Robert Cialdini… professor of psychology… had a fascinating discovery.
Robert Cialdini with his fantastic book “Influence”
We use shortcuts to make decisions. We NEED them cause we’re so bombarded with choices. Especially when it comes to buying things.
That’s the reason he wrote the book. He was SICK of getting duped by marketing. He wanted to figure out what they were doing. How they were INFLUENCING his psychology.
Well, he found marketers used six basic weapons. And these weapons made him WANT buy. As you can guess… even though the book’s about defending yourself from marketers… you can apply these same six weapons to make yourself more attractive to women. That is, if you’ve got a lot of value to offer a woman, but don’t know how to market it.
Let’s check out em out, shall we?
WEAPON #1. Reciprocation.
Give a little, she’ll give a little. Reciprocation. By the way, why couldn’t the people in this picture take their shoes off?
A professor did this experiment: he sent Christmas cards to STRANGERS. He was amazed by the response.
Holiday cards addressed to him from STRANGERS came pouring in. CLIK, WHIRR. Automatically, when these people received something, they wanted to reciprocate. We always want to repay in kind what someone else has provides us.
>>>PICKUP TRANSLATION: Give value first. Don’t open a girl by bombarding her with questions. That takes value from her. Instead, give something of value.
What do I mean by “value”? Benefit. That is, something she can use.
For example, a personality test that lets her learn something about herself. Laughter where she feels feelings of euphoria. Demonstration of social status where if she’s associated with you, her social status will rise. Give her something she can use. That benefits her. She’ll wanna reciprocate and take and interest in you.
So, if you want to learn about a woman don’t start by asking her lots of questions. Self-disclose, but in terms of HER. She’ll feel more comfortable self-disclosing and giving back to you.
WEAPON #2. Commitment and Consistency.
Don’t ask her to give you the whole store. She’ll say no. Ask her to give you small bits and pieces. That’ll get her in the habit of saying yes.
A psychologist staged two different thefts on a bench in NYC. In the first, a guy steals another guy’s radio. 4 out of 20 people stopped the guy who played the thief.
In the second, the guy who owned the radio asked a stranger to watch his radio while he left for 20 minutes. 19 out of 20 people stopped the guy who played the thief.
Why the difference?
The stranger in the second example made a commitment and wanted to be consistent with it. In other words, he made an investment. He complied with the researcher’s request. Once he did that, he didn’t want to appear inconsistent. So, he tried to be a man of his word. He was consistent for good reason.
The only danger with this weapon becomes when we’re AUTOMATICALLY consistent. For example, when we make a commitment to a bad investment. And our pride’s so wrapped up in it, we stick with the loser. To disastrous results.
Like a guy investing in a bum stock. That’s the commitment, or the investment. But all signs show it’s a loser. Does he cut the loser? No, he has to stay “consistent.” Not paying attention to all the red flags. And loses all his money.
When we make a choice, we want to stick by it… even if it might be wrong. There’s something deep in us that drives us… almost obsessively… to appear consistent with what we’ve already done. As Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
>>>PICKUP TRANSLATION: Ask her to do something small for you. A small investment. A small compliance request. If you get her saying yes in the beginning, she’ll more likely keep complying.
Perfect example: qualify her. That gets her investing. The more she has to work for you, the more she’s invested in you.
Or, ask her to hold your drink for a sec. Or, ask her to drive to your house. Again, the more you have her invest and work, the more invested in you she’ll be. And she’ll want to be consistent with that.
So, get her saying yes to an “investment” right away. That is, give value to you, yes. But right after, have HER give value. Don’t do all the giving. Have her talk.
Ask for a large compliance request… like a phone number or sex… she’ll say no. She’ll most likely commit to saying “no” to you.But ask for a small compliance request… like a qualifier… she’ll more likely comply. If for no other reason than not to be rude. That’s okay. Have her saying “yes” and she’ll likely commit to saying “yes.”
WEAPON #3. Social Proof.
When people are uncertain, they look at what others are doing. If you’re surrounded by women… and other people… she’ll want you, too.
Here’s another crazy one. Laugh tracks. We all know the canned laughter’s canned. Why do TV execs still use em? Cause the research says they work. The question isn’t why do the execs use it. The question is why do laugh tracks work so well on us even though we know it’s fake?
