June 24, 2008

Universal Principle of Influence #6: Liking

The first law of sales is to come to like the people you're dealing with. Because once people recognize that we like them, everything changes in their reaction to our proposals and recommendations and suggestions. They [recognize] they're safe, in the hands of somebody they know likes them. --- Robert Cialdini

Professor Robert Cialdini identified six universal principles of influence: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Consensus and Liking. This time, we're looking at #6: Liking.

We are influenced by people who like us and are like us. Clients want authorities who like them.

At Tupperware parties, guests are twice as likely to buy because they like the hostess than because they like the products.

Through detective work, we can find connections that create true liking in both directions. We can use
  • similarities: they are like us
  • compliments: they like us
"Prospects were more willing to purchase a policy from a salesperson who was akin to them in age, religion, politics, or even cigarette-smoking habits" --- American Behavior Scientists (1963)
You want to create early bonds by mutually discovering common interests (e.g., hobbies, sports teams, music, etc). This creates a presumption of goodwill and trustworthiness will help you from then onwards.

We are all motivated by a keen desire for praise. --- Marcus Tullius Cicero (BC 106 - 43)

The sweetest sound of all is praise. --- Xenophon (BC 431-350)

Praise does wonders for our sense of hearing. --- Arnold H. Glasgow

Charm and disarm through genuine praise. False praise also works, but not as well.

You can find something to sincerely admire in everyone. Value something the other person values. As Cialdini says, "Ask ourselves, 'How can I come to like this person, genuinely?' then both sides win."

... a study [in 1976] of the Canadian federal elections found that attractive candidates received more than two and a half times as many votes as unattractive candidates. ...[V]oters do not realize their bias. In fact 73 percent of Canadian voters surveyed denied in the strongest possible terms that their votes had been influenced by physical appearance. --- Robert Cialdini
Like it or not, admit it or not, physical attractiveness affects liking too. We think good looking means good. If cosmetic surgery is too much of a sacrifice, try familiarity. Repeated contact facilitates liking too.


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