Book Summary: Influence ! 47 Forbidden Psychology Tactics Summary Dan Lok

47 Forbidden Psychology Tactics By Dan Lok

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #1 –


“50,000 Frenchman Can’t Be Wrong!” — Cole Porter

Popularity is an interesting thing. It feeds on itself. A Japanese cream puff chain

has taken NYC by storm because of a clever marketing strategy: they paid

dozens of people to stand in line and buy cream puffs.

When passersby saw all those people, they didn’t even ask what product was on sale…they just joined the line so that they could “get theirs.”

POPULAR with other people = GOOD for me

Don’t Let Me Go Wrong

For most people, making an online buying decision on their own is a scary thing.

Some don’t trust their instincts and think they’ll make a bad choice.

Your Cheatin’ Heart

Some consumers are afraid they’ll be taken advantage of. They may have been

burned in the past, or they may just be displaying the “fear of sellers” that grips

the average 21st Century consumer.

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of a bad decision is also common for people who are purchasing a product

they’ve never used before or considering a service from a provider that they

don’t know. This is a particularly thorny issue for professional service

companies like car repair, air conditioning maintenance, etc.

The People Have Spoken

Consumers listen to the “vox populi” (voice of the people). It stands to reason

that if a product is an online best-seller that many people must like it, so the

consumer thinks, “I’ll like it, too.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #2 –


“A limited offer has unlimited appeal.”

Have you ever walked into one of those trendy, high-end ladies’ boutiques that

have just three or four dresses on display in an enormous space?

Ever wonder why? It’s exclusivity at work!

• Limited edition
• Limited production
• Limited number available


People will beg you to take their money if you can make them feel

“special” and part of a “private club”.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #3 –


“My dog’s bigger than your dog. My dog’s bigger than yours. My dog’s bigger

cause he eats Ken-L-Ration. My dog’s bigger than yours.”

— Kenn-L-Ration Dog Food Jingle

All you need to do is emphasize what’s superior about your offer and make it
clear that someone who takes advantage of what you’re selling will be perceived
as a superior person by those who weren’t so smart.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #4 –



In the age of “Reality TV,” Reality Marketing is a must, too.

The 21st Century consumer is savvy about the tactics of marketers and skeptical

of online advertising and off. If your claims obviously exaggerated, visitors will

be turned off instantly and will instantly click away to another site.

And once you’ve lost ‘em…you’re NOT going to get them back.

No sales technique works better than the truth.


Truth is stranger (and sells better) than fiction. These stories, sometimes called

“case histories,” are usually 300 to 400 words in length. Less than that and you

won’t be able to get your marketing message across. Any longer and the reader

may “bail out” before finishing the story.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #5 –



“Too much is never enough.” — Early MTV Slogan

Don’t Quit Before You Get Started!

If a visitor doesn’t respond to your offer, it’s easy to say, “What’s the point of

following up? If they didn’t buy online immediately, they’re obviously not

interested or they’re not really serious. I’m not going to waste any more time or

effort on them!”

Lok-ed and Loaded Insight: On average, you need to follow up with prospects
nine (9) times before they’ll buy from you.

• They aren’t ready…yet.

• They need more information.

• They are still be researching other vendors.

• They aren’t convinced about your quality or reliability.

• They have to save the money to make the purchase

• Their problem may not be serious enough to take action yet.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #6 – THE


“Reason is the slow and torturous method by which those who do not know the

truth discover it”

— Blaise Pascal

Appealing to a prospect’s “what’s in it for me” self-interest is will turn your

online sales message in a sales monster. When you list benefits, offer a no-risk

guarantee, throw in bonuses, etc., you’re speaking directly to a consumer’s

“basic instinct”– greed.

The best way to compile a killer list of reasons someone should buy from you is

to ask your customers. You can also check out the competition and make sure

that you’re highlighting all the same benefits…plus a few that “the other guy”


By loading up your online sales message with rea- sons why a prospect should

do business with you, you are literally “sweetening the pot.” The more reasons

you give a prospect to say “yes,” the more likely he is to do so.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #7 – BE


“Survey says…” — The Family Feud

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: for your website to succeed you need to

give the people what they want…not what you think they want. There’s a world

of difference between hoping you’re hitting your prospect’s hot buttons with

your sales copy and knowing that you are.

• The Customer Survey – asks current customers what made them buy in the

past and what they plan to buy in the future.

• The Opt-in List Survey – asks people on your subscriber list what they’re

interested in, why they’ve bought in the past and what they plan to buy in the


• The Exit Survey – asks people their opinions as they leave your site… what

they liked, what they didn’t, what they plan to buy in the future, and where.

