It is not often that I get genuinely excited about things. I tend to keep an even keel about most things in life especially where business is concerned. So it is telling that I am extremely excited about pre-ordering a book on Amazon (don’t even get me started on the concept of pre-ordering. You are either ordering or you are not so you cannot pre-order anything!)
When I was ten years old the greatest business book ever written, in my opinion, was first published. I would have been eighteen when I first found a copy of it in a dusty corner of the university library. It had last been taken out four years previously – this was back in the old school days where they still used a physical stamp in the front cover to let you know when it was due back – no SMS or e-mail reminder back in the early 90’s.
I read the book, really enjoyed it but as a first-year undergraduate, I had very little context to apply the learning to. I then started selling cable TV subscriptions door-to-door and the book suddenly came alive and helped me make not an insignificant amount of money for a student.
That book was Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Professor Robert Cialdini. I have followed his work ever since and re-read Influence too many times to remember. Every time you go back to it you learn something new or remember something that you have forgotten that is hugely relevant to your circumstances today.
So it is not an overstatement to say that I was overjoyed when on Friday I received an email from Robert Cialdini (pretty sure it was an autoresponder but you live in hope that one of the greatest marketing minds personally reached out to me). The great news was that after more than 30 years the Prof has finally completed another book.
Even how he described the reason for the wait had me chomping at the bit.
“Lots of people ask why I have not written a solo-authored book in the years since [Influence]. The truth is I never had an idea big enough. I didn’t want to plant a set of bushes around the tree that is Influence. I wanted to plant another tree.”
That is some billing given I think it is the greatest business book ever written. Like I said he is one of the greatest marketing minds that ever lived and I am certainly sold.
The new book is called Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. The preamble sounds pretty compelling. “It concerns what savvy communicators do before delivering their message to get it accepted – the process of gaining agreement with a message before it is sent. Although that may seem like some form of magic, it’s not. It’s established science.”
I could not hit that pre-order button quick enough – especially as “he” was going to send me some free stuff if I forwarded my Amazon receipt. Yes, yet again more evidence that he is a master marketer and I am going along on his merry ride. But who wants to wait until the launch date on 9th September when you can get your hands on the first chapter before everyone else – well me and an exclusive bunch of a couple of million worldwide is my guess.
Influence was based on six key principles and Cialdini has used them all on me to get me to buy his new book:
- Reciprocity – it is human nature to want to return a favour. (Free chapter anyone)
- Commitment and Consistency – most humans when they commit to something find it hard not to be consistent which is why you are far more likely to lose weight by joining a slimmers club than dieting on your own. (I loved the last book and this is being billed as equal or possibly better, “another tree”, so why would I not buy it when I have spent the entire article telling you how great the first book was).
- Social Proof – people will do things they see other people doing. Stand in a public place and look up at the sky and wait for the majority of the other people to look up to see what you are looking at (try it, it is fun and you get to control perfect strangers for a few seconds at a time). Pre-ordering is built on social proof. Got to order now because everyone else is.
- Authority – we love to obey authority and can be made to do some terrible things by someone with no scientific knowledge or training if they wear a white coat and carry a clipboard. (The Professor told me this is going to be a great book.)
- Liking – we buy from who we like. Which is why brands like Avon do so well because you are buying from a friend or a friend of a friend. (Cialdini wrote a great book and when you see him on webinars and at conferences he is a really interesting, friendly and personable guy. What’s not to like?)
- Scarcity – get it now folks before the limited number or special price are gone for good. (I get lots of free stuff by ordering early. Once launch day is here those free goodies are gone and I will not be in the special club with the cool kids.)
Pre-suasion, even if it is the worst book ever written, is going to be an Amazon bestseller on the day it launches. I would imagine not just in the business category but on the site as a whole (unless Kim Kardashian releases a “book” that day too!)
I expect it to be a great book and an instant classic – but it would be inconsistent of me not to say that wouldn’t it.
I cannot yet endorse Pre-suasion yet but I would urge everyone to read Influence. If you want a quick race through those six principles then this video on YouTube is a good way to spend just shy of 12 minutes of your life: