“If people buy you, they buy what goes with you.” Allan Pease
Listening to world-renowned body language expert Allan Pease at a business group meeting today reinforced the importance of body language in building rapport with people and how particular gestures can either enhance or detract from the rapport building process. For instance, crossing your limbs in a closed posture can discourage someone from striking up a conversation with you whereas using open gestures such as opening your arms to welcome someone into a group is more likely to result in people perceiving you more favourably.
The use of body language goes right to the heart of Dr Robert Cialdini’s laws of influence; particularly, the law of likeability. “If people buy you, they buy what goes with you”, means in a sense, that they have said “yes” to you and it’s very likely that likeability played a key role in that decision.
The law of likeability is based on the notion that people prefer to say yes to someone they like. A sense of familiarity, warmth and security comes from dealing with someone we view as similar or instinctively like, even though we may not know them. While body language plays an important role in someone’s “likeability” factor, we also like people based on a number of attributes, including their personality, language, and their focus on us. Liking can also extend to more superficial aspects of a person such as how attractive they are perceived to be.
The phenomenon of people liking good-looking people is what social scientists call the ‘halo effect’. It occurs when one positive aspect of a person dominates the way people view them. Research shows if someone is viewed as attractive we automatically assign them other favourable attributes, such as talent, honesty, intelligence and kindness.
Examples of the law of likeability being used in marketing are the use of celebrities in advertising, home party plans such as Tupperware where guests buy products based on their friendship with the hostess or a sales person using the name of a mutual friend to say “So and so suggested I call you…”.
Dr Cialdini’s six laws of influence – reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, likeability, authority and scarcity – can be used to improve the effectiveness of your marketing program. To learn more, Dr Cialdini’s six laws of influence are outlined in his book, Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion.
© Ros Weadman, Melbourne PR & Marketing