Are influencing strategies the new weapon of mass destruction?

Several years ago I worked for one financial company, there Cialdini’s book “Influence” was the desk-book for every person in the sales department. It was carefully read by almost every salesmen, it’s ideas were used in practice, and then, on a weekly basis salesman met up and discussed the most powerful book’s features. Sales skyrocketed as well as sales-credits. This continued more than two years before major world stock exchange indexes unexpectedly felt down.  What happened next? Some clients lost a lot of money, more than they expected, and were deeply unsatisfied because investment portfolios they had were much riskier than they should be. Then some salesmen lost more than a half of clients with whom they worked a very long time. This is an example of how much unhappiness may bring the wrong interpretation and usage of influencing strategies.

Frankly speaking, dishonest influencing is still very popular among grocery stores, car manufacturers, insurance companies etc. They want us to buy more their products even if latter are fully or partially unsuitable for us. On the other hand, there are a lot of examples when governments and companies make us behave better, save more money, eat healthier, drink less alcohol etc. Influencing strategies are the weapon in our hands. And it depends a lot on us how honestly or dishonestly we use it. I expect from Module 3 to go through the main principles of persuasion and to get some ideas and examples of their responsible usage, that makes happy both the seller and the customer in the long term.


8 thoughts on “Are influencing strategies the new weapon of mass destruction?

  1. Hi Vadim! Thank you for sharing your experiences from using the influencing strategies! I think you are spot on. It really depends on the intent of using them and is related to short term or long term tactics and strategies of the organization and its values. My colleagues have written on that topic: Might be of interest for you. Best,


    1. Hello Jörg! Many thanks for the valuable comment and for the valuable article. Long-term tactics are what some of the companies in Russian market are lack of. They prefer to think over a one-year period of time, from one year to another )


  2. I agree with you, that it is in our hands how honest or not we will be with our customers and if we will use or abuse the tools we have. I believe that in order to be successful unfortunately in the way our world functions we have to be both, honest and not, about our intentions. I don’t agree with fooling people into believing in something that is not real or misleading them but sometimes we have to not mention some parts maybe, but there is always a thin line between the things you HAVE to mention and the ones you can skip to your benefit. I don’t say that I agree, I am just pointing how the business works today. And at the end of the day, we are all adults and we should make sure we know as much as possible when closing deals, especially big ones.


    1. “And at the end of the day, we are all adults and we should make sure we know as much as possible when closing deals, especially big ones.” – I bet you work in sales or somewhere very close to them. I remember myself thinking this way often when I worked in product and sales department in the company I discussed in this post. :-))) (I’m joking here)
      I think you have raised up a very important case of dishonest behavior with customers. “Forgetting” to mention some important information allows us to do not feel unethical (unlike with a case with of pure dishonest persuasion). And this may be even more destructive in terms of creating the good customer experience.


  3. Thanks for an interesting post.
    Dishonest influencing is not only very popular among the businesses you mentioned but in other B2B scenarios where the sales cycles are very long. Generally the main reasons is that customers value and salesman tactics are both influenced (if not driven) by a very competitive landscape and pressure to deliver in short term.


    1. In our country, this type of behavior is, unfortunately, popular too. Salesmen often do not associate themselves with a company in a long-term and thus just try to earn as much money as possible at the moment. And the best thing we all as customers can do is to be aware of persuasion principles and pay more attention to how our counterparty behave during the presales period.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your post. It was interesting to read how the company used Cialdini’s book as a tool to increase sales, but how the misuse of influence can backfire on the business, harming its reputation. Long-term relationships are so important, when working with investments or any other businesses that include a (financial) risk to the customer.


    1. Anu, thank you for a such inspiring comment. I’m agree with you. The problem in a company I described was that salesmen didn’t associate themselves with a company in the long run. But surprisingly, majority of them are still working there 🙂


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