The weapons of persuasion: the 6 principles of Robert B. Cialdini



We all end up saying yes sooner or later, even when in reality we would have preferred to say no.

It is on this that the work of Robert B. Cialdini, “The weapons of persuasion” is based. A great classic, which falls into numerous fields of study: communication, marketing, sales techniques, politics, and social psychology. Cialdini’s book marked an era, sharing different levers with which it is possible to increase the persuasive effect of communication and entice buyers to say yes.

The text is well written, and even though difficult to read at times, the narrative flows well. After a brief introduction, the author moves on to outline the six main mechanisms that outline persuasion. Six weapons to sharpen to improve your incisiveness during a sales negotiation.

  1. Reciprocity
    “We are more likely to say yes to those from whom we have already received something in return.”
    The feeling you get when a friend buys you lunch and you feel compelled to reciprocate by offering the next one. More or less the same mechanism that also occurs in the world of sales. Increasingly applied in everyday life, the principle of reciprocity is also used massively on the web, through discount codes, promotions and gift vouchers.
  2. Commitment and consistency
    “Have you made a commitment? Follow through! “
    Following through with your decisions makes you appear more hones.  The concept described by Robert Cialdini is based on this principle, which in everyday life can be activated in many ways. For example: have you signed up for a subscription with a supplier? Now you have to honor it!
    This is the reason why companies are increasingly studying the behavior of their consumers, because they know that those who have previously purchased their product will be more inclined to respond to their own sales requests.
  3. Social proof
    According to the principle of social proof, people, in deciding what is right, try to know what is right for others. The explanation for this thought comes from ancient Greece, in particular from Aristotle. According to him, man is a social animal who tends to unite with others, both to improve his own skills and to increase his ability to survive. This is the same principle that pushes people to group together and  follow trends. This is the reason why, in the sales field, this lever is adopted more and more often, by the most skilled sellers.
  4. Likeability
    “People prefer to say yes to those they like.”
    This is a level based on the importance of basing your sales strategy on likeability, on the ability to put the buyer at ease by also adopting weapons of a sense of humor or irony. When we find the same levers in common with the person we are trying to persuade our powers of persuasion increase.
  5. Authority and charisma
    “We tend to follow the advice of an expert or a person we believe to be authoritative.”
    This is a fundamental aspect in sales techniques. Just as in everyday life we ​​trust the blueprints provided to us, we are inclined to place greater trust in a product promoted by an expert in the sector. A well-known, authoritative person who, with his status, leads us to trust his opinion.
  6. Scarcity
    “Only 3 left!”
    The desire to grab the last product of the stock is always very strong. For this reason, any message that makes us notice the scarcity of an object we are looking for puts us on alert and makes us perceive a real danger, stimulating us to purchase.

Cialdini’s text remains, without a shadow of a doubt, an illuminating book. Because, after all, there are things that once learned are impossible to ignore and that will change our approach both in the workplace and in our behavior with others. 

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