off debt as soon as they can. The principle of reciprocity states that people tend to give concessions to the people who have given them some kind of favor. How does it apply to the digital world? The act of giving away freebies and discounts increases customer retention. They are more likely to buy from you after receiving valuable content without any cost.
Commitment and consistency
If we commit to doing something publicly, we tend to stick to it. This phenomenon can be elaborated by a simple example. During their wedding, spouses vow to accept one another in front of family and friends. This is one of the reasons which gets them to stay in the relationship longer despite quarrels and disagreements that may arise later.
If we consider digital examples, the use of long-form follows this principle. When we take the basic information from the visitor such as his name, email, and address. If the form continues on the next page, the visitor is more likely to fill the rest of the form because he had filled the starting part.
Research shows that we are more inclined to buy from people or brands we like. Its human nature to like and appreciate beauty. It is common observance that beautiful people sell more. The liking principle also includes sharing similarities with the person. If you and your prospect like the same breed of dogs, chances are you can influence the prospect to buy from you (provided you own a pet business).
How does this translate to digital selling? Well, a humanized “about us” page can go a long way in influencing visitors to become customers. A good practice is to show pictures of yourself and your staff and share their hobbies and interests. This will help prospects relate to the brand on a personal level.
Authority figure is the person which has an official title attached to him such as a doctor in uniform. Apart from that, other jobs which have uniforms tend to project a sense of power and. We tend to regard words of an authority figure as true, without much questioning. Other jobs which have this authority aura are the army, police, and lawyers. Having an accredited certification can also add to your authority. Having knowledge of some specific domain adds to your expert power.
In the digital world, if any celebrity or official figure endorses our product/service or gives a testimonial, it really influences the product’s perceived value. The higher perceived value of the product results in more sales.
It is an innate trait that humans tend to follow in a group. As man is a social animal, it feels fulfilled being part of a community. People are more likely to adopt a behavior based on their observation of the people around them. A classical example of this principle in real life is the popular elevator incident of 1960.
A man is likely to follow what people are doing in the elevator. Even if they stand facing the wall, the new entry does the same. This is a simple illustration of people following the group in order to feel safe and connected.
Scarcity and urgency
One of the clever marketing tactics is the use of scarcity. It has been observed the perceived value of the product is increased when it is available for a short period of time or unlimited quantity. If you show on your website that a certain product is limited in number for few days only, people are more likely to buy it thinking they will miss the chance to buy it later.
Here, you can see two elements of scarcity: time and quantity. The availability for a shorter period of time creates a sense of urgency. This in return enhances the importance of the product in the prospect’s mind.
We like to be part of a group or community. As human beings, this is how we are wired by birth. However, belonging to a dedicated group enhances our self-esteem and meets our need for belonging. Communities can be developed on the basis of professional likings or personal interests.
A strong example to illustrate this principle is that people interested in a political party tend to enjoy mutual gossips about politics. The digital examples are Facebook groups or Quora spaces where people of a specific interest discuss their favorite topics.
Cialdini’s principles are not the only principles for persuasion and influence. There are many triggers in the prospect’s mind which urge him to purchase anything. For further persuasion techniques, read the article below.