5 Trust Essentials Because Trust is so Essential

Trust is essential in any relationship, business or personal. The late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, put it this way, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

It won’t matter how skilled you are in your profession if the people you interact with don’t trust you. And once trust is lost, it’s very, very hard to earn back. I often hear people talk about trust without every mentioning what you can do to build trust. I’m going to take as a given that you’re truthful. By that I mean, you tell the truth and don’t hide the truth. Beyond truth telling, let’s look at five trust essentials.

Give Back

Giving back after you’ve been given to is a trust essential. It’s playing by the rule of reciprocity. Breaking the rules in society, at work, in games, or just about anywhere else is a surefire way to lose trust.

Reciprocity is such a common norm that social scientists agree; every human society raises its people in the way of reciprocity. Giving and getting in return allows people to accomplish far more in life because resources are shared.

When people don’t play by the rule we call them takers. Nobody wants to be around takers let alone give to them. Don’t be a taker! When people give to you, make sure you look for ways to return the favor.

Admit Weakness

Newsflash: nobody is perfect, no product is perfect, and there’s no perfect service. Acting as is if you or your offering is flawless is another surefire way to lose trust. Why? Because any prospective client you interact with knows nothing is perfect.

If you want to gain trust, admit any weakness or shortcoming early. Doing so gains you credibility because you’re viewed as honest. Another benefit of dealing with a shortcoming early is, it usually takes it off the table so you can focus on your product or service strengths.

A wonderful example of admitting weakness is my long-time friend Al. Our first conversation more than 30 years ago started with him telling me he’d just gotten out of a six-week alcohol rehab facility. His admission let me know I could be completely honest with him in return. His admission was a trust builder. And great news – Al never drank again!

Keep Your Word

While you know your heart, people only see your actions. This is important to remember because people judge you not by your intent but by your deeds. If you say you’ll be somewhere or commit to doing something with someone but fail to follow through you lose a little bit of trust. Do it too often and trust erodes quickly.

One way to highlight you’re keeping your word is to occasionally say, “As promised…” then mention what you’re following through on.

  • “As promised, here’s the report you asked for.”
  • “As promised, I placed the order for you this afternoon.”

It’s human nature to notice and remember when things go wrong so people are likely to remember your failure more than the times you followed through. Using a phrase like, “As promised…” reminds others you’re a person of your word.

Take Responsibility

In his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie wrote, “When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.” More than 80 years after Carnegie penned those words his advice still applies.

You gain trust when you step up and admit a mistake before anyone knows about it. Who would you trust more: a) the person who owns up to a mistake proactively or b) the person who knew about a mistake but did nothing about it until confronted? The answer is pretty obvious.

If you’re unaware of a mistake but it’s brought to your attention, own it. The more you try to deny, justify or shift the burden the more you’ll lose trust. I’ve generally found people to be far more forgiving than my irrational fears might have led me to believe. Don’t give in to fear.

Offer Help

Helping when you don’t have to, when you will gain nothing, earns trust. Too often people are seen as helping so they can get something in return. When you have the capacity (time, skill, relationship, etc.) to genuinely help another person do so.

Why would someone help when they don’t have to and they get nothing in return? Most likely because they’re a decent human being. We tend to trust caring people more than those who engage in quid quo pro actions.

Earlier I mentioned don’t be a taker. Now go one step further and be a giver.

Conclusion

Trust is essential for good, strong, productive relationships. It’s too important to leave to chance so be proactive in building and maintaining trust. While there are more things you can do beyond what I’ve noted, these five things are a great starting point.

To Do This Week

Focus on what I’ve shared, consciously trying to implement each:

  1. Give back
  2. Admit weakness
  3. Keep your word
  4. Take responsibility
  5. Offer help

Do so and you’ll become an even more trustworthy individual.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more nearly 80,000 people around the world! His newest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available through LinkedIn Learning.

Deliberate Practice, Not Natural Talent, Makes the Difference

Not long ago, after finishing a presentation, someone said I was a natural when it came to public speaking. I took it as a compliment because that’s how it was intended. However, after thanking her I said, “It’s not natural talent. I work really hard at this.” It’s often the case that the better you get at something the easier it looks to others.

