clickI’v always had an interest in psychology and it’s partly due to the fact that my Mom is a guidance counsellor. I remember going through her psychology books as a child and being fascinated by them. Psychology helps us understand human behaviour which is very important if you’re in sales or marketing and as far as i’m concerned everyone is in sales. Whether you are a small business owner trying to generate business, an employee selling your skills to an employer or a trader. No matter what you do, we all need, and should be interested in sales and marketing. When you understand the ways through which people are influenced to patronise something, you can use it in your marketing efforts.

So what influences people?

These principles reveal things about human nature that you can use to your advantage in your business or to promote your ideas.

Reciprocity – This means that when we are given something, we naturally feel the need to give back. This is because we are uncomfortable with feeling indebted to people. Test this and send text messages to people on your phone. More than half will text back. If i re-tweet you or like your comment on facebook, you will feel inclined to re- tweet me or like something i put up. It’s the principle in action. If you are in a relationship and you consistently take more than you give, sooner or later it will dissolve because there is no reciprocity. In business, if you provide something of value to customers, they are more likely to provide you with their business in return. Please reciprocity isn’t bribery. You can apply this principle in your business by giving free gifts or samples of your product or service to potential customers

Authority – When we view someone as an authority we are more likely to trust and follow their opinions and suggestions simply because we believe the person is credible. An example is the fact that we believe what the doctor tells us. It is also why people give job titles, uniforms and accessories like cars to give themselves an air of authority. Build yourself as an authority in your field.You can also amp it up in your business by getting endorsements/testimonials from celebrities or experts in your field. For careers getting referees,mentors or sponsors helps.

Consistency – This explains the need to remain consistent with the image we project to the world even to the extent of doing things that are clearly not in our best interests. It is what causes people to stick to a bad decision or relationship. It also explains why it’s easier to keep an existing customer than gain a new one. If you can get people to make a commitment to you, they are more likely to buy from you (eg get them to buy a form). In business you can make use of loyalty programmes to reward your customers for staying with you. Regularly celebrate friends that have stood by you.

Social Proof – As humans, there’s the tendency to try and fit in. We decide if our behaviour is correct to the degree we see people like us performing that behaviour. If we enter a place (eg a restaurant), we watch to see what others are doing and then we follow suit. We are more likely to go to work late if others are doing the same. It is the “me too” syndrome, the “i better pass my neighbour” syndrome. The more social proof(ie show other people who have done it or are doing it) you can attach to your business or yourself, the more people you will attract and will be inclined to jump on your bandwagon. It can take the form of customer testimonials, facebook likes, twitter followers etc.

Scarcity – This goes back to the formula of supply and demand. It refers to the fact that opportunities seem more valuable when they are less available. Examples in business include while stock lasts, sales end today, you can make use of limited offers/editions. In personal relationships show that your time is valuable.

Liking – This last principle says that we are easily influenced by people we like. Every relationship whether personal or professional stands a higher chance of success if both parties like each other. It explains why the best sales people are likeable, friendly and put people at ease. If people like you or what you’r doing, they will associate with you.

These principles created by Robert Cialdini are just some ways you can influence others. Also have this at the back of your mind when people are trying to influence you. Please don’t try to deceive or manipulate people with these principles, cause you will not be able to fool them for long. You will fail if you sell something you can’t consistently deliver. Integrity is important.

Do you have any other ideas that can be used to influence people? Please share in the comments.

Emem Ita

Emem Ita

Hello, my name is Emem. I'm a marketing & social media strategist with a flair for reading, research, pretty shoes and luscious cake.

Learn how to turn your knowledge & expertise into income by building online influence. Interested? Simply send an SMS now with your name & email to 08061683126
Emem Ita
About Emem Ita

Hello, my name is Emem. I'm a marketing & social media strategist with a flair for reading, research, pretty shoes and luscious cake.

Learn how to turn your knowledge & expertise into income by building online influence. Interested? Simply send an SMS now with your name & email to 08061683126


  1. Robert Smith says:

    I recommend two books by Robert Cialdini: “50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive” & “Influence-The Psychology Of Persuasion”. These books will really help you take your marketing to the next level as well as improving your networking & interpersonal skills.
    Here’s my two cents:

    Reciprocity-Get in the habit of giving without the expectation of receiving anything back. When you get to the point when you truly do this from the heart, you will be amazed at what you receive in return, not only financial gain but an increase in personal & business relationships as well.

    Authority-You can gain authority with other people by being authentic with your relationships. Be truly interested in what the other person has to say & realize you can benefit from what they have to say or offer. You will gain knowledge & will be able to offer more of what your customers and clientele find valuable thus increasing your credibility & integrity. Your authority will gain momentum exponentially as you are able to offer testimonials about your services or products.

    Consistency-People need consistency from you in order to build trust in you. They need to know that you will guarantee your product or services with a prompt response & provide them with what they expect from you every time.

    Social Proof-This reflects back to the last three items; reciprocity, authority, & consistency. Once you have this, people will talk about you & recommend you. Just as your authority will gain momentum exponentially as I mentioned above, your social proof will do the same.

    Scarcity-Scarcity works. Think about the thousands of people that line up to buy limited sale items during the Thanksgiving Holidays. If you provide a product or service that is truly scarce because of a limited time frame or limited supply, combined with your social proof you gain through the other items listed above, you can entice your list of buyers to purchase at a higher price &/or more of your product.

    Liking-People will go out of their way to do business with you & even pay more for your product over someone else’s product if they like you.

    As mentioned in the last paragraph above, none of these techniques will work for long if you don’t go about honing them honestly & with a sincere heart. Think of it as building your reputation & integrity organically as opposed to trying to buy your way to the top with dishonest advertising & claims. The latter will soon collapse in failure when your dishonesty & insincerity are discovered.

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