Saturday, September 8, 2012

Persuasion & Influence for Modern Marketers - #1 Reciprocity

As Modern Marketers, one of the most fundamental things we do is to influence or persuade.  It's rather fascinating when you read about the science of influence or the practice of persuasion.  There seems to be a fine line between influencing or persuading someone or some group and manipulation.  Perhaps there is no line at all.  Most of us think that persuasion is a result of charisma.  Tall men with a full head of hair seem to have stronger influence than shorter, bald men (full disclosure, I am on the shorter, balder side of the spectrum).  But, never fear you short, bald men and women you can learn to be highly influential and quite persuasive.  Yes, it's true that some people take to persuasion easier and more naturally than others.  Beware, if you use these principles of persuasion to manipulate, you may earn some short term gains, but in the long run, those you have influenced will feel tricked and you will loose your support.  Use these principles authentically and sincerely, and you will be respected and admired by your business colleagues and friends.

I'll be writing a series of 6 blog posts covering the 6 basic tenets of influence.

Reciprocity.  The act of giving and receiving.  It is a deeply ingrained human predisposition to repay in kind when we are given something.  The simple act of giving praise (authentically) is one thing that can be given and it feels good when it is repaid.  You could give a gift or even just give a smile to a co-worker of passerby on the street.  Gift giving is not the best way to influence with reciprocity, simply because the act may be suspect, but usually it still works to influence.  Bottom line is, give to receive.

Next post, I'll talk about the principle of 'Liking'.