In his book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell took Dr. Anders Ericsson work and popularized the idea that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice can make almost anyone an expert. Ericsson would dispute the 10,000 hours as some sort of magic number but does believe in deliberate practice as a way to expertise. Deliberate practice would be foreign to most people. It’s not simply playing a lot of golf or piano. It’s not giving a lot of presentations or even having performed a lot of surgeries. Each of those will help you improve up to a point but could lead to diminished performance thereafter.

According to Ericsson, deliberate practice entails the following:

  1. Your practice must have purpose.
  2. Your practice needs to be focused.
  3. You need timely feedback.
  4. You’ll have to get out of your comfort zone.

You may not want to become an expert or maybe you cannot devote 10,000 hours to an activity. That’s okay because you can still become really, really good by following Ericsson’s system of deliberate practice.

I’ve seen this play out in my career. I’ve been studying and teaching the science influence for more than 15 years. Over that time, I’ve taught essentially the same concepts for thousands of hours. You might think that could get boring and you’d be right if I did it exactly the same way every time. But I don’t.

I work really hard on perfecting my skill as a presenter/teacher. That work entails continuing to expand my knowledge base. I read, watch and listen to keep learning and I engage in deliberate practice as outlined by Ericsson.

Purpose

Any time I have a big presentation coming up I practice. It’s not uncommon to put 30-40 hours of prep time in for a one hour keynote even though I’ve given a variation of the talk hundreds of times before. If people are going to give me an hour of their time and if an event coordinator is staking his or her reputation on hiring me in then I feel obligated to give everyone an experience they won’t forget.

Not simply focusing on what I want to say, but consciously thinking about the attendees and event coordinator has made a noticeable difference. Simon Sinek would say it’s the “why” makes all the difference.

Focus

Each time I get ready to present I pick at least one thing to do a little differently. That keeps things fresh for me and leads to a better experience for those in the audience.

I have my talks “chunked” so I can specifically work on sections and subsections. I don’t memorize anything but I know exactly what I want to convey and then work on doing that most effectively. That may be incorporating a different slide that drives home a point, creating a new takeaway item, changing colors or working on some other aspect of the overall presentation.

Feedback

This summer I gave a short presentation in Columbus, my hometown, and invited several people who knew me. These were people who had seen me present many times over the years. I asked each for specific feedback on certain aspects of the presentation.

Afterwards I followed up with each person to discuss their feedback. When I saw themes (same feedback from multiple people) or got some interesting ideas to try I made sure to incorporate them into my next presentations. I also let each person know what I did with their feedback. Knowing I actually used their input will make them more likely to help me in the future. A win for each of us!

Comfort zone

I used to be very uncomfortable moving into a crowd. But I knew it would make for a better experience after watching my friend Anthony Tormey, President/CEO of Leader Development Institute, and other great speakers naturally do that.

To stretch myself, many years ago I started doing improv comedy with Jane. That removed any and all inhibitions! Now I visualize myself playfully interacting with audiences as I practice. When I present I make it a point to move into an audience as much as possible and take note of how people respond.

Conclusion

What do you want to get better at? How much time and effort are you willing to invest? Begin to engage deliberate practice and you will be amazed at the difference can make. Pick up a copy of Ericsson’s book Peak and remember, it’s about:

  1. Purpose
  2. Focus
  3. Feedback
  4. Comfort zone

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, author, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.

His LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more than 75,000 people around the world! His latest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now online.

It’s Not a Sacrifice, It’s an Investment

Have you ever heard a parent talk about the sacrifices they make for their children? Maybe you’ve made a similar comment. A long time ago I started taking a different view about what we choose to forgo for our kids and others; it’s not a sacrifice, it’s an investment.

Investing

If you’re like many working adults you probably set aside some of your income each month for retirement savings. You’re forgoing spending on current wants and needs for something down the road you hope will give you more.

Children

By the same token, whatever you choose to forgo when it comes to your children, you hope will pay dividends in the future. To see your children grow up happy, healthy, productive and mature will bring you joy. If they give you grandchildren that’s icing on the cake.