Because of a third powerful weapon of influence: social proof. That is, we determine what’s correct by finding out what other people think is correct.
There’s an old adage in sales that goes: “95% of people are imitators and 5% of people are initiators. People are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.”
Laugh tracks are a short-cut to making decisions. We react automatically to partial evidence.
Other examples: baristas putting cash in a tip jar to lure customers in tipping them. Imagine seeing an empty tip jar vs. a partially full one. You’d probably more likely be attracted to tip the partially filled one. Church ushers do the same thing.
Or: night clubs will make sure to have a long line at the door even though the club’s empty inside. Why? To give the appearance this is the place to be.
Or: advertisers use words like “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling.” It’s not about the quality of the product. But how many people are buying it.
The funny thing is we CAN make less mistakes by seeing what other people are doing. The only danger is when we open ourselves to deceit and lies if we don’t look for the FULL evidence… the reality… and think for ourselves.
>>>PICKUP TRANSLATION: Enter a location with women. Instant social proof. If women surround you and look like they like you, other women will think there’s something to you.
If you don’t have women to enter a location with, be seen talking with EVERYONE at a venue. Talk to bouncers, bartenders, guys, ugly girls. A simple “How’s your night going” will suffice.
If women see others react positively to you, they’ll automatically react positively to you when you approach them. Social proof is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your pickup arsenal. Women want a guy other women want.
WEAPON #4. Liking.
A sincere smile, and a positive energy, makes you more likable. And attractive.
There’s a car salesman in the Guinness Book of World Records named Joe Girard. He makes $200 million a year, averaging 5 cars sold per day he works. When asked what his secret was, he said it was simple: giving em a fair price and a salesman they LIKE. When a person likes you, they’re more likely to comply with you.
But how do you get a person to like you?
According to Cialdini 5 basic things:
- Physical attractiveness: There seems to be a “click, whirr” response to good-looking people. They seem to have an advantage in social interaction. Social scientists call it the “halo effect.” Just by being good-looking we’ll assume the person’s kind, smart, honest, talented (even if they’re not).
- Similarity: We like people that are similar to us. Whether the similarity is opinion, personality traits, background, or lifestyle. We’re like: “he’s like me. I like him.” So, you’d be more willing to comply with him.
- Compliments: One tactic Joe Girard employed was sending a card to his customers each month with a holiday greeting. All it would say on the front is “I like you.” Do you think that such an impersonal statement from a guy who sells cars would work? Oh yeah. We’re all suckers for flattery. Making a person feel good about themselves, and making them feel liked… they’re more likely to like you in return.
- Familiarity: The more times you see someone, the more you like him. Because he’s become familiar. We like comfortable. Safe. Familiar. It’s like home. We like the feeling of familiarity. Of home.
- Positive association: If you’re constantly giving bad news or talking about how awful something is, you’ll associate yourself with negative feelings. People will associate the negative with you. And because they dislike the negative stuff, they’ll dislike you. However, if you’re giving good news, bringing good feelings, people will associate the positive with you. And like you. It’s not YOU they like or dislike. It’s the feeling they feel when they’re around you they like or dislike. Weird, right?
- Physical attractiveness: Groom. Shower. Smell good. Clean breath. White teeth. Exercise. Eat clean. Clean, stylin’ clothes that fit. Good haircut. Erect posture. Strong eye contact. Smile. Doesn’t matter what your genes are, you can make yourself better looking. And more likable on your approach.
- Similarity: Look for “me too” moments. If she’s into dogs, and you like dogs, that’s a “me too” moment. Say “me too!” Obviously say this only if it’s true. But find similarities. When you do, she’s more likely to “like” you. Can’t emphasis enough that it’s gotta be honest. Bullshit “me too”s come off as bull-shit, kiss-ass and try-hard. Honest “me too”s only.
- Compliments: Open with this: “You guys looked kinda cool, so I thought I’d come over and see what you were like.” Compliments attract. From there call out anything positive you see about her. Again, can’t emphasize enough how much bullshitting doesn’t work. Everyone can smell it a mile away. Compliment, but honestly. One great way to do this? Use specifics and insights. The more details you use (ex: “I like the way the blue matches your eyes”), the more honest it is.
