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- People don't have time to evaluate situations, so rely on shortcuts. These can be exploited to elict behaviour normally associated with them.
- Knowing the trigger, you can cause the effect.
Something can be made to seem very different depending on what has preceded it.
- We feel obligated to repay in kind any favours we've received.
- Beware the unsolicited favour - it may be a ploy to gain a future favour in return.
- People will even return much bigger favours because this rule is so strong.
- We feel obliged to make a concession to someone who's made a concession to us, e.g.
- "Well if you won't do that, will you at least do this smaller thing?"
- This is rejection-then-retreat and invokes the contrast principle too.
- People on the receiving end feel better because they feel they caused the concession.
Commitment and Consistency
- "It's easier to resist at the beginning than it is at the end"
- Once we make a decision we feel a need to remain consistent with it. It saves us effort to re-evaluate all the issues involved.
- If you can make someone commit to something, they'll want to remain consistent with it later.
- If someone asks how you'd hypothetically react to something, you're likely to react the same way if that situation arose.
- This technique is about starting with small, apparently inconsequential commitment/compliance. Once someone has started on a particular course, larger commitments can be extracted, sometimes only in the same general vein.
- People need to believe they are the kind of people who would do x, y or z (e.g. they're adventurous, spontaneous, public-spirited, etc.) It changes someone's self image.
- E.g. if you can make a small sale to someone, you may be able to upsell because they've already decided to buy from you.
If other people believe us to be a certain kind of person, we want to live up to that image (if we accept it), i.e. be consistent with it.
We believe what we write
- This is why it can be effective to write goals down.
- Some salesmen get customers to fill in invoices or order forms to make them less likely to cancel.
Public pressure & effort
- The more publicly someone takes a position, the greater the pressure to remain consistent with it.
- The more effort that goes into making a commitment, the greater it's strength is likely to be (this is the purpose of initiations).
Owning the commitment
People need to own and take inner responsibility for a their actions. If there are large external rewards, they'll tell themselves they only performed the action for the reward and won't remain committed to it. This is why bribing children to comply is bad. They need to believe internally that actions are wrong for themselves.
Bait and switch
Some salesmen initially offer a very good price for something to get a commitment to buy. Then they'll discover "errors" in their calculations and inflate the costs. People will often accept this because they've already committed to buy. So even after the initial advantage is removed, and the terms have changed, the commitment remains.
- We look to others to see what the correct behaviour is in a situation.
- Some marketers try to manipulate us by suggesting something is popular instead of describing the logical attributes why one thing is better than another.
- The more people who find an idea correct, the more it is correct.
- The power of social proof is especially strong when people are unsure how to act in a situation.
- We are more likely to follow the behaviour of people who are most similar to us.
- We prefer to agree with the requests of people we like.
- People like to help their friends and will often do so even if their friend is absent and only their name is mentioned.
We like people who
- Are physically attractive - we assume they're good people
- Are similar to us, in almost any way
- Compliment us or tell us they like us
- Are familiar to us. By contrast competition and separation lead to hatred/disliking.
- We've eaten a meal with.
- Cooperating with other people can help us like them and be liked by them (hence "team-building" exercises). It's also how "Good Cop/Bad Cop" works.
- Salesmen may try to convince us they're "on our side" by trying to fabricate a feeling of cooperation between us and "them" (their bosses, etc.).
- Some salesmen may appear to argue against their own best interests - perhaps by trying to save us money, or by mentioning a shortcoming of their product, so we'll believe they're "on our side".
- Vincent the Waiter did this - "Oh, that's not that good tonight. May I recommend this (cheaper) alternative instead?"
The Power of Association
- We dislike those who bring us bad news but like those who bring us good news.
- People assume we possess similar traits to our friends ("Birds of a feather stick together").
- This is how celebrity endorsements work.
- If we surround ourselves with successful people, others will infer that we are successful too.
- As with anything, we seek what we lack, so those who feel low self-worth may especially try to surround themselves with successful people.
- Adults will do almost anything on the command of authority. We're trained from birth to comply.
- We are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as we are to actual authority figures.
Authority and Status
- Physical size is related to status. We perceive higher status things as being bigger. Conversely, taller people may be perceived as being of higher status.
- We are also susceptible to titles, clothing/uniforms, the trappings of authority and status.
- Con-artists take advantage of the fact that most of these can be easily faked.
- "The way to love anything is to realise that it might be lost"
- People are motivated more by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something. So stress what they might lose.
- It works because people assume that if something's good, others will want it too. We also hate to lose freedoms that we already have.
- Limited number - Some salesmen may go to an extreme and tell the people the item they're looking at has already been sold (but then they can miraculously find another one once the punter has said they'd buy one if the salesmen can find one).
- Deadline - "Must end tomorrow", etc.
- Dangle the carrot - Dangle the carrot, take it away again ("Ah, sorry I've just been told that one's been taken"), then give them a chance to hold of it urgently, hoping you'll buy it without thinking too much ("I've just found another and called you first. Do you want to buy it before someone else does? It'll go quickly...").
- We want what we can't have, especially if at one time we did have it.
- We'll tend to value things more if we lose then get them back again.
- A drop from abundance to scarcity creates a stronger reaction than constant scarcity.
- Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight.
- We also value limited information. Information becomes valuable if we believe it's not commonly known.
- Information on impending scarcities is especially powerful if we tell someone that we shouldn't about it.
- When things become scarce as a result of genuine demand by others they become most desirable.
- Being in direct competition for something hightens our desire for it.
- Scarcity + rivalry = strong competition
- Salesmen often fabricate other bidders to stimulate this.
- "The joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity, but in possessing it"