How to Use the 6 Principles of Persuasion to Boost Sales

The power of persuasion can influence people to complete a wide variety of actions, one of which is purchasing a product or service. Our ability to properly influence others is reliant on six key principles of persuasion, originating from psychologist Robert Cialdini’s research on the subject. From Cialdini’s observations training at used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, and telemarketing firms he concluded that these six principles can be very beneficial in sales.


The notion of treating others as you would like to be treated is found in many different religions and cultures. It is very human to feel an obligation to return the favor for every kindness we receive. When applied to the world of sales, this concept of reciprocity translates into businesses providing value to clients. Whether it is a discount on a service or a free product, this action influences customers to give to your business by continuing to be a loyal customer or purchasing a new offering. This idea of give and take is a strong form of persuasion.


Consumers are accustomed to seeing the phrases “offer expires soon” and “limited stock available” in marketing for virtually every product imaginable. This is because creating a sense of urgency is extremely successful in sales. By highlighting the scarcity of an offer, businesses are conveying that the customer is losing something of value by not acting on it. Loss aversion, better known by millennials as fear of missing out (FOMO), has a strong enough pull to influence customers to take action on an offer.


One of the main reasons we declare new year’s resolutions to close friends and family is to hold ourselves accountable to the commitments we’ve made. Once we have committed to an action, it is easier to consistently act upon it. Have your customers commit to future appointments with appointment cards. Automatic appointment reminders via email or text will make it easy for customers to commit to showing up for their appointment. By getting your customers to consistently commit to an action, you are setting your business up for more sales and success.


Another powerful form of persuasion is genuinely making customers like your business. Forming a genuine connection with customers makes it harder for them to say no to you. Customers have pledged their loyalty for life to businesses simply because an employee remembered details about family members or the customer’s love of a musician. When customers not only like your products and services, but like your business as well, you are securing their loyalty and your sales.

Social Proof

The best way to motivate potential customers to purchase a product or service from your business is to show them examples of satisfied customers already using them. People are much more likely to complete an action when they see someone else doing the same thing. Testimonials and online reviews are great examples of the social proof people need before making a decision. Social proof persuades customers that choosing your business is a good decision with examples of satisfied customers to back it up.


Similar to the principle of social proof, authority draws its power from perceived success and expertise. Be sure to present your business as professional and trustworthy at every opportunity. Consciously, people are more inclined to follow the direction of an authority figure. Point to well-established customers in your industry who are using your products and services to leverage their authority. When potential customers see that these authority figures are thriving with your business, they may think of doing the same as a good investment.

Knowing how and when to use the six principles of persuasion depends on the type of business you operate. Choose the principles that make the most sense for your business to help influence potential customers on a conscious and subconscious level. By applying a few or all of these principles to your sales strategy, you can effectively boost sales for your business.

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