If you want to negotiate from a position of power, you need to know Robert Cialdini’s Rules of Influence:
- Reciprocation – People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1937.
- Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. See cognitive dissonance.
- Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
- Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents, such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
- Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
- Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales
The internet is a great place to establish yourself as authoritative; a wonderful venue to do people favors; a great place to create a community in which you become well liked; and a fabulous forum to create social proof of your value.
We call the use of the internet for these purposes “social networking.”
An actual but “virtual” friend of mine, Jackie Hutter of the IP Maximizer Blog, has used social networking to the greatest legal marketing advantage as anyone else I know.
Here’s Jackie’s recent power point on the in’s and out’s of creating your online market through an online presence. Check it out.