Your thoughts are worth a lot of money. Ask psychologist and Arizona State University professor Robert Cialdini, who has been tracking your thoughts — and talking about them — for more than 20 years.
Cialdini, 61, has turned his thought-research into a popular book titled ‘‘Influence: Science and Practice’’ and a profitable business called, Influence at Work.
The book, which he wrote in 1983, has sold two-million copies and has been translated into 22 languages. The book retails for $22.99.
The company, which he started in 2000 and is based on information he gathered for the book, provides seminars for business, government and non-profit agencies and has more than tripled the number of training classes offered nationally and internationally.
The two-day seminars, which can cost an individual or organization $850 per person or less, depending on the size of the group, initially were offered about twice a month by certified trainers and now are given six times a month on average.
Four-day sessions are also offered twice annually. Participants are given copies of Cialdini’s book as well as other materials.
Cialdini, a Tempe resident who joined ASU in 1971 and is a Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing in the Department of Psychology and the W. P. Carey School of Business, said his firm, which is based in Tempe and has branches in England, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Norway and Mexico, is planning to expand and offer seminars on the internet as well.
The author-professor began doing research before writing his book to learn how and why people responded to certain situations.
He participated ‘‘undercover’’ in training programs given by insurance agencies, marketing and public relations firms, used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations and telemarketing firms.
‘‘Initially, I was looking for ways to help prospective customers from being cheated and how they could resist sales pitches,’’ Cialdini said.
‘‘After I wrote the book, I didn’t get one telephone call from individuals, but I got flooded with calls from businesses who wanted me to talk with their employees, primarily about the six basic principals I listed in the book.’’
The six thought-processes were regularly repeated by hundreds of people Cialdini met and talked with as he researched the marketplace, he said. (See attached list)
For example, he learned that a direct mailing asking for donations from a disabled veterans group received an 18 percent success rate.
However, if the mailing included personalized address labels, the rate increased to 35 percent.
The reason: ‘‘People want to give back. They feel obligated when they receive something personal,’’ Cialdini answered, referring to one of the six basic thought categories — Reciprocation.
The interest from companies and other agencies prompted Cialdini to begin offering seminars based on the six principals, thus his company was born.
‘‘I also stress honesty and ethics during the seminars because they, too, are important factors,’’ Cialdini said.
Family: Wife ; two children, Jason, 36, Christopher, 34 and granddaughter, Hailey, 1
Resides in: Tempe
Occupation: Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing in the Arizona State University Psychology Department and ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business
Business: Founder of Influence at Work, an international company that offers seminars to corporations, government and non-profit agencies and author of ‘‘Influence: Science and Practice’’
Key Achievements: Sold two-million copies of his book that have been translated into 22 languages; president of Influence at Work, a company that has been steadily growing since it was started by Cialdini in 2000
Success philosophy: Be honest and ethical and provide scientific evidence
Information: (480) 967-6070 or www.influenceatwork.com
Some Clients of Influence at Work: IBM, Coca Cola, Compaq Computer Corp., Kodak, Merrill Lynch, Prudential, the Mayo Clinic, Glaxo Wellcome, the American Advertising Federation, the National Association of Attorneys General, the United States Department of Justice and NATO
Principles of Influence
1: Reciprocation: People tend to return a favor. They are more willing to comply with requests from those who have provided such things first. For example, if a charity sends you address lables with your name and address on them you’re more likely to contribute to the charity. Or, free samples are good marketing techniques.
2:Committment and Consistency: People are more willing to be moved in a particular direction if they see it as consistent with an existing commitment. Example: if a car salesman suddenly raises the price at the last moment, the buyer is likely to buy it because he or she has already decided to buy.
3: Authority: People are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of a communicator to whom they attribute relevent authority or expertise.
4: Social Validation: People are more willing to take a recommended action if they see evidence that many others - especially others similar to themselves - are taking it.
5: Scarcity: People find objects and opportunities more attractive to the degree that they are scarce, rare or dwindling in availability. For example, saying an offer is available ‘‘for a limited time only’’ encourages sales.
6: Liking: People prefer to say ‘‘yes’’ to those they know and like.
Source: Robert Cialdini