The two pieces of advice that Robert Cialdini gave us

2015 Dec 22
By Matej Sucha

At the beginning of September the world’s biggest gathering of behavioural economists took place in London. It was a two day event held in a rather prestigious location just a few steps away from the Big Ben. The program was stacked with amazing speeches, inspiring new ideas, book signings and valuable networking. 

All the big names from the field were present. Kahneman, Thaler, Ariely, Pinker and Cialdini were all there, each of them with a presentation or an interview. Of course we expected a lot and they didn’t disappoint us. When the second day was over and everybody was leaving, heading back home wherever that might be, I met Robert Cialdini in the staircase. Since he’s been my persuasion hero for many years now, I thought I had to talk to him.

I waited a couple of minutes because he was in a discussion with Todd Rogers, another big name in behavioural economics, but then, I had my few seconds of glory. Since we had freshly started our behavioural economics consultancy at that time I asked him if he would have any advice to give us. He thought for a second and said, 

“First of all, do not overpromise”

I think he is right. Behavioural economics is extremely powerful, but it is not an ultimate solution to every problem. The second advice he gave me was about how to sell our services.

“Use loss aversion. Tell your potential clients that this is what they are 
leaving on the table and that you have the proof.”

That’s exactly what we are now doing. We present our solution to every new client we approach in terms of what they are losing by not having their communication, products and services optimized from the behavioural perspective.

Thank you Mr. Cialdini.

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