Use psychology to slay it on Craigslist

Use psychology to slay it on Craigslist

“You’ve got yourself a deal.”

Yes. Yes, I did.

For a couple hundred smackeroos I was now the proud owner of two Powerblock 55 pound dumbbells and a kick-arse weightlifting bench.

I had been trawling Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for some time, looking for a good deal on adjustable dumbbell sets… but all of the prices were too high and my counter-offers were all tersely rebuffed.

But, finally, I had persuaded a seller to accept my offer.

These are nifty pieces of equipment. They’re dumbbells that you can quickly change the weight of.

Each one can go from 10 pounds to 55 pounds in a few seconds. It’s like having a full dumbbell set in your home… but it takes up 0 space.

According to the Craigslist posting, the owner was in my neighborhood… so I busted out an old persuasion trick. I pointed out our similarities and offered him about half his asking price.

“Hey, neighbor—crazy that you live in the same ‘hood! How about…”

He replied: “Alright, a fellow local–you got yourself a deal.”


This tactic takes advantage of one of Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence: Liking.

Specifically, it takes advantage of the fact that we like people with whom we have stuff in common. The more we have in common, the better.

In this case, the seller and I both lived on Telegraph Hill, a delightful little mound in Northeast corner of San Francisco.

I know it doesn’t seem like we share many similarities, but one thing is better than nothing… and it resulted in a deal that pleased both sides.

Who knows what would have happened if I had sent a generic email without any mention of our shared zip code? Maybe the same thing. But, according to the research, that little mention most likely softened him up—increasing the likelihood he’d say yes.

That’s the power of Influence, baby!

My next workout will be done in honor of Dr. Robert CialdiniThe Prince of Persuasion.

Until tomorrow,


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