- Familiarity: After you approach, leave within a minute or so: “Great meeting you.” When you run into her again, you’re now a familiar face. The more familiar your face becomes to her, the more likable you’ll be.
- Positive Association: Always have a positive attitude. No complaining. No talking bad about people (including your ex-girlfriend). Smile. Talk about things that light you up. Be enthusiastic and passionate about whatever you’re talking about. She’ll associate those positive feelings with you, and will want to be around them… and you… more.
WEAPON #5. Authority.
Act like a man of high status. She’s more likely to give you her attention and trust.
There was a TV commercial selling caffeine-free coffee named “Sanka.” Highly successful. Why? Because actor Robert Young counseled Americans on the dangers of caffeine. He recommended decaffeinated coffee. Why would people listen to a mere actor?
Because he used to play a doctor on TV. In the minds of the America public he was Marcus Welby, M.D. And he sold Sanka like crazy.
Here’s another one. A physician once administered ear drops for a patient’s infected right ear. Instead of writing “right ear” on the prescription he wrote “place in R ear.” The highly-trained duty nurse put the number of ear drops into the patient’s anus. Neither patient nor nurse questioned it. The doctor had spoken.
Last one. In 1987, a guy named S. Brian Wilson and friends laid across railroad tracks. They were protesting the U.S. shipping military weapons to Nicaragua. They were confident this would stop the train.
But the Navy had found out about these guys and ordered the crew not to stop. So, they didn’t. 2 of the protesters got away. Brian Wilson didn’t. He had both legs cut below the knee.
However insane the orders, the crew obeyed.
There’s a deep-seated sense of duty to authority within us all. We comply to the wishes of authority even when it makes no sense to do so. We obey in a click, whirr fashion. Authority gives us a shortcut for how to act. Why do we obey authority even when it makes no sense to do so?
First of all, we’ve been trained from BIRTH to obey authority. Parents, school, government, church, jobs train us to submit to authority. When we obey, we’re rewarded. When we disobey, we’re punished. So, it’s in our best interest to obey authority.
Second of all, authority figures often have access to information and power we don’t always have. We CAN learn from them. We CAN learn from teachers wiser than us. And in fact, we’ve often found obeying them DOES lead to appropriate action. So, we form habits to automatically, blindly obey authority.
Third of all, it’s practical to have an authority figure. Authority figures have an advantage for society. They prevent anarchy and chaos. They give us social order. Can you imagine an airplane flying without a pilot? So, there’s a real value to having an authority figure.
Problem is when obeying authority becomes too much of a convenience. Too much of a shortcut in making decisions. We automatically obey. It’s nice, comfortable. We don’t have to think, so we don’t. Thinking takes work. Reacting, being led… much easier.
It’s the mindless obedience that’s paradoxical and dangerous. Authority figures make mistakes. Authority figures sometimes aren’t even really authority figures. Yes, there are advantages to listening to an authority figure. But without thinking, we open ourselves to harm. Whether harming ourselves or others.
Cialdini saw three ways we people automatically assume someone’s got status and authority… without thinking about it, and even if they’re not authority figures. They are: titles, trappings, and clothes.
- Titles: Titles like doctor, lawyer, professor. They’re the hardest symbols to get. But the easiest ones to fake. Actors can adopt the mere label and get automatic respect.
- Clothes: Certain clothing automatically trigger authority. Expensive clothes carries an aura of status as do uniforms. Look at the uniforms of police, priests, doctors and then the well-tailored suits of successful businessmen. Like titles, these can also be faked, yet trigger automatic deference. Check out this experiment. A guy had asked passersby on a street to pickup some trash. Dressed in street clothes, half the people complied. When he wore a security guard uniform, EVERY person complied.
- Trappings: Status symbols like jewelry and cars can give you an aura of authority and status, too. In another experiment, scientists discovered people would wait much longer to honk at a new, luxury car than at an old, economy car. The mere exterior appearance triggered automatic respect.
>>>PICKUP TRANSLATION: High status attracts women in a click, whirr fashion. Much like a great ass attracts us. Here are some ideas how we can translate this into pickup. This list isn’t exhaustive.
