Influencers from Around the World – How Executives Can Learn Influence

This month’s
Influencers from Around the World guest post comes by way of my good friend
Sean Patrick. Through the power of the internet, he sent it to me all the way
from Ireland in just milliseconds. Sean started a his own sales training
company, Sales Training Evaluation, and spends time in various parts of Europe training salespeople and
executives. Sean was in the U.S. several years ago to attend the Principles of
Persuasion workshop and there’s a good chance he’ll be here again in late
summer or early fall. If you don’t get to meet him while he’s here you can always
“meet” him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Executives Can Learn Influence
How can executives acquire meaningful persuasion
skills so they can influence outside their power brokerage?  As people like myself know all too well,
skill transfer is one of the toughest tasks that can be placed upon a learning
and development executive.  Natural
persuaders just like successful sales people who adhere to no formal sales
process, struggle to share insights into their behaviors.  They will tell you that they “just do it.”  It just flows.  Words can’t describe the cognitive processes,
emotions and beliefs that form specific actions to take place at specific
intervals during the influence process. So imagine you’re the boss of a very
large department and you need to come up with a plan to motivate more
production out of your staff.  In today’s
corporate world, working environments are highly collaborative as well as
individualistic, where multi stakeholder partnerships exist. It’s these
environments in which the skills of influence rule over old school
According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, today’s
executives who lack the superior communication skills of the “naturals” can
turn to science in place of sourcing the very same skills that win deals, gain
compliance and get employees to willfully change.  Executives can gain consensus and win
concessions by mastering simple basic principles that can be easily learned and
applied in a relatively short period of time.
Here are a few simple ways where influence can be
applied in everyday corporate environments:
1. Liking Informal conversations during the
workday create an ideal opportunity to discover common areas of interest,
whether it’s a sports team, hobby, or watching “Mad Men.” The important thing
is to establish the commonality early because it creates a sense of goodwill
and trustworthiness in every subsequent encounter. It’s much easier to build
support for projects when the people you’re trying to persuade are already
bonded with you.  Managers, who praise
members of their staff where relationships have been impaired, begin to
radically turn around those relationships through the simple act of
Researchers at the University of North Carolina
writing in the Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology,
found that men acted more favorably for an individual
who flattered them even if the compliments were untrue. And in their book Interpersonal Attraction
(Addison-Wesley, 1978), Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Hatfield Walster presented
experimental data showing that positive remarks about another person’s traits,
attitude, or performance reliably generates liking in return, as well as
willing compliance.
2. Reciprocity Line managers who share staff and
resources with their peers who are fast approaching deadlines are more likely
to receive favors and help when they need it in the future. Odds will improve
even more if you say, when your colleague thanks you for the assistance,
something like, “Sure, glad to help. I know how important it is for me to count
on your help when I need it.” 
Gift giving is one of the cruder applications of
the rule of reciprocity. In its more sophisticated uses, it promises a genuine
first-mover advantage on any manager who is trying to foster positive attitudes
and productive personal relationships in the office
3. Social Proof According to one of Dr. Cialdini’s
research pieces, a group of researchers went door-to-door in Columbia, S.C.,
soliciting donations for a charity campaign and displaying a list of neighborhood
residents who had already donated to the cause. The researchers found that the
longer the donor list was, the more likely those solicited would be to donate
as well.  The people being solicited
became the subject to the power of peer pressure once they saw the names of all
their neighbors on the list.
4. Consistency People need not only to like you but
also to feel committed to what you want them to do. Good turns are one reliable
way to make people feel obligated to you. Another is to win a public commitment
from them.  Israeli researchers writing
in 1983 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin recounted how they
asked half the residents of a large apartment complex to sign a petition
favoring the establishment of a recreation center for the handicapped. The
cause was good and the request was small, so almost everyone who was asked
agreed to sign. Two weeks later, on National Collection Day for the
Handicapped, all residents of the complex were approached at home and asked to
give to the cause. A little more than half of those who were not asked to sign
the petition made a contribution. But an astounding 92% of those who did sign
donated money. The residents of the apartment complex felt obligated to live up
to their commitments because those commitments were active, public, and
5. Authority The principle of authority asks us to
believe in the advice dispensed by experts. Since there’s good reason to take
heed to expert advice, executives should take pains to ensure that they
establish their own expertise before they attempt to exert influence.
Surprisingly often, people mistakenly assume that others recognize and
appreciate their experience. The task for managers who want to establish their
claims to expertise is somewhat more difficult. They can’t simply nail their
diplomas to the wall and wait for everyone to notice. A little subtlety is
called for.
Through liking and similarity, they can also
provide an opportunity to establish expertise. Perhaps telling an anecdote
about successfully solving a problem similar to the one that’s on the agenda at
the next meeting or maybe a recreational dinner is the time to describe years
spent mastering a complex discipline, as part of the ordinary give-and-take of
6. Scarcity Study after study shows that items and
opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.
That’s a tremendously useful piece of information for managers.  Managers can learn from retailers how to
frame their offers not in terms of what people stand to gain but in terms of
what they stand to lose if they don’t act on the information.  According to a 1994 study in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
, potential losses figure far more heavily in managers’ decision-making
rather than potential gains. In framing their offers, salespeople and
executives should also remember that exclusive information is more persuasive
than widely available data.
The persuasive power of exclusivity can be
harnessed by any manager who comes into possession of information that’s not
widely available and that supports an idea or initiative he or she is aligned
to.  The next time that kind of
information crosses your path, gather your key stakeholders.  The information itself may seem dull, but
exclusivity will give it a special appeal. Push it out to those who need to
buy-in and inform them saying, “You just got this report today. It won’t be
distributed until next week, but I want to give you an early look at what it
shows.” Then notice the rise in interest.
Over to you
If you manage people in your job, how can you take
these examples of persuasion and use to gain compliance?
I’d love to hear about how you’ve pushed yourself
to use these principles of persuasion. 
I’d also love to hear about your wins and what you learned through the
Science and Practice (Allyn & Bacon, 2001)
Influence At Work         
HBR Business
Essentials: Power, Influence and Persuasion (HBR Press, 2005)
Social Psychology,
3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1985)

