Techniques of persuasion

5 persuasion techniques from Influence by R. Cialdini

Since its release in 2006, Influence by R. Cialdini
has sold in over 2 mln copies. It’s a classic for any marketer wanting to learn more about persuasion and how to use it in your business.

The main concept of the book is our automatic responses. Cialdini points that there are certain stimuli that cause in us automatic reactions.Knowing which stimuli can do it allows you to create the reactions you want.


Rather that pushing on your audience to engage in a particular behaviour, you create a stimulus that makes them willingly do that.
This way your audience doesn’t feel forced, everything feels natural to do them. It becomes their decision, they believe in it and they stick to it.

Based on this relations,In his book Influence, Cialdini identifies 6 triggers of influence:reciprocity, commitment & consistency, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity.

Let’s look at some of the main techniques presented in the book which are based on these 6 triggers.

Technique #1: Larger-Then-Smaller Request

Imagine you ran a shop with men clothing. A client comes in and interested in buying a suit. You show him your offer and you manage to sell a suit for $7,000. This is where you should move to the “larger-that-smaller request” technique. Buying that suit put your customer in a purchasing mode and now you can make another move and sell them more items, such as a tie for $200. Comparing to that $7,000, $200 seem like very little. Your chances of selling the tie, and cuff links and a belt and a wallet – just increased!

This technique is based on our biased perception of reality, which depends on comparisons that we make. A product that costs $100 will seem expensive if all the other products in the shop are under $50. But it will seem very cheap among the products priced $1000 and over.
Everything we perceive, we compare to something else. And it’s this comparison that alters our perceptions. By designing this comparisons ourselves, we have the power to design how our audience will perceive our products and services.

Technique #2: Rejection-Then-Retreat

This is a great technique to use in negotiations.
You start by making a huge offer, an unacceptable one. You know the other party will not agree to it. So you decide to make a concession for them.
You never wanted the initial offer anyways. It is an artificial level from which you start so that the actual request you want to make seems as a concession.
But once you do it, you trigger reciprocity. It will make the other party in negotiations feel obliged to make the same for you. If you made a concession for them, then they owe you the same. This is where the reciprocal concession takes place.

Concessions are very powerful, because their effects last long. A person starts feeling responsible for the agreement. They know that it’s their decision (concession or no concession) that will make a difference between a successful negotiation and a failure.
So they make this concession, they make the agreement and they get a personal satisfaction from it.
These feelings are strong and stay with us. And will influence our future deals with that person as well.

Technique #3: Foot-In-The-Door

It’s one of the favourite techniques of successful sales people.
Imagine you sell furniture. A new client comes in and tells you they are considering refreshing their living room’s look. You prepare the proposal for them, including new table, sofa, chairs, bookshelves. But you know that the client might feel overwhelmed. It is expensive, and after all – they are not fully sure if they want it.
What can you do? Use the “foot-in-the-door” technique!
Start by selling them something small – like a new table. As the table doesn’t cost that much, and a client likes it – you make a deal.
But this one purchase triggers “commitment & consistency” in your clients. They were not sure if they wanted to buy a new furniture for the living room, but by buying a new table they actually made a decision to do so. They will probably think now: Oh, we already have a new table, why don’t we get all of the new furniture.
Only now do you present your full offer. You client will be more open for it, as following with it will make them feel consistent with their initial action.

Technique #4: Low Ball

In this technique you start by offer your product or service at a lower price. This way you eliminate purchasing barriers so most likely your client will want to take up your offer.
The moment they decide to buy the product, something happens. In their minds they become owners of the product. Have you ever experiences a sudden surge of love towards something you’ve just got yourself? Once we make a decision to buy a product, we develop a series of reason why it’s the best product ever! We fall in love with it.
Once that mechanism kicks in, you proceed to the next step of the technique: you correct the price to the original one. If your client wants to keep the product, they will need to pay more. And as they now developed many reasons why they want it, they are more likely to do so.

This technique traditionally suggests “making a mistake” with the first price. You show your product with, let’s say, a 70% discount, and once a person is ready to buy, you inform them that unfortunately you made a mistake because this product is not on sale.

Not everybody might feel comfortably with this. But don’t worry, there are other ways to leverage the low ball technique.
You can give away samples and free trials for your product and services. While they last, your client can see and use the product and in the same as described above, they will develop a series of reason why this product is simply amazing. When the sample or free trial ends, they will be more likely to take up your full offer.

Technique #5: Mirror-And-Match

It is well knows that we are more likely to say yes if a request comes from somebody we know or like.
This technique will help you create a feeling of liking in another person – and so enjoy the benefits coming with it.

Marketers should always strive to create a close relationship with their audience. The second your audience likes you, your job have got half as easy.
There are techniques that can help you achieve it. Mirror-and-match is one such technique

To make another person like you simply mirror their behaviour. This will create a sensation that you are similar to each other and similarity causes liking (we like others like us). These are just the cues, not always picked up by our conscious mind, but subconsciously we do notice those small behaviour and we recognise the other person as “one of us”.
If you see a person leaning forward a lot, try doing that too. Or if a person starts smiling, smile as well.
It’s best if you wait a bit before you mimic another’s person behaviour, so it seems natural. You don’t want to seem like a robot repeating everything the other person is doing. And don’t overdo it. Just take a few thing and work on that.


The power of these 5 techniques lies in them leveraging people’s automatic responses. If used properly, they will help you get more of what you want – be it more customers, more subscribers or more followers on your blog and Facebook fan page.

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1 Comment

  • ashwin

    Reply Reply June 24, 2013

    another superbly written article magda, going to share it through my twitter and linkedin accounts

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