Weapons of Mass Persuasion – Part 2

In my previous post, I talked about Robert Cialdini’s “weapons of influence” (i.e. mass persuasion) and how you can use them to help build your event planning business. Have you given any of these a try yet? If not, perhaps learning about the final three techniques will inspire you to delve a little deeper into these powerful psychological concepts when it comes to marketing, networking and promotion of your business.

Authority – Doing what we are told, particularly when the directions come from someone we know and respect, is a powerful motivating force that has its roots way back in childhood. From the first time our parents said, “because I said so!” we have been groomed to obey people in positions of authority. Although some people are more strongly influenced by authority than others, and compliance can vary according to the situation, you can put this weapon of mass persuasion to use by citing authoritative sources to support your ideas. Be sure others know that your education and experience supports your ideas. Even associating with people in authority roles can have a tangential influence on how others perceive you and can add credibility to your ideas and position.

Liking – In marketing circles, it is a commonly known fact that people tend to do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you. People are often easily persuaded by people that they like and are more likely to buy a product or service (i.e. event planning) if they like the person selling it to them. Whether “liking” boils down something as simple and shallow as physical attractiveness or something as complicated as being able to build emotional rapport with others, there’s no doubt you’re better off maintaining a likeable personality. According to personal development and relationship expert Tim Sanders, other qualities that can enhance your likeability factor include friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness (authenticity). Here’s a link to a self-assessment quiz to see where you fall on the likeability scale: http://www.communicoltd.com/download/49_likeability_factor.pdf

Scarcity – This refers to the time-tested concept of the ubiquitous “limited time offer.” For nearly all of us, opportunities seem more valuable when they are less available. Hard-to-get things are usually perceived as better than easy-to-get things. (Maybe this explains the popularity of IKEA, which I am convinced is simply a Swedish term meaning “out of stock.”) To use the scarcity principle, try referring to limited resources and time constraints to increase the perceived value of the benefits of working with you. And because the possibility of losing something is a much stronger motivator than potential gain, let others (i.e. clients) know what they will be losing or missing out on if they don’t say ‘yes’ to your offer.

To recap, the six weapons of mass persuasion are reciprocation, commitment/consistency, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. These principles are incredibly powerful and can be combined in many unique ways. Use them in your marketing and promotional efforts or whenever you approach people you want to influence. And don’t forget to share your thoughts with us on how these concepts have helped your event planning business.

About the author:

Sean Moon brings more than 20 years of senior communications experience to the MediaEdge team. His experience includes several years as an editor with the Canadian Press, 10 years as the Corporate Communications Director of an international nutrition marketing company, several years in the magazine advertising industry and more than five years as a communications and PR consultant. He has also worked extensively in magazine production, corporate event planning, public relations and marketing communications.

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