7 Principles of Influence In B2B Sales

- 7 Principles of Influence in B2B Sales

how to apply Dr. robert cialdini's principles in b2b sales

Dr. Robert Cialdini's 7 Principles of Influence are often covered in b2b sales training courses, but often only explored at a surface level. But without delving deep in to how and why each of the seven principles actually work, individually and collectively, the value of the learning is diminished.

In this article, I share examples of how b2b sales efforts can be appllied to develop credibility, uniqueness, trust and unity.

  1. Reciprocity

    • Free Resources: Offer your prospect valuable, credible industry reports, insights, ebooks, or webinars free of any financial cost to them. This creates a sense of indebtedness, encouraging potential clients to engage with you, your organisation and your services in return. It is important to offer these items with a genuine desire to support the recipient, and for them to feel that you have delivered genuine value for them, do NOT expect your prospective client to feel they should COMPLY with your request for a discussion or meeting.

    • Consultations or Audits: Provide complimentary consultations or audits to potential clients. This demonstrates your expertise and often prompts a reciprocal response in the form of business engagement. The consultation or audit may be undertaken in person or online. Do be sure that your offer can deliver worthwhile value for your prospective client. This may be in uncovering a weakness to be addressed, a strength to be reinforced or a gap to be plugged. Remember, when you present your findings to your prospective client, you must be able to honestly and ethically justify the findings of your consultation or audit. Welcoming scrutiny and responding positively to it builds trust and credibility.

    • Exclusive Access: Give early or exclusive access to new products or services to existing clients. This fosters a reciprocal relationship where they are more likely to continue doing business with you. For prospective clients, selecting a group of prospects you wish to attract as new clients and offering them early or exclusive access to your new products or services, with a next step, such as a meeting to discuss the content of the product or service, agreed can pay great dividends.

  2. Authority

    • Expert Content: Regularly publish articles, blogs, or white papers demonstrating deep industry knowledge. This positions your brand as a thought leader, increasing trust and credibility. It is relatively straightforward to secure media coverage whether online or print and broadcast media. Finding and communicating a unique story, company win, commitment to a cause, can all result in positive media coverage. Coverage you can then share with your clients and prospective clients to develop interest and a discussion.

    • Client Testimonials: Showcase case studies and testimonials from relevant industry clients to establish authority and credibility in your field. When clients tell your prospective clients, and your market, just how positive and worthwhile their collaboration with you and your organisation was, it develops credibility and authority.

    • Professional Endorsements: Collaborate with recognised industry experts and credible commentators to endorse your organisations products or services, leveraging their authority to enhance your own. Endorsements must be genuine and not manufactured. Alongside endorsements, industry specific awards and commendations are extremely effective in positioning your organisation as an authority in its field.

  3. Liking

    • Personalised Communications: Tailor your communications to reflect the prospective and/or existing client's interests and preferences. Personalisation fosters a connection, making prospects and clients more likely to engage with you.

    • Community Engagement: Participate in or sponsor industry events and communities. This builds rapport and demonstrates alignment with your clients’ values and interests. Community engagement can also include Linkedin groups or other relevant online communities.

    • Brand Personality: Develop a relatable and authentic brand personality. Brands that resonate on a personal level are more likely to attract and retain clients. Just think about Body Shop, Lush, Virgin Atlantic. They all stand out in their own arenas.

  4. Commitment

    • Step-by-Step Engagement: Encourage small initial commitments, such as providing an email address to access interesting and valuable information. signing up for a newsletter (it must be relevant, interesting and deliver value for the reader), which can gradually lead to larger commitments like a sales meeting or contract.

    • Follow-up Strategies: Implement consistent follow-up strategies that remind potential and existing clients of their initial interest and nudge them towards a deeper commitment. A commitment that they can genuinely benefit from of course.

    • Loyalty Programmes: Create loyalty programmes that meaningfully reward ongoing business, reinforcing commitment through continuous engagement. Consider what loyalty rewards would be most interesting to and beneficial for the audience to whom you are offering the programme.

  5. Social Proof

    • Client Reviews and Ratings: Showcase positive reviews and ratings prominently on your platforms. Prospective clients are influenced by the positive experiences of others. Trustpilot is the leading review site. Invite your clients to post a genuine review on Trustpilot and/or your organisation's Linkedin company page. Then share the review. Don't hide reviews which aren't 5 Star. Welcome them and respond to them if they appear. Openness and honesty is to be welcomed.

    • Industry Awards & Certifications: Highlight industry awards, recognitions or certifications. These accolades serve as external validation of your organisation’s competence, success, expertise and credibility.

  6. Scarcity

    • Limited Time Offers: Create exclusive, time-sensitive offers. The fear of missing out can motivate quicker decision-making. If you are to use a limited time offer, be sure that when time is up, the offer is withdrawn. False scarcity lacks integrity. Please don't do it!

    • Exclusive Products or Services: Offer products or services that are unique to your organisation, emphasising their exclusive nature. If you hold trademarked and/or patented materials, communicate that you do. If your organisation is the only, or one of only a select few that can provide the product or service, communicate this. If there are other organisations offering what yours does, uniquely differentiate yours from the masses, and communicate it.

    • Limited Availability Notifications: Inform potential clients when a product or service is running low in availability, creating a sense of urgency. Just make sure you're being honest.

  7. Unity

    • Shared Identity: Emphasise shared values and goals with your prospects and clients, creating a sense of belonging and partnership. Remember that any shared values and goals must be authentic, not manufactured.

    • New Product Involvement: Invite input on a new or refined product or service your organisation is involved in. Inviting appropriate input and feedback creates an authentic sense of unity.

    • Collaborative Projects: Invite clients to collaborate on projects or initiatives. This partnership fosters a deeper sense of unity and shared purpose.

Remember, the key to successfully applying these principles is to always maintain ethical standards, ensuring that both parties benefit from the interaction. This approach not only builds long-lasting business relationships but also enhances your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable partner in the industry.

For Influencing Skills Training courses, facilitated by an expert trained by Dr. Robert Cialdini, get in touch.

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