Influencers from Around the World – An Accountability Partner Can Help Your Life

Readers of Influence PEOPLE know Hoh Kim
because of his guest posts to the Influencers from Around the World series over
the years. Hoh is also a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT®) and I actually met him when we trained together under Dr.
Cialdini. In addition to his CMCT® Hoh has his masters in communication from
Marquette University. I encourage you learn more about Hoh by visiting his
website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can also connect
with Hoh on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Brian, CMCT® 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
An Accountability Partner Can Help Your Life
Places to See Before You Die
by Patricia Schultz is one of my favorite
books. It has been the ultimate travel guide for me for many years. What are
your “100 things to-do before you die” or perhaps more appropriately, “100
things to-do while you live”? If you need a reference, check the book 2 Do Before I Die: The Do-It-Yourself Guide
to the Rest of Your Life
by Michael Ogden and Chris Day. On your to-do list
could be driving from Boston to Seattle, quitting your job and opening a
restaurant, or countless other things.
Do you have a “10 things to do every day”
list? It’s easy! Here’s my example:
1. 30-minutes of exercise.
2. 30-minutes reading a classic book.
3. Help my wife.
4. Help one person outside of my home.
5. Plan for the next day.
6. Control my eating.
7. Not allow myself to be interrupted by SNS
or my blackberry too much.
8. Focus one important thing for the day.
9. Not hurt someone by saying something bad or
10. Praise someone
You’ve probably heard of this kind of list
from friends or seen it in movies like “The Bucket List” with Jack
Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Having your “lifetime 100 to-do list” can help
you live a more full life and your “daily 10 to-do list” can help you day by
day. But, having lists is not enough. You need one more thing if you really
want to achieve something on your daily life and lifetime – an accountability
Here is an example of what an accountability
partner means. Everyday at 10 pm I have a five-minute phone call with one of my
friends. The call is simple. We ask each other about the “daily to-do list” we’ve
shared beforehand and simply tell each other whether we fulfilled our 10 items
or not. In this case, the friend becomes your accountability partner.
I got this idea from an article where Marshall
Goldsmith, one of the best leadership coaches in the world, was interviewed.
The term “accountability partner” came to my attention in the article, which was written by
Natalie Houston.
Dr. Cialdini had said many times, “People need
to publicly commit in order to leverage the principle of consistency.” This can happen when trying to persuade
others and when persuading yourself. To better persuade yourself to do
something, you need to commit to that something publicly, and having an
accountability partner is an excellent way to do that.
So, why don’t you grab a pencil and notebook,
and start to develop your top 10 things you must do every day. Next, find your
accountability partner and commit to check-in with each other. It may sound
simple but, if you DO it daily, you will improve your life and experience more
happiness and joy.
Hoh Kim, CMCT®
Founder & Head Coach, THE LAB h

Influencers from Around the World – 5 Tips for Influencing Business with Email

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post comes to us from theother side of the world, from Australia’s only Cialdini Method Certified Trainer, Anthony McLean. Anthony heads up the Social Influence Consulting Group. I encourage you to connect with Anthony on FacebookLinkedIn and/or Twitter.

Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


5 Tips for
Influencing Business with Email


We all know that influencing via email can be a struggle.
In multicultural countries that do business transnationally this is especially
the case. So how do we set about influencing people, especially for business,
over email?
The Science of Persuasion provides us with a number of
hints in this regard:
1. Have a Cracker
of a Headline!
The problem with too many emails is that the subject line
is cryptic and doesn’t grab the attention of the recipient.
You know what subject lines are likely to get opened and
which ones won’t.  Those that answer the
“What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) will get a greater open rate.  For example if I say,

“Here’s your opportunity to seize an influx of resources”

“Hey, I have a $100 for you.”

Which one would you open?
If you need to be a little more formal provide your
subject line with the data for identification and action such as:

FOR ATTENTION: Immediate Review of Budget

FOR APPROVAL: New Contract

REMINDER: Tender Submission Due Tuesday

Using reported facts from the media or headlines from the
news shows the email is timely and perhaps includes something important that
the recipient may have missed, such as the following:

“Reserve Bank Drop Rates – What it means for your mortgage”

“Media Regulation – the unintended impact on business”

President Obama’s team tested a number of subject lines until they struck on the one that tapped into the intrinsic motivation (Consistency) of their supporters but also showed what
they stand to lose (Scarcity) – all in four words “I will be outspent.”
But remember you can’t use the same headline over and over
again.  Test to find the ones that get
the best reaction but change them regularly.
Test new headlines and avoid becoming predictable.
2. Make it
A research study between college students found that those
who started a negotiation task over email with no period of interaction, i.e.,
they got straight down to business, ended up in a stalemate 30% of the time.
Those students who were first asked to introduce themselves and provide some
personal details including their hobbies, their chosen field of study, their
hometowns and so on, only stalled 6% of the time.  The thing to note here was the negotiation
task was exactly the same.  The only
difference was the group who was more successful at reaching a resolution
personalised the interaction before getting down to business.
Therefore even though you may be writing an email to a
customer that is no excuse for it to be overly formal and boring.  Research the person, use your relationship
data and personalise the email.  This
goes for the headline and the body of the email.
Write it as if you are writing to a friend.  Don’t use templates or long messages.  Make personalised comments at the outset that
shows you have made an effort for them and it isn’t a generic email (see point
3). For example,

Hi Brian,I hope you had a great weekend.  We finally got some sunny weather and all
that did was make it harder to come back to work today.

The reason for the mail is I read an article and
immediately thought of you.  Have a look
at paragraph three; it links perfectly with your current project.

Call me once you’ve read it, as there are some nuances I
want to walk you through so it doesn’t cost you anything.



Statistics on personal subject lines and messages show
that they can have twice the response rate of traditional messages.  One project was even successful in achieving
a 127% increase in open rates over their normal approach.
Finally sign the email.  A personal signature, even a digital one, has
a big impact on personalising your emails.
3. Give
In contacting your clients, think what is important to
them. What will make their lives easier? Why would they continue to open your
emails? Don’t subject them to mass email blasts. Take the time and show them
that you have made the effort to personally send them the email.
Give them content that is meaningful, customised and
expected. This effort will drive reciprocation in effort and cultivate a stronger
working relationship in the process.
Remember though, to be unexpected, don’t give all the
time.  Be selective who you share your
information with and highlight its exclusive nature when it is the case.  Give them what is truly valuable and they will
give you business and loyalty, but you need to go first though.
If you have a large database, apply the Pareto or 80/20
Rule.  For the top 20% of your database,
i.e., those who engage, buy more products, advocate your services, etc.,
personalise your approach to them and give them more.  For the other 80% a standard one-size-fits
approach may apply.  If however someone
steps up to the 20%, let them know, make them feel special and tell them you
would like to give them a more personalised service because of how important
they are to you.  Your emails will do the
4.Call to action
Your email should always have a call to action making it
clear what you want the recipient to do. Whether it is in the subject line or
in the body of the report, it must also always be in the final sentence of the
Never create a call to action and then take them off in a
different tangent, as the call to action will be lost.

Hi Jill,I am really looking forward to your briefing on Thursday.

In preparation for the meeting can you please provide a
copy of the presentation for the leadership team no later than 2 p.m. on
Wednesday along with a short video synopsis explaining your take on the current
staff leave policy?

I hope your new team is performing well and really
embracing the new technology platforms we have introduced.  It is making a
big difference to other parts of the business.

