students. I wanted to find out which psychological principles influence the tendency to comply with a request. (Location 40)

the world of compliance professionals—sales operators, fund-raisers, recruiters, advertisers, and others. (Location 52)

The principles—consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity— (Location 68)

Chapter 1 WEAPONS OF INFLUENCE (Location 93)

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. —ALBERT EINSTEIN (Location 96)

A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do. (Location 148)

Note: Provide a reason for any favour asked

Just as the “cheep-cheep” sound of turkey chicks triggered an automatic mothering response from maternal turkeys—even when it emanated from a stuffed polecat—so, too, did the word “because” trigger an automatic compliance response from Langer’s subjects, even when they were given no subsequent reason to comply. (Location 159)

Price alone had become a trigger feature for quality; (Location 169)

You and I exist in an extraordinarily complicated stimulus environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed on this planet. To deal with it, we need shortcuts. We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event, and situation we encounter in even one day. (Location 183)

we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present. (Location 186)

The contrast principle affects the way we see the difference between two things that are presented one after another.

if the second item is fairly different from the first, we will tend to see it as more different than it actually is. (Location 267)

Tags: contrast

So if we lift a light object first and then lift a heavy object, we will estimate the second object to be heavier than if we had lifted it without first trying the light one. (Location 269)

Tags: relative

Note: Our perceptions are all relative

It is much more profitable for salespeople to present the expensive item first, not only because to fail to do so will lose the influence of the contrast principle; to fail to do so will also cause the principle to work actively against them. (Location 298)

Tags: anchor

Note: Present the expensive item first

In the wake of a fifteen-thousand-dollar deal, the hundred or so dollars required for a nicety like an FM radio seems almost trivial in comparison. (Location 314)

The trick is to bring up the extras independently of one another, so that each small price will seem petty when compared to the already-determined much larger one. (Location 316)

Note: Bring up all the extras individually

Chapter 2 RECIPROCATION The Old Give and Take…and Take (Location 340)

Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON (Location 343)

The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. (Location 352)

Each of us has been taught to live up to the rule, and each of us knows about the social sanctions and derision applied to anyone who violates it. The labels we assign to such a person are loaded with negativity—moocher, ingrate, welsher. (Location 389)

The rule possesses awesome strength, often producing a “yes” response to a request that, except for an existing feeling of indebtedness, would have surely been refused. (Location 411)

Tags: reciprocation

The rule for reciprocity was so strong that it simply overwhelmed the influence of a factor—liking for the requester—that normally affects the decision to comply. (Location 422)

This benefactor-before-beggar strategy has been wildly successful for the Hare Krishna Society, producing large-scale economic gains and funding the ownership of temples, businesses, houses, and property in 321 centers in the United States and overseas. (Location 449)

As a marketing technique, the free sample has a long and effective history. In most instances, a small amount of the relevant product is provided to potential customers for the stated purpose of allowing them to try it to see if they like it. (Location 488)

Tags: consistency

Note: Use free sample to convince people to purchase products

The beauty of the free sample, however, is that it is also a gift and, as such, can engage the reciprocity rule. (Location 490)

The rule was established to promote the development of reciprocal relationships between individuals so that one person could initiate such a relationship without the fear of loss. (Location 545)

“There is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive, and an obligation to repay. (Location 549)

Although the obligation to repay constitutes the essence of the reciprocity rule, it is the obligation to receive that makes the rule so easy to exploit. The obligation to receive reduces our ability to choose whom we wish to be indebted to and puts that power in the hands of others. (Location 551)

There is a strong cultural pressure to reciprocate a gift, even an unwanted one; but there is no such pressure to purchase an unwanted commercial product. (Location 591)

A small initial favor can produce a sense of obligation to agree to a substantially larger return favor. Since, as we have already seen, the rule allows one person to choose the nature of the indebting first favor and the nature of the debt-canceling return favor, (Location 597)

Another consequence of the rule, however, is an obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us. (Location 649)

the rejection-then-retreat technique can and will be used purposely by certain people to get their way. (Location 681)

It would appear, then, that the larger the initial request, the more effective the procedure, since there would be more room available for illusory concessions. (Location 708)

little-known pair of positive by-products of the act of concession: feelings of greater responsibility for, and satisfaction with, the arrangement. (Location 842)

Whether by presenting us with an initial favor or initial concession, the requester will have enlisted a powerful ally in the campaign for our compliance. (Location 876)

COMMITMENT AND CONSISTENCY Hobgoblins of the Mind It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. (Location 961)

our nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. (Location 972)

automatic consistency is a difficult reaction to curb. It offers us a way to evade the rigors of continuing thought. (Location 1029)

Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand. (Location 1140)

The tactic of starting with a little request in order to gain eventual compliance with related larger requests has a name: the foot-in-the-door technique. (Location 1221)

