SELLING TECHNIQUES (4/4): How We Are Manipulated By The Mass Effect

Have you ever wondered why nightclubs always manage to keep a long waiting line at their entrance,
even if it is almost empty inside?

Or why fake laughs are always inserted in bad sitcoms?

The reason is simple: we are strongly influenced by the way others react.

Mass Effect As a Manipulation Tool

Here is the power of mass effect:

The way that others act or the way that we believe they act amazingly influences
our actions and reactions.

Unconsciously, a nightclub with a long waiting line sounds like a nightclub that rocks and
that is popular.

An ordinary dialogue will immediately sound funny with fake laughs, even if we all know
they are fake.

We are more inclined to give money to a beggar if his hat already contains a few bucks,
which means we are not the only ones to give him money.

Similarity Reinforces Mass Effect

The more we are similar with others, the more powerful the mass effect is.

A video with children happy to swim has been shown to others with a water phobia.
When the children watching the video are in the same age group as the children in the
video, the only fact of seeing the video cures their phobia.

Similarly, people solicited by a street seller are more inclined to stop when the person wears
the same clothes as them.

The Tragic Use of Mass Effect by Sects

When sects decide to use the power of mass effect, the risk is high to repeat a tragedy like
this one:

A few years ago, the largest mass suicide in history took place in South America. Almost
1,000 people voluntarily killed themselves.

Many psychologists attempted to investigate this tragic case, to know how it was possible to
influence such a large group to poison themselves.

The first discovery of these studies is that the sect members had been more influenced by
the two or three most loyal fellow members who killed themselves first, than by the guru.

By manipulating only a handful of people, the guru indirectly managed to influence several
hundreds of members.

The second discovery is that the sect members all lived in the United States whereas the
mass suicide took place in hostile conditions in South America.

This different location strengthened the feeling of belonging to a group of people with
many common points. And this feeling of similarity – as seen previously – strengthened the
power of the mass effect.

The Magic Use of Mass Effect By Marketers

Several times a day, we are all the victims of mass effect. When we buy a book on Amazon,
we often tend to look at the number of reviews to see if it is popular or not.

But the simple fact of being aware of the influence of the mass effect allows us to make
wiser decisions.

You can also use ethically this technique to your advantage to sell your products
or services.

For example, you can use testimonials on your sales page.

You can also indicate that several hundreds or thousands of copies have already been sold.

Or, you can describe how people who are similar to your customers use the product.

Every time you see a mention such as “Best Seller” or “Already 40 000 books sold”, you
know that the mass effect is used.

And you, how do you use the mass effect?

Back to main page