According to Dr. Robert B. Chialdini Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, there are 6 ways to Influence people. These universal principles govern how people make decisions. Like dynamite they can be used for good and for evil.
Why Weapons of Influence work
Because we are inundated with information today and we have to decide very quickly, we look for the fastest way to reach a decision. This leads to an automatic response according to what information we have at the moment. We don‘t take the time to look at the matter before us because we have so many other things to do.
This is why the Weapons of Influence work so well, because we automatically respond to external stimulus. So how can we help our customer to reach the decision that mostly benefits them? By knowing the following 6 Weapons of Influence and how they work.
- The first Weapon of Influence is Reciprocity
People always want to return a favor. So what can you give a potential customer? Is it as simple as a cup of coffee or a glass of water? No, because it has to be unexpected to invoke the rule of reciprocity.For instance you can educate your potential customer on your website by giving them information valuable to them. For instance how to plan their corporate meeting efficiently. Or how to increase ROI on the meeting invest. All this free as a gift.It is scientifically proven, that when a person receives a gift, they are inclined to return a much bigger favor. Hence the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. A small sample of cheese costing maybe 3 cents leads to the customer buying a pound of cheese for 5 dollars.
Here are some other small gifts that have big potential. For instance, you can send them a handwritten note or cover letter rather than a typed one. Send a ‘Looking forward to doing business with you’ card to a new client.
Place a postage stamp on an envelope rather than running it through the automated system in the post room (not only is this unexpected but it also communicates a sense of personalization as your message now comes from another person not a machine). Some venues even go as far as giving away free tickets to shows at their venue.
The most important aspect is the unexpectedness of the gift.
- The second Weapon of Influence is Commitment or Consistancy
We stick to our decisions. We will make up all sorts of stories to justify a decision. This is why it is so important to get the customer to visit your venue.During that visit you ask them how they see their event taking place in your venue. This automatically triggers the commitment and the customer will stay consistent with the picture they have made in their mind of how their event looks in your venue. This rule also explains why upselling works so well.Getting the initial consent from your customer to use your venue automatically lets you sell more services to the customer. Think about car sales. After the initial car sales is agreed the salesperson goes on selling more options to the customer.
- The third Weapon of Influence is Social Proof
We look to others to decide how we will behave ourselves. By pointing out which other companies similar to your potential customers company used your venue (and were happy about it), you make it easier for your customer to decide to use your venue. You can do this online too. Just post some recommendations from happy customers to give your venue social proof.You‘ve probably been influenced yourself when booking a trip by visiting Tripadvisor and seeing the comments posted by people that are like you.
- The fourth Weapon of Influence is Liking
We listen to the advice of our friends and family. Why? Because they are similar to us and we like and trust them. Paying compliments, cooperating with others and being similar in dress or speech lead to liking. This is also called rapport.Build rapport by trying to find out what your clients company does and commenting on that or try paying compliments.Always try to mirror your customer by the way you dress and behave. By doing this you get instant rapport and it it very easy to talk with your customer. It feels nice.
Just to be sure, this is not the same „liking“ as on Facebook!
- The fifth Weapon of Influence is Authority
So what are the signs of authority? First it can be the uniform of a policeman or it can be the status of an expert. Obviously you can‘t wear a uniform but you can at least wear a business outfit.You first establish yourself as an expert by letting the customer know what you and your company/venue have achieved. Even better is letting somebody else tell your customer what you have achieved. The important thing is to first establish yourself as „the authority“ or „expert“ and then conduct business transactions.You‘ve probably seen commercials where authority is borrowed by referring to other authorities like scientists in scientific studies.
- The sixth Weapon of Influence is Scarcity
We all want to avoid losing something. In fact we are twice as much adversed to losing than to gaining something as my other post explains. We think we are going to loose whatever it is that is scarce it if we don‘t react.Making something like the option on a meeting room scarce by placing a deadline on the option leads our customer to decide faster making it easier for everyone involved to plan a meeting in a timely manner. When making an irresistible offer always put a time constraint on it to invoke scarcity. Thats what the „for a limited time only“ offers are all about.
Use these Weapons of Influence to your customers benefit and you will increase your sales by at least 30%. Let me know how it worked for you by commenting below.