Relationships

The same attitude (yes, it is a mindset) applies to our friends and coworkers. You probably choose to be around people who give something in return. That might be encouragement, fun times, a listening ear, advice or something else. The point is, you get something out of the relationship.

Giving in a friendship triggers reciprocity, that natural obligation we all feel to give back to those who first give to us. When you invest in friendships you get something in return. If your friends invest in you they get something too. It’s a win-win proposition.

The Taker

What happens when someone takes and doesn’t give? In other words, you realize it’s a bad investment because you get very little or nothing in return? You probably find yourself spending less and less time with takers.

The Giver

When you begin to change your thinking from “sacrificing” to “investing” you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the response of most people.

If someone sees you as sacrificing they may feel they’re putting you out. They may feel like strings are attached. It may make them feel like a pain in the butt.

However, when someone sees you as investing in them it conveys worth and dignity. That will make people far more likely to naturally want to do something for you because they appreciate what you’ve done.

Conclusion

Words matter. Words conjure up thoughts and feelings. How you think and feel will either encourage or discourage action from the people you interact with.

Sacrificing feels hard, like something is going away forever. Most people resist doing hard things. Investing on the other hand doesn’t feel as hard because there’s something to look forward to, a payoff down the road.

To Do This Week

Stop sacrificing and start investing. Approach people – family, friends, co-workers, strangers – with a mindset that says, “I’ want to invest in you.” That subtle mindset shift will change your demeanor and people will pick up on it.

Will every investment “pay off”? No, but the law of reciprocity dictates far more people will respond positively to you when you invest first.  Doing so creates win-win relationships and that’s a great long-term investment strategy!

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CMCT®

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more than 75,000 people around the world! His newest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is available through LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.

Quarterly Newsletter

3/4ths of the year is behind us! I hope you’re more than 75% of the way to your professional and personal goals. As always, I appreciate you giving me few moments of your time. It was a busy quarter and there’s lots of great information packed into this newsletter.

Sincerely,
Brian

What is Influence PEOPLE?

 

The excitement I felt when I stepped out to start Influence PEOPLE full time has only grown. Whether I’m in front of an audience, having coffee with someone, or networking, I feel the same excitement I used to feel whenever I competed in an athletic competition. It’s a great way to start each day. I hope you feel the same for the things you’re involved in.

What’s Influence PEOPLE all about?
Why – Help you enjoy professional success and personal happiness.
How – Teach you the science of ethical influence.
What – Speak, write, train, coach and consult.
Who – Business leaders, sales-people, coaches and attorneys.

 

Here’s What’s New

 

Blog Posts

This quarter one blog post stood out from all the others in terms of comments, likes and engagement. I’m Sorryresonated with followers, especially on LinkedIn. We all make mistakes so saying “I’m sorry” is inevidable. Click here to find out what the buzz was all about.

 

Podcasts

If podcasts are your thing you’ll be glad to know there are lot’s more to choose from! I was a guest on more than a dozen podcasts last quarter. With the new book coming it was a great opportunity to spread the word on how to ethically influence people. Click here to check out some of the shows.

Book

In August my first book went live! Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical is about the practical application of the principles of influence at work and home. The goal is to give you tangible ideas you can use immediately to enjoy more professional success and personal happiness. The book was in the top 10 in Amazon’s Casualty Insurance and Insurance categories and made the top 50 in Sales & Selling. I told people, holding that first book wasn’t quite like holding Abigail when she was born…but it was pretty darn nice. Click here to order your copy.

Linkedin Learning

In September my 4th course with LinkedIn went live. Advanced Selling: Persuading Different Personality Styles combines a DISC type approach with the principles of influence so you can be even more effective when persuading different personalities. For a preview click here.

Best of…

 

I always appreciate when someone I know personally, or respect as an authority, recommends a product or service. I just feel more confident spending my time or money on something when a friend or expert gives it a thumbs up. I hope you consider me a friend and/or expert and that you’ll take recommendations on the following learning opportunities.

