Powers of Persuasion – A Study

Powers of persuasion


Capacity to persuade is a great quality to possess. You need to persuade several people every day at home or office to get a task done. Persuasiveness is a quality that occurs in humans in different degrees. There are individuals who are persuasive by nature while there are others who imbibe this trait through training. Power to persuade is an asset for individuals that need to interact with people and convince them.

6 Elements of Persuasion

Together with ‘persuasion’, ‘scarcity’ and ‘reciprocity’ are complementary terms. Without these two ‘persuasion’ could be difficult to achieve. A customer purchases a good or service when he or she is able to relate to it and has a demand for it. Reciprocity helps in increasing a customer’s relation to a product. In other words, a customer feels drawn towards a product for which there is a personal requirement. Secondly, humans have an affinity for owning something exclusive, for which he is even willing to pay a premium. The ‘scarcity’ factor is the second most important factor in making a purchase decision.

‘Authority’ is the next aspect that a buyer looks for in a product. This arises from trust a consumer has on commodities offered by a certain company or belonging to a particular brand. Based on trust a long lasting relationship could develop between users and sellers. Many companies offer products on a trial basis free of cost or sell it on cost refund basis if found unsatisfactory. Such exercises increase ‘trust’ of consumers and help in establishing an authority for a specific brand or company.

There are primarily six elements of persuasion that could sway customers towards you or the commodity that you sell.


Through this principle in persuasion the key is to give first something that is unexpected and personalized and wait for it being reciprocated. In a study of restaurant waiter and customer behavior it was observed that a mint from the waiter increased his tips by 3 percent. When the number of mints was increased to two the tips increased by 14 percent. In the next instance, the waiter left one mint for the customer and went away for bringing the second one. While offering this second mint he uttered: ‘for a nice person like you, here is another’. The waiter’s tip increased by 23 percent.

Here persuasion worked on the basis of reciprocated feeling. The important point to note is not ‘what’ was being offered but ‘how’. Courteous presentation, tidy packaging, clean ambience, personalized care are things that increase your power of persuasion through reciprocation.


Humans have a tendency to acquire services and goods that are scarce as it gives them exclusivity. Designer dresses, antique furniture, auction purchases are typical examples of scarce materials that attract customers easily and sellers could even earn premiums for these. Ownership of a scarce item offers a satisfaction of standing out from others.

Theoretically speaking, scarcity is comparable to marginal utility of a product or service. As the marginal utility of a commodity in the initial stages of its consumption is high, so also is a product as long as it is scarce. Once the availability of a service or good becomes extensive it loses its scarcity quotient and hence the craze for its acquirement. A seller or manufacturer should always attempt to keep the scarcity value of a product high so that its persuasion power stays intact. It is thus not only important to speak about the advantages and benefits of a commodity but also highlight the losses if it is not bought or used.


The power of persuasion increases when people begin to trust you. To win this trust it is important to instill a sense of authority among users. This authority comes from experience, credentials, and a positive impression about a service or product being offered by a seller. An architect should ideally display his awards and certificates in office so that customers walking in feel confident. It also helps the service provider in gaining the trust of service seekers or product buyers.

There are several examples worldwide, where brands have become synonymous with products. The level of trust is so deep that a commodity becomes famed as a brand and establishes itself as an authority. The same is true even for professionals. There are medical practitioners and lawyers who are considered authorities in their respective fields and trusted blindfolded. For sellers it is essential to establish their credibility to buyers before trying to persuade them for offering a product or service.

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Humans are inclined to agree to someone who is liked. Marketers and producers of goods and services should always try to be likeable to end users so that persuasion becomes easier. There are two ways of doing business; either by hitting an idea repeatedly, or identifying the likes and then offering a similar item. Studies have shown that negotiations started after establishing a liking led to 90 percent of prospects being converted to customers, while those without setting up a liking resulted in 55 percent conversions.

People are inclined to say ‘yes’ to something or someone likeable. Sellers should always try to identify areas that a buyer ‘likes’ and persuade him accordingly. For best results, these ‘likings’ need to be praised and genuinely complimented. The remaining portion of selling cycle becomes easy and fast.


Consistency in quality, service, and overall performance of an organization helps immensely in persuading buyers of further business. Consistency is irrespective of value or volume of business transacted. This persuasion tool is a way of engaging existing customers in motivating prospective buyers for a commodity or service. Appreciation of a product from a user acts as a stimulus for its seller and helps in creating more customers. While attempting to persuade others using consistency principle a marketer fundamentally looks for voluntary support.


This is a powerful persuasion tool. People speak to others or look into their habits before trying out any new product or service. In other words, the actions of any individual are inspired by those who are around. Taking ideas from others is a scientifically proven way of persuasion.

To Wrap Up

These six ways of persuasion are costless and effective. They are ethical ways is bringing about significant changes in purchase habits and hence a change in market behavior.

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