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The Humble Bundle team have read Influence. Have you?

By on July 27, 2011

The Humble Bundle webpage uses a couple of very powerful sales techniques.

If you’ve read Influence, the Power of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini (and if you want to sell anything in this life, including games, you should), you’ll recognise them straight away.


In the top right, you can see a counter that counts up (3,628 bundles sold when I took this screengrab) and a counter that counts down (14 days till the offer ends).

Cialdini, a professor of pyschology and a professor of marketing, identifies six different techniques used by "compliance professionals" (salesmen to you and me) to make us buy things. Two of them are in evidence on this page.

Social proof – or people like me are buying these games

if you visit the Humble Bundle webpage, you will see the counter of the number of people who have bought the bundle ticking up. (It jumped by over 2,500 purchases in the time it took to write this post).

That’s social proof in action. You’re sitting at your screen, deciding whether you will purchase a bundle and you see a steady stream of people buying the game. A fast stream.

Makes you want it, doesn’t it? Wonder what you’re missing? Want to join in with the crowd?

Maybe it doesn’t make you want it, but Cialdini reckons it will work on most people. This will really help to drive sales of the bundle.

Scarcity – or when they’re gone they’re gone

The other countdown reminds you that this is a time-limited offer, ticking away second by second. if you want this bundle, at a good price, you’ve only got 14 days to get it (only 13 by the time you read this).

Better get on with it, then.

Sales techniques are just tools

These two techniques – social proof and scarcity – are effective ways of persuading people to part with their cash.

Of course, it helps if you have good games (five of them), a brand experience that is well known (the Humble Bundle) and a good price ("pay what you like" is an interesting version of this.)

But even with all of those advantages, it makes sense to learn from the experts. So urge you to buy Influence, and read it.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: