Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

I got this book when I heard I was going to be in sales and wanted to study some of the principles of selling. Turns out this isn't directly applicable but it was still an interesting read! Like the title says, this book is all about what makes us say "yes" to salesmen. There are basically six principles:

1. Reciprocation: used most infamously by the Hare Krishna people, if someone does something for you, you feel obliged to do something in return for them. I guess if you're doing flag day, you can try giving people the sticker first then asking for donations?

2. Commitment and Consistency: we are creatures of habit and it shows. If I say "I like animal" and the next minute someone from the SPCA comes looking for donations, I am much more likely to give because 'animal lover' is now part of my identity.

3. Social Proofs: it's the lemming thing, where we feel compelled to do or buy whatever else others are doing or buying.

4. Liking: this one is pretty intuitive too. It's much harder to say no to someone you like but a lot easier to do the same to someone you don't know or perhaps don't like.

5. Authority: I think this is especially prevalent in Asian societies (whether this is good or bad really depends on context and if the laws are good for us) but we are much more likely to listen to people we think are 'the man'

6. Scarcity: also the reason why I'm gaining weight, putting the words "limited edition" on something (like Japanese sweets) triggers something that makes us want to get whatever item that is.

Apart from explaining how we are persuaded, the book also teaches us how not to fall for these methods of persuasion. A lot of it is recognising it for what it is and reframing so we don't react instinctively.

This book was really informative and the information was delivered in an entertaining and easy to understand way. Even if you're not in sales, I think this book is worth reading because we are bombarded by sales all the time and knowing how we are being sold to can help reduce the number of impulse/regret buys.

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