5 Business Lessons From Robert Cialdini Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Robert Cialdini Influence The Psychology of Persuasion

Written by Leo Saini

Experienced copywriter, blogger, and content consultant.

5th November 2020

I was reading Robert Cialdini’s famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and to my surprise, I realized that at some point in my career, every successful business owner I’ve met has told me, directly or indirectly, some of the Cialdini lessons that I’m going to discuss in this article.

Well, the Journal of Marketing Research has described this book as one of the most important books for marketers, and they weren’t wrong.

So without further ado, let’s examine the five lessons from Cialdini that most high-income individuals already know and use.

1. Sell the Most Expensive Product First

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“Sell the suit first, because when it comes time to look at sweaters, even expensive ones, their prices will not seem as high in comparison.”

How to apply this lesson

Have you ever noticed that when you buy something through Amazon, the website recommends other similar products to you? In marketing, we call it upselling. However, to optimize the results, you should sell the most expensive item first.

Let’s assume that you’re in the fashion business. If you’re selling a tie for $80, it might seem very expensive because the customer might find a well-designed, good-looking tie elsewhere for just $20. But if you sell the $80 tie after the customer has bought an $800 suit, the tie won’t seem that expensive.

2. Get in Front of the Customers as Many Times as You Can

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“Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.”

How to apply this lesson

Trying to sell during your first contact with a customer is like having sex with a stranger — sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and you’ll most likely never see each other again. But unfortunately, that’s not a way to scale your business.

Businesses are built on relationships. We’re humans and we hunt in tribes. And even though our tribesmen are located in different regions these days, the concept still exists. So have as many contacts with customers as possible — make them feel like they’re a member of your tribe. But don’t try to sell something to them every time. It’s more important to simply be a part of their life and maintain the “problem solver” impression.

3. Think on Behalf of Clients Because Most People Don’t Want to Think

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(Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash)

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”

How to apply this lesson

Thinking is stressful, time-consuming, and energy-draining. Seriously, it hurts to think. You’d be amazed by the fact that there are millions of people out there who just don’t want to think (or are scared to think) and most of them are willing to pay someone to think on their behalf.

This behavior is more prevalent in certain industries, such as coaching, legal or business consulting, driving school, fitness, dieting, marketing, etc. So if you’re an expert in some field and you’re willing to do the labor of thinking for others, you can probably generate good income if you play your cards right.

4. Turn a “Maybe” Into a Sale Using Testimonials of the Previous Customers

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“In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.”

How to apply this lesson

It’s really, really difficult, if not impossible, to sell expensive products or high-ticket programs without having a bunch of testimonials on your website. I mean, you could sell to an old friend or someone who knows you — but if you want a complete stranger to send you big money, you’re going to need some social proof.

And that applies to cheap products as well. Keeping the ubiquity of the internet in mind, testimonials and ratings are now more important than they’ve ever been. That’s why it’s important for you to get as many positive ratings and reviews as possible.

5. Close That Sales as Fast as You Can

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(Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash)

“The aim is to get someone to want to buy quickly, without thinking too much about it.”

How to apply this lesson

Yes, relationships with customers are important and you shouldn’t always try to sell. But don’t spend the rest of your life “building relationships” and never selling your products or services to them.

If the customer is ready to buy without talking much, don’t start chatting about your brother’s football game in order to build rapport — close the deal and go home. If the customer pulls out their credit card to buy, don’t ask them to read the testimonials first. You don’t need social proof at this point because they’re about to pay you.

In such cases, focus on the post-purchase experience or upselling only. Any of the lessons mentioned above should only be used if the customer/client has some objection that’s stopping them from buying. But once they’re in the buying stage — save yourself some energy and close the sale as soon as you can.

So, these were the 5 Cialdini principles that high-income earners knowingly or unknowingly use. What’s your favorite quote out of the five and why? Let me know in the responses.

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