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Influence Summary

Here’s the Influence summary. Learn the psychological principles that are used for persuasion. Also learn how to protect yourself from common persuasion tactics.


Influence author Dr. Robert Cialdini explains there are 6 psychological principles of persuasion. Marketers have been using them for years. These principles are powerful.

If you’re aware of the principles, you’re well equipped to protect yourself from common tactics. You’ll also learn how to use persuasion principles for the good of others.

About the Author

Dr. Robert Cialdini has extensive knowledge in business, marketing, and psychology. His book Influence has already sold over 3 million copies.

This bestselling author and “godfather of influence” has worked with big organizations such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, NATO, and more. You can learn more about him through his Influence at Work website.

Main takeaways: Influence Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Use social proof to attract more people.
  2. Use scarcity to generate demand.
  3. Use reciprocity to get what you want.

Use social proof to attract more people

Notice that if a certain FB post has thousands of likes you’re more compelled to like it also. That’s the power of social proof.

If many people are doing something, it means it’s all right. You will feel safe. And you want to belong. That’s why you’ll see commercials where a lot of people use a certain product.

We always take cues from each other. One reason is that we don’t want to make a mistake. If many others are doing it, you’ll think it’s hard to go wrong.

Another reason is that we want to belong. We want more people that are like us. That’s why we join groups of many members. We have a tendency to avoid those groups with very few members.

Social proof is often used by companies. They often show how many fans or users they have. If you see those numbers, you’ll feel safe. You’re more likely to buy their product or service.

Use scarcity to generate demand

Many companies often use this. They provide a limited-time offer. Or they say buy while supplies last. They often include a deadline for their special offers.

If something is scarce, we value it more. If we feel that something is about to lose, we act. We feel the urgency. We don’t want to lose the opportunity.

Set a limited time offer and watch your sales soar. You’ll boost the demand for your product quickly. People will flock towards your store. They don’t want to lose the chance of getting a good deal.

There’s one thing related to scarcity that boost sales. That’s rivalry. We want to outsmart others. We want to get that thing before anyone else does.

Competition can also generate demand for your offers. People will want to get them before their neighbors do. You have a limited supply and they want to get it before the competition takes it.

Use reciprocity to get what you want

Here’s how reciprocity works. Give me something and I’ll give you a thing in return.

Why can’t you just get and give nothing back? We as humans feel compelled to take no favors without giving something back. Reciprocity helped our ancestors survive and unite.

That’s one of the reasons internet marketers provide a free ebook or email course. They give and give. When it’s time for the pitch, you’re more open to suggestions. You’re more likely to buy as a result.

Here’s the thing. Reciprocation doesn’t have to be a win-win for both parties. You can give a little and the other person might give something big.

We always feel the compulsion to give back. It’s “an eye for an eye” but in a positive way. The thing is that some people use reciprocity to get more from their prospects without fair value.

Here’s how you can use reciprocity for yourself and your business (in a good way). Add more value to each customer. Exceed her expectations. Give a lot and expect a little.

She might then support your business and tell about you to her colleagues. She will support your business because she’s delighted. You’ve exceeded her expectations.

Aside from using social proof, scarcity, and reciprocity, you’ll also learn the following from the Influence book:

  • How to use commitment and consistency
  • Why people follow authority even if the acts are objectionable
  • How to use liking to connect with a person
  • Why you should increase your prices
  • How to use contrast for your business

My personal takeaways

Psychological principles are powerful. They can be used for good or bad. If we’re aware of the persuasion tactics, we have a good defense. Those same persuasion tactics can also help us grow our business.

Some people prefer using the principles of persuasion for good. Their offer is good and valuable. They just want to make the offer more compelling. They believe it will truly help the customers.

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