- Titles: If you don’t have a “status” job, answer “What do you do?” questions in a way that showcases your passion or how you help others. And in your life, actually make that happen. Shifting from the “consumer” mind-frame to the “person who meets needs” mind-frame, you naturally increase your status. Also, when you tell stories from your past, make sure you showcase your positive traits rather than negative traits. The five attraction switches are useful here. (For more on that check out my article on DHV here.)
- Clothes: Do NOT dress like everyone else. Dress to stand-out. Like you own the place. Like you’re high-status. Dress for success.
- Trappings: I don’t recommend having trappings just to attract women. The “douche bags” are the ones who brag about their new car, their yacht, their bankroll. If you’d like to get a new car, go for it. But don’t brag about it. Then when she gets in, yeah, she probably will be impressed. Whatever. Even better than trappings, adopt high-status body language. For example: Erect posture. Lean back, don’t lean in. Willing to walk away. Strong eye contact. Smile. Lift others up.
WEAPON #6. Scarcity.
Don’t give her the store, either. Add a little veil, she’ll want to see what’s behind it.
This one’s crazy. Dade County in Florida (containing Miami) had passed an ordinance against having any phosphate cleaning products. Suddenly there was this craze for phosphate cleaning products. Miamians turned to smuggling… what seems to be a Miami tradition. There were “soap caravans.” There was hoarding. Some families had twenty-year supplies of phosphate cleaners.
Not only that… because we want what we can no longer have… Miamians came to see phosphate cleaners as gentler, more effective in cold water, better fresheners, tougher on stains. It’s as if to make sense of their desire for something, they assigned positive attributes to it to justify the desire. (p. 251)
Compare this to the residents of Tampa, where phosphate cleaners were allowed. There was no hoarding, no smuggling, no obsessive craze. They saw phosphate detergents for what they were. That they clean, whiten, and pour no better after they’re banned than before.
Here’s another one. Child psychologists had done an experiment on two-year-old boys. They put two attractive toys in two different rooms. In one room one of the toys was behind a short plexiglass. A boy could get the toy easily. In the other it was behind a tall plexiglass. A boy couldn’t get the toy at all.
Well, you can probably guess the results. In the room with the short plexiglass, the boys showed no preference for one toy over the other. But in the room when the barrier was large enough to be an obstacle, the boys went directly for the obstructed toy. They went to the blocked toy three times faster than the unblocked toy.
The Romeo and Juliet story is a third example. Why did they want each other so much that they both committed suicide? Was it their love was so perfect? Or was their passion due to the barriers their families erected against them? My guess is the BARRIERS fueled their heat. Without those, it probably would’ve been your standard teenage puppy love. Yes, I know it’s fiction.
But the point remains. If there’s the possibility we can lose something or we can’t have it, we want it more. When we get it, the want… and romantic feelings… cool. Barriers, and fear of loss, make us want things more.
Marketers and sales people use this technique on us all the time:
- “There’s only five left! Get yours before supplies run out!”
- “If you don’t buy in the next three days, it’ll be gone forever!”
- “You can make great profits, but you’ve lost the opportunity to invest. Wait hold on! There’s one last chance to invest. Do it now before you lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… forever!”
Most of the time the scarcity weapon they use on us is bullshit. They say it to manipulate us into buying without thinking. They rush us, we don’t think, and we often end up with buyer’s remorse. But there’s something psychological happening here that makes us fall for this. What is it?
When something is gone, or it’s about to go, it creates a want in us. Suddenly it has value. It’s attractive. We’re more motivated by what we can lose than by what we can gain.
For example, health researchers found they got young women to check for breast cancer MORE when they said: “You can lose these health benefits if you don’t a self-exam.” Than when they said: “You can gain these health benefits if you do a self-exam.” (p. 239)
Loss motivates us more than gain. Weird, right? And scarcity’s all about the potential of loss.
There’s another reason scarcity works so well on us. It’s a shortcut to thinking. But instead of “click, whir” it’s “click blur” (p. 243). Scarcity allows us to make a decision about the quality of something without taking the time to examine it. How? Cialdini cites two very interesting theories.
First, scarcity CAN BE a legitimate short-cut to thinking. Things that are hard to get and are rare and are about to become extinct are typically better than those that are easy to get (p. 244). So, the availability of something helps us decide on the quality of something. It can help us to make the right decision.
