I used to worry constantly about what other people thought of me.
I wanted everyone to like me, all the time. Just one of my many issues.
Of course, that’s ridiculous. Nobody is liked by everybody all the time. And you know what? That’s fine. (More about that another time.)
Why am I telling you this?
Because likeability is another of Cialdini’s weapons of influence. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that, generally, we prefer to say yes to people we know and like.
That’s why relationship marketing works so much better than “cold” marketing. It’s why, if you’re a smart business owner, you’ll be putting time and effort into talking to your customers often. Giving them lots of useful information they can use to their advantage. Getting to know them and making them like you.
But it can be done by strangers, too. Very lucratively. Chances are you’ve experienced this, or you know someone who has. Although this may depend on your age and/or level of suburban assimilation…
The best example I know of is Tupperware parties. (Ann Summers parties are a thing too, but frankly I find them too depressing for words. At least Tupperware can be used for storing cheese and other such delights.)
In fact, Tupperware uses many weapons of influence very cleverly:
• Reciprocity – participants play games and win prizes – and anyone who doesn’t win gets to dip into a lucky dip, so everyone has a prize before the buying begins.
• Commitment – the partygoers are encouraged to publicly describe what they like about the Tupperware they already own.
• Social proof – once the buying begins, each individual purchase builds the idea that other similar people want it, so it must be good.
But the real power of Tupperware parties is in the “liking” rule.
It’s not the Tupperware salesman’s ability, no matter how good that may be. It’s the fact that everyone at the party is a friend of the hostess. Even though the salesman asks for the order, it’s the hostess who holds all the psychological cards.
She’s the one who has provided refreshments, entertainment, hospitality. And she makes a commission on everything sold.
That’s genius. By arranging for the hostess to take a percentage of the sale, Tupperware arranges for its customers to buy from their friends, NOT from a stranger.
This is how the attraction, warmth, trust, security and obligation of friendship drive the sales. And the interesting thing is that everyone understands that. It’s not a secret manipulative method of selling. Some people don’t mind; others do. But it’s the social obligation, not the sales, driving the transactions.
So how can you use this principle in your business?
I’ve already mentioned the first and (in my opinion) the most powerful and lucrative method. Get into your prospects’ lives and stay there. Offer them something valuable, and keep giving them value. Every day if you can. Make them like you.
There are other ways, too, though.
Referrals are extremely powerful, and you should be using them. Whenever someone says they’re happy with your service, ask them to refer you.
So you could say: “I’m so glad you’re happy with your widget and delighted with our service. Do you know somebody else who might need us? Will you give me their name, please, so I can help them too?”
Or: “Thank you so much for your feedback. I’d like to give you a discount off your next order as a token of my gratitude. If you have any friends who would benefit from our widgets, will you pass this discount code onto them too please?”
You get the idea. Test different ways of asking; see what works best.
The point is that if you can tell a new prospect that a friend of theirs sent them, they’re much more likely to buy from you because rejecting you is like rejecting their friend. It’s powerful stuff.
The people who like you will be your most loyal customers. And the people who don’t like you? Screw ‘em.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.