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The Psychological Tricks People Use To Manipulate You

Updated on October 13, 2016

manipulation


I want to share a secret you already know. In every aspect of life you’re being manipulated. In my role as managing director in the sales industry ( Pay As You Go Car Finance )it’s my job to know what influences people. What’s interesting to me is the veil of secrecy around how it is done and how you can spot it.

Take just a few moments to read and for the rest of your life you will spot the tell tale signs that somebody is trying to manipulate you and you can decide, you have the knowledge and you have the power to make a truly informed choice.

What’s amazing is be it Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or your local car salesperson the psychological tricks are all very similar. Some more powerful than others but once you know them all you are better prepared.

Activation

The person speaking to you makes you think you’re actively involved in finding some kind of answer or solution. They ask limited questions are asked and solution has already been decided. This works because it makes you feel you were active throughout the process. They call it listening to you.

Admission

Have you ever seen a crisis happen for a business or government? Cut through the immediate emotion of anger, disappointment shock but when the dust settles examine the response......it is always the same and it is blame strategic failings.

It could be a company explain their systems and procedure. It could be Wall Street blaming the system, could be politicians committing fraud with expenses. It all amounts to the same thing. People don’t like being lied to so they want an admission of guilt and they need something to blame so tell them it’s the system.

No Time to Think

One sure fire way to spot you are being manipulated is when you are given little to no time to make a decision. The friend of a manipulator is lack of information and time to make a decision because it means you are not informed and irrational.

After 9/11 the US government response was to invade Iraq which had absolutely no connection to 9/11. There wasn’t time we have to do something now. It was the same in UK with Syria after Paris attacks even though again no connection. If you give little information but force people to choose instantly it works better.

It is the same premise when a dealership fakes interest in a car or a website tells you there are just two seats left or one hotel room left and 120 people watching or you see an advert saying limited offer, sale ends the manipulation is you haven’t got time and you don’t want to miss out.

Enemy Creation

The quickest way to unify people is to create a common enemy. You can pick communism, terrorism, anything you like but it works in everyday life as well.

Imagine you walk into a car dealership and you attempt to finance a car and the payments come out higher than you expected. We may blame the big bad banks. Same for insurance because we are the good guys and they’re the ones who are really against us both.

Often when you unify against an enemy a customer will forget to ask for discount to get payments lower as they’ve decided banks fault.

Surprise

We all love surprises right? A little gift or a present thrown in for free or a benefit we didn’t expect that makes us smile is something we all enjoy. That’s useful because it serves as a distraction. It could be something small in a budget from government to something thrown in for free.

When we accept gifts we drop our guard and it works in the same way a magician uses misdirection.

Let Me Tell You A Story

This is often not used as manipulation between friends as a way of growing closer in friendship or relationships. Remember a salesperson isn’t your friend and neither is a politician. When they tell you a story about themselves you can bet it is scripted.

In the same way they may ask you to tell them about yourself. As people we enjoy this and it builds trust. Have you ever told somebody something personal and then felt closer. It works the other way as well. To think salespeople can manipulate with a simple story exchange sounds crazy but it happens daily.

Shared Values or Experiences

Studies have proven more likely to trust somebody who you think is like you. This is just a psychological reaction. Take a look at Donald Trump as a billionaire he doesn’t represent 99% of Americans but he makes them feel he does and large sections of the population overlook his many faults because of this.

Some are obvious and easy to spot such as Nigel Farage holding a pint of lager in every picture, David Cameron pretending he watches football and then forgets which team he supports it is all to create similarity. Then you can pretend you want the same things.

In sales and day to day life it is actually more difficult to spot. A salesperson could ask where you are from and then generate a reference that he’s been there, has family there or even from there himself. Maybe he is but the possibility remains its rubbish just to make you think you’re the same.

Authority

From birth you are taught to submit to authority. Some is no doubt needed but what about people acting like an authority (they have all the answers) and without questioning them you accept.

This works with politicians or salespeople. Martin Lewis is trying to save you money right? Almost every part of his website is dedicated to spending money he just tells you the best ways to do it right? It’s the oldest sales trick in the book act like an authority and then focus on savings rather than spending.

