On any given day, each of us is confronted with a myriad of situations that can range from the mundane to the unusual. We quickly recognise, process, and react to these situations in a relatively automatic fashion.
We have all, at one time or another, fallen into the trap of doing things we didn’t want to do. For example, you may have ended up giving some cash to pan-handler who probably was just going to reinvest it in some booze; signed up for products you had absolutely no need for or let a person cut in line ahead of you for no justifiable reason.
In most instances, the reason what you did was because you weren’t thinking clearly. You responded in a more or less automatic fashion.
In times of rapid change and more information coming at us than we could possibly process, we tend to behave automatically. Yet it is our very ability to think through situations that allows us to discover what factors are influencing our behaviours and which ultimately enable us to change them.
As a business person, your ability to influence the actions and beliefs of others is of crucial importance. Each situation, though it may share many common features with others, is unique, with its own distinctive qualities. These qualities must be discovered through a thoughtful approach if you are to gain the maximum from each situation. Therefore, if you find yourself responding to similar circumstances in similar ways and in an unthinking, habitual manner, it may be time to reconsider your approach.
Learning new behaviour patterns takes time and energy. At first, you must engage in constant evaluation and re-evaluation of your behaviour.
It is important not to be constantly influenced by others. By the same token, it is impossible not to influence others. When therefore we discuss the issue of influence, we need not ask the question. “Do we, in the course of our interactions, influence one another?” A more appropriate question would be, “How, when, where, and why do we influence others?”
In his tape series, Instant Influence, Dr. Cialdini provides you with The Six Principles underlying the process of influence and tells you why they work. He also demonstrates the types of individuals who are eventually unsuccessful and unethical in the application of these principles to influence settings. These people either carelessly bungle or deceptively smuggle opportunities to use the six rules to persuade others.
Keeping in mind that it is best to avoid bungling and smuggling. Dr. Cialdini advocates a detective-like approach to influence. He explores in which instances (when) and in which situations (where) you can be entirely ethical and successful. This sleuth’s strategy is marked by a win win approach which benefits both parties in an influence scenario. It is the most potent method for both short and long-term gain and is an especially valuable tactic to learn for those employed in the areas of management and sales. Here are the six principles of influence in brief.
When we give something, whether it is information, food money or whatever, the other party is compelled to give back equitably what you have given in order to cancel out the obligation. Be the first to give service, information and concessions and your customers will repay in kind.
Possessing scarce or exclusive items, conveys information about one’s status, intelligence and wealth. As objects of some value become less available to people they increase in value. By being aware of the unique information that you possess and then using it strategically, you can harness the Rule of the Pare.
Authorities gain their power through conditioning – an experience common to us all. Even as adults, we become susceptible to individuals in positions of power. By establishing your business position through professionalism and credentials, you are more in a position to execute influence.
When deciding what to do in an unfamiliar situation, it is helpful to look to others in that situation for an answer. You can unleash people power by providing information on trends and similar mass movements of others and by showing evidence of others successes. Testimonials on how good your product is serve as social proof of the benefits of the product.
COMMITMENT & CONSISTENCY
We tend to like individuals who act consistently because it allows us greater control in a situation. When a person’s behaviour is relatively consistent, we know what to expect from them. By having your customers make a small commitment, you are more likely to be able to influence them to add to this commitment. Their need to stay consistent to their word comes into play here.
We tend to like (and be influenced by) people like ourselves. That is because they reinforce who we are, what we believe in, and what we value. Uncover similarities and opportunities for cooperation with your clients and you will not only achieve your goals, but also those of your customer.