PEOPLE – There are Opportunities

Here’s one of my favorite questions to ask audiences, “How many people have purchased a new car in the past year?”

Usually several hands go up so I’ll ask someone with their hand up, “After you
bought your new car did you happen to notice it on the road more?” There’s
usually a smile, sometimes a chuckle and they agree. My next question is, “Were
there really more of your car on the road?” That answer is always “No,” so I
follow up with, “Then what changed?” I’ll usually hear thinks like “my focus”
or “my perspective.”

I’m sure many of you can relate to
what I just shared whether it’s with a car, clothes, cell phone, computer, etc.
The bottom line is once people buy something new their eyes are opened to
notice that new thing that’s really been there all along.
This phenomenon has application when
it comes to learning the science of influence. Working through PEOPLE we now
come to “O” which stands for Opportunities.
As you learn the principles of influence your eyes will be opened to
opportunities that have been there all along; ones you either didn’t see or
didn’t know how to ethically leverage before.
Allow me to share a story to
illustrate. At my company, State Auto Insurance, I help to recruit new
agencies. We’re always on the lookout for high caliber insurance agencies to
represent us and sell our products. As you might guess, other insurance companies
want to sign up these same high caliber agencies so we’re competing for the
cream of the crop.
One way we try to set ourselves
apart is by actively recruiting agencies and marketing to them. For more than a
dozen years we’ve sent quarterly marketing materials, letters and emails to
prospective agencies but were missing a golden opportunity to persuade them to
represent us.
Each year we had a set goal for our
field people in terms of new agency appointments. After learning about scarcity – people tend to want things
more when they are rare or diminishing – we looked for a way to naturally
leverage our limited opportunity. After considering the principles of
influence, here’s an example of what we used in a third quarter marketing
letter several years ago:
Speaking of
partnering with State Auto; to date we’ve appointed 33 agencies toward our goal
of 42.  That means we’re looking for just
a few more new appointments before year-end.
If you think the time is right for the ABC Agency, Inc. to join forces
with State Auto, I’d be happy to speak with you.  Of course, you can always contact our
Business Insurance Underwriter John Doe who has been in touch with your agency
with questions as well.
Any time you try something new in
business a couple of questions will need to be answered: 1. did the new approach
work, and 2. how much did it cost?
The day we sent the email my boss
stopped by and said something like, “I can’t believe it; I’ve had eight agents
contact me within the first hour of sending the email! I’ve never had any
contact me the same day we sent out these emails.” The only difference was that
last paragraph pointing out the limited opportunity.
Before the end of the third quarter
we met our agency appointment goal and leveraged that fact into new opportunities
for the next year. We did so by encouraging other agency prospects to start
their paperwork in the fourth quarter to ensure and early appointment with us
the following year.
And here’s the best part; it cost us
nothing! As I noted earlier, we had already committed to a quarterly email
marketing campaign so we were going to send a communication no matter what.
However, with our new understanding of the psychology of persuasion we were
able to slightly change what were already doing to get a much better business
I could share dozens of stories
about how my company has used the science of influence to generate better
results and I can share just as many personal stories. In fact, there were so
many on both accounts that’s part of the reason I started this blog. My goal is
to help readers learn the science of influence, see the opportunities that are
naturally available and the ethically leverage them for better results, whether
professionally or personally.
So far we’ve looked at the Powerful
Everyday Opportunities of PEOPLE. Next time we’ll look at the second P, which
is Persuade. It’s a term people use quite often but don’t actually know what it
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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