Book Review: “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Pursuasive” by Steve J. Martin & Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini

This is a great follow-on book to the “Influence” book by Cialdini. It offers more practical solutions to merely identifying the subtleties in influencing others. The key concepts are: social proofing, loss aversion, perceptual contrast, choice reduction, reciprocation, emotional effects on decision making, and etc. The summary for each of the 50 proven ways are below:

1. Social proofing (following herds): “Operators are waiting, please call now.” => “If operators are busy, please call again.”
2. “The more similar that person giving the testimonial is to the new target audience, the more persuasive the message becomes.”
3. Focus the audience on all people who engage in positive behavior instead of negative one.
4. To prevent “magnetic middle” (norm), show appreciation (add a “smiley” face) or praise those whose behavior is desirable (e.g. consumers less electricity, arrives work on time).
5. Too many choices may be overwhelming. Reducing the choices may help.
6. The perceived value and desirability of the bonus gift as a standalone product can sharply decline, when consumers are offered a bonus gift. Show them the value of the gift.
7. When consumers must make a decision between two products, they often compromise by opting for the less-expensive version. Adding a higher-end products satisfy two purposes: meet the high-end needs of a small group of current and future customers and the next-highest-priced model will most likely be considered attractively priced, as a compromise.
8. Ad campaigns that inform potential customers of threats that a company’s goods or services can alleviate should be accompanied by clear, specific, effective steps that can take to reduce the danger.
9. You’ve offered a favor for a person, that person is going to feel obligated to return the favor. But follow through with your promise.
10. An ounce of personalized extra effort (like a hand-written post-it note) is worth a pound of persuasion.
11. Give a significant gift that is unexpected and personalized.
12. When we’re trying to solicit cooperation from other people, we should offer help to them in a way that’s unconditional and no-strings-attached. This ensures the cooperation you do receive is built o a solid foundation of trust and mutual appreciation.
13. What can be done to maximize the value of a favor we provide if its value might diminish in the eyes of the receiver over time? Gentle reminder like “How useful did you find the report I sent you?”
14. Start with a small step and gradually increase the request. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
15. Labeling technique: assigning a trait, attitude, belief, or other label to a person, and then making a request of the person consistent with that label.
16. Ask for a prediction (“Will you please call if you have to cancel?”) whether they’ll engage in a socially desirable behavior in the future. They’ll most likely behave consistently.
17. Writing down the commitment helps to increase the probability that it will be fulfilled.
18. Focus your message on how purchasing and using your products consistent with the audience’s pre-existing values, beliefs and practices. Point out that previous choices they made were the right ones “given the evidence and information they had at that time.”
19. Benjamin Franklin’s “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” People are motivated to change their attitudes in ways that are consistent with their behavior. Ask for a favor from a person who may not like you. You have nothing to lose.
20. Ask for donation, “even a penny will help.” Get the first little step.
21. On bidding, lower starting prices can actually lead to a higher final sale prices for 3 reasons: 1. more participants. 2. social proof for new bidders. 3. The early low bidders are more committed.
22. Get someone else to introduce you and your credentials to avoid self-promotion. Have the receptionist introduce the experience of the people he/she will be forwarding the call to. Have the credentials on the wall of the waiting room helps.
23. Leaders should seek input from all disciplines and make the final decisions but assures the team that each view will be considered in the process.
24. Pseudo dissenters (devil’s advocates) are not as effective as authentic dissenters. When coworkers and subordinates are not only feel welcome but are also encouraged to openly disagree with the majority viewpoint, the leaders create and sustain the best working environment for decision making. Have a little humility.
25. Training based on past errors is better than avoid negative consequences through good decision-making. Experience through simulation is better than just being lectured.
26. Turning weaknesses into strengths: Arguing against your self-interest (like Progressive Insurance, VW Beetle, Avis) create a perception of honesty and trustworthy. This puts you in a position to be more persuasive when promoting your genuine strengths. This works only if your weakness are genuinely minor ones.
27. Be sure to follow your discussion of a drawback with a positive aspect that’s related to, and that neutralizes, the drawback. When gate gives us lemons, we should try to make lemonade out it, not apple juice.
28. Organizations that attribute failures to internal causes (perceived to have greater control over its own resources and future) will come out ahead not only in public perception but in profits. Admit the mistake and come up with an action plan demonstrating that you can take control of the situation and rectify it.
29. We tend to feel especially positive toward subtle things that we associate with ourselves, such as our names. If you do share genuine similarities with someone, bring those to the surface in your discussions with that person before making your request of presentation.
