July 29

Episode 050 – Weapons of Influence – Pt. 2 – Commitment & Consistency


This is second part of the series on Cialdini's weapons of influence

Episode Highlights

  • Today we're talking commitment and consistency
  • Generally spoken we humans tend to behave consistent with previous statements we made
  • Ever saw a free trial for something? Consistency in high gear
  • Let's take this example right away a little bit further:
    • before you let your demand owners use a free trial of a software or something ask them the following:
      • what will make this trial a success?
      • what constitutes a failure?
      • do we have objective criteria to measure if this is really trying out or have we already committed ourselves and hence limited our negotiation options
  • also make sure, when ever you receive something that is claimed to be free, what you have to invest
  • our colleagues time and effort that give a tool a test run are also valuable and should be considered as an investment
  • Another - non business - example is poker
  • Every played No Limit Texas Hold'em?
  • Then you probably know how hard it becomes - aka to give up your cards and money - the more you have put in the pot
  • Instead you invest more and more of your chips into the pot
  • you want to stay consistent
  • So how can we use this ourselves in our procurement practice?
  • Make the other party commit
  • Commit time, invite them to your office for locations so they invest in travel and accomodation
    • this is one of the reasons I prefer to have important negotiations always in our offices
    • besides the fact that it is our playground, they want to be consistent with their already made expenses and throw in more concessions to do so
    • besides that it also offers a great opportunity for applying reciprocity, which we talked about yesterday
  • Let me share a story with you, that comes from Cialdini's chapter about this influencing tool that we can also easily translate to a neat negotiation tactic
    • Cialdini talks about a gentleman who goes shopping for business suits
    • he keeps the sales people in the shop busy, let's them exactly measure sizes etc
    • he uses their time commitment and then at the end asks: ok, so how many ties are you going to throw in for free?
    • you could do this by having them clarify all the tech details first
      • what material is your product made off?
      • can you provide a Bill of Materials and lead me through it?
      • how does it connect to our machine xyz
      • once they have explained all in very much detail start the commercials negotiations
      • frequently mention that they (not you!) have invested a lot of time already
        • but don't say something like "you don't want this wasted..."
      • just remind them constantly how much they have already invested
      • they will want to be consistent with their previous investments (aka concessions)
    • another idea would be to research the other parties public statements about their company
      • something like "our customers success is the driver for our business"
    • you then can use this in sentences like "as Supplier Company Inc is very customer focused, we as a customer would highly appreciate if you would honor our cash requirements by giving us this 90 days payment term"
  • this sums up our episode about consistency and commitment, tomorrow we're going to talk about social proof and how you can use it in your negotiations


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  • I love the idea of having people come to your for negotiations. Getting them to spend the money makes them even more motivated.

    • Hi Jake, thank you for the feedback. Absolutely. I think the important part is that we don’t make it “too obvious” (as in … you don’t want to loose all the costs you had so far..)

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