Understanding the Vast, Mad Power in the Science of Sales

Understanding the Vast, Mad Power in the Science of Sales
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Science of Sales: Quick, what is the first word you think of when you see this one. If the word you thought of wasn’t persuasion, keep reading.

The Science of Sales

Virtually every business requires that some sort of goods or services are exchanged for some sort of payment. Clear enough. The critical and challenging part of the business is selling in the face of realities such as competition, profit margins, and difficulty finding effective, reliable people to sell to. Business is not about one party with demand and one with a supply. It never has been. 

What many in business, in the science of sales, often forget is that selling is about people. And the only way to consistently, effectively perform “the science of sales” to anyone, in the absence of deceit and onerous pressure, is persuasion. Developing true persuasive techniques challenges you. It makes you a better salesperson, and it pays greater respect to those you target. Yea, that usually has an upside.

Like many of you, I read many books. By far, one of the most impactful I have encountered in the science of sales is not by a salesperson. It is by a regents’ professor of psychology and marketing who has spent the last 30 years researching human behavior and persuasion. 

Understanding the Vast, Mad Power in the Science of Sales

Six key principles of persuasion

He is Dr. Robert Cialdini, and in his book Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition), he defines the six key principles of persuasion in the science of sales. The truly interested, and skeptics, are welcome to review a bit about his credentials here. A broader explanation of his six key principles is here, but below is a summary, verbatim, from the same source. In the link, some of the experiments undertaken to support each principle are described. Really interesting stuff.Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)

Principle #1: Reciprocation

Reciprocation recognizes that people feel indebted to those who do something for them or give them a gift.

Principle #2: Social Proof

When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look to those around them to guide their decisions and actions. They especially want to know what everyone else is doing – especially their peers.

Principle #3: Commitment and Consistency

People do not like to back out of deals. We’re more likely to do something after we’ve agreed to it verbally or in writing, Cialdini says. People strive for consistency in their commitments. They also prefer to follow pre-existing attitudes, values, and actions.

Principle #4: Liking

“People prefer to say ‘yes’ to those they know and like,” Cialdini says. People are also more likely to favor those who are physically attractive, similar to themselves, or who give them compliments. Even something as ‘random’ as having the same name as your prospects can increase your chances of making a sale.

Principle #5: Authority

People respect authority. They want to follow the lead of real experts. Business titles, impressive clothing, and even driving an expensive, high-performing automobile are proven factors in lending credibility to any individual.

Giving the appearance of authority actually increases the likelihood that others will comply with requests.

Principle #6: Scarcity

In fundamental economic theory, scarcity relates to supply and demand. Basically, the less there is of something, the more valuable it is. The more rare and uncommon a thing, the more people want it. Familiar examples are frenzies over the latest holiday toy or urban campers waiting overnight to pounce on the latest iPhone.

I strongly encourage you to pursue this powerful, intellectually sophisticated, humanistic approach to the art of persuasion so that you can better understand how to excel in the science of sales. I believe in this so strongly, it is at the core of my business.

I really enjoy talking about Dr. Cialdini, his books, and this fascinating topic, and I’d welcome hearing your thoughts or questions. Frank Bastone can be reached at 718 662 8581, or schedule time for a chat here