This is part of a series of information/stories delivered from the INCREDIBLE book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini. If you work or live a life where you have to get people to do thing, Influence studies and explains the 6 most powerful forces to persuade people. No other book has been recommended to me more, by people smarter than both of us.
In short, they are:
2) Social proof
3) Commitment & Consistency
4) Liking: People prefer to say ” yes” to those they know
And they will be a game changer for you and your business.
Today we elaborate on Liking.
we most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like. The clearest illustration I know of the professional exploitation of the liking rule is the Tupperware party, which I consider the quintessential American compliance setting. Anybody familiar with the workings of a Tupperware party will recognize the use of the various weapons of influence we have examined so far: reciprocity (to start, games are played and prizes won by the partygoers; anyone who doesn’t win a prize gets to reach into a grab bag for hers so that everyone has received a gift before the buying begins), commitment (each participant is urged to describe publicly the uses and benefits she has found in the Tupperware she already owns), and social proof (once the buying begins, each purchase builds the idea that other, similar people want the product; therefore, it must be good).
The real power of the Tupperware party comes from a particular arrangement that trades on the liking rule. the true request to purchase the product does not come from this stranger; it comes from a friend to every woman in the room. What is interesting is that the customers appear to be fully aware of the liking and friendship pressures embodied in the Tupperware party. Some don’t seem to mind; others do, but don’t seem to know how to avoid them.
In fact, we find that such professionals seek to benefit from the rule even when already formed friendships are not present for them to employ. Under these circumstances, the professionals’ compliance strategy is quite direct: They first get us to like them.
There is a man in Detroit, Joe Girard, who specialized in using the liking rule to sell Chevrolets. He has been called the world’s “greatest car salesman” by the Guinness Book of World Records. For all his success, the formula he employed was surprisingly simple. It consisted of offering people just two things: a fair price and someone they liked to buy from. “And that’s it,” he claimed in an interview. “Finding the salesman they like, plus the price; put them both together, and you get a deal.” In fact, he famously sent every past customer a note card every month that just said “I like you.”
What are the factors that cause one person to like another person? Fortunately, social scientists have been asking the question for decades. Their accumulated evidence has allowed them to identify a number of factors that reliably cause liking. A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others. And the evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic.
Good-looking people are likely to receive highly favorable treatment in the legal system. Researchers rated the physical attractiveness of seventy-four separate male defendants at the start of their criminal trials. When, much later, the researchers checked court records for the results of these cases, they found that the handsome men had received significantly lighter sentences. In fact, the attractive defendants were twice as likely to avoid
jail as the unattractive ones. In another study—this one on the damages awarded in a staged negligence trial—a defendant who was better looking than his victim was assessed an average amount of $5,623; but when the victim was the more attractive of the two, the average compensation was $10,051. What’s more, both male and female jurors exhibited the attractiveness-based favoritism.
Also, we like people who are similar to us. This fact seems to hold true whether the similarity is in the area of opinions, personality traits, background, or life-style. Consequently, those who wish to be liked in order to increase our compliance can accomplish that purpose by appearing similar to us in any of a wide variety of ways. Dress is a good example. Several studies have demonstrated that we are more likely to help those who dress like us.
As trivial as these similarities may seem, they appear to work. One researcher who examined the sales records of insurance companies found that customers were more likely to buy insurance when the salesperson was like them in such areas as age, religion, politics, and cigarette-smoking habits.
Another strong took is Flattery. Finally, unlike the other types of comments, pure praise did not have to be accurate to work. Positive comments produced just as much liking for the flatterer when they were untrue as when they were true. Apparently we have such an automatically positive reaction to compliments that we can fall victim to someone who uses them in an obvious attempt to win our favor.