You probably know the saying: ‘give a finger and they’ll take your whole hand’. It’s often said by parents who are trying to explain to their children that they’re crossing the line. This saying can also apply to sales. Let’s start from the beginning.

Sales techniques have been developed for years by salespeople, managers, and trainers who are actively looking for answers to the question, ‘how can we sell the most?’. Most of them use psychological mechanisms that help us influence clients. These methods were once known only to psychologists and psychology students. Information on the latest research was only available in the shelves of university libraries - after showing your ID, of course. Today, the availability of content is no longer a problem. Everyone can use the internet as well as the huge amount of books available in the most popular bookstores.

Until 15 years ago, not everyone knew Cialdini’s name, or his achievements. Today, it seems that every other person in the sales world can tell you at least three of the influence techniques that Robert Cialdini described in his iconic book.

It would seem that there’s nothing wrong with access to information, but there are two sides to every coin: on the one hand, everyone has the opportunity to benefit from scientific achievements in the field of social psychology. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who would use this knowledge to manipulate others and - to a greater or lesser extent - cause harm.

We better appreciate that which we fight for

Imagine that, for years, you’ve been dreaming of a red convertible to drive around on warm summer days, admiring the world around you and feeling the wind in your hair.

Now imagine two situations that could result in you getting the car.

The first is a magical power that makes everything you want within reach. Like the main protagonist in the old Polish cartoon for children The Enchanted Pencil, all you have to do is have an idea and draw it - then it becomes real. And that’s how you get your dream gift, without much effort - just sketch your dreams, making sure to include all the necessary details, and it comes true.

The second situation applies to the same convertible, but in this version you need to leave home for about six months to get it. By working hard, far away from your friends and family, far from your favourite foods and traditions, you’ll be able to afford your dream car right when you get back.

You enjoy it for some time, until you suddenly find out that your partner is expecting a baby. This event forces you to decide to replace your beloved convertible with a family van.

Which way to get the car makes the decision to part with it easier?

The one where, at the ‘snap of your finger’, you can conjure up another car, or the one where you got the car the hard way, through hard work and sacrifice.

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