10 Persuasion Techniques You Should Already Be Using
In today’s world of social media marketing experts, influencers, micro-influencers, and the constant onslaught of advertisers on television and online, someone is already trying to persuade you. Additionally, the news media, the arts, science, books and any other communication media is also persuading you, whether intentionally or otherwise. If you are not already well-versed in the techniques being used to persuade you on a daily basis, you are already behind the eight ball.
10 Persuasion Techniques
Perhaps the oldest trick in the book, reciprocation is used regularly as a form of persuasion. This technique takes advantage of your natural tendency to give back after someone has given something to you. A common example is someone buying someone else a drink at a bar or cafe. The person who got the “free drink” then feels obligated to reciprocate either in kind or some other way.
People respect authority. Whether you want to or not, you will pull your car over when a police officer turns his lights on behind you while you are driving. Failure to comply with authority usually has negative consequences and this fact is deeply embedded inside of you. If someone “looks the part” of an authority figure, chances are you are being persuaded by that person in some way, shape or form. Would you rather buy from a salesperson wearing a suit or a salesperson with worn out and dirty clothes?
What is the easiest way to make someone want something? Take it away from them. Scarcity takes advantage of this phenomenon by making something appear more scarce than it actually is. You might notice this with phrases such as limited time offer, one-day sale, or only 1 left in stock.
4. Social Proof
Since you were a kid you were being persuaded by social proof. If your friends were doing it or buy it, you were too. Not much has changed not that you are older. You are still being persuaded by what other people are doing. Some common examples you might see while surfing online are phrases like 20 other people are looking at this property (which also employs the scarcity principle) and recommended by 98% of people who purchased this product.
Another reason you pulled over when the police put his lights on—fear. At your core is a survival instinct and using fear as a method of persuasion takes advantage of this. You will often see this technique being used in advertisements to stop smoking with gory picture and insurance companies that are constantly reminding you that you are going to die.
This persuasion technique is a fairly obvious one that is often underestimated. You might think that somehow you are immune to the affects of seeing something over and over again. Unfortunately, no one is immune. When done right, repetition is quite useful as a persuasion technique and extremely effective. Geico comes to mind with their almost unlimited advertisement budget so you see them at every turn over and over again.
Another largely underestimated form of persuasion is the use of humor. You might think that someone is just being funny when that person is actually trying to persuade you. Many comedians excel at this and the myriad of late night talk show hosts that have used humor to persuade the hearts and minds of their viewers provided ample evidence. As the political season begins to heat up, keep this in mind when watching your favorite late night talk show for some good examples.
8. Facts & Statistics
You probably will not be surprised to hear that facts and statistics are persuasive. However, it is easy to overlook this as a persuasion technique because on its surface it appears so innocuous. It may be more obvious when you see 9 out of 10 dentists recommending a toothpaste, but much less obvious when you see that a snack bar has only 100 calories. In the latter example it appears that this is just a plain fact. However, portion sizes are carefully adjusted to appeal to you and the health-minded consumer is much more likely to buy a 100 calorie product when a 250 calorie product is right next to it.
Sometimes exaggerations seem so outlandish that it is hard to believe that you would be persuaded by them. When you were younger you might have told your parents you could not clean your room because you had a ton of homework. Perhaps someone told you once that they died laughing from a movie. You probably got out of your homework and you also probably watched that movie. Exaggeration works and next time you see a sign that says the best you might think twice now before buying into that claim.
Ethics is a subtle persuasion technique that can catch you off guard if you are not careful. It can also be used in a variety of ways. One way it can be used is that a person may take the high ground in order to persuade people. An example of this is when politicians emphasize important concepts like “freedom” or “equality.” If their opponent takes a stand against them it looks as if they are taking a stand against freedom or equality.
Another way you might see ethics used is when someone appeals to the character of a person. They may talk about how that person used to be a medical doctor saving lives or how they raised a large family working multiple jobs. This may have nothing to do with the conversation yet somehow you find yourself nodding your head in agreement.
Don’t Get Trapped
It can be easy to fall prey to these persuasion techniques. Being mindful of these various techniques can help you avoid being blindsided by them. Keep studying the techniques and keep on the lookout every single day to see them in action. Eventually these techniques will become part of your repertoire and not only will you be able to thwart them, but you will soon be using them regularly. You will even surprise yourself when you see that just by observing these techniques they soon become second nature.