The Psychology of Persuasion


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Have you ever wondered why, when you don’t even want to attend a workshop but you still find yourself registering for it? Or when you make an unnecessary purchase, just because the salesman made it look like the perfect tshirt for you? The psychology behind persuasion is something that fascinates all of us, no matter where we are or what we do.

A month ago, I bought a gift for my friend from an online store. I found the perfect fragrance for him, but I was very sceptical because I wasn’t sure whether he’d like it or not. I spent a couple of days checking out the same product repeatedly. As I was scrolling down the website I came across a pop-up that said “Hurry! 70 buyers are eyeing this product. Last few left!” I immediately clicked on buy now.
Recently I came across an article about The Psychology of Persuasion. It instantly struck to me that my recent purchase was not because I had finally made up my mind. It was because online shopping functions entirely on principles of persuasion. As I realised 70 other customers were also checking out this product, I immediately felt like I was making the right choice. Plus, only a few left, meant that I couldn’t take so long to decide. This is a classic example of Social Proof and Scarcity. Each one of us experiences getting influenced, knowingly or unknowingly, all the time. Let us learn how to be on the other side, how to persuade effectively to build our brand.
There are 6 principles of Psychology of Persuasion as given by Robert Cialdini.

Reciprocation -

Nobody likes being indebted to others. It is human nature to give whatever we get, or atleast feel obliged to return favors. So essentially, if you give a person something, they are more likely to give you something in return. Think of all the times when you’ve recommended a restaurant to your friends just because they gave you a free cocktail.While selling a book for example, give the customer a free e-book initially and ask them to read it. Then ask them to purchase the book. Now that they’ve said yes to the free e-book they are more likely to buy the paid book.

Consistency and Commitment-

Haven’t we all frowned upon people displaying inconsistent behaviour? And we tend to favor those who’re consistent with their actions. According to this principle, we are more likely to say yes to a big request if we have already said yes to a smaller, similar request. To use this principle to expand your business, ask your customer to commit to a small action publicly (by posting on social media maybe). The next time they would feel obligated to use your product as they have already committed to you.

Social Proof-

We might disagree, but all of us have the herd mentality. We tend to follow others, do what others are doing. We tend to see what other people are doing or liking, and use that information to help us make decisions more quickly. Put out reviews, ratings, testimonials from your previous customers on your website. Show how your brand has been used and liked by many. People are bound to get attracted towards you if they find out you are socially approved.


Why are we so close to our best friend and not someone else? Because they share the same mindset as us. People we like tend to have the same beliefs, interests, and ideas as we do. Liking people can have a tremendous impact on how we make decisions. To have a greater impact on people, talk to them in a way they can relate to. Form a relationship. You will have a greater impact on others when they perceive you as their equal.

Authority -

It has been found that people follow things that come from authority figures, such as doctors in white lab coats, or our bosses in their suits and ties. Show authority through clothes, titles. Put out your credentials. Let people know who you are, what your position is. People respond better to an authority figure in the field than a common man.

Scarcity -

– It is the human tendency to perceive products as more valuable or desirable when their availability is limited, or when we merely think they are scarce. We have all rushed to buy items that are sold on a limited-time basis. Or those with a ‘limited edition’ label. Roll out products that would be sold on a limited basis. Customers respond to these better, they’re bound to purchase when there is a sense of urgency.

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