30. If you’re designing a program, initiative, or product that being tailored for a specific client, you can harness the power pf people’s natural tendency to be attracted to things that remind them of themselves in the name, title, or label that you give it.
31. Mirroring the exact verbalization should result in better outcome for you both.
32. Authentic smile/attitudes result in better customer satisfaction. Following Benjamin Franklin’s “search others for their virtues” will help to make us like the customers/boss better.
33. People show a greater desire for an object (like Oldsmobile) or opportunity when they learn that it is unique, available in limited quantities, or obtainable for only a limited time. If you pass along information that is uniquely known by you, but fail to point out the exclusivity of the information, you could be losing an excellent opportunity to use an effective and ethical influence technique.
34. People tend to sensitive to possible losses than to possible gains – loss aversion. Point out what they will stand to gain in terms of opportunities and experience but also that they stand lose out on those very same factors. Instead of presenting an idea as a saving, you’re likely to be more persuasive if you frame the initiative in terms of losing the same amount of if it fails to get adopted.
35. “Because” is the magic word. Be sure to accompany your requests with a strong rationale, even when you think the reasons might be fairly clear. Ask your customers why they continue to use your business (saying “because to you), helps to strengthen the relationship.
36. Name one instead of 10 reasons to choose a BMW works better. Because the ease of difficulty of experiencing something as the “fluency” of that experience. Or oppositely, you can ask your audience to generate many reasons in favor of your rival’s offerings. The ease or difficulty of merely imagining using a product will also affect consumer’s decisions. Concrete images that affect the the target audience’s ability to visualize themselves using the featured product work better than abstract ones.
37. The power of simplicity in the naming of your product, your project, or even your company help you boost your performance and exceed your own earnings expectations.
38. Consider using rhymes in slogans, mottoes, trademarks, and jingles only not increase the likability of the message, but also its perceived truthfulness.
39. Prior experience colors perception – perceptual contrast. Be sure to discuss the merits of that better-fitting product at length after you’ve spent a much shorter period of time discussing another product, e.g. hot tubs vs. adding another room.
40. Customer royalty program: start with 2 stamps out of 10 possible stamps for a free one vs. 0 out of 8 stamps. One that has been started but not completed rather than one that has not yet begun meant that people felt more compelled to complete it. The closer people get to completing a goal, the more effort they exert to achieve that goal. People will more likely to stick with programs and tasks if you can first offer them some evidence of how they’ve already made progress toward completing them.
41. Products with unexpected descriptive (e.g. Kermit green) and ambiguous names (e.g. millennium orange) are regarded as more desirable than the common or common descriptive name.
42. Integrate the essential images, characters, or slogans of the ads into the in-store product displays and product packaging to avoid the Energizer/Duracell bunny confusion. Strengthen the message by placing the campaign’s logo on objects native to those settings (e.g. LED light ice cubes acts as a reminder of police car).
43. Use mirrors (or asking for name or picture of an eye) to persuade others in the most subtle manner to behave in more socially desirable ways.
44. Sadness activates the motivation in people to alter their circumstance, which might help them change their mood and get them out of their funk. Emotion lead people to become less sensitive to differences in the magnitude of numbers, but only the simple presence of absence of an event as opposed to the specific numbers that characterize the event. Take breaks if you experience emotionally charged. Offer to postpone negotiations with someone who has just had a negative emotional experience; you’ll strengthen your relationship by making yourself seem noble, caring and wise.
45. You’ll likely to make more accurate evaluations of others’ statements and will be generally more resistant to deceptive persuasion tactics if you minimize your distractions. Reduce multitasking when the stakes are high for these decisions and interactions with others are high.
46. You should make your presentations (with genuine, thoughtful, and well seasoned arguments) when people are most alert – shortly after they’ve had their morning coffee fix, and never right after lunch. But it takes 40 minutes for the full effect of caffeine to kick in.
47. Take time to disclose something personal about yourself and to learn something personal about your on-line counterpart, you’ll likely be able to benefit mutually in a negotiation. It’s okay to use a computer to persuade. Just don’t act like one when you do.
48. Individualism (US and other Western countries) vs. collectivism (Asian countries), affects the persuasion process. Campaigns should be tailored to fit the particular cultural orientation of the societies in which they take place.
49. People from individual cultures tend to give greater weight to their own personal experiences. People from collectivistic cultures tend to give greater weight to the experiences of close others.
50. Individualistic cultures place a greater emphasis on the informational function of communication, whereas collectivistic cultures place a greater emphasis on the relational function.