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Drum-up sales with Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion

Do you remember those instances when you entered a shop with a specific budget in mind but ended up swiping double the amount through your credit card?

Though you were hesitant, yet the convincing words uttered by the salesperson worked like a magic spell, and you couldn’t resist.

Sometimes it gets difficult to refuse the offer of a salesman who uses the power of persuasion wisely.

20% of all salespeople generate 80% of the company’s sales.

Most of these 20% of sellers are proficient with the art of persuasion. They know what to say and how to make a prospect nod in agreement. Such top performers convey the value of the product so succinctly and credibly that they entice an unfamiliar person to buy a product.

Persuasion plays a vital role in sales. Effective persuasion skills can help in closing a deal.

Real persuasion comes from putting more of you into everything you say. Words have an effect. Words loaded with emotion have a powerful effect. – Jim Rohn

Mastering the art of persuasive selling

Mastering the art of persuasive selling

As a sales rep of your company, you might have explored the strengths and USP of your product. You know that your product can solve certain problems and fulfill the business requirements of your target audience.

For selling the product you just need to make the prospects believe in the same thing. This is where persuasion works.

Persuasion is all about striking the emotional chord, establishing trust and building a relationship with your customers. You should be able to paint an irresistible picture of your product. Become indispensable to your prospects.

You should present your product like a painkiller the prospects cannot live without.

Connect your product with their problem and convince the prospect that it can solve the problem. They should feel it’s the best option they have to resolve their ongoing issues. You just need to play with the words smartly.

Look at the below ‘find your place’ ad campaign that StreetEasy created for their New York real estate mobile app.

New York real estate mobile app

Here they have focused on their target audience’s problem and preference to draw their potential buyers towards the app.

They highlighted the section in a relatable way and used apt content. Most of the people who are finding a new house will prefer a house near their workplace to save money and time used in commuting.

So, StreetEasy played a smart game here using this preference in their advertisement to convince the prospect that they can give them what they want.

This is exactly what you need to do for persuading potential buyers to make a purchase. Try to focus on what problems can your product solve and play around that. People are constantly looking for ways to make their life easier. Through your sales pitch, you should be able to persuade the prospect that you can do just that.

Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion that can help in selling

Ciadini principles of persuasion selling

Persuasion has the power to change the outlook of a person towards any specific thing. After an in-depth study about this subject, Dr. Robert Ciadini came up with six principles of persuasion. The right use of these six principles can help in selling a product swiftly.

Here are Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion that can help in selling:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency
  5. Liking
  6. Consensus

Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 1 – Reciprocity

Press the rewind button of your life and recollect the times when someone went out of their way to do something for you.

Didn’t you feel like doing something in return?

This same feeling should be evoked in your prospects.

This is called reciprocity. It plays a great role in persuading potential prospects. This principle of persuasion states that humans have the tendency of treating others the way they’ve been treated. Here you respond to a positive action with another positive action.

‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. 😉

When you do something for the prospect, they see it as a nice gesture and try to do something in return. This something can be anything from a sale to a referral or anything that you value.

Life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward, you have to give back. – Oprah Winfrey

Reciprocity in action

In sales the more you give to the prospects and help them, the happier they get. This happiness helps you in making more sales. This is how the law of reciprocity helps in persuading the prospects.


An organic textile manufacturer contacted a B2B company that connects manufacturers with potential buyers.

The manufacturer subscribed to their premium membership that included contacts of 30 buyers from their preferred city and a free microsite on the B2B company’s website.

Later, the B2B company even featured the manufacturer’s organic product in their special sustainability magazine. This helped the manufacturer in promoting its product.

Through its kind gesture, the B2B company got into the good books of the manufacture. The manufacturer didn’t only approach the B2B company again for selling their yarn but also referred the portal to few in their network.

Key takeaway:

Walk the extra mile and help your prospects in overcoming their problems in the best possible way.

Like in the above example, though the B2b portal was giving a free microsite in their premium membership, they went ahead and even gave the manufacturer an advertisement in their magazine.

This helped the B2B portal in getting more sales as the manufacturer purchased again and even gave them new buyers through positive word of mouth.

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Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 2 – Scarcity

“Only two left in stock”

Don’t you normally proceed to buy or at least stare at the payment screen when you see this simple sentence below your favorite product?

Scarcity triggers actions. It is the best way to persuade a potential buyer to purchase something.

Products are valued more when their availability is limited.

Even you too have experienced it. That fear of missing out might have surely made you spend at some point in your life.

Once a few researchers (Worchel, Lee, and Adewole) tested this principle of scarcity by conducting an experiment.

Initially, they filled two identical jars with 10 cookies each. Then they removed eight cookies from one (applying the principle of scarcity)

The participants were asked to choose between the jar that had 10 cookies and the one that had two left.

Most of the participants chose the jar that had two cookies left. As said people tend to place value on a slightly scarce product.

persuasion principle qualityrating

Smart use of this persuasion principle can help in increasing your conversion rate.

Scarcity in action

Scarcity is a time-based strategy that compels people to buy. This is why even the big names of the industry like Kohl’s, Starbucks, and Amazon have used the scarcity principle to get the desired action.


Travel sites like booking.com display how many rooms are left in a specific hotel. Besides, they even display the number of rooms you have missed due to popular dates. This stimulates faster action.

Scarcity in action

Key takeaway:

Play the scarcity game smartly. Like in the above example, the traveling site didn’t only focus on the rooms left but also highlighted the fact that the rooms are getting booked fast. This pushed potential buyers to take faster decisions.

Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 3 – Authority

Humans have the tendency of listening to an authoritative voice. They trust someone who has knowledge or experience in a specific field.

For instance, those Instagrammers who post helpful tips and useful information that captures the interest of the readers are viewed as reliable sources. They are followed by millions of Instagram users.

When you are unsure about buying a product don’t you look for the opinion of someone who has authority on a specific subject?

Why do you think renowned brands like Nike and Adidas use famous faces like Michael Jordan and Lionel Messi to promote their product?

Michael Jordan and Lionel Messi to promote

It is because these famous personalities are looked upon as authority figures in the world of sports. Such celebrity endorsements might not be possible for small business owners. This is why you need to find more affordable alternatives like a review from experts or reviewing sites or creating informational content around your business for building authority.

For instance, you can take face to face interviews with industrial leaders and post it on your website.

Face to face interviews with industrial leaders

Authority in action

Point to your industry experts. When prospects see that people with high ranks or trusted sites write about you, they would be reassured that it’s a good investment.


Due to its excellent features and advanced capability Salesmate, a SaaS-based CRM software is reviewed by top reviewing sites like Finances online and Capterra.

Salesmate review financesonline

Key Takeaway: Use the principle of authority tactfully. Try to focus on authoritative figures. Make your product so powerful that industrial influencers and reviewing sites write about you. Like in the above example where a trusted reviewing site wrote about a CRM.

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Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 4 – Consistency

Treading on the same path can lead you to your destination. When the prospect chooses a path, they stay committed and prefer to stick to it. However, their movement on that path depends on your encouragement.

The more you motivate, the further they’ll go and convert into customers. People expect consistency. This expectation for consistency works as a motivating factor for taking the next step. Once a prospect commits for something, their need for consistency will make them more likely to fulfill that commitment.

Consistency in action

This principle can be used to nudge your prospects for taking the desired action. Take commitment as that will ensure they will remain consistent and move ahead.


You asked for a prospect’s email address, they said they will give you in an hour. They gave you as committed (this positive action even showed they are interested in dealing with you). This helped in creating sales email follow up sequences for engaging the prospects.

Now further, you can ask for their quotes to include in a blog that you are writing about their industry. This will help in nurturing your relationship.

If they gave you the email address, they might give you the quote as well and gradually you might get their ‘Yes’ to close the deal. However, that depends on how well you use this principle of persuasion.

Key takeaway: Try to include a prospect in a consistent sales cycle and make constant efforts to push them ahead. Take their commitment for ensuring they stick to it and don’t live in the middle.

Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 5 – Liking

Wouldn’t you listen to or do something for the person you like. There are even possibilities that you might get influenced by the people whom you like and trust.

Persuasion science states that there are three possible reasons why one person likes another person

  1. They find a similarity (we like someone who is like us)
  2. They receive good compliments (we like someone who compliments us)
  3. They focus on a common goal (we like people who cooperate and help in fulfilling a common goal)

So, to persuade the prospect you need to be the person whom they will like and respect. Earn their trust by making them comfortable.

Assure your prospects that you are here to help. Compliment them on their achievements to establish a healthy relationship and cooperate with them to reach their goal. Ensure the praises are genuine here, don’t just butter them up.

Be presentable when you meet them. Everything from your presentation to the brochure you give should be compelling enough to set a lasting impression on the prospect.

Liking in action:

This principle is all about impressing the prospect. Customers prefer dealing with people they like.


Salespeople are well-dressed and presentable in big brand retail stores like Gucci and Prada. They will be humble and help you in selecting what you exactly want.

Such salespeople paints an impressive picture with their gestures and interesting conversation. They know what to say and how to greet the people who enter the store.

Key takeaway: Make it easier for prospects to feel a connection with you. If they like you, there are high chances they will turn into your paying customers.

Cialdini principle of persuasion no. 6 – Consensus

When you are unsure about something, don’t you look at what others are doing to get a slight idea? This is what the principle of consensus is all about. There are more chances that a person will perform a certain action if it is aligned with what others have done or are about to do.

We often find it safe to do things that others are doing. For instance, if most of the people are using and praising a certain product, even you would think about trying it.

So provide social proof to give your potential buyers as an assurance that your product is trusted and used by others as well.

You’ve seen the advertisement where they show the stats to prove something like “65% of small businesses have used this technique and achieved success.”

Such kind of social proof helps in influencing a buying decision.

Consensus in action

Social proof is a great tactic to establish credibility and earn your potential buyer’s trust.


You will see many success stories (testimonials) and case studies on various websites.


Key takeaway: Ask reviews from your happy customers and be active on social media to give your potential buyers a social proof. When prospects see those top companies in their industry are using your product, they might show interest in your product.

Wrapping up

If you master the art of persuasive selling, you won’t face much trouble in achieving those monthly or quarterly sales goals. Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion can help you if used in the right way. They are a powerful motivator for influencing a buying decision.

Explore everything to succeed in this game of sales persuasion. Try all the persuasion techniques and principles. Ensure you have the right persuasive selling skills to build rapport with your prospects. To establish and maintain healthy relationships with your prospects, you can rely on CRM tools like Salesmate.

This high-end tool gives a pipeline view of your sales process. You can see where are your potential customers in the buyer’s journey and accordingly use the right principle to persuade them. Try Salesmate CRM for free to explore its various helpful features for managing your sales process efficiently.


An avid writer who likes to explore new fields and research about interesting subjects. She is a versatile content developer who plays with words to express her thoughts. Calm, carefree and creative are the words that describes her the best.

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