Books
Neuroscience for Learning and Development by Stella Collins. There are so many myths around learning but fortunately we don’t have to rely on “advice” or learn from failure. Now we can lean on science and that’s exactly what Stella has done with this book. I liken this read to a Cialdini approach to learning. If you’re in the learning space, occasionally train people or just do presentations, then pick up this book!

Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. I enjoy books that focus on coaching and given my competitive past in bodybuilding, marathoning and taekwondo, I’m especially drawn to books that focus on athletics. Bergeron coaches some of the top CrossFit athletes in the world. When an athlete gets to an elite level it’s often mindset that makes the difference between winning and losing and that’s what’s explored throughout this book. Even if you’re not an athlete you’ll get a lot out of it.

Podcasts
Closing the Gap is hosted by Chris Cline from Westfield Insurance. This podcast has lots of great information for insurance agents AND small business owners of any type. Chris has a really relaxed, conversational style that’s enjoyable for his guests and listeners.

Sell With A Story is the brainchild of Paul Smith. Paul is the author of several books including Lead with a Story and Sell with a Story. Paul is very inquisitive and asked some questions around ethics and manipulation that I’d not heard before. It stimulated my thinking and I believe it will do the same for you.

Presentations
The Brain with David Eagleman is a six part documentary that originally aired on PBS. I found it on Amazon Prime. The show explores how the human brain synthesizes information and translates it into reality. IT IS FASCINATING!

The Infitine Game from Simon Sinek. Sinek’s new book by the same name comes out in October. This talk delves into Sinek’s viewpoint that some things – like business and relationships – don’t have an end game or final score. That goes against the grain of much of our conditioning. We want to win, be the biggest, be the best, etc. In sports that works but not so much in business and relationships. Watch this video to get an introduction to this interesting viewpoint.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by more than 75,000 people around the world! His new course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is available through LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.

Brian.Ahearn@influencepeople.biz
614.313.1663

Now Here’s a Great Question

I learned a long time ago the value of asking great questions. Asking great questions isn’t only about getting answers. Sometimes you ask questions just to get people to think for themselves. When you ask great questions they stimulate thinking because most people feel compelled to answer questions.

A Powerful Example

I’ll never forget what took place when a sales trainer came into a room with about 40 attendees right after lunch. Before he got started with his afternoon presentation he asked, “Does anyone know a good place to go for dinner in Columbus?”

Suddenly people were shouting out restaurant names and many others raised their hands. After a few moments he said, “Stop. I know exactly where I’m going for dinner. I asked a question to prove a point. People feel compelled to answer questions. Look at how many of you were shouting out answers or raising your hands. And for those who didn’t say something or raise your hand, were you thinking of a place?”

Suddenly the more reserved people were smiling because they too were thinking of restaurants. Point made. Almost everyone feels compelled to answer questions, either out loud or in their head.

Doubt Versus Belief

Author and sales trainer Tom Hopkins tells readers and audiences, “When you say it, they doubt it. When they say it, they believe it!”

There’s something about verbally stating an answer that makes people believe it even more. It’s the power of the principle of consistency. That’s where you feel internal psychological pressure and external social pressure to be consistent in what you say and do. I boil it down to “word and deed.” We feel better about ourselves and look better to others when our words and deeds match.

The Great Question

During my corporate life one of my big responsibilities was managing a bonus plan for my prior company. I did lots of training on the plan for our field salespeople but it was complicated so I still got lots of questions.

I usually spent a good bit of time researching to gather information before answering their questions. At the very end of my email response, on a line all by itself, I would ask one of the following questions:

  • Does that answer your question?
  • Was that what you were looking for?
  • Does that give you everything you need?

The responses I received were usually along these lines:

  • That’s above and beyond. Thank you!
  • Thank you so much! That’s more than I expected.
  • Wow, I appreciate that. Yes, it answers all my questions.

The Result

Whichever variation of the question I used, asking was primarily for confirmation. I wanted to avoid miscommunication and make sure the person got everything they needed. It worked!

Another benefit I quickly realized was the question was also building my personal brand. When people came back with enthusiastic responses that indicated I went above and beyond what they’d expected they thought more highly of me. The more highly they thought, the more they relied on me.

This taps into the principle of authority. This principle of influence says we listen to people more when they believe they are an expert. Asking for the confirmation can be a reminder of your expertise when you do your job well.

To Do This Week

When you’re asked for help and you’ve done your job, take a moment to ask a question that confirms you’ve met or exceeded expectations. Doing so will avoid miscommunication AND build your personal brand at the same time. Both will make you a more influential person.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the worldpersonally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live this summer. It’s been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling since launching.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courseshave been viewed by more than 75,000 people! His latest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available through LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.

Do What You Don’t Feel Like Doing!

Last week I posted something to my social media that got a lot of likes and comments so I decided it would be the focus of this week’s blog post. Early one morning, when I was very tired, I wrote:

“Poor night of sleep, awoke at 2:30, decided to get out of bed at 3:30. Very tired when 5:30 rolled around. The LAST thing I wanted to do was run. BUT, I’ve learned that doing the right thing, the hard thing, is MOST important when you don’t FEEL like it. The moon was full, the run was good and it’s off to another great day.”

Can You Relate?

I’m sure you can relate to what I was feeling. We’ve all been there before. Maybe you stayed up too late watching television. Perhaps you had too much food and drink the night before. Sometimes you wake up and just don’t feel well.

Whatever the reason, we all have days when we don’t “feel” like doing things…even things we know will be good for us.

The Choice

How our lives unfold is primarily a result of the choices we make. Stuff happens and some people have much more adversity to overcome. But never forget; no matter what you’re facing you always have a choice in how you will respond.

Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, learned this valuable lesson during his three years of imprisonment. I’ve shared his quote before but it’s worth posting again because I want to encourage you:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

No matter what, until your last breath, YOU get to choose where you will place your thoughts! And your thoughts will determine your behavior and that will be the driving force for your life.

The Feeling

Last week it would have been easy to hit the alarm and gone back to sleep. I’ve learned that we humans can justify almost any action. Maybe you can relate to these thoughts that ran through my mind:

  • I’ll get the run in later today.
  • I’ll hit it harder tomorrow.
  • Skipping one workout won’t matter.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself.

To use healthy living as an example; one meal doesn’t make or break a diet. One workout doesn’t make or break training. It’s the accumulation of meals that makes the difference in gaining or losing weight. It’s the accumulation of workouts that make or break fitness. Each starts with a choice.

Flexible Discipline

Friends say I’m one of the most disciplined people they know. I take pride in that because I’ve worked hard for decades on how I approach life and it’s nice when people notice that hard work. However, I know I’m no different than you or anyone else. I’ve not been endowed with a discipline gene.

I’m fortunate that I had good coaches and mentors along the way. If you have not had such luck, make it a point to seek out a mentor or coach today.

I’ve learned over the years what works and what doesn’t when it comes to my personal growth. I try to shed what doesn’t work, leverage what works, and remain open to new and better ways to approach things.

In other words, while I’m disciplined I try to maintain flexibility. If my routine has to change I’m okay with that because I’ll figure out a new routine that will serve me well.

Conclusion

Here’s my perspective; much of life is about sustained effort. In college I quickly realized studying consistently, as opposed to cramming, led to better learning and good grades. When I went off to college my dad told me to treat school like a business. Put in the work every day, all day, then you can have fun at night and on the weekends. He was right!

When it came to lifting weights or running, there were no “secret” workouts. It was a willingness to grind it out every day in a smart, disciplined way.

To Do This Week

To build the discipline that will lead to success in whatever you desire to do won’t be easy. I’m just being honest and you know it’s true. Change is never easy but it’s also not impossible. If it’s not impossible that means you can do it and it starts with a choice each and every day. Make the choice to the hard thing, the right thing, the thing you don’t feel like doing but know you should, and success will eventually make its way to your doorstep.

A couple of resources you might want to look into are the following:

  • Pick up the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s the best book on forming and breaking habits that I’ve read.
  • Watch this video from Mel Robbins on The 5 Second Rule. She will encourage you that one decision can change your life.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live this sum. It’s been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in the insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling since launching.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courseshave been viewed by more than 75,000 people! His latest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available so make sure you check it out.

A Special Gift for You!

