The Science of Influence And Persuasion #AMDays

Editor’s Note: More hot-off-the-press live coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. The science of influence and persuasion is the topic in this, the 7th article in the series. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs. More coverage of #AMDays.

John Greathouse AMDaysBelow is a live blogging recap of the afternoon keynote “The Science of Influence & Persuasion: Getting What You Want, When You Want It” featuring speaker John Greathouse (pictured left) a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage web-based businesses.

We’re wrapping up the last session of day two.

6 Major Categories of Persuasion:


  • People do business with people they like, who show authority, have social proof, and install a sense of fear (of loss)
  • Quid pro quo – sustained survival
  • Pay it back, pay it forward
  • Offer a “our gift to you” – they will pay it forward or pay it back
  • The characteristics of effective gifts are significant, unexpected and personalized
  • Recipients value favors less over time, where as the giver values the favor more over time.
  • Give a gift, coupon, bonus and commission before the affiliate asks
  • Never be shy to ask for a favour if you need to
  • Create obligations by giving favours freely but return the favour quickly
  • Remind a person of past favours, before asking for one
  • Offer something “extra” to start the program


  • If I tell you I’m going to do something, you have to do it to ensure trust
  • People judge people based on their behavior
  • Create social contracts (which can be stronger than legal contracts) and use silence to elect unambiguous verbal responses
  • Follow up verbal agreements with a written reply
  • Create signed, non-binding term sheets
  • Communicate public affirmation via press releases, tweets, etc.


  • Popular = good. People make fewer mistakes when copying others
  • “Award Winning” products, “Best Selling” authors
  • People are lemmings…. it’s a survival thing – the more people do or look at something the more people will follow
  • The higher the uncertainty, the stronger the social proof is
  • Find a peer you can use as a reference and communicate with similar publishers who are displaying the offer


  • People absolutely judge you on your looks (facial expressions, body language, etc.) – this is called “thin slicing”
  • Never pre-judge someone: get the facts first, listen to them, then make a decision
  • “Prejudging (especially in business) is the kiss of death” – Bob Golomb
  • Find similarities and commonalities that you can connect with them on – so they feel they can like you
  • Similarities = liking = influence = partnering
  • Same tribe = you’re cool (Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Selling – find legit similarities to gain trust, enhance liking
  • Conform to our stakeholder’s realities – Bill Gates
  • Tout your weaknesses = honest and trustworthy
  • Mirroring similar body language increases liking
  • Smiling and shaking your head in a “yes” movement is extremely effective


  • Uniforms (doctors, military, police) instill authority
  • People who dress more professionally tend to be seen as having more authority
  • Have someone else introduce you on a call (even if you leave right away) – this will enhance your credibility
  • Have a third party referral or recommendation on your site
  • Blog, guest post, speak on panels
  • Become active on Quora, Twitter, LinkedIn affiliate groups, etc. to help build your credibility
  • Leverage the power of “because” – just giving a reason will significantly increase the acceptance of your proposition


  • Have limited access and availability of things, limited number of people for a limited time
  • People always want what they can’t have
  • People prefer to avoid losses rather than increase gains
  • Show the value and uniqueness of your product / services

To find out more about the science of influence and persuasion, check out

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Sarah Bundy Sarah Bundy is the founder and CEO of All Inclusive Marketing, Canada's leading full-service Affiliate Management Company, which offers personalized Affiliate Management training and consulting services for Internet Retailers. Sarah speaks at industry events, contributes to industry leading periodicals and blogs, and teaches at the Online Marketing Institute. Sarah has also been interviewed on radio shows such as QAQN and Webmaster Radio.