• The Unsubscribe Survey – This kind of survey is so important, but so under

utilized! The information provided by people who are opting-out is golden! It

can be used to change the negatives and increase your retention rate

• The Surfer Survey – turns site visitors into a “test audience.” Are you thinking

about launching a new line of products? Writing a sequel to your e-book? Before

you invest time and money, invest in a website survey. As people surf your site,

get their opinion on whether they would buy what you’re thinking of selling.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #8 –


“The surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being

specific, definite and concrete.”

— William Strunk and E.B. White

In a study done by the Wall Street Journal the number seven (7) has

been found to be the number that most people respond to. So try to end

your prices with a seven.

Here are two examples for headlines from online sales letters. Which has more

consumer appeal?

You Can Make More Money Every Week


Earn An Extra $500 Each Week Working Only Three Hours A Day!

In the first example, there’s an undefined promise of additional income. But is it

$5 more per week,$10 more, a million? Who knows?

Are You Talking to ME?

Who is your target audience, your niche market? When you craft your message,

use words that speak directly to that demographic:

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #9 –


“Flattery will get you everywhere…including into your prospect’s wallet!”

You may not be offering online psychotherapy, but if you make your customers

feel good – about themselves as well as their purchase — they’ll want to continue

to do business with you.

Bulking up your website with informative articles provides a quintessential “after-marketing” opportunity.

It’s a great way to keep old customers flowing into your website and new money flowing into your pocket.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #11 –


“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it


— Groucho Marx

This may sound counter-intuitive, but it works: by admitting your product is not

the perfect solution for everyone, you increase the chances that the prospect will

listen to why your product is perfect for THEM.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #12 –


“Seeing is believing…and believers are buyers.”

I was recently shopping for a book light, and as I was browsing the merchandise,

the salesman came over with batteries in his hand. He asked me which model I

was considering and when I pointed it out, he “powered up” the light and

showed me all the settings, positions, and “bells and whistles” that it had to offer.

I was awed…not by the book light (it was pretty standard)…but by the

effectiveness of the sales technique. By demonstrating his product to me, the

salesman made the idea ofits benefits completely tangible.

Product demonstrations are everywhere… at your local mall, at traveling street

fairs, even on the TV monitors at your local home supply store or favorite

department store make-up counter. They should be on your website, too.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #13 –


“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

(A website picture is worth a thousand sales)

Many people think that the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a

pithy piece of ancient Chinese wisdom. They’re wrong. Advertising itself, in the

person of marketing wizard Fred R. Barnard, is the source.

Imagine offering a photo gallery of those key features and benefits on your

website where potential customers can actually see. The results will be fantastic.

If you pictures are effective, they will make consumers want to experience fore

themselves what your product/service has to offer.

That makes pictures the ultimate “closers.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #14 – BE


“Girls just want to have fun!”

— Cyndi Lauper

Figure out what your target audience would consider an online “good time”…

and then deliver it! They’ll come back for more…including more closing


A good time can be had at any website regardless of the product or service it has

to sell. Skeptical? I know it’s hard to image that “fun” would be an element to

selling something as “un-fun” as funeral supplies…so let me illustrate with a


At WidgetHeadstones.com, visitors can digitally create samples of grave

markers. They can choose from a variety of headstones and “play” with the

design of the inscriptions. They can mix and match different typefaces, artistic

ornamentation, headstone sizes and shapes, etc.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #15 –



Testimonials build credibility more than any other strategy. Collect them at every


PLY testimonials may be golden, but third-party facts and figures and quotes

from experts are platinum…the “Fort Knox” of persuasion.

Tearing Down Walls with Credibility Guaranteed

The guarantee yanks the teeth out of the fears that are eating away at consumers:

•Fear of making a bad (the wrong) choice

•Fear of overpaying

•Fear of getting less than they bargained for

•Fear of being dissatisfied with nowhere to turn

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #16 –


“Questions are just objections in disguise.”

An excellent way to keep objections at bay and keep fear out of the buying

equation is with a preemptive attack on questions. An FAQ is an excellent

“double agent” in this endeavor.

Questions are your friends. If a potential customer is asking questions, it means that he is INTERESTED.

Objections are your friends, too. Even an objection that sounds like a loud resounding “no,” isn’t really a no

at all…it’s just a request for a solution to a problem

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #17 –


“Everybody’s Doin’ It Now.”

