By Andrew Draughon
Turkeys and polecats are natural enemies.
(Polecats are European weasels, by the way.)
So how do you imagine a mother turkey responds to the sight of a hungry polecat threatening her young?
If you guessed squawking, clawing, and gnashing of the beak—you’d be right!
In fact, in an experiment by animal behaviorist M. W. Fox…
Turkeys flew into an uncontrollable rage and attacked their lanky predators in self-defense…even when the “polecats” in question were actually fake, stuffed replicas.
Which makes sense, right?
Turkey sees polecat-looking shape—turkey becomes alarmed and enraged!
Well, here comes the twist…
What do you think happens when the researchers place a recorder playing a baby turkey’s “cheep cheep” call inside the stuffed polecat?
Shockingly enough, the mama turkeys welcome the toy instead of attacking it.
They would even get on top of the stuffed animal to protect it, just like they would a baby chick.
So what’s happening here?
Well, an animal behaviorist parlance, this is what’s called a “fixed-action” pattern, which is essentially a sequence of automatic behaviors initiated by a specific queue.
In turkeys, their “fixed-action” pattern to accept and protect their young is triggered by the “cheep cheep” auditory queue made by their chicks.
…even if the sound is emitted by their natural enemy and predator—the polecat!
Now, we humans fancy ourselves above such instinctual, “robotic” behavior.
But just how correct is this belief?
Read on to find out!
Persuasion is the product of hardwired psychological triggers
Humans are funny.
Or, at least, we should try to be!
According to cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems, simply watching comedies after a major surgery can cut your need for pain medication by 25%.
Additional research even indicates that using humor as a stress-relief mechanism significantly cuts your risk of heart disease and stroke (by up to 40%!), and can even prolong your life by up to four-and-a-half years.
Studies like these demonstrate that while humans have sophisticated hardware between our ears (especially in comparison to a turkey), we also have a number of innate psychological triggers that profoundly influence our thinking and well-being.
…often without our knowledge or consent!
Which, in many instances, is a wonderful thing (like in the case of humor).
And let’s be honest…
People often need a firm nudge to act in their own best self-interest
Think diet and exercise, for instance.
As we proceed, you’re going to learn a number of “persuasion hacks” that powerfully influence people to do what you want.
Now, it’s critical to use these methods ethically.
And not in a creepy, “cult-leadery” way, which certainly isn’t cool.
When marketing on the internet, as entrepreneurs looking to add value to people’s lives, our main concern should be to persuade our prospects to change their lives for the better.
And this is going to mean overcoming the objections, which are keeping them stuck.
How are we going to do this?
Well, it all starts with…
The Seven Principles of Ethical Persuasion
I first learned these principles from Tim Erway—my mentor in all things related to copywriting, conversion, and influence—who also happens to be our CEO here at Elite Marketing Pro.
It’s important to note…
What you’re about to discover is based on decades and decades of clinical research conducted by Dr. Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University, whose seminal work, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, is a MUST READ for all marketers.
In fact, Cialdini begins Influence with the story of the turkey and the polecat…
With the strong implication that we’re not as different as we’d like to think of our favorite holiday feast.
So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Imagine a close, personal friend comes over for brunch.
I’m talking someone you feel connected to, a person that gets you, someone who understands and looks out for you.
Now, this friend tells you about a positive new change in their life, which is the result of a new product or business they’re involved with.
Either way, he or she says…
“Hey, how would you like to try it, too? I’d love to hear what you think. There’s no risk—you get your money back if you don’t like it.”
Your knee-jerk reaction is probably to say “what the heck, sure!” right?
You don’t need a long, drawn-out ‘spiel’ to buy from someone you like and trust.
That is the law of connection at work.
Its core idea is that we only buy or do business with people we have a certain level of trust with.
When we’re talking about buying a can of coke, that level is understandably low.
But once large sums of money are on the line, you need a MUCH stronger connection, especially when marketing on the internet.
Ultimately, trust trumps everything.