When I began publicizing my book, Influence PEOPLE, I offered a gift to anyone who bought it on pre-sale. The gift was a 15-minute training video on something not covered in the book: pre-suasion.

Pre-suasion is a term Robert Cialdini introduced in his NY Times best-seller Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. It’s a fascinating read, one I highly recommend! My video will give you an introduction to this powerful psychological concept.

Getting Influence PEOPLE online took longer than anticipated which shortened the pre-sale period significantly. Because not nearly as many of you got to take advantage of the gift offer as I had hoped, I’ve decided to offer the gift to everyone – whether or not you’ve purchase a copy of Influence PEOPLE.

Do I want you to get a copy of the book? Of course! But, even if you don’t, I appreciate that you read my blog. So, if you’d like to start learning about pre-suasion just email BookLaunch@influencepeople.biz.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live on August 20. It was the #1 new release in Amazon’s Casualty Insurance category, was in the top 5 in Insurance and cracked the top 50 in the Sales & Selling category.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities which will be available on September 12.

 

I’m Sorry

Last week I wrote about the importance of saying, “Thank you.” It’s always appreciated and might make someone’s day. This week we’ll go to the opposite end of the spectrum to focus on, “I’m sorry.” Saying you’re sorry is hard but it can also make someone’s day a little brighter and make you more influential in the long run.

This post was inspired by someone I met in June when I was the opening keynote speaker at the S.I.T.E. Conference in Memphis, TN. Meg McKeen and I struck up a conversation over dinner then connected on LinkedIn. She’s an insurance agent in Chicago and recently posted about her car getting sideswiped. Being an insurance agent, she’s properly covered. However, the person who damaged her car didn’t take responsibility. No note, no “I’m sorry,” no nothing. She said that stung and I get it.

A Story with a Moral

When my daughter Abigail was 10 years old my wife had gone out of town. She asked that I take Abigail to Walmart to pick up her new glasses. Abigail was excited to get her new glasses just in time for the movies that night.

We walked into the eye care section of the store and were helped right away. Unfortunately, the person helping us could not locate the glasses and said they must be at another store. I explained that my wife had taken Abigail to that particular Walmart because it was very close to our eye doctor.

Finally, a manager came over and tried to help but to no avail. He said the glasses were at another store on Morse Road, about seven miles away. To his credit, he did everything right. Nonetheless, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t do or say anything I would have been embarrassed by but had you seen me you would have known I wasn’t a happy customer.

As we left I called my wife to let her know what happened. She said, “You know, I think we were at the store on Morse Road.” My initial thought was, “You made me look like an idiot!” Then I caught myself and thought, “No, I made me look like an idiot.”

Convicted that I could have handled the situation differently, Monday morning I called Walmart and asked for Jason, the manager. We had an exchange that went something like this:

  • Me – “I don’t know if you remember me but I was in last weekend to pick up some glasses for my daughter.”
  • Jason – “I remember you. How can I help you?”
  • Me – “I’m calling to apologize.”
  • Jason – “Apologize for what?”
  • Me – “For how I acted.”
  • Jason – “You didn’t act bad compared to most customers.”
  • Me – “Maybe not but I was upset with something that wasn’t your fault. You did everything right and I should not have been angry.”
  • Jason – “Man, you just made my day. No, you made my week! If you ever need anything please ask for me and I’ll personally help you.”

The Moral of the Story

Most good stories have a moral, something to learn. In this case it was a lesson for me and for my daughter. Later I told Abigail I had called the store to apologize. She asked why and I told her I should not have been upset with the manager. I also let her know mom and dad wouldn’t always be around to prompt her to say “I’m sorry,” that sometimes you just have to step up to apologize without someone telling you to do so.

Apologizing and Influence

Most people don’t enjoy saying, “I’m sorry.” We don’t like to think we’re wrong, have done something wrong or might have hurt someone. But, none of those negates that reality that we might have blown it.

One benefit of admitting a mistake is that you can actually build your authority with others. The principle of authority tells us people pay more attention to credible experts. Part of your credibility is being trustworthy and trust often comes when you admit a weakness. Don’t you respect someone more when they’ve owned up to something like a mistake? I know I do. We’d all be better off if more people said, “I’m sorry,” and took took responsibility.