What the Freedman and Fraser findings tell us, then, is to be very careful about agreeing to trivial requests. Such an agreement can not only increase our compliance with very similar, much larger requests, it can also make us more willing to perform a variety of larger favors that are only remotely connected to the little one we did earlier. (Location 1251)

Note: Be careful of agreeing to trivial requests as it increases your susceptibility to agree to larger favours

One final tip before you get started: Set a goal and write it down. Whatever the goal, the important thing is that you set it, so you’ve got something for which to aim—and that you write it down. There is something magical about writing things down. So set a goal and write it down. When you reach that goal, set another and write that down. You’ll be off and running. (Location 1342)

have the customer, rather than the salesman, fill out the sales agreement. According to the sales-training program of a prominent encyclopedia company, that personal commitment alone has proved to be “a very important psychological aid in preventing customers from backing out of their contracts.” (Location 1352)

Participants voluntarily write essays for attractive prizes that they have only a small chance to win. But they know that for an essay to have any chance of winning at all, it must include praise for the product. So they find praiseworthy features of the product and describe them in their essays. (Location 1365)

experience that “magical” pull to believe what they have written. (Location 1368)

Public commitments tend to be lasting commitments. (Location 1372)

Whenever one takes a stand that is visible to others, there arises a drive to maintain that stand in order to look like a consistent person. (Location 1375)

that we are truest to our decisions if we have bound ourselves to them publicly (Location 1403)

the evidence is clear that the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it. (Location 1428)

“persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.” (Location 1505)

They function, oddly enough, to spur future society members to find the group more attractive and worthwhile. As long as it is the case that people like and believe in what they have struggled to get, these groups will continue to arrange effortful and troublesome initiation rites. (Location 1518)

Tags: initiation

Note: Struggling to get what you want makes you like it even more

The loyalty and dedication of those who emerge will increase to a great degree the chances of group cohesiveness and survival. (Location 1520)

severity of an initiation ceremony significantly heightens the newcomer’s commitment to the group, (Location 1523)

commitments are most effective in changing a person’s self-image and future behavior when they are active, public, and effortful. (Location 1546)

It was not enough to wring commitments out of their men; those men had to be made to take inner responsibility for their actions. (Location 1567)

Social scientists have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressures. (Location 1573)

No matter which variety of lowballing is used, the sequence is the same: An advantage is offered that induces a favorable purchase decision; then, sometime after the decision has been made but before the bargain is sealed, the original purchase advantage is deftly removed. (Location 1670)

The impressive thing about the lowball tactic is its ability to make a person feel pleased with a poor choice. Those who have only poor choices to offer us, then, are especially fond of the technique. (Location 1679)

“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Location 1734)

internal consistency is a hallmark of logic and intellectual strength, (Location 1736)

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Location 1739)

And I have discovered a way to handle people who try to use the consistency principle on me. I just tell them exactly what they are doing. It works beautifully. (Location 1795)

Tags: consistency

Note: When people are using the consistency principle on you, call them out on it!

SOCIAL PROOF Truths Are Us Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. —WALTER LIPPMANN (Location 1896)

the principle of social proof. It states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. (Location 1926)

The tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it normally works quite well. (Location 1930)

Usually, when a lot of people are doing something, it is the right thing to do. This feature of the principle of social proof is simultaneously its major strength and its major weakness. Like the other weapons of influence, it provides a convenient shortcut for determining how to behave but, at the same time, makes one who uses the shortcut vulnerable to the attacks of profiteers who lie in wait along its path. (Location 1932)

Advertisers love to inform us when a product is the “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling” because they don’t have to convince us directly that the product is good, they need only say that many others think so, which seems proof enough. (Location 1958)

“Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” (Location 1964)

The principle of social proof says so: The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct. (Location 2132)

Especially in an ambiguous situation, the tendency for everyone to be looking to see what everyone else is doing can lead to a fascinating phenomenon called “pluralistic ignorance.” (Location 2143)

A thorough understanding of the pluralistic ignorance phenomenon helps immeasurably to explain a regular occurrence in our country that has been termed both a riddle and a national disgrace: the failure of entire groups of bystanders to aid victims in agonizing need of help. (Location 2144)

The psychologists speculated that, for at least two reasons, a bystander to an emergency would be unlikely to help when there were a number of other bystanders present. The first reason is fairly straightforward. With several potential helpers around, the personal responsibility of each individual is reduced: “Perhaps someone else will give or call for aid, perhaps someone else already has.” So with everyone thinking that someone else will help or has helped, no one does. (Location 2200)

Tags: responsibility

Note: People's sense of responsibility reduces when there are multiple people who could act. You need to make one person accountability to ensure they take responsibility.

