Exposure and familiarity work to persuade because, the more someone is used to you/your value proposition, the more easy they are to persuade.

There are usually two types of exposure, and both work:

  • Wide exposure. Someone knowing about you or your value proposition for a long time, as time goes by;
  • Deep exposure. Short, intense experiences, such as a sales bootcamp;

Underlying Psychology/Biases

Exposure and familiarity work, as techniques, due to two main cognitive biases:

  • Availability bias. The more that something is available, the more that we tend to use it, in opposition to other alternatives that may be better but not as available;
    • If you have a mediocre friend here and an excellent friend far away, you are more likely to talk to/ask from help from the mediocre friend here;
  • Mental effort bias. The less effort we think something is, the more likely we are to do it. With enough exposure, we start understanding even complex things, and they become simpler in our minds;



  • An intense trip
    • There will be cases where you have on intense trip or experience with some friends, and you will know more about them in those 2-3 days than you know about acquaintances that you’ve known for years. Deep exposure;
  • TV jingles
    • If a TV jingle airs enough times, you will know it by heart, whether you want to or not. Wide exposure;
  • Legacy systems
    • Legacy systems work, even in the face of newer and better alternatives, because they are available. They are there, and they do the job;
  • Bootcamps
    • Another example of deep exposure. Many companies promote “bootcamps” and “intensives”. These get you a lot of value and exposure within a short timeframe, and are usually unforgettable;
  • Strangers
    • We trust strangers a lot less because we’ve never been exposed to them;
    • After that, they become acquaintances or friends;
    • Also, the presence or absence of a name counts as exposure, and has a very big effect;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Exposure can be deep or wide. And both work. The person can know about your value proposition for a long time, or they can have one intense experience;
  • This effect works due to both availability biases and mental effort biases. Availability bias dictates that you prefer what is available, even if it’s worse, and mental effort bias works in the sense that we can alter how much effort something seems to be, and what seems less effortful is what we do more frequently;
  • Exposure works for almost all types of influence situations. Exposure to a political candidate to vote in them, exposure to a product to buy, and so on;