The Psychology of Persuasion: What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from Influence

July 20, 2016

12:30 pm

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a book written by world-renowned psychologist Robert Cialdini. It’s become something of a guidebook for entrepreneurs everywhere. The goal of entrepreneurship is to convince people that your idea has the potential to change the world.

Whether you’re trying to convince an investor to take a chance or your first buyers to give you a try, you need to use influence. Since business relies on psychology for success, this book is a must for any entrepreneur. Here are the main lessons you can learn.

It’s Better to Give Than to Receive

Entrepreneurs believe they are taking money from customers before they get something in return. This book will teach you to turn that on its head. The psychology of branding dictates you’re doing something for the world at large, rather than because you just want to take money from your customers.

This book makes things simple. If you solve the main problem of your target audience, they’re going to give you something back. That’s how you build a successful business. Focus on solving problems first and the money will come to you.

Such a simple change in mindset can make all the difference.

Choosing Your Watchwords

Word association is one of the oldest psychological concepts in the world. Cialdini teaches readers all about this in his book. He teaches you to prime your startup based around the keywords that define your company. You want to make it clear to people what you stand for.

If someone says ‘hot’ and another person says ‘cold’, that’s word association. Cialdini will teach you how to make your business associate itself with the keywords you want, which could be ‘quality’, ‘passion’, and ‘service’.

The top brands have all mastered this. It’s why you remember them now.

Getting Most of the People on Your Side

The reason why this is one of the best books for building a business is because it’s as relevant today as it was when it was released. The chapter on social proof is one of the most essential parts for any entrepreneur to read.

During the early days of your business, one of the hardest tasks you will have is building up your base of loyal customers. Once you have a small number of loyal customers, you are set to bring in others. Social proof will ensure more people will try you out. You can do this through reviews and through building a successful blog on social media.

People naturally trust a product after others have said they love it. There’s a reason why 68 percent of people trust opinions from other online consumers. Cialdini will show you the value of spending the initial months of your business building up social proof.

The Value of Urgency

Entrepreneurs only have a limited amount of time to convince people their idea is a good one. Due to cash flow issues, most entrepreneurs can’t wait for five years to get noticed. They have to get noticed now. That’s where the value of scarcity comes in.

Through reading this book, you’ll learn what scarcity is and how to leverage it as part of any business. Make people feel they have to buy your product now or it’s going to disappear. Make them believe if they turn away now they’re missing out on a golden opportunity.

The only thing you have to do is make sure your product or service is actually quality.

Using the Power of Upselling

This is something fast food chains do all the time. They ask people if they’d like a bigger version of the meal they just ordered, or they will offer a combo meal. None of these options really save money. In fact, they usually lead to spending more money. The value in them is in the upsell.

The customer was already going to buy something, but you’ve made them buy more than they intended. It’s a principle anyone can apply to their business.

Cialdini will show you how any new startup can take advantage of the power of upselling. It will become a crucial tool to maximize the lifetime value of your customers.

The Guide to Succeed

As an entrepreneur, you always need to learn and you always need to get better. If you read any book, make it this one. Cialdini’s work is a blueprint for success. Mastering the power of persuasion in business will take your company to untold heights.

It’s always been the case. The difference is you’re no longer trying to take the money and run. You’re trying to build up real human relationships with your target audience.

What do you think is the most important lesson you can take from Cialdini’s guide?

Featured image from Flickr.

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Bill Ecksel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has been a journalist for over 10 years. He has written for numerous local and regional publications and is the Chief Editor for Industry News Corp. He has written on many topics over the course of his career but is currently focusing tech and startup companies. In addition to writing, he has a wife and three children and is a huge Wolverine Football fan (Go Blue!).