Influence – the power in persuasion

I read a quote today from a guy called Zig Zagler. The quote was…

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

— Zig Ziglar

This analysis hits close to the mark. Most people are very much aware that we are surrounded by marketing messages.

What is unstated is that the process requires an influencing moment or force.  Need, is of course, an influencer, but most of what we own is not “needed.”

Take a look around you living space. How much of what you have has been an “influenced” purchase?  Naidoo & Wills detail “that “behavior and life style have been regarded as the cause of many modern diseases. Naidoo & Wills 1994 (p178).

I don’t want to take the tack of castigating materialism for providing choice, abundance and differentiated complexity. This, to me, allows a person to examine different ways of being and these ways of being come with stereotypical props.  It is these props that we are influenced to purchase.

Cialdini in his seminal work on the power of influence draws psychological evidence from numerous fields to show how humans are influenced into changing their thinking and consequently their behavior through the use of what he calls “click, whirr” thinking.

Cialdini examines the use of “reciprocation, commitment, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.” Cialdini (2001). It is not my intention to imagine that these tools, or any tools of psychological persuasion, are strictly for the use of positive ends. Like all methods of behavioral change in others the tools are available for good or ill.

“He is especially interested in automatic (or mindless) compliance and claims that the “evidence suggests that the ever-accelerating pace and informational crush of modern life will make this form of unthinking compliance more and more prevalent in the future.”

In this view, Ciladini joins such media theorists as Harold Adams Innis, Paul Virilio and Tony Schwartz in their concern that information-overload is major hazard of contemporary living.

In effect, we do not have the time and cognitive capacity to process all the messages we are subjected to, so many of these messages reside unattended in our psyches until they are played upon by subsequent messages. Cialdini uses the tag phrase “click-whirr” to signify our unthinking responses to stimuli.” https://www.media-studies.ca/articles/influence.htm (March 2018)

I have been a fan of Cialdini since first coming upon his original work “influence” when I was quite young in a charity shop. Being a thin volume, it missed the “heavy” academic theme and dressage.

I was sure on reading it that it was a key book for any psychology or sociological student. In recent years the book has become a classic of the genre. His other book Pre-suasion is more meaty, but should also hit the shelf of anyone interested in influences on thinking.

Cialdini, R. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, New York: Quill

Take a look, or am I influencing you too much?

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