Small Yes Then More Yes, Yes, Yes

Getting a small yes, then another, then another builds very quickly into an agreement and being aware of this is a great help when the eventual question is fired your way. It could be a car dealership asking if you like a colour, or a feature and once you’ve said yes so many times that when the final question comes it is assumed you say yes.

It’s actually quite difficult to offend somebody with a no if they’ve asked a set of leading questions. It doesn’t matter if that’s a salesmen asking do you like this feature or that feature and then working his way to the point where he assumes you buy and forces you to stop him. Or it could be a politician asking you if we should help people in need, stop terrorism and then before you know it they take that as permission to invade a country. Works the same way and you know what you’ll probably think you agreed.

Show Them What You Want Them to See

They show you what they want you to see hide what they don’t. Everything advert you read, every salesperson you talk to will spend as much time showing you what they want you to see and hiding the odd scratch or dent or fault they don’t.

You can see the exact same tactics used by today’s media. Watch any news channel and you will see massive coverage of the crimes of other nation’s governments and none of your own government. Controlling what you see is a way of manipulating you into agreeing with them.

Extend the Pleasure Condense the Pain

This is similar to the principle above but for a different reason. People now viewing buying as a social activity as much as a necessity and some people enjoy the experience and the way this works in purchasing a car or electronic gadget is the vast majority of the time is spent showing you all the great things it can do as it dazzles you and very little on the cost.

The cost is the pain. You have to work for that money and you will have to give that labour away in exchange but it is so quick it is painless and if you use a card you don’t even see it. The pleasure is extended and pain condensed and even hidden.

Restriction

Restriction is the illusion of choice. The rather comical US election comes down to a choice Trump or Clinton or Republican or Democrat. That’s not a real choice because the options are so limited. It still gives the illusion of choice.

For example in the car industry you may receive a payment and it is suggested that payment is a take it or leave it offer. However the screen price, interest rate or warranty may all be negotiable but when options are limited often when you say leave it you will see how untrue their restriction was.

Create Anxiety and then Eliminate Anxiety

Small amounts of stress can be helpful to a manipulator. Create a problem and then provide a solution. That makes people feel reassured. A difficult skill for manipulators because it is risks you running away.

The most sophisticated way to do this is if they’re skilled enough to play on your existing fears rather than creating new ones. If you have had a bad experience with a car dealership the salesperson will say they understand.

There are some ruthless dealerships out there and buying a car can be a dangerous game but you don’t have to worry about that they have a solution. They have a warranty that covers you for you that so you don’t have to worry.

Politicians, business, markets are often seen creating problems so you run to them for a solution or purchase one.

Make False Comparisons

If you ever hear the phrase ‘it’s like this’ and then a completely random analogy comes out just ignore it. It is simple sales tactic when if you’re struggling to convince using the information you have make comparison to something people understand.

It is usually followed by an ‘oh yes’ or ‘that’s true’ when in fact it isn’t true one maybe be talking about cars or politics the other about cooking they’re completely unrelated but people have a capacity to transfer understanding to different fields.

Create Your Own References

This is a very effective method to manipulate people. It has been known for some time that references from others with no vested interest can manipulate just about anybody. If a government wants a policy in place they will bring an economist out to tell you he’s approved it.

Have you ever been on a website that has reviews? Those reviews are much more compelling than the salesperson because these are happy customers right? Actually they’re references and some may be accurate and true but a website can take down complaints and leave references.

References are a great source of information but make sure they are independent. Just like a government controls which economists you see a business controls which references you see. My advice use and independent website for references (if there is one)

Reciprocity

One of the best ways to get a person to trust you is to give them something for nothing. You don’t want anything back, you don’t expect anything back and businesses use this tactic to manipulate you all the time.

I’ll give you a great example. I’ve just outlined all the inside information on how psychology works across all areas from sales to politics so you probably trust me now right? Don’t. That’s the point I gave you something for free, I asked for nothing back but reciprocity makes you think I’m a good guy. Always question why the other person is doing something as well as what they’re doing.

Alan Rebrasse

PAYG (Pay As You Go Car Finance)

Hillary Clinton - Master Manipulator?

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