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Persuasion Psychology or How to Influence Your Customers

Persuasion Psychology Or How to Influence Your Customers

What does it mean to persuade someone?

In simple words, it’s when a person’s behavior is influenced by communication with other people. More often than not, persuasion involves some sort of manipulation.

For example, one person is using a certain software for grammar, then another person comes along and lets the first person know that there is another program which is better.

Eventually, the first person starts using the recommended software, instead of the one they’ve been using so far. This means that the second person persuaded them to change their opinion and behavior.

There’s a lot more to it, though, so join us as we uncover all the main aspects of persuasion psychology, and how you can use it to influence your customers.

6 Principles of Persuasion

6 Principles of Persuasion

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency/Commitment
  5. Social proof
  6. Liking

1. Reciprocity

You’ve heard the phrase, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”. You see, as humans, we are naturally bound to return a favor to others that have previously helped us. This, however, can easily turn into a type of persuasion.

Someone that helped you in a time of need, wants a favor from you, and you feel obligated to do whatever it takes to repay the favor.

In the context of a business, reciprocity could be portrayed as having to provide your email address or other personal information, in order to receive a discount or access some kind of gated content.

2. Scarcity

Quickly! Read this article now, because it will disappear in 24 hours! You got it, scarcity can change the way we behave, since it urges us to take swift action or risk losing out on something.

It’s a widely spread and commonly used marketing tactic, and the reason is quite simple – it works. Just think of Black Friday sales.

Practically, every business uses some form of scarcity – be it an eCommerce store, offering limited time only discounts or an airline company notifying people there are only a few unsold seats remaining.

3. Authority

From ancient times, humankind has been prone to trusting and being persuaded by people or entities with authority. Authority, in its own right, usually comes from expertise and knowledge on a given topic.

For example, if you have a business about selling cat food and accessories, and you collaborate with Jackson Galaxy, consumers would be more likely to choose your products, since they have been promoted by someone who is an authoritative expert on the topic in question.

It’s more or less the same when talking about SEO and Google’s E-A-T guidelines, which feature the authority of your website as a major ranking factor.

4. Consistency/Commitment

Once we’re committed to something, we typically stick with it. When a person has purchased a product or service from a particular vendor/website, more often than not, they will do business with that same seller again, unless they had a bad experience, of course.

This means that people are generally inclined to be committed and consistently use services they have already tried, and are satisfied with.

It’s good news for business owners, as the customers you’ve already acquired are keen on sticking with your products or services.

However, this doesn’t mean you should get complacent. On the contrary, stimulate and encourage your customers to stay your customers.

5. Social Proof

Another common psychological behavior among humans is that we tend to trust something even more when our friends and close relatives have already tested it, and support.

The concept of social proof is relatively easy to explain. When we are uncertain about how we should act, we instinctively look for answers in others.

The whole word of mouth marketing is based on this principle, as it’s much safer to trust a recommendation, than to risk going for the unknown.

Readers Also Enjoy: 14 Quick Steps to Building Social Proof for Growing Businesses – DevriX

6. Liking

One of the main factors of persuasion psychology is to be liked. It’s much easier to convince someone to do something when they genuinely like you.

Think about political parties and leaders – quite often their followers trust every decision they make – good or bad – just because they like the leader.

Why do you think influencer recommendations work so well?

It’s simple. I like you. You recommend something. I buy it.

Readers Also Enjoy: Marketing Psychology [How to Guide Consumer Behavior] – DevriX

Now, applying the above principles, let’s learn how to persuade customers.

How to Influence Customers to Buy From Your Business

How to Influence Customers to Buy From Your Business

  1. Turn the ‘No’ Into a ‘Yes’
  2. Use the Power of Positive Words
  3. Apply the Foot-in-the-Door Approach
  4. Influence Decisions With the Anchoring Effect
  5. Write Persuasive Messages
  6. Create Urgency
  7. Limit Availability

1. Turn the ‘No’ Into a ‘Yes’

Getting a lot of abandoned carts? Do you just accept ‘no’ for an answer and stop trying to get those people to buy from you?

Well, you shouldn’t.