The second reason is a little more subtle, but still super fascinating. Psychologist Jack Brehm developed a theory called “reactance theory” to explain why scarcity works so well on us. According to the theory, we DESPISE losing freedoms we already have. When free choice is limited or it’s threatened, we react. We fight against the restriction of freedom to keep that freedom.
A great example is one that happened to Cialdini.
He had this beautiful Mormon temple down the street from him. He had heard how beautiful it was inside, but he never had any interest in visiting. He had freedom of access. He knew he had that freedom, so he almost took it for granted.
Then one day he read in the newspaper that renovations had been done to it. Usually Mormons never allow the public to see it, but now for three days they were giving access to the public. Then access would be shut down forever.
Suddenly Cialdini was calling up friends to see if they’d go with him to visit.
His friends were like “Why are you so interested in going?” He didn’t have a good answer until he realized the article had used the scarcity weapon and made him want to go. Why?
According to the “reactance” theory, he was fighting against losing that freedom to see the Temple anytime he wanted. In other words, he was reacting against the interference. That “fighting” stance put a fire in his ass to want to see something he had no interest in seeing before.
So, there’s a legitimate reason why scarcity works. The problem comes when it’s used as bullshit. When it’s used to manipulate us for something we really don’t need. When we get swindled out of our life’s savings… which has happened to people. The inoculation: Thinking before acting… and being aware of the weapon.
>>>PICKUP TRANSLATION: I’m advocating this weapon only to make yourself more attractive to women. It works. But don’t use it just to take from a woman, and leave her with buyer’s remorse. Always leave women better off than you found them.
With that said, if you are to use this weapon ETHICALLY, how do you use it? Be a little bit hard to get. A challenge. Here’s some ideas how:
1. Time constraint: When you approach, let the group know you’re not going to be there long. That you’re on your way out. “I’ve just got a sec…” Your body language can also be a time constraint, too. If your feet are pointing towards the way out… It’s strange and magical, but by being about to leave, it makes people want you to stick around more.
2. Actually leave: In fact, when you approach, you can even actually leave after a minute or two. “Well, it was a pleasure meeting you” and leave. You need nothing from them, just being friendly. Leaving makes you more scarce, more valuable, more attractive. So, give em a taste of something great, but don’t give em everything. That “taste” puts a want in people for more of you.
3. Banter or neg: THE greatest weapon for creating instant attraction. You push her away. You play-fight. There’s conflict, challenge. And scarcity. I wrote a whole article about this called “Flirting.”
4. Make your purpose #1, not women: If you make a woman “the sun” you become like a planet revolving around her. When you make a higher purpose #1, you become the sun. Naturally you become scarce, not always available, and more valuable. Have your own life. Make helping others your priority, not “impressing” women. It’s one of THE most attractive things you can do.
So, those are the six weapons of influence marketers use to get us to buy stuff. Again, we can use them to make ourselves more attractive to women, and stand out from the blur of men that hit on her. Becoming more attractive to women is really just marketing yourself better. For example:
- Use RECIPROCATION by giving value first (rather than taking value first, i.e. asking a bunch of questions at the start, giving value, i.e. a personality test or laughter).
- Use COMMITMENT AND CONSISTENCY by qualifying, and having her invest in the interaction.
- Use SOCIAL PROOF by being friendly to everyone, being seen with women, and seeing that there’s an abundance of women out there (which is the case) rather than a scarcity.
- Use LIKING by having a positive outlook, having a clean appearance, finding commonalities, looking for the best in people, and appreciating them.
- Use AUTHORITY by acting like a high-status male. That is, being someone who gives value to the world rather than someone who leeches it from others.
- Use SCARCITY by bantering, being hard to get, and making your life’s purpose and passion… again, usually involves helping others… more important than getting women.
When it comes down to it, the six weapons applied to women are about being a man of value. But saying that is so vague it doesn’t help you in the real world. That’s why it’s great to keep the six weapons in mind. They’re six ways you can show women outwardly the value you have inside you.
And man do they whet a woman’s appetite.
Yeah, thanks to the six weapons of Influence
Six AWESOME tips, right?