We are triggered to say yes all the time to things we don’t want. And doing so just brings more stress, clutter, and chaos into our lives. But savvy sales people and marketing professionals have a few tricks up their sleeves to sell you, and if you know what they are, you can avoid falling into the trap by embracing the power of no.
The “But You Are Free” Trick
There’s power in giving you the choice to say no, but the power lays with the sales associate. If you hear a phrase similar to, “But don’t feel obliged” or “This is a great choice but you’re free to choose something else”, that’s an instant cue you’re victim to a persuasion technique. This PsyBlog explains that this technique reaffirms a persons freedom of choice and by simply affirming that they are free to make a choice, it doubled the chances of that person saying yes to a request.
2. The Go High Then Go Low Trick
Great sellers are taught to start high and then go low. That way, when you initially say no to something you don’t agree with or a price that’s out of your range, they’ll ask again but with a request smaller than the first. Why does this work? When a second yet smaller request is made, we consider their concession of offering us less as if they are doing us a favor. If it had been the only request, chances are you wouldn’t say yes to it, but because they requested something larger first and you said no, it puts more pressure on you to say yes a second time when the request is smaller. It also seems small in comparison making it easier for you to wrap your mind around it.
3. The Validation Trick
Peer pressure still works. You’re more likely to buy or do something if you are shown that people “just like you” are also buying or doing that same thing. We don’t like to feel like we’re left out so if it feels like everyone else is saying yes, we’re more compelled to do so as well.
4. The Foot-in-the-Door Trick
It’s easier to get you to say yes if you’re already said yes to a previous request. If you’ve been asked to do something for someone – typically something very small like filling out a questionnaire, answering a survey, or taking advantage of a free trial – they’ve got you on the hook. You’ll find yourself saying yes to more and more because you’ve just been led to make a commitment. And because we like to be consistent with our values and behavior, we’re psychologically driven to remain committed to things, heading further down a path of saying yes to more and more requests.
5. The Charisma Trick
It’s common knowledge that we like to do business with people we like. We also like to give (money, time, and energy) to people we like. Sales associates use their image – their appearance, behavior and communication – to make themselves more likable to you. Haven’t you ever purchased something from a friend or said yes to a request you would normally say no to just because they were a friend or relative? That’s the power of charisma, creating similarity and building off of common ground (whether it’s real common ground or not). You could be saying yes more than you think purely based on charisma.
6. The Scarcity Trick
The fear of loss is more powerful than the hope of gain. You can be triggered into saying yes if the persuasion emphasis is focused on you losing something rather than gaining something desirable. Some easy ways this is put into place is to impose deadlines or expiration dates to create limits of availability so you feel compelled to avoid “missing your chance”. Watch out for key phrases such as, “only in the next 10 days” or “only 10 items remain”. Those are surefire yes traps.
Shauna is the creator of the YES DIET, public speaker, and founder of Best Kept Self, a community of experts who believe in the power of self-care for the self-employed. For more tips on self-care and mindfulness, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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