by Brad Roderick | 6/12/14

This is it, the final stretch. The last of three installments focused on the one thing that you absolutely must be able to do if you are to succeed in any endeavor: Get Other People To Do The Things You Need Them To Do.

In the first installment we considered four ways to move others to take action: power, payment, negotiation and persuasion. Last month we covered three tools of persuasion based on the works of Robert Cialdini;  reciprocity, consistency and social proof/conformity. To wrap things up, we will take a brief look at scarcity, like and authority.

Scarcity. “Buy today! Quantities are limited!” “Only a few seats left at this price for the flight.” We can all think of examples of “scarcity” being utilized to entice us into action. It is used so much that if we have no frame of reference, the claims are likely to be dismissed. I noticed this the other day at the mall where the luggage store was “Going out of business”… I think it’s been on its way out for at least a year. Even if the prices were incredible, I wouldn’t trust them. Scarcity can be a great tool, but if used inappropriately it serves more as a repellant than an attractant. 

Like. “Birds of a feather flock together.” Or, more to our point, we like people who are very much like us. This is only an initial “like” and by itself won’t carry the day, but we all understand the power of first impressions. I asked John the other day why he was doing business with a certain company, “I don’t really know, I just like them,” he said. Digging in a little more, I learned that he liked a specific person at the company. This “like” created the foundation for trust. We find ourselves more likely to trust someone that we like. Of course not everyone will like you and I am not suggesting that you need to be the “Chameleon of Sales,” trying to be like everyone so they will like you. There are already enough sales reptiles out there — don’t add to the ranks! The easiest way to increase your likability factor is to show you like them. Show others that you are genuinely interested in them and watch your “like” rating go through the roof. We like people who like us!

Authority. I love “authority” as a tool to persuade others, not in a “do what I say” way but from the standpoint of authority based on a reputation for something. And the best part is that anyone can use, “authority”. You can create your own, borrow some, or even buy it. Let’s look at three examples:

  • Creating Personal Authority: If you are an expert, make sure the world knows! With social media today anyone with desire and determination can share their experiences and be perceived as an authority. “John, here’s a book I wrote about ___.” “Mary, here is an article I wrote that talks about ___.” The caveat here is that you better be able to back up your claim of authority.
  • Borrowing Authority: Think of this in terms of, “partnership.” Ask one of your well-known customers to recommend you. Simple referrals build a level of credibility but when you add a person who is recognized as an authority, your ranking quickly escalates. Partner on an article, a book or a project. Get your name associated with theirs. And of course, choose your partners wisely.
  • Buy Authority: Consider providing lunch and learns. Or what about bringing in an “Industry expert” to meet with you and your prospect? There are a myriad of ways you can buy/rent some authority and there are a lot of authorities in all sorts of fields that are looking for mutually beneficial opportunities.

One last parting thought: Our goal has been to look at ways to get other people to take the actions we need them to take based on the tools of persuasion. Use these tools wisely and with integrity. Integrity leads to trust and trust leads to long-term influence. Recently a fellow contacted me describing how he was the “the leading authority on ___.” I listened to him, did a little research and he seemed to know his stuff. In a subsequent call he offered his white paper on the “Top 10 Tools to ___.” Notice the reciprocity? I read the paper and then attempted to use one of the tools but found that it had been discontinued in 2012! What do you think happened to his credibility in my eyes? Exactly! His chances are between zero and none to get me to take the action that he wants.

Lead others well and best of luck using these tools. Drop us a note to tell us how they have worked for you.

Read the rest of the series:

Part 1

Part 2

Brad Roderick is executive vice president of InkCycle Inc. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He is an active member of the imaging industry as an author, trainer and speaker focusing in the areas of industry trends, strategy, sales and marketing, and environmental sustainability.