Notes from reading: Influence by by Robert Cialdini

Cialdini to me appears to be father of social psychology. The book is one of the best and hugely recommended to anyone who is in selling business. {Are we all not selling business these days? 🙂 }. This book was recommended to me by Anurag 

I would strongly recommend each and everyone to read this book, it will only make us smarter and aware about what is happening around us.  What tricks marketers or influencers are applying on us, making us buy more.

These are some key notes from the book:

  1. All well known principle of human behavior behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason.  ex: Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I am in a rush?  the word “because” trigger an automatic compliance response. 
  2. The “expensive = good” stereotype had worked quite well especially to shopkeepers who are selling items to tourists on vacation in their country. Since those tourists have no prior information of the actual price of item hence “expansive = good” becomes de-facto measure of quality.
  3. Civilization advances by expanding the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them. Ex- e-commerce apps, social media sites like instagram, twitter and facebook.
  4. Contrast principle: Imagine visiting a store selling cloths and you want to buy a jeans and tie. You walk to sales guy and tell him what you are looking for. He will start showing you jeans first, once you buy jeans say for Rs 5000, you won’t mind paying Rs 900 for tie even though that would be the costliest tie in his store. This is because of Contrast principle, your mind gave up thinking about the price of Tie rather it compared price you paid for jeans to the price you are paying for tie.
  5. Reciprocation: In simple term, repaying the favor offered to us. It could be as simple as : if a couple invites us to a party, we should be sure to invite them to one of ours. 
  6. Rejection-then-retreat technique : You want me to agree on certain request. One way to increase your chances would be first to make larger request of me, one that most likely i will turn down. Then, after I have refused, you would make the smaller request that you were really interested in all along.
  7. Consistency: once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we would like to stick to it. Our mind will respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. The drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence,  often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests. EX: My friends b/f is an asshole, he fights with her almost every week still she continues living with him. she thinks he still is best person for her and things will get better in future. We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.   
  8. Commitment: If i can get you to make commitment, I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill considered consistency with earlier commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are consistent with the stand.
  9. Foot-in-the-door technique:  The tactic of starting with a little request in order to gain eventual compliance with related larger requests.
  10. Compliance professionals also know about the committing power of written statements.  Members of the staff at Amway are asked to set individual sales goals and commit themselves to those goals by personally recording them on paper.
  11. Evidence suggests that the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it.
  12. Whenever one takes a stand that is visible to others, there arises a drive to maintain that stand in order to look like a consistent person.
  13. Throwing a lowball: An advantage is offered that induces a favorable purchase decision; then, sometime after the decision has been made but before the bargain is sealed, the original purchase advantage is deftly removed. Automobile dealers have come to understand the ability of a personal commitment to build its own support system, a support system of new justifications for the commitments.
  14. Stomachs are not especially perceptive or subtle organs. Only when it is obvious that we are about to be conned are they likely to register and transmit the message.
  15. Social Proof:  We tend to stick or follow others in making decisions blindly.  Take an example: Each one of your friends buys house, you too will end up buying because you will feel Missing out and without realizing the ill effect of your decision you will follow the herd mentality.
  16. Pluralistic ignorance: The tendency for everyone to be looking to see what everyone else is doing can lead to a fascinating phenomenon. ex: Your chance of getting help on road accident is less because everyone is waiting or hoping for everyone else to act. Also each one think that the other person will help him.
  17. We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behaviour for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves. Another study found that children who saw a filk depicting a child’s positive visit to the dentist lowered their own dental anxieties principally when they were the same age as the child in the child.
  18. The most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allows the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favor.
  19. Like: We most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like.
  20. Physical attractiveness,  similarity, compliments, contact and cooperation some key areas which will increase your likeliness among peer, organizations.
  21. We are trained from birth that obedience to proper authority is right and disobedience is wrong.
  22. Notions of submission and loyalty to legitimate rule are accorded much value in each.
  23. When in a click, whirr mode, we are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance.
  24. Title: Titles are simultaneously the most difficult and the easiest symbols of authority to acquire.
  25. Cloths: A second kind of authority symbol that can trigger our mechanical compliance is clothing.
  26. Scarcity: When our freedom to have something is limited, the item becomes less available,  and we experince an increased desire for it. We need to make sense of our desire for the item, so we begin to assign it positive qualities to justify the desire.
  27. Our typical reaction to scarcity hinders our ability to think. When we watch something we want become less available, a physical agitation sets in. Especially in those cases involving direct competition, the blood comes up, the focus narrows, and emotions rise. As this visceral current advances, he cognitive, rational side retreats.