If you have enough of it, people will do business with you…even without “board certified” credentials, results, or credibility.
I mean, think about it…
If you’ve got chronic back pain and your best bud says…
“Hey man, I thought I was going to have to fuse my disks until I found this ultra-low frequency emitter that sends out these signals that relieve pain and inflammation. Works like a champ. Now I don’t need surgery anymore. It’s a miracle!”
Sure, you might be a little skeptical—who wouldn’t be?—but chances are strong that you’ll be compelled enough to take a closer look and purchase the trial.
You WANT to believe (and hey, I know I do too!).
Now here’s a trick…
When marketing on the internet, you can invoke the law of connection in your business by crafting a relatable story—and simply opening up.
Be vulnerable; share yourself; let people know and see the real you.
That way, people will FEEL a connection.
Even if they’ve never seen you in the flesh!
This is the “simplest” one of the bunch.
It’s all about our natural instinct to move away from pain and towards pleasure.
Because that’s what desire really is…
A force that compels action by showing a path to less pain or more pleasure (or both).
Having said that, this principle is simple, but it’s also difficult.
To influence people with it…
You’ve got to forget about your wants and focus on what others want when you’re marketing on the internet.
That’s counterintuitive to human nature—so you need to stay keenly aware of what others truly want.
And what happens when you don’t?
Well, let’s think back to the infamous Coke fiasco.
In April 1985, Coca-Cola introduced a new formula for its world-famous soft drink.
The product was called New Coke.
In blind tests, people preferred it to Coca-Cola Classic and Pepsi by a HUGE margin.
It tasted the best, so naturally, it eclipsed all other soft drinks when it was released.
The executives didn’t understand that what people desired from Coke wasn’t the best taste.
People craved the old, familiar taste they grew up with.
Coke ignored principle #2 and New Coke is said to have cost tens of millions of dollars.
Fortunately, Coca-Cola brought the classic flavor back (and, as you know, recovered just fine).
So here’s the lesson…
Unless you can afford to make mistakes like that, remember:
Influence is about focusing on others’ desires, not yours.
And it doesn’t matter what you think they should desire, only the market can decide that!
Even the most ridiculous fad products make people rich.
As long as they get popular enough.
Don’t believe me?
I mean, I know you do—but here’s a story to prove the point, anyway…
In 1975, Gary Dahl became a millionaire by selling pet rocks.
His product was silly, but people were persuaded to buy it simply because it was popular.
That’s how social proof works.
You “prove” that your product or organization is legitimately using the power of popular opinion.
To invoke this principle, highlight your results.
For example, at Elite Marketing Pro we can say…
- We’ve got over 10,000 active members
- Our top affiliates make multiple six figures
- We’ve generated several hundred thousand subscribers
- We serve people in over 100 countries
So when a newcomer reads those facts, they instantly know—this is a serious business that makes people money!
On an instinctual level, it persuades them to trust us and our advice.
This is why testimonials are so powerful when you’re marketing on the internet.
They are proof!
And you can do the same thing by drawing attention to your own results.
Again, the principle of social proof helped a guy make millions off selling pet rocks…
Imagine what it can do for you with an actual, life-changing, valuable product!
Imagine you walk into a car dealership.
A self-satisfied slob in an ill-fitting suit saunters over to you.
He smiles, leans in and whispers…
“Have I got a deal for you today, friend!”
How would that make you feel?
If you’re like me, you’d be pretty repulsed!
And I should know…it’s a recent, true story.
Everyone hates this kind of selling—and you probably don’t want to be on the giving or receiving end, either.
The solution is giving people value so they want to come and buy from you.
Here’s a real-life example…
LeBron James is worth over $300 million and has a (rumored) $1 billion contract with Nike.
As you can imagine, his manager is doing quite well financially.
And who’s his manager?
Not some big-name sports agent.
LeBron’s manager is Rich Paul; a guy who selflessly hooked him up with two throwback jerseys LONG before he even made it to the NBA.
