Understanding The Science Of Persuasion


Have you ever asked yourself, what makes one person more successful than another? Or, a certain business more profitable than their competition? Maybe you’ve tried to imitate them and increase your sales but couldn’t get the same results?

Yes, you can attribute their success to luck, position, charisma, or economic power but this is definitely not the whole picture. Although these factors are important, science also plays a significant role in success.

We all have the power to capture the public, influence the undecided and motivate purchases. There’s no magic involved, simply scientific knowledge. Robert Cialdini, a professor of Social Psychology at Arizona State University, has conducted a series of investigations on the operation of persuasion in real life. Based on his research, the theory of persuasive communication has been developed and the Six Principles of Persuasion are:

  1. Reciprocity – we feel obliged to give if we have been given something.
  2. Scarcity – if it’s scarce, we want it more.
  3. Authority – we are more likely to comply with a request if it is coming from a perceived authority/expert.
  4. Consistency – we want to be consistent with our past commitments, even if the initial commitment is much smaller.
  5. Liking – we like people who are similar, who give us compliments and who co-operate with us.
  6. Consensus – if others (especially similar others) are doing it, then we are more likely to do it ourselves.

Here at RED, we know ‘reciprocity’ plays a big part in the success of promotional products, giving someone a gift definitely increases the chance of them remembering you and what you do, and in turn, increases the likelihood of them giving you their business in the future.

When you give the gift is important too. Too early and it might get overshadowed by the conversation or, negated altogether if the interaction doesn’t go as planned? Giving a gift is often best done at the successful conclusion of the interaction, almost as a parting thank you for their time… showing that you valued the interaction and wanted to recognise it with a gift.

The other time gift giving can work really well is the ‘surprise gift’, something sent unexpectedly that breaks through the clutter of someone’s day and leaves an impression on them.

No matter how you choose to deliver it, choosing the right gift is critical. It needs to be relevant to the interaction you’ve had, or would like to have, so your message resonates and stays with them.