How Your Decisions Are Influenced

Kevin Donnellon

Ron Culp enjoyed my recent newsletter and asked me to adapt it for a guest post that would have relevance for young professionals. Here goes:

Social media posts, mainstream news and emails continue to overwhelm us with news, entertainment, information and sometimes education. It’s enough to make you avoid your inbox.

Nonetheless, it is important to understand that this situation is creating a new decision process in which we all take short cuts to comply, agree, or buy based on a single piece of information or triggers, that’s according to “Influence” by renowned social psychologist Robert B. Cialdini. Cialdini believes that the most reliable and the most popular triggers for our decision making include these six principles. I feel they apply when working with your team and with your clients’ business opportunities:

1. Reciprocity – we are obligated to the future repayment of favors. This is best exemplified by Amway who offers prospects a product sample bag for a week trial to affect purchases. Do you look to contribute more to the success of your team by taking on extra assignments or a heavier workload? Do you offer someone who is interviewing you a piece of information that might grow his business?

2. Commitment and consistency — when a person commits, he or she will be consistent to that commitment. “Get it in writing” shows this principle which auto dealers use to successfully sell cars. Do you ask your supervisor for specific directions before you begin a project and then ask for feedback on your completed project?

3. Social proof — the greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more a given individual will perceive the idea to be correct. This is reflected in the claims of the “nation’s leading or top-selling product or service.” Do you seek confirmation of your idea from your team and even better from a client’s social community?

4. Liking – people buy from friends and someone they like. Tupperware parties are all about this principle. How do you build rapport with your clients and team members? Take a minute (when you have one) to make this a priority. By the way, a birthday greeting (card or e-card) can be the most powerfully simple rapport builder.

5. Authority we follow a leader, especially one with a genuine or perceived expertise. Every diet treatment or exercise plan uses this principle on infomercial. How and when do you lead, and do you inspire or scare people? Inspiration always prevails.

6. Scarcity — people assign more value to opportunities when they are less available. Think Ipod or products available on a limited time offer and scarce baseball cards. Okay, be the expert and even the top expert in what you do at your firm. Is it social customer service? Is it social media research? Be distinctive, and you will be scarce, needed and valued.

So, what are you waiting for? How can you have more influence in your position? And by the way, I am sure you can see how this works in your client marketing strategies too.

Read Influence and you will be impressed and inspired by these triggers in action and how they could help grow your influence in your career and your clients’ business.

Long-time friend Kevin Donnellon operates Macali Communications, which helps brands succeed at golf marketing and other communications.  

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