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Unity Principle – Sales and Influence Strategies

Unity Principle - Sales and Influence Strategies

Unity Principle – Sales and Influence Strategies


Unity or the Unity Principle means that we want to say ‘yes’ to people with whom we share an identity more often than to people who are not part of this group. To persuade people, you can appeal to a number of similar characteristics in relation to their identity. In one of his college classes, influence psychologist Robert Cialdini wanted to compare the behaviors and attitudes of students he taught and their parents by having both students and parents fill out questionnaires. 

Student compliance to this task was always very high but conversely, parents typically responded to this request at a significantly lower rate, well below 20%.

However, one small adjustment to the assignment assessment criteria increased the parent response rate to over 97%. What was the simple tweak? Well, Cialdini said he would reward the students an extra point on one of their tests if their parents simply completed the survey. 

One point on one test over the course of a semester-long course is an inconsequential benefit but was enough to influence them to encourage their parents to fill out the questionnaire. It would be highly unlikely to have hardly any impact at all on the student’s final grade, but, by simply encouraging them to help another family member, Cialdini had actually increased the response rate fivefold, from poor to nearly 100%.

Unity is a shared common identity between all humans and indeed other animals on the planet. If we consider someone to be in our group or “one of us”, this person will be able to exert more influence on us. 

You can see this in action with the brotherhood of gangs, sports teams, and fraternities. From a family perspective, even though parents of young adults may experience the effect of Unity differently, it is nonetheless true and as a family member you can have significantly more influence over someone than an outsider to your family, club, gang or organization does.

Although family perhaps highlights the concept of “unity” best,  as mentioned unity can also exist in other groups too and we feel unity depends on our sex, culture, religion, ethnicity, nationality or political or sports club allegiances. These are all groups that result in unity and create strong bonds between their members.


Duncan shares more influence insights and tactical strategies as well as more about the Unity Principle on his Youtube Channel on Youtube.com/duncanstevens – to discover more about the Unity Principle or to even hire him to speak about influence, sales, leadership or collaboration at your event you can follow the link below. Duncan is a professional keynote speaker and global authority on influence and persuasion. 

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