In times of such uncertainty, the natural tendency is to look around at the actions of others for clues. (Location 2207)

state of pluralistic ignorance “in which each person decides that since nobody is concerned, nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the danger may be mounting to the point where a single individual, uninfluenced by the seeming calm of others, would react.”54 (Location 2213)

These three natural characteristics of urban environments—their confusion, their populousness, and their low levels of acquaintanceship—fit in very well with the factors shown by research to decrease bystander aid. (Location 2250)

Fight the natural tendency to make a general request for help. Pick out one person and assign the task to that individual. Otherwise, it is too easy for everyone in the crowd to assume that someone else should help, will help, or has helped. (Location 2296)

Without question, when people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others’ actions to decide how they themselves should act. (Location 2316)

The principle of social proof operates most powerfully when we are observing the behavior of people just like us. (Location 2317)

Therefore we are more inclined to follow the lead of a similar individual than a dissimilar one. (Location 2319)

We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves. (Location 2340)

Jim Jones. (Location 2530)

Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favor. (Location 2534)

L’Assurance des Succès Dramatiques, they leased themselves and their employees to singers and opera managers who wished to be assured of an appreciative audience response. (Location 2566)

Once again we can see that social proof is most powerful for those who feel unfamiliar or unsure in a specific situation and who, consequently, must look outside of themselves for evidence of how best to behave there. (Location 2694)

Tags: decisions

Chapter 5 LIKING The Friendly Thief The main work of a trial attorney is to make a jury like his client. —CLARENCE DARROW (Location 2697)

“endless chain” method for finding new customers. Once a customer admits to liking a product, he or she can be pressed for the names of friends who would also appreciate learning about it. The individuals on that list can then be approached for sales and a list of their friends, who can serve as sources for still other potential customers, and so on in an endless chain. (Location 2735)

The widespread use by compliance practitioners of the liking bond between friends tells us much about the power of the liking rule to produce assent. (Location 2743)

Physical Attractiveness Although it is generally acknowledged that good-looking people have an advantage in social interaction, recent findings indicate that we may have sorely underestimated the size and reach of that advantage. (Location 2761)

A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others. And the evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic. (Location 2765)

We like people who are similar to us. This fact seems to hold true whether the similarity is in the area of opinions, personality traits, background, or life-style. (Location 2800)

Dress is a good example. Several studies have demonstrated that we are more likely to help those who dress like us. (Location 2802)

Another way requesters can manipulate similarity to increase liking and compliance is to claim that they have backgrounds and interests similar to ours. (Location 2809)

Many sales training programs now urge trainees to “mirror and match” the customer’s body posture, mood, and verbal style, as similarities along each of these dimensions have been shown to lead to positive results. (Location 2819)

Note: Mirror your sales target

The information that someone fancies us can be a bewitchingly effective device for producing return liking and willing compliance. (Location 2824)

We are phenomenal suckers for flattery. (Location 2834)

Conjoint efforts toward common goals steadily bridged the rancorous rift between the groups. (Location 2933)

We can trace the roots of this surprising turnabout to those times when the boys had to view one another as allies instead of opponents. The crucial procedure was the experimenters’ imposition of common goals on the groups. (Location 2940)

although the familiarity produced by contact usually leads to greater liking, the opposite occurs if the contact carries distasteful experiences with it. (Location 3000)

the evidence that team-oriented learning is an antidote to this disorder may tell us about the heavy impact of cooperation on the liking process. (Location 3002)

There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike. (Location 3064)

“The nature of bad news,” he said, “infects the teller.” (Location 3064)

People do assume that we have the same personality traits as our friends. (Location 3108)

Tags: friends

“luncheon technique,” he found that his subjects became fonder of the people and things they experienced while they were eating. (Location 3143)

Pavlov’s most important experimental demonstration was simplicity itself. He showed that he could get an animal’s typical response to food (salivation) to be directed toward something irrelevant to food (a bell) merely by connecting the two things in the animal’s mind. (Location 3152)

When the news was positive, the tellers were sure to mention that feature: “You just got a phone call with great news. Better see the experimenter for the details.” But when the news was unfavorable, they kept themselves apart from it: “You just got a phone call. Better see the experimenter for the details.” Obviously, the students had previously learned that, to be liked, they should connect themselves to good news but not bad news. (Location 3172)

“All things being equal, you root for your own sex, your own culture, your own locality…and what you want to prove is that you are better than the other person. Whomever you root for represents you; and when he wins, you win.” (Location 3210)

This tendency to try to bask in reflected glory by publicly trumpeting our connections to successful others has its mirror image in our attempt to avoid being darkened by the shadow of others’ defeat. (Location 3236)

All this tells me that we purposefully manipulate the visibility of our connections with winners and losers in order to make ourselves look good to anyone who could view these connections. (Location 3242)

By showcasing the positive associations and burying the negative ones, we are trying to get observers to think more highly of us and to like us more. (Location 3243)