To Do This Week

Last week I encouraged you to take a moment to thank someone. This week the encouragement is to step up and say, “I’m sorry,” if you’ve made a mistake or hurt someone. You’ll feel relieved, might make someone’s day a little brighter despite what happened and you’ll remove some of the sting from whatever prompted the apology.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live on August 20 and has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in the insurance space and in the top 100 in the sales & selling category since launching.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalitiesthis month.

Thank You!

Thank you! Sales of my new book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, are going great! On Amazon the book hit #1 in the Casualty Insurance category, was in the top 10 in Insurance and cracked the top 50 in Sales & Selling! It’s so important to say “thank you” that I devoted a chapter to it in the book. I try to practice what I preach so I want to thank the many people who’ve been helpful in making the book a success.

You

First, I want to thank you…the person reading this. I know you’re inundated with information and only have so much time in the day. I’m thankful that you’ve chosen to give me a little of your time and attention. I hope what I share through this blog each week helps you professionally and personally.

I want to thank everyone who bought a copy of Influence PEOPLE and give advanced thanks to those who are planning to buy the book. I’ve told several people that holding the first copy of the book was a great feeling. It was finally real that I’d written a book. It wasn’t quite as amazing as holding Abigail when she was born but it was pretty darn nice.

Coach

I want to thank Barbara Grassey, The Book Boss. She’s my book coach. We met many years ago through Facebook and had the chance to meet in person once when I was in Florida. She has been amazing! She helped me through the self-publishing process, developed a marketing plan for the book and is helping with my business. Every week we’ve connected on Zoom so she could hold me accountable to do what needed to be done. If you’re thinking of writing a book hire Barbara! Thank you Barbara.

Website

Do you like my website? Nick DeFrancisco, owner of NDesign, built it. Beyond his creativity, what I appreciate most about Nick is his responsiveness. It doesn’t matter what day or time I reach out with questions, he answers pronto. If you are looking at getting a website or redoing yours reach out to Nick. Thank you Nick.

Creative Design

I’ve had lots of compliments on the book cover. That’s the handy work of Michael Franzese, owner of Franzese Ink. Mike and I go way back to high school. He not only designed the book cover, he created the Influence PEOPLE logo. When I started 10+ years ago I thought I’d created a nice design…until Michael gave me honest feedback. I appreciate honesty! If you have creative design needs you should contact Michael. Thank you Michael.

Photography

Most of the photos on my website come from Jenny Kay Photography. Working with Jenny and Brent Mackey is fun! I appreciate how much they get into the whole process. When they take a great photo they get excited which gets you excited. I asked that they make me look like George Clooney and, while we didn’t quite get there, they made me look much better than I actually do. Thank you Jenny and Brent.

Video

The video on my website was either shot, edited or shot and edited by the guys at Outsider Entertainment. The person you want to talk with if you need video is Andy Emery. He’s a really good dude. He’s laid back, easy to work with and loves the challenge of creating something that will make people say, “Wow!” Thank you Andy.

Acknowledgements

In the acknowledgement section of Influence PEOPLE I thank quite a few folks but I also want to publicly thank them here because each has been important to writing the book and my career. Thank you…

Jane Ahearn, Abigail Ahearn, Robert Cialdini, Bobette Gorden, Greg Neidert, Ph.D., Cara Tracy, Eily VanderMeer, John Petrucci, Nancy Edwards, Debbie Conkel, George Black, Mike Figliuolo, Frank Agin, Michael Franzese, Barbara Grassey, Todd Alles, Brian F. Ahearn (dad), Ann Strausburg (mom), Hoh Kim, Anthony McLean, Cathrine Moestue, Sean Patrick, Yago de Marta and Marco Germani.

To Do This Week

When you read Influence PEOPLE you’ll come across the chapter on The Importance of Saying “Thank You”. If Navy Seal Lieutenant Mike Murphy could find the time to say thanks only moments before he knew he’d probably die, then we can all find time to say thank you. Take a moment to thank someone today. You’ll feel good, you’ll probable make someone’s day a little brighter and you will be a positive influence in the world.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live on August 20 and has been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in the insurance space and in the top 100 in the sales & selling category since launching.

 

Influence is all about PEOPLE

When it comes to influence it’s all about PEOPLE. After all, you can’t persuade things. No matter how persuasive you are, you can’t persuade your lawnmower to start on a hot summer day and cut the grass. However, if you’re good you might persuade your spouse, significant other or child, to start the lawnmower and cut the grass.

Dale Carnegie had it right when he wrote, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you’re in business.” That holds true as much today as when he first penned those words more than 80 years ago. The more you understand how people think and behave, then combine that with an understanding of how to ethically influence people, the better your chances for success at the office and happiness at home.

When it comes to PEOPLE, remember it’s about those Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. Let’s take a quick look at each component of PEOPLE.

Powerful

Who says influence is powerful? Here are what a few well-known people from history had to say about persuasion:

“Persuasion is often more effective than force.” – Aesop, Greek fabulist

“If I can persuade, I can move the universe.” – Frederick Douglass, American social reformer, abolitionist, writer, and statesman

“The only real power available to the leader is the power of persuasion.” – Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States

In addition to those intelligent, successful people (and countless others over history), we now have research to rely on. There are more than seven decades of research from social psychology, behavioral economics, and now neuroscience, to prove how powerful persuasion can be…when it’s done right.

Everyday

Unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway you interact with people every day. Quite often in your communication with others you make requests hoping to hear “Yes!” Getting people to say yes is important because nobody goes it alone. That’s especially true for highly successful people. Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO said, “Nearly everything I’ve done in my life has been accomplished through other people.”

Here’s something I love about persuasion; it applies at work and home. Think of it as a 24x7x365 skill. At work you try to persuade your boss, direct reports, coworkers, vendors and customers. At home influence helps with your parents, significant other, children, neighbors and anyone else you come in contact with.

Opportunities

Every interaction with others presents opportunities to do “little things” differently to reap big rewards. For example; would you be curious to find out what the Cancer Society did to increase their volunteer rate 700% in one area of town? How American Veterans doubling the donations the received? Both were accomplished by doing a few, nearly costless, things differently using psychology.

The problem is, all too often people miss the opportunities that are right in front of them. Have you ever had someone point out a speaker saying “um” and then you notice it all the time? And so it is when you begin to learn the language of persuasion. You’ll be amazed at how often you begin noticing opportunities to engage the psychology to leverage better results.

Persuade

What exactly is persuasion? The definitions I hear most often are “to chance someone’s mind” or “to convince someone of something.” Those may be good starts but they’re not enough. In the end you want to see people change their behavior.

With a focus on behavior change let’s consider Aristotle’s perspective. He said, “Persuasion was the art of getting people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.”

Lasting

Sometimes your interaction with another person is “one and done” but quite often you have ongoing relationships. When it comes to relationships, you don’t want to go back to the drawing board time after time do you? Of course not. Ideally, you want to communication one time and see people’s thinking and behavior change for the long haul.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the power of persuasion could create a lasting effect. He said, “I would rather persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” Done right, persuasion will stick, have a lasting impact on others.

Ethical

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, manipulation is, “to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner.” That’s not so bad. However, a more familiar definition is, “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”

The word manipulation makes most of us bristle! That’s so because it connotes taking advantage of someone. I’m confident in writing this next statement; you don’t want to be manipulated. I’m also certain you don’t want to be seen as a manipulator either.

What’s the difference between ethical influence and manipulation? This quote from The Art of WOO sums it up well. “An earnest and sincere lover buys flowers and candy for the object of his affections. So does the cad who succeeds to take advantage of another’s heart. But when the cad succeeds, we don’t blame the flowers and candy. We rightly question his character.” It’s a character issue. Will you use the tools – principles of influence in this case – for good or bad?

Conclusion

Your ability to influence people is critical to your professional success and personal happiness. Knowing that, and knowing how much you use this one skill each day, doesn’t it make sense to get better at it? My new book, Influence PEOPLE, will help you do that.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most other online sites.

His LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out forAdvanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalitiesthis fall.