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Pre-Suasion: A Comprehensive Summary and Review by GCSP

"Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade" is a thought-provoking book authored by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, a renowned social psychologist. Building on his groundbreaking work in "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," Cialdini dives deeper into the art of persuasion and introduces the concept of "pre-suasion." This review and summary of "Pre-Suasion" explores the book's key insights and discusses its application to sales professionals and leaders, shedding light on the ways it can revolutionize sales strategies.

This book helped to reshape my philosophy on professional sales and transformed my sales career. It will probably do the same for you. Click here to purchase Pre-Suasion on Amazon/Audible.

The Master of Persuasion: Robert B. Cialdini

Robert B. Cialdini is a distinguished figure in the field of social psychology, celebrated for his groundbreaking research on the psychology of influence and persuasion. His work has left a mark on the fields of marketing, sales, and behavioral science. Cialdini's iconic book, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," is a cornerstone of the literature on the art of convincing others. Through this book, he delineates the six key principles that underlie human susceptibility to influence, offering invaluable insights into the mechanisms that drive decision-making and the techniques that can be ethically harnessed to shape social outcomes.

In "Pre-Suasion," Cialdini continues to unravel the mysteries of persuasion by demonstrating how priming an audience with strategic cues can significantly impact their receptiveness to a message. His work has revolutionized not only how sales and marketing professionals approach their craft but also how individuals navigate the complexities of daily interactions. Robert B. Cialdini's enduring contribution lies in his ability to decode the intricate web of human decision-making, offering a valuable blueprint for understanding and influencing the forces that guide our choices.

Key Takeaways from Pre-Suasion

Chapter 1: The Power of Pre-Suasion

Cialdini's book begins with a focus on the critical importance of capturing attention and priming the audience for persuasion before the actual message is delivered. This concept, termed "pre-suasion," involves shaping the recipient's mindset by altering their focus. Sales professionals can use this technique by crafting compelling introductions that set the stage for the intended message. By creating an environment that makes the audience receptive to the sales pitch, professionals can dramatically improve their chances of success.

Chapter 2: The Importance of Associations

In this chapter, Cialdini emphasizes the significance of associations in the pre-suasion process. He highlights how creating connections between specific ideas, objects, or experiences can influence people's decisions. Sales professionals can apply this by linking their product or service with positive emotions, experiences, or reputable brands. This will prime potential customers to associate the offering with desirability, making them more inclined to purchase.

Chapter 3: The Role of Focus

Cialdini delves into the concept of selective attention and the power of focus. He explains how directing an individual's attention toward certain aspects can significantly impact their perception. Sales professionals can utilize this principle by guiding customers' attention to the unique selling points of their product or service. By doing so, they can increase the perceived value and relevance of their offering.

Chapter 4: The Power of Unity

The idea of unity, shared identity, and a common cause is the focus of this chapter. Cialdini discusses how unity can be a powerful pre-suasive tool. Sales professionals can apply this by creating a sense of belonging and shared values with their potential customers. Building a bond through shared experiences or values can make customers more receptive to the sales message.

Chapter 5: The Principle of Uncertainty

Cialdini explores how uncertainty can be harnessed as a persuasive tool. He discusses the "information gap" that triggers curiosity, and how this can be used to make people more receptive to persuasion. Sales professionals can use this by strategically withholding certain information, leading customers to seek answers, thereby making them more open to the sales message.

Chapter 6: The Concept of Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment is key to persuasion, according to Cialdini. He suggests that people are more influenced by messages that acknowledge their existing beliefs or opinions. Sales professionals can use this by starting their pitch with statements that align with the potential customer's views. By acknowledging shared beliefs, they build trust and increase the chances of persuasion.

Chapter 7: The Principle of Relevance

Cialdini discusses the importance of relevance and personal significance in persuasion. He shows that people are more likely to be influenced by messages that directly relate to their lives and needs. Sales professionals can apply this by tailoring their sales pitch to the specific needs and interests of their customers. This personalization creates a sense of relevance and increases the chances of a successful sale.

Chapter 8: Ethical Implications

In this chapter, Cialdini addresses the ethical aspects of persuasion and pre-suasion. He emphasizes the need for responsible and ethical use of these techniques, as they have the power to influence and potentially manipulate individuals. Sales professionals and leaders should take this message to heart, using pre-suasion techniques responsibly and ensuring that they genuinely meet the needs of their customers.

Chapter 9: Putting It All Together

Cialdini provides a comprehensive overview of the key pre-suasion principles and how they can be used collectively to achieve persuasive success. Sales professionals and leaders can benefit from this chapter by understanding the synergy between these principles and creating a holistic strategy that maximizes their persuasive influence.

Application to Sales Professionals:

"Pre-Suasion" offers numerous insights that can transform the way sales professionals approach their craft. Here are some practical applications:
  1. Crafting Effective Introductions: Sales professionals can use pre-suasion to create engaging and relevant introductions. By capturing the audience's attention and setting the stage for the sales message, they improve the chances of a successful pitch.
  2. Leveraging Associations: Building positive associations with a product or service can make it more appealing to potential customers. Sales professionals should emphasize these associations in their pitch to prime customers for a positive decision.
  3. Directing Attention: By guiding the customer's focus toward the product's unique features and benefits, sales professionals can enhance the perceived value and relevance of their offering.
  4. Building Unity: Establishing a sense of shared identity and common goals can create a bond between the salesperson and the customer. Sales professionals can use this to increase trust and rapport.
  5. Utilizing Uncertainty: Strategic use of information gaps can make customers curious and more open to persuasion. Sales professionals can use this technique by providing just enough information to trigger curiosity.
  6. Acknowledging Beliefs: Acknowledging and validating the customer's existing beliefs can build trust and make them more open to persuasion. Sales professionals should begin their pitch with statements that align with the customer's views.
  7. Personalization: Tailoring the sales message to the individual needs and interests of the customer is crucial for increasing relevance. This personalization makes the customer feel valued and understood.
  8. Ethical Considerations: Sales professionals must use pre-suasion techniques responsibly and ethically. The focus should always be on genuinely meeting the customer's needs rather than manipulating them.

Application to Sales Leaders:

Sales leaders can also apply the principles of pre-suasion to enhance their team's performance and overall strategy:
  1. Training and Development: Sales leaders should educate their teams on the principles of pre-suasion and provide guidance on ethical implementation. Training can help sales professionals become more effective in their approach.
  2. Message Crafting: Sales leaders can collaborate with their teams to create persuasive messages that incorporate pre-suasion techniques. This collaborative effort can lead to more successful pitches and higher conversion rates.
  3. Monitoring and Feedback: Sales leaders should monitor the use of pre-suasion techniques and provide feedback to ensure they are being employed responsibly and effectively.
  4. A/B Testing: Sales leaders can conduct A/B testing to determine which pre-suasion strategies work best for their specific products or services. This data-driven approach can lead to more refined and successful sales strategies.
  5. Ethical Guidelines: Sales leaders should establish clear ethical guidelines for the use of pre-suasion techniques within their organization. These guidelines should emphasize the importance of customer welfare and ethical conduct.


"Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade" by Robert Cialdini is a must-read resource for sales professionals and leaders. The key principles of pre-suasion, such as attention, associations, unity, and relevance, provide a roadmap for sales professionals to improve their effectiveness in influencing potential customers. By integrating pre-suasion into our sales strategies, we can enhance their ability to persuade, ultimately leading to improved sales outcomes and customer satisfaction.

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