PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I'll just pop that behind the till
I find one of the most persuasive sales pitches are the people who work
behind makeup counters in department stores. I will present the techniques used
and how it fits into Cialdini’s6 principles of influence.
Firstly they are usually very
attractive, which fits into the principle of liking. In an experiment by
Puckett et al participants rated younger, more attractive people’s essays as
more persuasive. (1983). Attractiveness is particularly resonant as the
products they are attempting to sell are made to enhance your appearance. One
thinks, “If I use the same products as she does, maybe I will look as good as
her.” In this sense, they act as social role models.
Secondly, they will ask you what it is
you are looking for and offer to apply it for you. This involves making a
physical commitment by sitting down as well as committing your time. You don’t
want to feel you have wasted your own time, or the promoter’s time, making you
more likely to buy the product. You want to feel like you have achieved
something for the time you have spent, making you evaluate the product more
positively. Kruglanski, Friedman and Zeevi found that
participants who not given an incentive for a task reported the task as more
enjoyable compared to those who did receive an incentive (1971). This suggests
that people want to feel the time they have spent has been worthwhile, rating a
task (or product) as enjoyable in itself when they didn’t receive an
alternative incentive. This fits into Cialdini’s principle of commitment.
The promotions workers appear to be very
well informed with the products, persuading you that this is the best product
out there for you. This fits into Cialdini’s principle of authority, usingsource credibility as a persuasive device. In addition, they will not only use
the product you have shown interest in, but others as well, claiming that these
additional items make the effect of the initial product even better. You may
think, “I don’t want to spend money on all these things, so I will just buy the
first one”. This feels like a compromise, as if you are saving yourself money.
In addition, it is easier to say that you will buy one item rather than not
buying any of them.
Makeup promoters provide a service much like hairdressers, where they pamper
and compliment you. This makes you feel good about yourself, and consequently good
about the product. This can be said to fit into Cialdini’s principle of liking.
They develop a kind of rapport with you, in which you feel saying no would disappoint
them in some way. This is enhanced the more they appear to do to help you,
fitting into the principle of reciprocity.
Finally, they use phrases such as “let me just get that for you”, “I’ll get you
one in a box” or “I’ll pop that behind the till for you.” These phrases commit you
to the product, also fitting into the principle of commitment. References
Kruglanski, A. W., Friedman, I. and Zeevi, G.
(1971), The effects of extrinsic incentive on some qualitative aspects of task
performance. Journal of Personality, 39: 606–617.
Puckett, J., Petty, R.E., Cacioppo, J.T., & Fischer, D.L. (1983). The
Relative Impact of Age and Attractiveness Stereotypes on Persuasion. Journal of Gerontology 38: 340-343.
R. B. (2007).Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins.