In this book Robert explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these understandings. It consists of six principles on how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself against them.
In brief summary these principles are:
The first principle is Reciprocation – it says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. If a man send us a birthday present, we should remember his birthday with a gift of our own, if a couple invites us to party, we should be sure to invite them to one of ours. By virtue of the reciprocity rule, we are obligated to the future repayment of favours, gifts, invitations and the like.
The second principle is Commitment and Consistency – this is when we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify out earlier decision.
The third principle is Social Proof – it states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. The principle applies especially to the way we decide what constitutes correct behaviour.
The fourth principle is Liking – simply we prefer to say yes to those we like or know but there are also loads of ways how to exploit it.
The fifth principle is Authority – our tendency to follow and obey the authority, quite often automatically which can then be used against us. And this simply happens because in general authority figures has always had genuine practical advantages for us, earlier in our life such as parents and teachers these people know more than we do and we found taking this advice beneficial, same as we grew up, this change to employs, judges and government leaders.
The sixth and final principle is Scarcity – simply something becomes attractive when it would soon become unavailable. The most classic example of this would be when customer is informed that a certain product is in short supply that cannot be guaranteed to last long.
In the book for each of these there are several examples and situations given and also how to protect yourself when these principles are working against you.
One of my favourite examples from many in the book was when estate agent used contrast effect when showing properties to potential buyers. At first, run down properties were shown (that were not intended for sale but listed at the same price as the ones that actually are being sold) and then to create contrast the actual properties on sale were shown. Obviously when buyers seen a difference between them would be more likely to buy.