Getting Consumers To Say Yes: Liking

This is the third post of six about Dr. Robert Cialdini and his six principles of persuasion is constantly. In the first post, I wrote about reciprocity and in the second about commitment & consistency.

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.


The principle of liking says that we are more likely to say yes to a request if we feel a connection to the person making it. That’s why the salesperson on the other side of the line ask you how you feel in the beginning of a telephone conversation.

People are also more likely to favor those who are physically attractive, similar to themselves, or who give them compliments. Even something as ‘random’ as having the same name as your prospects can increase your chances of making a sale.

It’s also why brands hire celebrities to endorse their products. They want people to transfer their love for George Clooney to the coffee he’s endorsing.

There are lots of ways to make this principle work for your store:

Tell Your Story

Branding is essential when it comes to triggering liking. Every element of your store that stimulate your senses contributes to your brand personality and your goal is to create a personality that is cohesive and that your target audience will like. Colors, fonts, tonality, copy, scent, sound. This might be brisk and efficient of you are selling into a business market or warm and playful if you’re selling children’s products.

Many stores include “About us” on their web page that is basically brand personality distilled. Here’s an example from the Swedish brand H&M where colors, words and images have been carefully selected:


and one from Innocent


A great way to build likability.

Use Models People Can Identify With

If you’re selling clothing, jewelry, or accessories, one quick way to create a connection to your customer is to show your stuff on people they will identify with and like. It’s best if they look like your customers. Dove has taken this one step further and also debating the social pressure on women:


Social Links

People are more likely to purchase something if it’s recommended to them by someone they know and trust. So make sure that your product pages have links to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest so that your customers can tell their friends about the great product they just found on your site.

I know this sounds obvious, but still..

Display What Others Are Buying

Have you ever noticed someone wearing the same shoes or shirt as you and mentally saluted their fine taste? You probably felt a quick connection with that person based solely on that one data point.

Stores can play off that idea by presenting products that others are buying but also “shop the whole look” as seen here in the online store