Deep inside is a sense of low personal worth that directs them to seek prestige not from the generation or promotion of their own attainments, but from the generation or promotion of their associations with others of attainment. (Location 3285)

several of the factors leading to liking—physical attractiveness, familiarity, association— (Location 3303)

We might recall that he had fed us (coffee and doughnuts) before launching into his pitch, that he had complimented us on our choice of options and color combinations, that he had made us laugh, that he had cooperated with us against the sales manager to get us a better deal. (Location 3321)

course, in making a compliance decision, it is always a good idea to keep separate our feelings about the requester and the request. (Location 3336)

Chapter 6 AUTHORITY Directed Deference Follow an expert. (Location 3359)

Professor Stanley Milgram, (Location 3367)

deep-seated sense of duty to authority within us all. (Location 3436)

“It is the extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority that constitutes the chief finding of the study.” (Location 3465)

Information from a recognized authority can provide us a valuable shortcut for deciding how to act in a situation. (Location 3503)

we are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance. (Location 3547)

Titles are simultaneously the most difficult and the easiest symbols of authority to acquire. To earn one normally takes years of work and achievement. (Location 3555)

Because we see size and status as related, it is possible for certain individuals to benefit by substituting the former for the latter. (Location 3582)

A second kind of authority symbol that can trigger our mechanical compliance is clothing. (Location 3629)

Less blatant in its connotation than a uniform, but nonetheless effective, is another kind of attire that has traditionally bespoken authority status in our culture: the well-tailored business suit. (Location 3646)

As in Milgram’s research, the midwestern hospital-nurses’ study, and the security-guard-uniform experiment, people were unable to predict correctly how they or others would react to authority influence. In each instance, the effect of such influence was grossly underestimated. This property of authority status may account for much of its success as a compliance device. Not only does it work forcefully on us, but it also does so unexpectedly. (Location 3687)

we should keep in mind a little tactic compliance practitioners often use to assure us of their sincerity: They will seem to argue to a degree against their own interests. (Location 3730)

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. (Location 3803)

the scarcity principle—that opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited—I (Location 3822)

the caller has a compelling feature that my face-to-face partner does not: potential unavailability. (Location 3824)

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. (Location 3827)

There is instructive irony here: Imperfections that would otherwise make for rubbish make for prized possessions when they bring along an abiding scarcity. (Location 3839)

Probably the most straightforward use of the scarcity principle occurs in the “limited-number” tactic, when the customer is informed that a certain product is in short supply that cannot be guaranteed to last long. (Location 3842)

“You may want to think seriously about buying more than one case today because production is backed way up and there’s no telling when we’ll get any more in.” (Location 3847)

“Well,” the salesperson allows, “that is possible, and I’d be willing to check. But do I understand that this is the model you want and if I can get it for you at this price, you’ll take it?” Therein lies the beauty of the technique. In accord with the scarcity principle, the customers are asked to commit to buying the appliance when it looks least available—and therefore most desirable. (Location 3861)

Related to the limited-number technique is the “deadline” tactic, in which some official time limit is placed on the customer’s opportunity to get what the compliance professional is offering. (Location 3868)

Tags: deadline

A variant of the deadline tactic is much favored by some face-to-face, high-pressure sellers because it carries the purest form of decision deadline: right now. (Location 3905)

The first is familiar. Like the other weapons of influence, the scarcity principle trades on our weakness for shortcuts. The weakness is, as before, an enlightened one. In this case, because we know that the things that are difficult to possess are typically better than those that are easy to possess, we can often use an item’s availability to help us quickly and correctly decide on its quality. (Location 3921)

As opportunities become less available, we lose freedoms; and we hate to lose the freedoms we already have. This desire to preserve our established prerogatives is the centerpiece of psychological reactance theory, developed by psychologist Jack Brehm to explain the human response to diminishing personal control. (Location 3929)

According to the theory, whenever free choice is limited or threatened, the need to retain our freedoms makes us desire them (as well as the goods and services associated with them) significantly more than previously. (Location 3932)

Almost invariably, our response to the banning of information is a greater desire to receive that information and a more favorable attitude toward it than before the ban. (Location 4034)

According to the scarcity principle, then, we will find a piece of information more persuasive if we think we can’t get it elsewhere. (Location 4093)

Once again, we see that a less-available item is more desired and valued. (Location 4121)

people see a thing as more desirable when it has recently become less available than when it has been scarce all along. (Location 4187)

parents who enforce discipline inconsistently produce generally rebellious children. (Location 4189)

that scarce cookies were rated higher than abundant cookies and that newly scarce cookies were rated higher still. (Location 4192)

highlights the importance of competition in the pursuit of limited resources. (Location 4200)

The thought of losing out to a rival frequently turns a buyer from hesitant to zealous. (Location 4212)

The joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it. It is important that we not confuse the two. (Location 4279)