Getting Consumers To Say Yes: Commitment & Consistency

This is the second post of six about Dr. Robert Cialdini and his six principles of persuasion. In the first post, I wrote about reciprocity.

Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing, was in many ways before his time when his book “Influence” was published 1984. He lays out six ways you can get people to say yes, without really asking..

It’s worth noting that the effectiveness of all these persuasion principles weakens significantly if the person being persuaded is aware of the technique being used. In other words, the principles operate primarily at the non-conscious level of formin impressions and determining meaning and value. When they’re exposed to the light of conscious deliberation, their impact on choice declines.

Read, contemplate and learn following six triggers:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment & Consistency
  3. Liking
  4. Authority
  5. Social Proof
  6. Scarcity

I’ll write about each principle and show examples in six different posts.


“Commitment and consistency”-principle say that people will do as much as possible to appear consistent about their words and actions. Even to the extent of doing things that are basically irrational.

That why you should state a goal publicly if you want to make a change in your life. For example loose weight. Once you’ve committed something out loud you will have more incentive to keep up your end of the deal.

People do not like to back out of deals. We’re more likely to do something after we’ve agreed to it verbally or in writing, Cialdini says. People strive for consistency in their commitments. They also prefer to follow pre-existing attitudes, values and actions.

As a retailer, if you can get customers to make a small commitment to your brand, like signing up for your email newsletter, they are more likely to eventually purchase from you. And if you can actually get products in their hand, even if there is no official commitment to buy them, your chances increase even more.

I know many companies selling glasses that let you try the frames at home. Just to be sure you choose the right ones for you. (As if this was the reason..)
Warby Parker and many other online retailers knows that glasses is an important decision. They are also aware of that if they can get the frames in your hand, they are more likely to make a sell. Order the samples, get a box, try at home, send the box back for free. No commitment.
But customers’ feels the commitment as soon as they open the box with the five samples.



Another example is free and easy return policies. has fast and free shipping where you can return the items in the same package for free within 30 days.
Less friction for the customer to buy because they know what if they don’t like the items, they can return it to no cost. Online retailers know that when customers have the items in their hands, they probably won’t return them. They are already committed.

Do you know of any other examples of commitment & consistency?