Adapted from the book: Psychology of Persuasion
#3 LAW OF FRIENDS
WHEN SOMEONE ASKS YOU TO DO SOMETHING AND YOU PERCEIVE THAT PERSON TO HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND, AND/OR YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND, YOU ARE STRONGLY MOTIVATED TO FULFILL THE REQUEST.
People will do almost anything that is asked of them by a friend. Clearly, as a persuader, you MUST BE PERCEIVED AS A FRIEND if you are to be successful in the persuasion process.
- One winter I coordinated a campaign to raise money for a nationally known non-profit organization. Instead of hiring hundreds of fund raisers to canvass the Twin Cities, we simply hired 15 phone callers to contact people by neighborhood. We called each neighborhood until one person volunteered to be “block worker”. All we asked the block worker to do was to take one hour and go door to door and ask for donations from their neighbors. The results were phenomenal. A vast majority of block workers did as they promised (we’ll talk about the Law of Consistency later) and because the block workers were soliciting friends, there was no problem with credibility. The organization spent about $10,000 on fund raising and brought in about $70,000 in donations. It is very hard, indeed, to say no to a friend.
- Friends are people who we like and we often like them because they like us. The more we let people perceive we are like them in ideology, philosophy, background, beliefs, attitudes, etc., the more likely it is we will persuade them. (See Chapter Ten for complete information.)
#4 LAW OF EXPECTANCY
WHEN SOMEONE WHOM YOU BELIEVE OR RESPECT EXPECTS YOU TO PERFORM A TASK OR PRODUCE A CERTAIN RESULT, YOU WILL TEND TO FULFILL THEIR EXPECTATION WHETHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.
- In early January of 1991, Israeli citizens were issued gas masks so that any chemical weapons launched from Iraq would not kill them. When SCUD missiles were fired by Iraq on January 16, 1991, dozens of Israeli citizens checked themselves into hospitals complaining of symptoms that they were told they would feel after a chemical weapon attack. Interestingly, no chemical weapons were actually used. The Law of Expectancy is very powerful indeed. This incident is, of course, the opposite of the well known placebo effect.
- The placebo effect is best described in the following example. The Korean war brought thousands of casualties. Many of these casualties were given placebos (sugar pills and the like) instead of morphine when morphine supplies had run out. In some reports, 25% of the soldiers given placebos experienced a significant decrease in pain although no medical reason could be given.
#5 LAW OF ASSOCIATION
WE TEND TO LIKE PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR IDEAS THAT ARE ENDORSED BY OTHER PEOPLE WE LIKE OR RESPECT.
If we like the people connected with a product, we tend to have positive associations in our minds of the products they endorse. Regardless of product quality, because of the endorsement, we often will buy a product the first time based on celebrity endorsement. (The second time around is another story and will be dealt with later.)
- Bill Cosby probably helped you decide to buy Jell-O pudding, Kodak film and other products. Bo Jackson has sold a world on the idea that Nike tennis shoes are the only way to go. Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Cindy Crawford and Michael J. Fox have got a nation drinking Diet Pepsi. Michael Jordan endorses just about everything and has singlehandedly improved the future of minor league baseball in America!
#6 LAW OF CONSISTENCY
WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL ANNOUNCES IN WRITING OR VERBALLY THAT HE IS TAKING A POSITION ON ANY ISSUE OR POINT OF VIEW, THEY WILL STRONGLY TEND TO DEFEND THAT BELIEF REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE BELIEF IS ACCURATE EVEN IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.
- When President George Bush announced, “Read my lips, there will be no new tax increases”, he couldn’t have guessed how much popularity he would lose when he signed a major bill increasing taxes in 1990. When people are perceived as inconsistent, our trust and respect for them decreases markedly.
- Conversely, when President George Bush stated his views on the aggression against Kuwait and that military action could take place on January 15, 1991, there was a split reaction by the general public. On January 16, the President did exactly as he said he would and public opinion in favor of the President skyrocketed.
- President Clinton lost a great deal of credibility in the public eye as he continued to promote policies that were inconsistent with his campaign promises. When people see inconsistency, they start looking elsewhere for solutions which is why in 1994 the republicans actually took control of the House and Senate for the first time in over 4 decades!
#7 LAW OF SCARCITY
WHEN A PERSON PERCEIVES THAT SOMETHING THEY MIGHT WANT IS LIMITED IN QUANTITY, THE PERSON PERCEIVES THAT THE VALUE OF WHAT THEY MIGHT WANT IS GREATER THAN IF IT WERE AVAILABLE IN ABUNDANCE.
- Television advertisers use the Law of Scarcity with redundancy. “While supplies last”, “Limit 2 per customer”, “Offer good only Sunday”, “Supplies are limited”, “Only 10,000 have been minted”, are all statements implying scarcity.
View a video clip – The Law of Conformity
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