— Irving Berlin or Commander Cody or DC Talk

There’s only one thing more persuasive than sending a letter to Dr.
Crackenstitch, a heart surgeon, with comments other doctors attesting to the
benefits of a product or service… and that’s including a quote from another
“professional just like you” — in this case another heart surgeon like the good

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #18 –


“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

— Dorothy Parker

The desire to know is a compelling force in marketing. When a consumer is

curious, then don’t just “want to know”…they NEED to satisfy their curiosity.

That’s why the ‘net is filled with information products with “curious” titles and

sales letters with “curious” headlines like these:

•Secrets of the Diet Industry Uncovered

•What Time Share Companies Don’t Want You To Know

•Mysteries of A Youthful Appearance Revealed

•The Hidden Keys of Car Buying

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #19 –


Research shows that the three characteristics most associated with

persuasiveness are perceived authority, honesty, and likeability. And it’s these

three characteristics that we’re likely to attribute to beloved celebrities.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #20 – BE


The Four Faces of Fear

Consumer fear can be sub-divided into three “scary” sub-categories:

•Fear ofloss

•Fear ofmaking a mistake

•Fear ofthings getting worse

•Fear ofpaying too much for too little

This fear is what generates advertising language like:

•Limited Time Offer

•Only 500 Available

•Will Not Be Repeated

•First 100 Customers

•Today and Tomorrow Only

•Offer Good Until They’re Gone

In a niche where many websites are selling a product or service that is

virtually identical, using fear and risk an unsurpassed way to distinguish

yourself from the competition. (It’s also a way to justify higher prices!)

For many people, a challenge is the ultimate call to action. A challenge to “bust a

move” on the dance-floor or a challenge to “prove to people who doubt you that

they’re wrong” in an online sales pitch have the safe effect. Every challenge (and

dare) a potential consumer is faced with delivers a strong one-two push to the

ego button.


Challenges stimulate the desire to prove that “I’m just as good as…no, I’m

better than everyone else!”

Influence: 47 Forbidden Psychological Tactics You Can Use to Motivate, Influence and Persuade Your Prospect

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #22 –


“Monkey see, monkey do…and it’s the same for humans, too!”

People are deeply affected by what others think. If we see someone else do “it” –

– whatever “it” might happen to be — we have an immediate internal response

that says, “Me, too!”

It’s not an accident…it’s psychology at work!

If you can pepper your site with words like “best seller” or “our most popular

item,” you don’t have to convince your customer that it is a good product. The

hidden message — lots of other people have bought this product — is proof


Have you ever wondered why the heck companies such as Worldwide Widget

and other huge business entities run those simple little online contests asking

people to answer “Why I like (Name of Product)” in 100 words or less?

It’s because their marketing team is brilliant!

Widget’s marketers realized that rather than they didn’t have to pay millions to a

high-priced advertising agency for a “think tank” slogan that might appeal to

consumers… Instead, with a contest, they could let consumers tell them what to


“In your own words” comments tell you precisely what’s on your prospects’

minds…and they do it with words that to other consumers.

A low price may be the reason someone will buy your product, but the language

of your contest responses will help you narrow the focus of your pitch with the

exact language that will press a prospect’s buttons.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #23 –



“Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with. “

— Bob Wells

If you emphasize nothing, then nothing stands out. But…if you emphasize

everything, nothing stands out either. Contrast must be used wisely…

judiciously…carefully…in order to be effective. Be careful not to use so much

contrast that your page becomes cluttered and your message obscured.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #24 –



Potential customers may be swayed with incentives, bonuses, and “value-added”

extras. Most people get the “gotta have it” bug when they think they have a

chance at being “one up” on someone else by getting some more and paying

less. I call this variation of “What’s in it for me?” “What’s in it that’s extra and

just for me?”

Influence: 47 Forbidden Psychological Tactics You Can Use to Motivate, Influence and Persuade Your Prospect

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #25 –


It’s important that the gift be given “free and clear” with no strings attached.

Giving with no expectations of quid pro quo is more likely to make someone

wish to reciprocate your kindness. That’s why so many offers say, “This gift is

yours to keep.” Your generosity is appreciated, so your customers are less likely

to return the product, even if they might be considering it. Interesting, huh?

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #26 –


“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no


— Peter Drucker

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #27 –


“Ifyou tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to

believe it.”

–Paul Josef Goebbels

Your message must be consistent and it must be delivered and re-delivered consistently. You might need to

“Pitch” a prospect as many as nine times before you make your sale…maybe even more. Consider an

informative auto-responder series or a regular newsletter.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #28 –



Position your online offer for maximum risk reversal with superior guarantees

and other consumer-friendly risk removers like these:

•Iron-clad guarantees

•Extended guarantees

•Better than 100% guarantees

•Free trial periods

•Short-term introductory packages

•No-obligation packages

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #29 –


“This time…it’s personal.”

