Psychology selling techniques are the basis for consumer spending. We all are consumers. We buy different things according to our purchasing power and our preference. This is where the philosophy of ‘persuasion’ can have a major effect on what we buy.


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In this short article, we will share with you insights of what the book, Pre-suasion talks about. We will provide you with information on what the book tells about influencing and persuading people.



Book on Psychology Selling Techniques: Pre-suasion


One particular value-based selling book that seems to be very prominent with leading businesses, especially retailers, is Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert Cialdini. It is a successor to an earlier book, Influence, which has a cult classic among those who think a lot about persuasive selling. The author is a well-known expert in the field of Behavioural Science.


“Pre-suasion seeks to add information to behavioural science information that general readers find both inherently interesting and applicable to their daily lives. It identifies what savvy communicators do before delivering a message to get it accepted.”


For example, a company introduces a new soft drink. Sales representatives are in a mall promoting the launch of their new soft drink to passing shoppers, asking them to exchange their email addresses for a promise of a sample. The success rate was less than 33%.


But when the sales representatives asked shoppers a Pre-Suasion question: “Are you adventurous?” prior to launching into the discussion about the new soft drink, the results were astounding. First 97% of the people responded that they were in fact adventurous. This gives a sort of pizzazz for the shoppers. Once people affirmed they were adventurous, the success rate shot up to 75%.



psychology selling techniques


Thinking alike


The key message of the book is that we like those who are like us, be it liking the same hobby or sharing a nationality. Aligned thinking is effective. 


This book emphasises that in order to influence a situation/person, you have to set up a context just prior to the message being delivered. In order to have a more likely chance of influence. It’s subtle but the author does a great job of giving a load of examples to help drive home the point. It drives the value-based selling approach to make the buyer agree on what the seller is saying on the benefits of the product.



Even familiar language is persuasive. Cialdini cites Warren Buffet’s now-classic shareholder letter dealing with the future of Berkshire Hathaway. Instead of simply describing the succession plan, Buffett made his mission more persuasive by saying, “I will tell you what I would say to my family today if they ask me about Berkshire’s future.”


Cialdini’s insight in Pre-Suasion is that simply asking a question in the right way can put customers in the right frame of mind to buy your product.



So what is pre-suasion in psychology selling techniques?


Advertising, sales, and marketing all seek persuasion to sell. Public relations is earning people’s trust. People who trust you are already sold or want to engage with you before you open your mouth because they trust you.


Pre-suasion is the process of arranging a message to be receptive before the recipient encounters it. If you want the best results for your persuasion you need to persuade optimally.


Here we influence and create to change our world not just by how we communicate, but also by how we build social capital, along with how we use ‘pre-suasion’ to provide the optimum effect for any communication.


To generate trust you need to be creating opportunities to do things characteristic of trusted individuals. Things like promising to come back after a presentation or being supportive of another person’s endeavours.


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Actions versus words


Thanks to Cialdini we answer any requests for action with a double-barrel. Identifying a question that people will inevitably agree with that complements the real question you want to ask.


Getting buy-in to the first question dramatically boosts the chances of an agreement to the second question. This demonstrates the power of Cialdini’s law of compliance – we feel uncomfortable where we contradict ourselves.


You might feel Cialdini is creating psychological tools to expose people to greater exploitation. Yet, that is why it is imperative for retailers to quickly master the science and tools of Pre-suasion.


Being an expert pre-suader, we can lead the way into educating the public to be better consumers about persuasive communication. Then minimise the risk of being exploited from pre-suasion.

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