This podcast has been going for five years now, and those people who listen to it frequently might be tired of the Graff-Pinkert ad at the beginning of the show. I was tired of it, so I finally created a new ad.
For people who are listening to this show for the first time, I’m a used machine tool dealer with a family business called Graff-Pinkert. We specialize in selling equipment for the precision machining industry.
Recently, Graff-Pinkert started a new service, Graff-Pinkert Acquisitions and Sales, in which we consult precision machining companies who want to buy or sell their businesses. This seemed like a great topic for a new ad.
One reason I’m very excited about the new ad is that I created it using persuasion strategies from one of the world’s greatest marketing gurus, Robert Cialdini.
If you mention Cialdini to my dad or my wife, Stephanie, they will tell you that I talk about him all the time. And I do, because he’s a genius.
On today’s show I’m going to explain how I used Cialdini’s principles of persuasion when I wrote the new ad and how you can apply them to your business and personal life as well.
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Who is Robert Cialdini, and what are these brilliant principles of persuasion I just mentioned in my introduction?
Cialdini is a social psychologist and was a professor at Arizona State University.
Some people call him the “Godfather of Marketing.”
Back in 1984 he wrote a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which is considered a bible among marketers. To write the book he went undercover for three years working at used car dealerships, fundraising organizations and telemarketing firms to learn from experts about the science of persuasion.
In the original book, he scientifically breaks down his concepts into six principles of persuasion. Last year, he wrote an updated version of Influence and introduced a seventh one.
Cialdini’s Seven Principles of Persuasion are: Reciprocity, Commitment/Consistency, Proof of Authority, Social Proof, Scarcity, Liking, and the new one is Unity.
Before I break down how I used several of Cialdini’s principles, it is important to read the transcript of the new ad (see below).
As listeners of this podcast know, my family company, Graff-Pinkert, has been buying and selling used machine tools all over the world for the last 80 years.
Every day, while selling machinery, we talk to owners of machining companies who tell us they want to expand their businesses through acquisition. We also encounter a lot of owners of companies who are ready to exit but don’t have successors.
This inspired us to start a new business service, Graff-Pinkert Acquisitions and Sales, in which we serve as consultants for precision machining companies who want to buy or sell their businesses.
There are a lot of business brokers out there who can list your company, but for the most part, those people are GENERALISTS. They may not have even heard of precision machining.
Another unique thing about working with Graff-Pinkert is that we often have a personal relationship with both the potential buyer and seller, putting us in a rare position to evaluate if the two parties are a good fit for each other.
Go to graffpinkert.com to contact us for a consultation to see if your sales or acquisitions needs are a good fit for our services. Mention this podcast and we will give you a free table top valuation of your company’s equipment.
Just to review, Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion are: Reciprocity, Commitment/Consistency, Proof of Authority, Social Proof, Scarcity, Liking, and Unity. I was able to fit in five of them into my 90-second ad.
In the first sentence of the ad I got off to a good start by using two principles—Proof of Authority and Liking.
The Liking principle is that customers want to work with people with whom they share things in common.
I made sure to mention that Graff-Pinkert is a family business because a lot of precision machining businesses are family businesses.
Then I worked in Proof of Authority.
The Proof of Authority principle is that people follow those they believe are credible, knowledgable experts. Examples could be the chef’s recommendation on a menu, the drug most doctors recommend, or a Consumer Reports review.
In our case, I say that Graff-Pinkert has been buying and selling used precision machine tools all over the world for the last 80 years. This means that our company has extensive experience in our precision machining industry niche. We are experts in this arena.
Another one of Cialdini’s persuasion principles I used is Social Proof. Think of Social Proof as a movie rating on Rotten Tomatoes giving the preference of the audience, as opposed to the ratings from movie critics. The rationale is that people want to buy products from companies they know already have satisfied customers. For many people, that is just as or more important than what some critic or “expert” says, who may not even be a client.
In the ad, I talk about how Graff-Pinkert has relationships with both the buyers and sellers of companies. That point tells listeners that we have a lot of customers who have been working with us for a long time. We’re a known quantity out there, not just some random company asking for your trust.
Also, on our website’s page for the Sales and Acquisitions service, we feature video testimonials from satisfied clients who’ve sold their businesses. This is a really powerful example of Social Proof. Because you’re not just telling the world that lots of people like you, you’re putting the people who like you on display.
The next Cialdini principle of persuasion I used is Scarcity.
Scarcity often signifies there is a low supply of an item or a limited time that something is available. It’s a really powerful technique because it creates a fear of loss, which studies have shown actually has a more powerful influence on human behavior than the opportunity to gain something.
But Scarcity can also can mean something is exclusive. Maybe it’s an expensive luxury brand item or a college that’s really hard to get into. A lot of people out there want things just because other people don’t have them. It makes us feel special or superior to other people.
In the ad, I argue that Graff-Pinkert’s specialization in precision machining is unique because typical business brokers are generalists. Thus, you don’t find other people like us who are offering our service. We’re rare. We’re in a category of one.
Then I push the exclusivity principle even further. I say that people can contact us for a consultation to see if they are a good fit for our services. This statement means that we won’t work with just anyone. Your company has to be in our specialty of precision machining, and you have to be serious about actually selling or buying a business. This has power because people want to work with people who don’t have to work with them.
Finally, we end with Reciprocity. It’s the old adage that you’ve “gotta give to get.” That’s why when you go into a candy store it’s typical to be offered samples. In one of Cialdini’s studies, customers were 42% more likely to buy something if they received a free piece of chocolate when they entered a candy store.
In the very last sentence of the ad we offer a gift, a free table top valuation of your company’s equipment.
The gift offer works because it’s a demonstration of our generosity, but more importantly by giving something to people without them asking, they feel compelled to give in return. Maybe in this case, it could be granting us a follow up conversation about working together, or telling us about someone else they know who could be interested in our services.
Now you have some powerful tools to persuade others like the Godfather of Marketing. I suggest you experiment with all the principles. Be conscious of them when you’re copyrighting, creating a website, or social media post.
Think about using Reciprocity or Scarcity when you’re attempting to convince your children to eat their vegetables.
I have a feeling you will be surprised by what you can achieve when applying Cialdini’s principles.