We can learn a lot from used-car sales folks.
Noted psychologist Robert Cialdini urges his students to study the techniques used that entice you to buy.
Go to a used-car lot and see how the seller pitches the product, Cialdini advises.
He calls them Weapons of Influence: reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.
For example, one researcher following Cialdini’s principles found she received more sales when folks learned they were hand-picked to hear the pitch, and that they had a deadline to respond.
The principles work, in part, because our decision-making is influenced by our natural tendencies to fit in, to be liked, and to be seen as smart.
When honey-pie and I search for dishwashers this weekend, we will steep ourselves in Cialdini’s lessons. We will be aware of the following traps:
1. Sales-folks try to create personal bonds to increase likability. How often has a clerk or waitress remarked: I love your scarf!
2. Sellers invent scarcity to prime your mental heuristics: This is the last model we have and it will go quickly!
3. Creating fake deadlines moves products: This offer is only good today!
4. Sales folks divest themselves from decision-making: Hey, if it were up to me I’d let you have this for a steal, but it’s up to my boss!
5. Buying the more-expensive option appeals to your good sense and taste, even if you came in to buy the cheaper model: If you buy the premier version you get more for your money!
OK: we are prepared. We are armed.
Wish me luck.