Using Science to Persuade Others and Make More Sales

9 July 2013 - 17:51, by , in Inbound Marketing, No comments

Now I know what you might be thinking… Science and Sales don’t go together. Before a few weeks ago, I’d probably say the same thing. That is, until I was introduced to the work of Robert Cialdini, a Psychology and Marketing Professor at ASU, who wrote the book the Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

The art of persuasion is something every business owner, sales person, and marketer is looking to figure out. Essentially, how to get people to say yes to you more often so that you can close more deals and bring in more revenue. Cialdini has uncovered 6 universal laws that affect human behavior. Note: These universal laws only work if they are used in an ethical manner.

The Six Laws of Human Behavior are:

1. Reciprocity– People feel obliged to give back when they receive something. Cialdini uses this example: When you eat at a restaurant and the waiter brings you a mint with the bill their study shows that tips increase 3%, if the waiter brings two mints with the bill on average tips increase 14%. The key to using reciprocity to your favor is to be the first one to give and make sure the gift is personalized and unexpected.

2. Scarcity– People want more of the things they can have less of. When attempting to make a sale, most people only talk about the benefits of the product. However, as a sales person you should be talking about what makes your product/ service unique and what the customer stands to lose if they don’t buy your product or service.

3. Authority- People follow the lead of credible knowledgeable experts. Cialdini uses this example: In a study, a real estate office was able to increase the number of property appraisals and contracts that they wrote just by having the receptionist who answered customer inquiries say their colleagues credentials and expertise prior to transferring the phone call.

4. Consistency- Looking for and asking for small commitments that can be made. In his example: A study shows that when asked to display a drive safely sign on someone’s lawn, most people refused. However, in a neighborhood nearby they were able to get four times as many people to commit to putting a drive safely sign on their lawn. This is because ten days prior to being asked to put the sign on their lawn, the neighborhood nearby was first asked to put a small drive safely postcard in their window. The people already felt committed to the drive safely campaign therefore felt more obligated to put the sign on their lawn.

5. Liking– People prefer to say yes to those that they like. What determines if someone likes another? Cialdini’s research shows there are 3 important factors:

1. We like people who are similar to us.

2. We like people who pay us compliments.

3. We like people who cooperate with us towards common goals.

6. Consensus or more widely known as “Social Proof”- People will turn to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own. The example for this:
On an infomercial, they were able to increase sales just by changing the wording of the call to action from “Operators are Waiting, Please Call Now” to “If operators are busy, Please Call Again.”

Learn more about the Science of Persuasion (Video):

How does the Science of Persuasion relate to your sales and marketing strategy?

As it turns out content marketing follows these same rules of persuasion. This is why 91% of B2B Marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing to grow their business (Content Marketing Institute).

Let’s take a look at how content marketing uses the science of persuasion to influence buyers and make more sales:

  1. Reciprocity– Content marketers give away valuable insights about their product, service and/or industry to help consumers with the research phase of the buying cycle. In turn consumers build trust with the brand and when making a purchasing decision are more likely to come back to the company that helped them find the information they needed.
  2. Scarcity– If you’re the only company in your industry giving valuable information about the products and services you provide and they can’t find the information from your competitors, they are more likely to buy from your company.
  3. Authority– Content marketing helps to brand yourself and your company as a credible expert in your industry.
  4. Consistency– When at the top of the funnel consumers usually give away a little bit of information about themselves on a form- such as a name and e-mail. To push consumers towards the bottom of the funnel- you can ask them more information to figure out if they’re a qualified lead (for example: title & revenue). The consumers are more likely to give you more information about themselves because they’ve already given you information prior.
  5. Liking– Content marketing allows consumers to connect with a brand on a more personal level. By providing them more information up front and helping guide them through the buying cycle you are likely to connect on a level that most brands can’t achieve in their traditional marketing efforts.
  6. Consensus or Social proof– When someone shares your content, others look to that person as a trusted resource and are more likely to read it because they shared it.

Traditional push marketing tactics aren’t as effective as they used to be. Consumers are tuning out advertising because it doesn’t connect with them on a personal level or build trust with the brand. This is why inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.

Is your company going to keep employing traditional marketing efforts or transition to a strategy that can help you persuade your customers to buy and make more sales?


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