– Tagline for Jaws, The Revenge


Surprisingly, even though web buyers realize that personalization is

accomplished with technology, they still respond to seeing their “name in print.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #30 –



Placed at key intervals throughout your site, questions and buttons allow you to

guide prospects effortlessly on a path that goes step-by-step from “Would you

like to learn more? Click here” straight through to “Would you like to get 6 free

bonuses and pay 50% less than the published price? Click here.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #31 –


“To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible.

To be credible, we must be truthful.”

— Edward R. Morrow

“Spock’s brain” is probably inside your prospect’s head. In order to feel good

about a purchase, your site visitor wants to feel that he’s making a logical

Convenience is the impulse buyer’s best friend…and one of the reasons that the Internet is such a money

machine. Nothing is more seductive than the convenience of “Just Click Here to Buy Now”…except

perhaps the phrase, “Click Here to Get Your Free Gift Immediately.” Either way, it’s all about fast, easy, and


Forbidden Psychological Tactic #33 –


“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you

need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere

your success will blossom.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #34 –


Want a way to turn skeptical consumers into true believers? Admit a flaw, own

up to a mistake, reveal that you’ve made an error…and poof — your website and

your offer have instant credibility.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #35 –



“You’ve got to see it to believe it!”

Want to make your stories really impossible to ignore? Don’t “talk to the hand,”

as Fran Drescher says…

Talk to the ego.

We all love to talk about ourselves. And we all love to hear about ourselves. It’s

the reason that phrases with the word “you” in them are so universally appealing.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #36 –


In an online world that is frequently powered by “plain vanilla,” outrageous

marketing will get you noticed and generate word of mouth. It will differentiate

you from your competition just as much as the unique benefits and features you


Forbidden Psychological Tactic #37 – BE


“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and

influence. It is no more or less than faith in action.”

— Henry Chester

To the consumer, your enthusiasm reflects on your credibility. That’s why one of

my favorite marketing slogans (or unique positioning statements) is the one used

by the Hair Club for Men. In all their ads, company founder Sy Sperling says

with passion,

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #38 –



A fundamental truth is sales and marketing is: If you don’t ask for the reader to

respond…they won’t. A corollary of this idea is:

If you don’t ask the reader to respond immediately, they won’t…and you may

never get another chance to ask.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #39 –


“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving”

Your “guilt appeals” need to be just as creatively conceived and worded as every

other aspect of your online marketing message…or they’ll blow up in your face.

In an era of market-savvy consumers, it’s important to avoid well-known guilt

tricks that your prospects will recognize as overtly manipulative.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #40 –


“Familiarity breeds contempt. “

— Aesop

“In politics, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. It breeds votes.”

— Paul Lazarsfeld

Don’t be a copycat! Your goal is to be similar enough to your “big league”

competitors to make you familiar to consumers, but different enough to “brand”

your site as new, unique, special, and better.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #41 –


“To an American …gratification, instant and lavish, is a birthright.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #42 –



“For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news.”

Every time you add information or do something new on your website, you

create a new opportunity to get more sales.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #43 – Sex


“I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer.”

— Woody Allen

Sex sells…and contrary to what you may think, it sells just as well to men AND

women. It is, after all, a basic human instinct, not just “His” or “Hers.”

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #44 –




“Onions have layers, ogres have layers.”

— Shrek

If you sell a product, you can layer in professional services. For example,

include a six-month maintenance package with the purchase of an air

conditioning unit. Or make arrangements with a local cooking school and offer a

coupon for a free cooking class with the purchase of a convection oven.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #45 –



“Your wish is my command.”

Embedded commands are composed of small segments of larger statements —

words or lines in a paragraph, for example which are marked out for the

attention of the reader’s unconscious mind (exactly like the phrase you just


Forbidden Psychological Tactic #46 –



If you haven’t already done so, you should identify and use buzzwords to

position yourself as “one of them,” instead of being an outsider who’s trying to

peddle something. Buzzwords are found on your competitors’ sites, in trade

publications, and anywhere they’re talking about your product or service.

Forbidden Psychological Tactic #47 –


“Don’t sell ‘em, tell ‘em.”

Be A “Solution Provider” Not A Salesman

Think of yourself as an “insider.” Present yourself as a knowledgeable consultant

whose job is to help a prospect with the tools (the products or services) that are

available on your site.

Customer-Focused Selling means NOT shining the spotlight on your great

products or wonderful services. It means, instead, focusing entirely on your

prospect’s needs.

Think of your marketing message in terms of how it can help customers find

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