We marketers have something in common with magicians. Prestidigitators and product promoters are both students of human behavior. While magicians take advantage of distraction, marketers tap into three other psychological traits.

Unlike magicians, we marketers have no code that prevents us from revealing our secrets. Tips and tricks blogs on growth hacks must number in the tens of thousands by now. So, I don’t fear being ostracized from the CMO club. Here are three of the ways marketers use their knowledge of human behavior to reach or convince you.

Flowers and Reciprocity

Humans are wired to reciprocate. When given a gift, even if we didn’t ask for it, we feel grateful and inclined to do something in return.

An iconic example of this principle in action dates to the 1970s when it became common in city centers and airports to have a robed member of the Hare Krishna religious sect hand a flower to a passerby. After taking this small and thoughtful gift from a smiling believer, the receiver would then be asked for a small donation, sometimes in return for a religious pamphlet. It helped Hare Krishna raise money and spread the word.

Hare Krishna

Marketers today take advantage of reciprocity in many ways. Maybe you have received in the mail custom return address labels from a charitable organization, asking for a donation. Right out of the Hare Krishna playbook. You feel guilty if you don’t donate because you are wired for reciprocity.

In B2B, marketers are increasingly sending small gifts in the mail to prospective buyers. I’ve received enough cookies, chocolate, and wine over the years to throw a large dessert party. These gifts are always followed by an email or phone call from a sales development representative. They ask if I’ve received the gift and would be open to a phone call or meeting to discuss buying their product. Reciprocity.

Price and Fear

Have you ever walked into a boutique only to find there are no prices on anything? If you are like most people, you get a little trepidacious: What if I get talked into buying a $500 t-shirt?

Software marketers, like me, understand this fear of being taken. When we sell software-as-a-service (SaaS) online, we do one of two things. If we are selling low- to mid-priced packages, we will typically show the various options side by side so that the buyer can decide what they want and – hopefully – upsell themselves to a higher-priced plan based on additional features. This transparency removes fear from the buyer and allows them to upsell themselves.

In the case of more expensive, premium packages – often named ‘Enterprise’ or something similar – marketers fear prospective customers will go away if they get sticker shock on the first interaction. What to do?

Marketers will show the price of the lower-priced packages, but ask the buyer to call or fill in a form to get a quote for the higher-priced one. This is an application of a technique called price anchoring, which builds on the tendency of the buyer to rely on the first piece of information provided in a transaction. Seeing the lower-priced plans puts the buyer at ease. The buyer will, in their mind, assume a slightly higher price for the premium package, thereby removing the fear of the unknown. (Note, price anchoring can also be used to sell a mid-priced product, which seems like a better deal next to a premium product.)

Affiliates and Trust

I recently wrote about my YouTube infatuation. To help educate myself, I spent a lot of time watching tutorials on video production – how to light, how to record audio, how to get the best video recording and the like. I learned a lot.

And it is common in these videos for the YouTuber to put a bunch of hyperlinks to sites offering the cameras or mics or lights that they were demonstrating. How helpful. And how profitable.

You see, marketers know that you will trust the recommendations of those who you trust. After someone has spent ten or twenty minutes teaching you something, you tend to trust them. Those links the YouTuber put in the description are customized to them and known as ‘affiliate links.’ If you click on them and happen to buy the piece of equipment, that YouTuber affiliate earns a commission. Some YouTubers reveal that they are an affiliate, typically in the video description, but some do not. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the URL once on the product vendor’s page. As a buyer, you just need to understand the motivations of the YouTuber and factor it in before you buy.

Now that you know what marketers are up to, you will no doubt see applications of these three tricks techniques all over the place. We marketers are not miracle workers or magicians, just students of human behavior.

Read more: 7 Stats That Demonstrate The Psychology of Buyer Behavior