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Improving the Ability to Influence Others in Sales

As we live our lives, we often find ourselves in situations where we want to improve our ability to influence others.  Whether in business, relationships, or dealing with family and friends, there are very frequently scenarios where we want to bring people over to our side and to motivate some sort of action.  With that being the case, it can be very helpful to improve our skills with influencing others and below are some ways to do that.



One of the most powerful ways to influence the actions of others is to try to position for reciprocation.  Reciprocation is defined as mutual exchange or return in kind (source: Merriam-Webster).  But the simple way to look at this is that reciprocation is returning the favor or action that someone else provides.  Figuratively speaking, you scratch someone’s back and they then scratch your back to return the favor and to reciprocate.

As an example of how this can be applied to influence someone else, take someone who is in sales or owns a business and wants get more referred clients.  This person could use reciprocation to improve their ability to influence others by referring business to others when possible, which will influence referrals to be sent their way.  Even if they do not have business to refer, if they can show a strong desire and interest to refer leads while business networking, they are likely see positive results.



Establishing a sense of scarcity is another way to improve your ability to influence others.  This concept is important for two reasons.  First, the more scarce something is, the more valuable it is.  This is a straightforward relationship and can be applied to anything – natural resources, automobiles, time spent with others, etc.  With that being the case, if you can associate some level of scarcity to something in particular, the value for that will increase in the eyes of others.

The second reason that scarcity is important is that if something is scarce, it is more likely to be available for only a limited time.  This factor is important as it can help to trigger or motivate action.  The way this can be applied to influence others is by communicating that the option, direction, or topic in question is scarce.  This can be accomplished by using language like limited, fixed, exclusive, etc.




We can use a factor of authority to improve our ability to influence others.  When we are an authority on a subject, others will be more likely to agree and support what we say and do.  The challenge here can be that we might not be an expert or have a level of authority in the area that we are trying to establish influence.  When this is the case, we can reference other experts, other sources of information, references, etc. to establish credibility.



To improve our ability to influence, we can establish a sense of consensus with the subject in question.  This is essentially creating an image that a large portion or majority of people are on board and going in the same direction.  This is effective because, as a society, we operate with somewhat of a herd mentality and feel more comfortable and motivated to head in the direction that everybody else is heading.


Source:  Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, Psychology, Arizona State University


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This article was published on Saturday 22 January, 2011.
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