Whatsapp Uses This Mind Trick for Effective Persuasion

By Anupum Pant

Okay, time and again I’ve urged you to subscribe to 59Seconds on YouTube – A relatively new channel where Richard Wiseman, a professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, talks about interesting psychological studies that actually matter. If you haven’t done it already, you’ve probably missed their new video where he talks about an effective persuasion trick that could help you sales and marketing guys perform better at work.

Note: I have no idea if they teach this in Business schools (because I’ve never been to one). If they do, you could skip to this article where I talk about another trick that could help you persuade better. I bet no one teaches that at school.

Simply put

The trick is called ‘Foot-in-the-door‘ technique. It is basically a technique that involves getting a person to say yes to a bigger request by first setting them up with a smaller request.

Here is how it works:

Suppose you need a large sign installed in the front-yard of a house. What do you do?

No, You don’t go to them and ask if you could place the sign there. Chances are high that they will say no  to that big request, says this study.

According to the research study, this is what works the best – Go and ask if you could put a tiny sign on their front yard – a little request. There is a great chance they will say, fine, how would that tiny sign affect me. A few days later, go back and ask if you could replace the tiny one with a bigger board – about 76% of the people would say yes.

How can you use it?

The best way is to observe and learn from examples. Look at how ‘Freemium‘ products and services use it. They’ll give you something for free – say the software Workflowy – An amazing piece of software. You’ll start using it. The chances are great that you’ll find it very useful, you’ll get addicted and will have a lot invested in it (not money, you will have a couple of notes stored in it). Now, the day you try to store the 251st note on it, you’ll be asked to extend services by putting in some money or by sharing it with your friends. Instead of taking pains to migrate to some other note-taking software, or sell it to others, you’ll pay that small amount and buy their pro pack.

Why do you think supermarkets give away samples for free? And why do you think they place 75% sale boards with a little ‘upto’ sign outside shops? Simply to – Get Your Foot in the Door.

This is the best. Why do you think Whatsapp installs for free?
The answer is, to get you in and make you invest in it (again, not money, time and effort), only to ask you for a dollar the next year. Who’d say no to that after they’ve made a huge network of useful contacts on it!

Now watch how Prof. Wiseman explains it. [Link]

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Using Psychology To Get Back Your Lost Wallet

By Anupum Pant

Do you like to keep a picture of someone you love in your wallet? If the answer is no, you should probably start doing it. But, suppose you have a loved baby, adorable parents, cute puppy and grandparents at home, all of whom you love equally, whose picture do you think would be the best one to keep in your wallet?

Professor Richard Wiseman from University of Hertfordshire, a psychologist, decided to find out. He designed an experiment that would be conducted on the street and would help him figure out the answer to this tough choice.

An experiment on the street

He and his team dropped 240 wallets around the city of Edinburgh. Just to find out, how many of the wallets would be returned by the finders to their respective owners.

Not all the wallets were same. A few displayed picture of a cute baby, others had a picture of a puppy, some had a family picture and others contained an elderly couple’s portrait.

There were some other wallets dropped which contained a receipt suggesting how charitable the owner of that wallet was. These had no pictures in them.

Which one do you think won? Guess and read on…


Following were the return percentages of wallets:

  • I hope babies don’t get too much cute-aggression out of you because the ones with baby pictures – An incredible 88% of these wallets got returned!
  • Ones with the puppy pictures – 53% were returned.
  • Family portrait wallets – 48% came back.
  • With just 28% return percentage, the ones with the picture of an elderly couple fared the worst among all wallets that had pictures.
  • And only 15% of the wallets that enclosed a receipt and had no pictures were returned to their owners.

Moral (take it with a grain of salt)

If it doesn’t hurt, you could experiment with a cute baby’s picture in your wallet. Since it was tested in just one city, there is a great chance that you could get a different result in your area. If you don’t have one yet, find one on the WWW. The internet is full of them!

Getting back a lost wallet 88 times out of 100 times is big probability. What do you have to lose? A simple picture of a baby will pump up your chances of getting back the wallet by so many percentage points. Go, get one printed right now!

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