Be a better seller by creating an oasis for your buyers. 

People buy with their minds first. Before they hit the “Place Bid” button, you must encourage them to know, like and trust you.

This is a tough task, but don’t despair. Some basic human psychology can help you make the sale.

In this article, you’ll learn about Professor Robert Cialdini’s six weapons of influence. His book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Fortune Magazine lists it as one of the “75 Smartest Business Books” ever written.

So, what can we learn from Professor Cialdini’s research? Let’s take a look…


Reciprocity builds trust and creates long-lasting relationships.The principle is simple, yet effective. If you do something for me, I’ll do something for you.

Many cultures reward this kind of behavior. Do you remember the last time you went to a dinner party? I bet you brought something – perhaps it was a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of red wine. The host accepted your gift. This is reciprocity at work.

Be aware of the hidden power behind reciprocity. Sometimes people abuse it. For example, a co-worker might buy you a cup of coffee in the morning. You accept it and thank him for the hot beverage you’re holding in your hand. Later in the afternoon, he asks you to stay overtime to help him finish a project. You say yes, without thinking too much about it.

How to apply reciprocity to your Flippa auction:

Be a good egg. Answer people’s questions and don’t hesitate to go the extra mile. Your job is to help bidders overcome their objections. They will thank you for it. The more you help them, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Commitment and Consistency

Commitment and consistency is one of Cialdini’s most interesting findings. We like our actions to be consistent with our words. Why? Because it makes us look good in front of others, which makes us feel good about ourselves.

Unfortunately, commitment and consistency can trick us into doing things we don’t want to do. Market researchers use this weapon to their full advantage. Next time the phone rings, and someone asks: “I understand you’re busy tonight, but is it okay if I call you back next Tuesday at 19:30?” be careful with what you say. Your desire to honor your commitment might make you sit through a 15-minute survey the following week. Take it from someone who knows.

Commitment and consistency build the cornerstone of trust. Without it, people quickly disregard you as someone who can’t live up to his word. Needless to say, this kills your business and your relationships.

How to apply commitment and consistency to your Flippa auction:

Deliver on your promises. If you say you will upload the traffic statistics, do it. Make sure your description matches your product. Don’t make any false claims about your digital asset. Even better, upload verified stats and other information. Remember that commitment and consistency win you business over the long haul. It might sound basic, but don’t ignore this powerful weapon. Your reputation is at stake here.
Social Proof
Does your website have a lot of Facebook likes and Twitter followers? Or does it have many email subscribers and testimonials?

Congratulations! You’ve got social proof.

The basic principle is this: we are more likely to do something if we see others do it. This explains why social media plays an important role in raising awareness about your Flippa auction. A large following makes your brand more attractive,, and encourages others to follow suit. In short, social proof builds momentum.

Please remember that this principle can work against you as well. If your site only has a few Twitter followers, then this can reflect poorly on your business. To avoid these negative side effects, don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on one or two social networks and do them well. Build your audience and social media presence one tweet at a time.

Have you noticed that I used social proof in this article? Look at the introduction and you’ll see it in action:

Professor Cialdini’s book has “sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.”
Fortune Magazine lists it as one of the “75 Smartest Business Books” ever written.
High sales figures and popular lists lend social proof and authority to your product and brand. Believe it or not, but we’re more likely to buy a book if it’s been featured in Fortune Magazine, New York Times or The Guardian.

How to apply social proof to your Flippa auction:

Include any data that can boost the social proof of your site, domain or app. Think number of app downloads, page visitors, and social media numbers. This information must be accurate or you will get caught. Internet is a small place and news travel fast. Don’t risk it.

You may also want to lower the starting bid to $1. After all, the more bids you have, the more social proof you’ll get. Of course, you can set a different reserve price, so you don’t have to sell your product at $1. The point is to gather social proof and gauge the market value of your digital asset. How much is it worth?


Authority is the fourth weapon of influence. The principle is straightforward: for better or worse, we tend to trust and obey authority figures. We believe in their expertise and value their advice.

Authority is essential online. It helps you stand out and makes people come to you. Your ability to solve your customers’ pressing problems make you the go-to expert in the field. When you share your knowledge, you grow your authority and your business. It’s not easy to become an authority online, but it’s well worth the effort. .

Of course, there’s a potential downside to authority. Professor Cialdini refers to the famous Milgram experiments to make us aware of it. The study found that people obeyed orders, even if it meant inflicting pain on others. In other words, authority can be difficult to resist, and it’s a force to be reckoned with.

How to apply authority to your Flippa auction:

Don’t leave your buyer after the sale is over. Make sure he feels like he’s made the right decision. Offer to help him during the transition period. Become the likeable expert and he will leave a positive feedback review, refer you to others, and even buy from you again.

Keep a reference of all the questions you were asked during the auction. This is valuable information. You can use it to understand your customer better, and to improve your chances of selling your future digital asset.

How do you plan to build your authority? For tips and inspiration on what makes a great seller on Flippa, check out the Flippa Super Seller Program.


Liking is the fifth weapon of influence. The principle is simple and effective: we buy products and services from people we like.

But who do we like to buy from? Generally speaking, we value principles and actions over mere appearance and empty promises. For example, we appreciate friendliness, respect, and honesty. We like people who listen to us, who understand our needs, and who deliver on what they promise.

To be able to like someone, we must first get to know them. This means showing up and not hiding behind a fake name. Never lie or manipulate your buyers. Such deceitful behavior will only damage your reputation. Not to mention, get you suspended. Establish a genuine connection instead and build the relationship from there. Never try to be someone you’re not, and be open with your mistakes. Apologize for your mistakes and rectify them as soon as possible.

How to apply liking to your Flippa auction:

Be the person you’d like to buy from. What does that person look like? If you need help with this, think about the salespeople you admire. What do you like about them? Take time to reflect on this and try to model their behavior.
Make a good first impression. Include an avatar on your Flippa profile and choose a picture where people can see your face. It’s hard to like someone if you don’t know what they look like. You might also want to include links to your social media accounts, such as Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. This gives your buyers a chance to connect with you and continue the conversation online.

We buy from people that we like. How can we get to know you?


Scarcity is known to generate demand, and it’s the last weapon of influence.

Scarcity is the reason you see signs such as “for a limited time only” and “only five seats left”. Used well, scarcity can encourage people to take action.

Needless to say, don’t use false scarcity because that’s not cool and people are bound to find out. Such a practice will upset people and hurt your reputation and brand.

How to apply scarcity to your Flippa auction:

What makes your website, app or domain stand out? Perhaps it has a unique .COM name or a large archive full of useful content (read: authority). Whatever the case might be, make sure you highlight this benefit in your description.

You’re lucky because auctions already have scarcity built in to the process. But you can still play around with how long your auction is up for sale, and see if it affects the response.

Over to you

Cialdini’s six weapons of influence are powerful because they work. These key principles won’t change anytime soon, so they’re worth your time and attention. When you understand how they work together, you become a more informed buyer, but also a more skilled seller.

It’s difficult to protect yourself against some of these weapons. With great power comes great responsibility. I trust you can handle it. Use them well and you’re more likely to make the sale.

So, what are you waiting for? Put your skills to work and list your auction today! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Prescott for the photo! 

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