Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Influence : Science and Practice - Robert B Caldini

For all those who are involved in sales and marketing , the issue of demand generation is an ever discussed topic. As marketing managers try one strategy after other to continue create the demand for their product or services that are to offer. In that context it is important to know what makes the person be influenced. What are the basic human nature that can be identified and manipulated to get the 'message' across. Robert Caldini in his fabulous book "Influence: Science and Practice" looks at these six major forces that are the key in influencing decisions by individuals.

People are poor in making decisions. They rely on factors that help them to arrive at a decision to act. Caldini calls this as a 'Click-Whirr' behaviour. There is a response to every events, based on an automatic 'tape replay'. These responses are conditioned and are immediate influenced by these indirect factors.

He categorizes these into six elements as :

1. Reciprocation

2. Consistency and Commitment

3. Social Proof

4. Authority

5. Liking

6. Scarcity

While he explains these topics at lengths with appropriate examples and discussions to substantiate these points. Instead of getting into the typical academic discussion, it is elaborated with some fun reading and few readers experiences. What is interesting is that these phenomena is not isolated to any specific countries or groups. We see the reflections of these all around us glaring ( now, especially after reading the book). We feel the obligation to return the favour in whatever form. We are also wary about changing from our known 'position' on any subject or issues. There is also a tendency to go after what is the world doing or using. What is popular with many should be good for me too. We are also believe in experts, and blindly follow the authority. There are also specific liking to certain individuals or organisations influencing our decision. The fancy for 'limited editions' or ' offer until stock lasts' of ' last 2 days' etc also seems to be a great influence on our decision.

On the blind following of an authority, Caldini cites a case of a patient who followed the instructions from the doctor, treating him for ear infection. The prescription read, " Please drop in R ear", obviously meaning right ear. You can decide for yourselves on the actual usage and result.

Of the non-fiction books that I've read in the recent past , this is one of the best read I've had. It doesn't get too verbose moving from one example to the other to substantiate his thoughts. The book has been an easy and engaging read structured and presented beautifully.

Influence : Science and Practice (2001)

Robert B Caldini

Pearson Education

259 Pages
More read : Six weapons of Influence

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