Rich gave genuine value with his gift, and that was the key to beating out every other sports agent who wanted LeBron.
Now, you don’t have to give people physical gifts—that’s not quite the point.
The idea is to lead with value.
Here at EMP, we teach what’s called attraction marketing.
The idea is that we freely give away lots of valuable content, in the form of blog posts, monthly webinars, Facebook Live presentations, etc.
And once you’ve consumed enough of our content to get value, produce results, and come to trust us…
You’re going to want to do business with us by buying our products and services.
To invoke this principle for yourself, simply find a way to demonstrate value before asking for the sale.
Share your knowledge freely, and be friendly and helpful—even a kind word is valuable and goes a long way towards influencing people.
Adlai Stevenson once introduced John F. Kennedy with the following anecdote…
In Ancient Greece, when Cicero finished speaking, the people said, “How well he spoke.”
When Demosthenes finished speaking, they said, “Let us march!”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be likened to Demosthenes…
The guy that persuades people to take immediate, decisive action!
After all, business is about getting paid, not being pretty, right?
If you agree (and maybe even if you don’t)…
You’ll love this principle, which directly persuades people to agree with you when marketing on the internet.
You may have heard of the “yes ladder” method, where you ask questions in which “yes” is the natural answer?
It works like this…
After a while, folks get comfortable agreeing with you—and open up to your suggestions.
Examples of “yes ladder” questions include:
- That’s fair, isn’t it?
- Sounds good, right?
- Nice day, huh?
- Isn’t that great?
- Don’t you agree?
You might even notice that I ask you to agree from time to time, right?
Now, it doesn’t matter what you ask—what matters is that people say “yes” to you.
This is one example of the principle of consistency.
The idea is simply getting people to say multiple “yeses” to you on minor things.
Once they get used to that, you’ll have a much easier time with the bigger “yesses.”
Einstein’s famous formula states that something can’t turn into nothing.
Energy and matter can turn into each other, but they don’t just disappear.
Instead, when energy is released, an equivalent exchange happens—even if we can’t see it.
The same law applies to human behavior.
Humans hate to just take something without giving anything in return.
It’s not in our nature.
Instead, when people receive something, they want to pay back.
It can be with a kind word, a positive thought or money—but there’s always an exchange.
That’s what the principle of reciprocity is about.
When you give something away for free, people want to pay you back.
Charities know this, which is why they give out stamps, name labels, gifts, etc. when asking for money.
You can do the same thing by giving value (see Principle #4) first.
Don’t be afraid to “pay it forward” when you’re marketing on the internet
Make the first move, and you’ll see that people will want to reward your efforts.
Have you noticed that new iPhones sell out each time…
Even before they’re released?
For example, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus received over 10 million pre-orders and yet were out of stock days before the September 2015 release.
Now, why does this happen?
Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world.
It’s not like they can’t make enough phones.
So what’s this really about?
Well, it’s all about scarcity.
This principle states that people want what they can’t have.
They want the exclusive; the limited; the forbidden.
Apple is a huge success, in part because their products are launched with scarcity.
You can do the same thing to influence people in your favor.
Just don’t lie about it—people hate that!
A simple way to add scarcity is with one-time offers that only appear once.
Another is with expiring offers that run out at a certain time and date.
We use both here at EMP.
And when it comes to the rationale behind scarcity, it’s honestly “anything goes.”
For example, you could say…
“I wanna work with leaders and decisive action-takers. If you’re not ready to act, you’re not the kind of individual I want on my team.”
Or you could say…
“If you don’t take action today, how will your life be different a year from now? So to help you move forward right now, this offer is only available for the next hour. After that, the price doubles.”
In the end, it doesn’t matter—so long as there’s scarcity, and a logical reason for it.
Okay, that wraps up our 7 principles!
Here they are again…
- Social Proof
Until next time,
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro
Now, each of these principles Andrew talked about is contingent on one thing…
You first must capture your prospect’s attention
That means you need to learn more about marketing.