When buying a property, or any other big-ticket item, we usually want to buy it at the best price possible, while the vendor wants to sell it for the highest price they can achieve. Good negotiators have developed the art of being able to influence others to see things their way. They know how to get others to do things they want to get done. In today’s show Michael Yardney, from PropertyUpdate.com.au, shares with us the Secret Power of Persuasion – the six universal principles of influence.
Kevin: Have you ever noticed how people who are successful in most walks of life usually have the gift of being really good negotiators? Call it negotiation, call it persuasion; there is an art to it. Michael Yardney has been looking at this, and he joins me.
Michael: Hello, Kevin.
Kevin: What’s behind being a good persuader?
Michael: Kevin, we tend to read a bit about this win-win negotiation, but let’s be honest, in many of our negotiations we want it to be a bit more than win-win.
When you’re buying your next car, you’d really like the negotiations to end up favoring you rather than being evenhanded, and when you buy properties or other big-ticket items, usually you want to buy at the best price, while the vendor wants it at the highest price.
Good negotiators, Kevin, develop the art of being able to influence others to see their way. They know how to get things done. In fact, there have been quite a lot of studies about it, Kevin. Robert Cialdini many years ago wrote a book that is called “The Psychology of Persuasion,” and I’ve learned a lot of lessons from it.
Kevin: Okay. Let’s run through a few of those, Michael.
Michael: What he did was, as a psychologist, work out how one can influence other people. The first rule, he said, is the rule of reciprocation. We’re taught that we should repay other people for things that they do to us. That’s only fair. Most of us don’t want to think that we’re an ingrate.
Kevin, it reminds me of the old days. Remember when we used to go to the airports, the Hare Krishnas were there, and they gave you a little flower? And in return, they expected you to give some money, and people felt obliged, didn’t they?
Kevin: Yes. It’s the theory of give to get, isn’t it?
Michael: That’s right. Put simply, whatever you give out in life, you tend to get back sooner or later. If you go through life looking for good in other people, helping others get what they need, you may not always get instant rewards, Kevin, but the principle of reciprocity – people reciprocating – will give it back somewhere down the line.
Kevin: Yes. Okay, what’s number two?
Michael: Robert Cialdini pointed out that we like social proof. We like noticing what other people are doing and doing things that we think are correct. Innately we want to be like other people, and we get comfort knowing that other people are doing what we’re considering doing.
The principle is often used by salespeople who give testimonials, saying, “People just like you have done this.” Most people feel at ease if they know others have already done this, so the celebrity product endorsements, the footballers, the sporting people.
This lesson from this, Kevin, is if we want to be good negotiators and persuaders, if you want somebody to do something for you, be sure to let them see that other people are already doing it or are willing to do it. Show them that others like them believe in the product or service that you’re wanting to give.
Kevin: Michael, how important is it to speak to people in the terms of their own values?
Michael: Kevin, I think people like to make a stand and then feel committed to doing it, so you should understand what people are wanting. When people tell their friends they’re going to give up smoking or going to lose weight, it motivates them to keep going with their decisions.
We tend to feel pressured to behave consistent with the choices we’ve made. No one likes to admit they’re wrong. So when you want to get somebody to do something, I’d often suggest you actually get them to commit verbally to an action, because if you do that, the chances are going to go up that they’re actually going to do it.
Kevin: I was wrong once, you know. I thought I made a mistake.
Michael: But you were wrong.
Kevin: I was wrong. I was very wrong; made a mistake.
Michael, people like to do business with people they know and like, don’t they?
Michael: That’s right, Kevin. People tend to like others who have got similar opinions to them, similar personal traits, backgrounds, or lifestyles. More people are going to say yes to you if they like you, and the more similar to them that you appear, the more likely they’re going to like you.
That’s why it’s important to build rapport with people when you’re planning to negotiate. That’s one of Robert Cialdini’s principles, that you should be a likable person and do business with people you like.
Kevin: Michael, tell me about his principle of authority.
Michael: I think most of us, Kevin, have been raised to respect authority. We tend to place importance on information given by authority figures – like doctors, like policemen, like professionals.
Now, of course sometimes people confuse symbols of authority – such as titles and appearance – with true substance, but this means you can use this principle to your advantage. You should look and act like an authority yourself, dress like people who are already in the position of authority that you seek, or you can cite authoritative sources. In other words, use other people’s authority on your side to help get what you want when you negotiate.
Kevin: And to wrap the series up, Michael, scarcity. This is one I guess you have to be fairly careful about, and when you use it, and how you use it.
Michael: You have to use it authentically, Kevin. All these things, you have to use authentically, and I’ll explain that in a second. But the concept really is that we don’t want to miss out on something that’s special, that’s unique, and that concept of scarcity will often drive us to action.
We often think things are more valuable if they’re scarce. Things that are hard to get seem more valuable than things that are easy to get. I guess that’s why they often have limited-time offers, or “closing this weekend,” or “limited edition.”
Kevin, Professor Cialdini’s six weapons of influence are incredibly powerful, and if you combine them, you can make them work even better for you. The thing is, though, that these principles are ethic-less. They can be used to create a win-win outcome for you and for those who you negotiate with, or they can be used to dark purposes of influence. Obviously, I suggest that we only use these in the correct way to get the correct sort of outcomes in our negotiations.
Kevin: Indeed. Always good, Michael. Lovely talking to you. Thanks for your time.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.
Kevin: You can read more about Michael, of course, at his blog site, PropertyUpdate.com.au.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.