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One of the Best "Business" Novels

  • Dec 16, 2010
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I first read "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, when I was in college at SDSU (Go Aztecs!). Reading this book gave me a new appreciation and for sales, marketing and advertising. For the first time, I saw those careers as "sciences" of sorts. Ultimately, in sales, marketing and advertising it's about psychology and sociology. There is a trigger, a cause and a reaction. Personally, I think that the smartest individuals are those who can teach, simply - and Dr. Cialdini does just that in his book. I liked his book so much that at the end of the session I didn't sell it back to the book store. I still have it to this day and re-read it recently.

Dr. Cialdini goes over all the basic strategies behind persuasion by sharing real-life examples. His case studies are entertaining and quite inspiring. Now, I can't say that all his strategies have worked for me and I wonder if some of his strategies are more applicable to certain cultures and sub-cultures. For example, in real estate, you're expected to give a lot of yourself (I know this because I am Broker Associate with Sophie I Chris Real Estate at Shorewood Realtors), but often enough clients are not loyal and don't have a sense of reciprocity for the services rendered. This hasn't happened to me yet (knock on wood), but I know of wonderful agents who showed clients property for over six months, and then came to find out that their clients bought a home the one weekend the agents were out of town or they bought with an agent sitting in an open house. Clearly, reciprocity was not in play here. Nevertheless, I appreciate his concepts and I do recall them in my marketing efforts.

A few months back, while I was still studying for my broker's license, I contacted Dr. Cialdini, he's a professor at Arizona State University, to ask him about how his book applies to real estate. Here is an excerpt and question from my email to Dr. Cialdini:
"About a week ago, I went through my exclusive 'Saved by the Student' book collection and eagerly re-read your book. At the same time, I visited Amazon.com and purchased your other books as well. I am now reading 'Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven ways to be Persuasive.' My challenge pertains to method number 5, 'When does a bonus become and onus?' I understand the concept of attaching value to a free gift or service. However, how do you assign value to something that isn't perceived to have monetary value upfront? Specifically a real estate agent's time. My friends in the industry do not earn a salary upfront, and often times will put a significant amount of time and personal funds towards advertising a listing or searching for properties for a client. Yet, I've heard them complain about a client buying with another agent, or a client taking their listing off the MLS after the agent spent loads of money advertising it. So how do you assign value to a service people have been getting for free, upfront, for so many years and is seemingly under appreciated?

One tangential solutions I've come up with is an added-value expertise. For example, while I am studying for my Broker's License, I am also getting certified in Home Staging, which means that, if I want to, I can charge to stage people's homes. My goal is to provide home staging consultations for free to people who list with me. I will of course assign a value to this home staging consultation and offer a top-notch property marketing plan. But is that enough relevant value to be persuasive?"

Dr. Cialdini's response was as follows:

Your question is a good one. And, I think you are onto something with the idea of giving staging services to your clients. I'd recommend reading Chapters 9-13 of Yes! for information on how to best arrange it.

Good fortune with your new profession.


--Bob Cialdini "

Chapters 9-13 of "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven ways to be Persuasive" focus primarily on the concept of reciprocity. I'm still not convinced this applies to real estate. With real estate, what matters most, I've now come to realize since working in the field for a while, is 1) Authority/Expertise and 2) Relationships. I'm just not sure Reciprocity applies to products beyond a particular price point - I could be wrong, but that's my hypothesis.

You should definitely read his books. He's a brilliant mind vis-a-vis the the concept of influence and persuasion. If anything, after reading his book you'll feel curious and motivated to experiment with persuasion. WARNING: Use persuasion responsibly. Don't be a crazy, narcissistic person. If you're skillful at it, use it with moderation and restraint.

Sophie Gonin
Broker Associate
Sophie I Chris Real Estate, Shorewood Realtors
Redondo Beach Homes
Palos Verdes Homes
South Bay Homes
Sophie Gonin, Broker

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May 05, 2011
Sometimes people buy or rent a place not because of your service. There are factors involved in the buying decision. You can only do so much but one thing is certain, if you had rendered good services, people will remember and will possible return to you again for the next purchase/sale. Otherwise, you'd be referred to others. My experience is that reputation is still of utmost importance. I've been referred clients by people whom I'd never have think of when it comes to sourcing sales leads. Never for one think that your effort and work are in vain! What goes around comes around :)
December 16, 2010
Great review, Sophie! And I have a few friends in RE who have similar dilemmas. Will definitely send your review to them. I think it's very cool how you applied this book to RE. Thanks for sharing!
More Influence: The Psychology of P... reviews
review by . July 25, 2009
Although this is not a new book, its insights remain as true today as ever. Robert Cialdini dissects the way people are convinced to do things, and presents them in a one-item-per-chapter format.      His basic thesis is that the brain is designed to make snapshot decisions in order to survive, and while many of the cues its based upon are helpful (ie. seeing people running from a burning building), many have become designed to deceive (ie. the attractive salesperson drawing …
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
good, but I didn't find much original information in here
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Good book I'm reading it now.
review by . September 20, 2007
Someone just replaced my sales six shooter with an AK-47. Wow! This is a very valuable book, not just for sales but for life. He has five main areas on what influences us. I have used them all, but now I really know how to use them: Reciprocation ( I give you a bit to get a lot) , Commitment and consistency (If I get you to state in public what you will do, you will likely do it), Social Proof (If you see others doing it you will too), Liking, (All I need is you to like me and if I provide a good …
review by . January 31, 2007
There are two main reasons to read this book.     1. You want to influence someone.  2. You want to be aware of when someone is trying to influence you.    The author provides a very well written book that in my opinion is the bible of influence. The book has 7 chapters, 6 of them cover reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Pretty basic human needs/emotions, but they really do drive most of our …
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Sophie ()
Ranked #188
Photography is one of my biggest hobbies - that, along with traveling. I love to read cultural and period books - it takes me to a time I've never known and I imagine myself living then. I enjoy all … more
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Arguably the best book ever on what is increasingly becoming the science of persuasion. Whether you're a mere consumer or someone weaving the web of persuasion to urge others to buy or vote for your product, this is an essential book for understanding the psychological foundations of marketing. Recommended.
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Books, Nonfiction, Marketing, Sales, Robert Cialdini


ISBN-10: 0688128165
ISBN-13: 978-0688128166
Author: Robert B. Cialdini
Genre: Consumer Behavior, Applied Psychology, Motivational, Success
Publisher: Collins
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