A Scientifically Proven Way to Be Persuasive

The following is an excerpt from Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, co-authored by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., Noah Goldstein, Ph.D., and Steve Martin. I wrote this several years ago, prior to becoming a certified trainer for Dr. Cialdini. I looked at what State Auto had to offer that was genuinely scarce, then honestly described it in a marketing email and we got terrific results. I hope it stimulates ideas for you to do something similar.

One of my responsibilities is to help recruit new independent agencies to represent our company. In our effort to do this, we sent marketing materials to prospective agencies so they could learn more about us. While we hope most agents read our communications, seldom did we receive any direct replies.

After learning about the principle of scarcity we realized we were missing out on an opportunity that had been right in front of us all along! We don’t do business in every state, and each year we set a modest goal for appointing new agents in our operating areas. We never thought to incorporate those facts, or our current progress, into the communications we were sending.

Understanding how scarcity can move people to action, we began to include something like this near the end of our communications: “Each year we have a goal of selecting just a few new agencies to partner with us. For 2006 that number was set at only 42 agencies across our 28 operating states, and so far we’ve appointed more than 35. It’s our sincere hope that your agency will be one of those remaining agencies we appoint before year end.”

The difference was noticeable immediately! Within days we began to receive inquiries. No extra cost, no new marketing campaigns, no product or system changes needed. The only change was adding three more sentences that contain true statements.

What does your company have that is scarce and can’t be gotten elsewhere? It may be that your uniqueness comes not through one feature but a combination of features. Your challenge as a persuader is to identify that combination of unique features then honestly inject them into your communications. Will you hear “Yes” every time? No, but it’s a sure bet you’ll hear that magic word more than you are today. I confidently assert that because science tells me so and our experience bore that out to be true.

Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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