Use of Psychology in Business: How to Influence Anyone to Say Yes

If you’re in the marketing business, then you’re trying to make people take action. So, you’re also in the psychology business. It’s important you understand the use of psychology in business. And one of the best ways is through Robert Cialdini’s six “triggers of influence”.

These are the six triggers you need to master if you want to get your audience to take action.

You could just say ‘I sell pizza and this is what it costs’, but that leave it up to readers as to whether or not they want to buy your pizzas. “You’d much rather make their minds up for them… You’d rather tell them how to feel about your pizza… the result being that they buy, buy, buy,” wrote Drew Eric Whitman in his book, Cashvertising.

That’s why the use of psychology in business is critical.

And Dr. Robert Cialdini literally wrote the book about influencing your audience.

The Robert Cialdini Influence Summary: The Use of Psychology in Business

More than 3 million copies of psychologist Robert Cialdini’s groundbreaking New York Times Business Best Seller book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, have been sold. It’s been translated in 30 languages. Fortune Magazine included it in its list of the 75 smartest business books.

“Influence is the result of university peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the factors that influence people’s behavior,” explained Ray Edwards in his own book, How to Write Copy that Sells.

And he detailed what he called “six triggers of influence” in his book. And here are is what you need to know about these six triggers:


According to Edwards, “we feel if someone gives us something, we need to give them something in return. Thus, if you give your prospects valuable free videos or information, they will be more inclined to buy from you.”

That’s what happened to writer mentor and the founder of the Renegade Writer Press, Linda Formichelli. She’s been giving her 8,000 subscribers free content and massive value for years, and recently sent them a free copy of her new book, How to Do it All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life – While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out with a Sharpie.

She sent the book to her subscribers by accident.

The intention was to only email it to her small group of beta readers, but who hasn’t sent the wrong email to the wrong person once?

Some of her subscribers hurried up to read the book, loved it, and promised to buy it when it officially launches. Others preordered even though they already had the free version.

While Formichelli’s readers reciprocated her unexpectedly, according to Whitman, many companies intentionally make use of psychology in business – for example, by giving away samples. They’ve learned that people feel gratitude and end up buying the full product.

That’s what HubSpot does when it gave away 160 free business-themed stock photos.

If you use content marketing to market your business, you’re using the combination of psychology and business too. And if you do that, you know that it takes time to build the type of relationship with your audience that allows for reciprocity to happen.

Stay patient and focused, and keep taking steps toward making it happen.

Commitment and Consistency

Commitment is very important when you’re building your business or executing a marketing strategy. But when Robert Cialdini talked about commitment and consistency, he referred to something quite different. You guessed it – it’s one of his ways to make use of psychology in business and influence his audience to take action.

According to Whitman, “If you take a stand on an issue, you must remain consistent with your beliefs.” He gives the example of someone asking you to sign a petition for a cause that matters to you. You agree. Once you agree, you prove to the person you care about the cause – that you’re committed to supporting it – so after you sign the petition, the person asks you for one more bit of help: Can you donate $3 for this cause?

The second request is only slightly bigger than the first, and it does seem like the next logical step.

Even if you don’t feel like donating $3, you probably will. Because according to Edwards, “people will take great pains to make their actions match their words or previous commitments.”

Whitman described how to use this tactic in copywriting. On your landing page, present “four questions to your prospect, with each answer leading logically to the next, until, at the end of your ad (or your landing page), your prospect is all but committed to making the purchase.”

Your questions here aren’t requests, but more of a way to engage your readers emotionally and have them qualify themselves – to themselves – as the perfect people to take the action you’ll soon be asking them to take.

See how beautifully yTravel Blog implements this on the landing page for their ebook, How to Create a Travel Life You Love without Spending a Fortune. It’s like a Robert Cialdini Influence summary in action.

“The idea is to elicit a string of ‘yes’ responses from your prospect, each successive answer adding momentum, creating a snowball of interest and desire, and presenting your product as the path to fulfillment,” wrote Whitman.


Asking your readers these questions is a great application of psychology in business. As they start seeing your product as their vehicle for transformation, they start developing positive emotions toward you.

According to Edwards, “We tend to buy from people we feel an emotional connection to – people we like. This is why personality marketing is so powerful.”

How do you get your target audience to like you? Time to mix psychology and business again.

=> Show Them You Believe in Them

Create an image of what your ideal customer’s life could look like. That is, what it could look like once they go through the transformation your business provides. Show them you believe they can make it happen despite their challenges and fears.

“The goal is to cause consumers to become so closely associated with the product’s image that it almost becomes a part of their own identity… If consumers are presented with the ‘correct’ images, people who possess these characteristics will buy them in order to publicize their ego. Those who don’t will purchase them in an attempt to appear as if they do,” Whitman wrote.

=> Show Them You Speak Their Language

Like we said before, if you’re in marketing, you’re in the psychology business. If you already make use of psychology in business, you know that, as Edwards wrote, “The more accurately you can describe your reader’s problem in terms they relate to, the more they instinctively feel that you must have an answer to that problem. Use the reader’s own language, the very words and phrases they use to describe the problem they want to solve.”

If you’re new to the use of psychology in business, here’s why this works:

According to Whitman, people relate to people who are just like them. In fact, “Contrary to popular belief, men are most attracted to pictures of other men, and women to pictures of other women,” explained Whitman. They imagine themselves in the portrayed lives of people of their own gender, and that’s what influences them to buy.

If the words on your page sound like the words in their minds, they’ll identify with what you have to say, and take the action you ask them to take.

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Written by Ayelet Weisz

Ayelet Weisz is a copywriter who starts every day by dancing, before going on to help companies from four continents increase ROI and make a difference with content.