Influence:Psychology of Persuasion

Did the title catch you? Why is it only available for a Limited Time?

It was probably enough to get you to click on the link, right?

Remember that annual sport-shopping event called Black Friday?

Why do seemingly sane, smart, conscious people suddenly transform into frenzied and psychotic shoppers?

What is this invisible force that's causing them to push and shove each other over that $200 32-inch 3D-LCD TV?

Shoppers fighting each other for that awesome deal!

Don't they realize that, when the metaphorical dust clears, they probably wont want that TV in the first place,  and most will simply dig themselves further into mind-numbing credit card debt?

As an internet marketer, this is probably your fault.

You are consciously aware of what drives monkey-brains to salivate over the latest gadgets. Simply put, you know how to influence others to act in a certain way…

The big boys know how to do it, and so should you!

So if you want the super powers of magically influencing ‘consumers' to buy your magical wares, then read on!

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert Cialdini

I heard about this book from an internet marketing affiliated with the Jesus of self-development himself: Tony Robbins, whom incidentally pulls in 6-figure digits on a monthly basis. As such, I had to follow through with reading this… ultimately a masterpiece, of important psychological concepts for ALL marketers and sales people.

Psychology of Persuasion is exactly what the title implies. How do you persuade people to do something? More importantly, in the context of this blog, how do you get them to take an action, either submit their email, make a phone call, buy something, or even convince their friends to buy it as well?

First published in 1987, the concepts are very much applicable today, because they still relate to our monkey brains, which are easily influenced. These concepts are:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment & Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity.

With the annual Black Friday mass-consumerism frenzy past, and the holiday shopping season coming up, bringing these concepts to your conscious awareness, will make you think twice about your next decision (ie. do I need that $200 32-inch 3D LCD TV?).

So what is…


Give a little, get a little bit more. You know those free samples we love getting at events? What about free internet content? When you give a little, people tend to feel indebted, even slightly, and ultimately ‘reciprocate' in some way. A great example in the book, involves asking for a donation, after giving a canned drink to a potential doner. Those that received the drink donated WAY more than, those that did not, despite the relatively low cost of the drink. In internet marketing, you see a lot of free eBooks  in exchange for emails, which is a fairly common practice.

Commitment and Consistency?

Getting someone to commit, orally or in writing, increases their likelihood of following-through. Get them to commit multiple times, and you increase that likelihood even more. In the self-development world, it's recommended you write down your goals, with some psychologists recommending reading over the goals multiple times through the goal duration. The Chinese used this psychological trick to convince American prisoners of war to slowly become pro-communist and anti-capitalist, by having them gradually, and consistently write down small anti-capitalist statements. With internet marketing, you have email lists, which gradually convince you towards a product or service purchase. Ultimately, you rationalize that it is in your best interest.

Being consistent can convince you into believing things

Social Proof?

Ever seen a celebrity strutting around, with an army of fans, and security, yet you have no idea who it is, YET, you still want a picture or autograph? What about those nieve moments in the night club, seeing some guy surrounded by girls… he must be rich, and successful, etc etc. Right? Wrong. The celebrity status, and cool status simply comes from the imaginary perception of you and those around you. It gets worse when that status is amplified by dozens, if not hundreds of fans. For IM, this is called a testimonial, which is incredibly powerful for encouraging an action. Have 1-2 convincing testimonials, and you get social proof.

Social proof can trick you


You listen to your doctor right? What about your mechanic, computer technician, software guy? All of these people are ‘perceived' experts in their field, therefore you listen to them, and take action on what they say. Well, your doctor can be wrong sometimes too (they are only human), thus mistakes can be made. In the self-development niche, Tony Robbins is considered an authority, because he absorbs, studies, and relays the self-development information to the community. For IM, if there is a specialist in the niche, then you typically listen and read to their advice and strategies, such as Pay Per Call Marketing 🙂

Authorities are experts, but not necessarily right.


Have a cool, fun friend, or do you follow someone on YouTube on a regular basis? You've probably grown a liking to them (an attachment of some kind), and will listen to what they say. You are more likely to take advice from, and buy things from people you like, even if you don't need these things. Multi-level marketing also employ this tactic, by having ‘friends' enroll their friends into pyramid schemes. Attractive people can make you buy things as well (we like attractive people, it's a monkey-brain stereotype). IM'ers can become liked from social-media, blog posts, and simply developing a brand of personality.

Likable Con-Artist Swindling Your Grandparents

And finally Scarcity…

No matter how smart you think you are, this one can still catch you off guard. ‘Only available for a limited time', ‘limited edition', ‘only 3 left', ‘70% off for a limited time'. This is what drives insane consumerism during the shopping seasons, that can cause violence, competitive shopping, and insane debts. I will admit, I bought my first car, because I wasn't sure if I could afford it later, or would have the time later, thus getting a really terrible deal. Scarcity drives demand, and it drives sales. We don't usually know when the scarcity is simply faked to drive sales (ie. digital product sales… only 3 left… Frank Kern), the scarcity is psychological (that other person might buy that laptop if I don't buy it now), or it's actually physically limited (cheap plane tickets). IM experts can use a release-day bonus, or seasonal discounts to encourage scarcity.

What An Internet Marketer Sees During A “Sale”

So who do you need to watch out for the most?

Doctors who you like, whom others like as well, who offer you free stuff, although that free stuff is limited. Yep, this combination can be dangerous.

Ultimately, uninformed people fall into these ‘psychology of influence' traps, because our brain sometimes needs to make decision shortcuts. When you are sick, following your doctors advice is essential, or if you are trying to improve yourself, then consistency and commitment are important. But when you are caught off guard by a salesman, with a tactic such as ‘limited time', or ‘free sample', then be prepared to fight off your monkey-brain automated responses.

Do I recommend ‘Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini? Yes!

As usual, pick it up from your library, or book store, before it's too late!

Anyways, I'm off.



Quote of the Day:

“The customers, mostly well-to-do vacationers with little knowledge of turquoise, were using a standard principle—a stereotype—to guide their buying: “expensive = good.”

― Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


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1 Comment

  1. Love this post mate. Authority is a tough one to come by in IM unless you ‘fake it til you make it’ I find, but as you mentioned, the direct route is through sharing your expertise, as you do with Pay-Per-Call here. I’m trying to do that too but I’m struggling to find a more specific niche to settle down on, rather than IM in general. Some good food for thought, thanks.

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