Eliciting Multiple Reasons

Eliciting multiple reasons is a technique that can be used to make something more or less attractive. The goal here is that:

  • When you ask for a small number of reasons for something, such as one, the person will succeed and their liking is reinforced;
  • When you ask for a high number of reasons for something, such as ten, the person will fail and their liking is lessened;

The Persuasion Psychology Behind the Technique

This can be considered a type of intent labeling. When you ask for one reason, the person is stating their reasoning and crystalizing it. But when you ask for a high number and it fails, it actually backfires and they lose belief in it. It’s almost as if the person wants to crystalize their belief, but they can’t, because they don’t have the material to do so.

So, you can, for example, say:

  • “Can you just list one reason that you like our product?”;
    • “Yes, I do like this”;
    • Their certainty is increased;
  • “Can you list ten reasons against our product?”;
    • “Well, uh, the price, and it doesn’t have this feature, and uh, I don’t know”;
    • Their certainty is lessened;

You can use both the version that works and the one that fails for you or against you.

  • One reason works, so you can ask:
    • “Can you give me one reason why you like our product?”;
    • “Can you give me one reason why this other product may be worse?”;
  • Ten reasons fails, so you can ask:
    • “Can you give me ten reasons why you dislike our product?”;
    • “Can you give me ten reasons why you like this other product?”;

It’s important to state that, in extreme cases, this technique won’t work:

  • If you ask them for one reason why they like you/your value proposition, and they don’t even have one;
  • If you ask them for ten reasons why they dislike you/your value proposition, and they have ten or more;
  • But to be honest, if they don’t even have one reason for liking you, or if they have ten against you just like that, you weren’t going to close them anyway…;
    • It can help identify low-quality influence targets;

It’s also important to state this technique should be used in the room. It’s an immediate technique. It’s not something you should do in the long-term, asking the person to come up with ten reasons and give them time to think.

  • In many cases, people can’t find ten reasons even with time to think… but you don’t want to give them a chance;


(3 in Total)


"Just give me a reason"

People usually ask this, and it’s the wrong way to use it. When you ask for just one reason for someone’s point of view, they can easily state it and reinforce it

"And so what?"

An example of pressing the wound. When the person fails to give ten reasons and just gives one or two, minimise them. “And so what? Is that all? Are those the only reasons? And so what?”

"Tell me why you like it"

When you ask someone to tell you why they like something (such as a friend asking, “Why do you like that movie?”), this technique always reinforces their liking, because any number of reasons works

Use Cases For the Four Quadrants

Key Takeaways
(5 Total)

How to Stack This Technique