You have to be persistent and consistent in your efforts, if you really want to influence consumers. Understand the reason behind the abandoned cart. Email users, ask them what stopped them from completing the purchase.

While it’s easy to just accept a ‘no’ and carry on, it’s more satisfying, and productive for your business, to find out what led to the incomplete purchase. Then you can do whatever it takes to turn the “no” into a ‘yes’.

2. Use the Power of Positive Words

Have you noticed how ads structure their text in a way that everything sounds so positive and inspiring? Doesn’t matter if they’re advertising a brand-new time-saving gadget or the newest eco-friendly absorbent toilet paper.

Notice how we used the word ‘brand-new’ above? That’s one of the commonly used positive words. Whatever you promote should be associated with only the best feelings. “New and improved”, “Proven formula”, “Eco-friendly”, and so on.

Another example is mineral water ads. They all include slogans with the words “pure”, “natural”, “fresh”, and feature happy, healthy-looking people. You might think they’re selling water, but they’re actually selling the promise of happiness and health.

3. Apply the Foot-in-the-Door Approach

This persuasion strategy uses a simple, yet effective approach. You see, when you ask someone for a big favor, and they say ‘no’, that’s the end of the conversation.

However, if you start by making a smaller request, and the other person agrees, you can then continue and make a larger request.

So, let’s say you are offering your services to a potential customer. You immediately offer your highest package, but it’s worth a lot, and you get rejected. That’s not a good approach.

Instead, start by offering a smaller and more affordable service. Then, when they begin using your services, you can gradually offer them more and more features.

4. Influence Decisions With the Anchoring Effect

The anchoring effect is one of the types of persuasion psychology that affects not only purchasing decisions, but our daily lives, as well.

According to the anchoring bias, we’re drawn to the first bit of information we learn. For instance, you want to buy a new gaming computer, and you find out that the price is around $2,000.

As you’re browsing, you find an offer for $1,899, you immediately jump at the great deal, and you purchase it. However, other sites are offering the same computer now for $1,800.

Why did you instantly go for the first offer you saw? That’s the anchoring effect. What’s more, the same effect is responsible for our everyday choices. Do you allow your children to stay up late and watch TV?

If you were allowed to do so when you were little, there’s a higher chance you will also give such permission to your own children.

5. Write Persuasive Messages

Plain copies are dull, boring, and unmemorable. The most important thing is to make your customer feel understood. To achieve that, you need to combine personalization, psychology, and knowing your audience.

The Whiskey River Candles did their homework. Their candles come with different, persuasive messages. For example, “Candle for true artists: smells like unemployment. Combined with ramen noodles and high-quality paint brushes”.

It’s funny, it’s personalized, and it targets artists. Seriously, how would you not want to buy such a candle?

Readers Also Enjoy: Storytelling + Data = Persuasive Content – DevriX

6. Create Urgency

Ever noticed how supermarkets have chocolate bars, bubble gum, and other small items placed conveniently right next to the checkouts?

Yeah, it’s no coincidence. You didn’t go to the store for gum and chocolate wafers, yet it’s your last chance to grab some, so a lot of times, we buy them just because of the subconscious urgency to do so.

You can find many more examples of how urgency can result in more sales, like adding a free shipping option if the user completes their purchase before a certain time, or they’ll get a 20% discount if they buy a product in the next 24 hours.

Besides, who can resist falling for some good old urgency (we all know “Foreigner” can’t!).

7. Limit Availability

Now, listen to this advice, ‘cause it’s for a limited time-only. Just kidding.

Limiting the availability of a product, however, always works like a charm. This way, you create a sense that the product is more valuable and sought after. If you know, for example, that there are some stylish boots that are limited to only 20 pairs, you would likely be in a hurry to buy a pair.

On the other hand, if it’s just the regular boots (probably hundreds of pairs), chances are you won’t be in a rush, and will buy them whenever you need them.


The psychology of persuasion is a fine art that requires a skilled artist (marketer) as the perfect sales machine.

These principles are all around us, so it’s good to know about them, even if it’s not for business purposes. In terms of business, though, persuasion psychology is priceless.

If you manage to do it right, we can guarantee that your sales will only keep going up, the customers will be satisfied, and everything will be just fine.


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