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Pre-suasion

By Robert Cialdini

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2017 by Michael C. Gray

Robert Cialdini, PhD researches the psychology of influence. He is the bestselling author of the book Influence, which has sold over three million copies. Now he has written another book, Pre-suasion, which will be on the "must read" list for anyone who is serious about marketing.

"Pre-suasion" is about the preframe for a sales or marketing encounter - what can be done to pre-dispose the subject to accept your proposition. Dr. Cialdini has assembled a vast amount of research and experience into a very practical volume.

You will want to read this book more than once. Don't be intimidated. 180 of 413 pages are references, notes and the index.

For example, a salesperson of a high-priced ($75,000) project found that he met less price resistance when he said, "As you can tell, I'm not going to be able to charge you a million dollars for this." The price rarely came up as an objection if it was preframed with that comment.

Another example is something called "target chuting." Instead of framing a question as "either or," just ask relating to the area that you want to promote. "How satisfied are you with this brand?" "Do you agree with our country's current approach in the Middle East?" Questions framed this way create a focus for the subject to mentally seek agreement.

Focus also creates importance. The old E.F. Hutton commercial was an example. "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen." Professor Daniel Kahneman summarized what he called "the focusing illusion" this way, "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it." If you can get a subject/audience to focus on a key element of a message, you will pre-load it with importance.

According to Dr. Cialdini, this is one of the reasons there are so many false confessions. The interrogator hammers the suspect with the proposition until the suspect agrees with it.

I was surprised to learn how much academic research has been done about human behavior that can have commercial applications. In business, we seek every advantage or edge we can find. To be ethical, our offering should be of genuine benefit and value to the customer. If that is the case, we can legitimately take whatever gentle steps are required to get a "yes" response for the benefit of the buyer.

Buy it on Amazon: Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

Pre-suasion, by Robert Cialdini, explains what can be done to pre-dispose the subject to accept your proposition (including sales messages).


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Michael Gray, CPA
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