T.H.E. Boss

The final comment about technology can open the door for a
conversation on that issue while the actual focus of the email was introduced
in paragraph two – the presentation on the company’s leave policy.
Always leave the reader primed to carry out the action you
have requested.  If it is asking for
business we would recommend not doing that over email because if they say “No”
it is harder for you to make a concession thereby reducing the chances they
will reciprocate and make a concession and accept your alternative.
5. Time Your
Sometimes the greatest decider of your email being opened
and action taken upon it is the time of the day it is sent. The best indicator
is to review when the recipient has most frequently opened and/or replied to
emails in the past.
Research has shown the best times of day for emails being
opened are as follows:
8 a.m.
9 a.m.
3 p.m.
8 p.m.
Further we also know that emails have the greatest open
and action rate in the first hour after they are sent.  Therefore when sending important emails ensure
you send them in the hour prior to the above listed times but focus on morning
and early afternoons for most attention.
Remember these are open times for your recipient so if you
have a global database perhaps scheduling software will help you to land at
just the right time.
Please note when
opening emails at 8 p.m. you may get opened but if you are asking for
considerable action it may be held over until the following day and then in the
morning the newer emails are now sitting on top of yours perhaps rendering it
to inbox oblivion.
Finally you must review your efforts and ensure that the
strategy employed achieved the desired results.  If it didn’t, why?  What can you improve
for next time?
Sometimes “the best email is a phone call.”
However if you need to send an email, grab their
attention, personalise it as much as appropriate but don’t overdo it.
Give only things that are meaningful and ensure the call to action is clear.We can employ all six of Dr. Cialdini‘s Principles of Persuasion in
the body of the email; however the above 5 tips for influencing business with
email will give you the structure to start and test you email success.
Anthony, CMCT®


Influencers from Around the World – Influence Yourself

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post comes from Yago de Marta. Yago has been a guest blogger at Influence PEOPLE for several years now. He’s from Spain but now spends the majority of his time in Latin America working with clients to help them speak more fluently and persuasively. To find out more about Yago visit or connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Brian, CMCT® 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Influence Yourself

A lot of people ask themselves what they can or can’t do with influence techniques. I tell them that there are no set limits and that they can explore them in each sale or speech.
There will always be someone who will tell you what you can’t do. He will have his arguments but it doesn’t mean he has the reason. This article addresses this.
A year ago I was invited to give a speech in a very big auditorium in a city with about 1.5 million people in Latin America.  I have been in that country thousands of times but “each audience is different” and this city was “special.” When I entered in the auditorium I realized that it was too big and thought it would be difficult to fill the seats because the event hadn’t been publicized very much.
As people arrived they started taking places in the high part of the auditorium first. I was talking with the organizers (the mayor of the city and his team) and they were telling me that the people in their city were complicated and recommended I not make efforts to have them come closer. Apparently people in this city were not easy, a “tough crowd” you might say.
When almost everybody was in the hall, I was told to start my presentation and I realized that most of the people occupied the seats farthest from me. The mayor was about to introduce me to the audience and I asked him to ask people to get closer to the stage, so they’d be closer to me.
Then one of the strangest moments of my career happened. The mayor and his staff told me it was impossible to do this. He told me that he has been the mayor of this city for 20 years and that the people was too lazy to “move their asses” closer to hear me!
As you know, as you have heard and probably read a hundred times, you have to know your audience, your client. In this case, it was clear that the one that knew the audience was the mayor, not me. But, could it be limiting for my presentation?
I said to him, “Okay, no problem.  If there is no way to move them, I’ll solve it.”
The mayor introduced me, and gave me the microphone. I addressed the audience, “Good evening, it’s a great pleasure to be with all of you here today and I have something to confess to you; some minutes ago I asked your mayor if he could ask you to come closer to the stage to the front rows and fill the closest part of the auditorium. He answered me that it was impossible, that the people of this city are not likely to do that. Please, can you show him that he is mistaken?”
Suddenly, people all over the auditorium stood up and changed their seats to be closer to the stage.
That’s normal. When books talk about knowing the audience, they talk about knowing their ages, jobs, gender, but there is something easier and more powerful: you can know their motivations. You know their essence.
Maybe the mayor knew each person of his city, maybe he knew their names. But I knew why they were there.
It’s more important to believe in yourself than to believe in your audience. It’s more important to influence yourself than influence people.
You are learning and using many influence techniques and that’s what helps you accomplish whatever you want. But there is only one thing that you always have to remember – to know what people “really” want.
Yago de Marta
Speech & Media Training
Méx. +52 1 (55) 59810879
Esp. +34 655 361 555
BBpin: 2A24B191
Skype: yagodemarta

Influencers from Around the World – How NOT to Sell a Dishwasher


This week you’ll read a funny story about how
not to sell. It comes to us all the way from Italy and is based on the real
life experience of Marco Germani. Marco has written guest posts for me for
about three years now. I think you’ll see humor in his situation and the value
a good salesperson can bring to customers. Along the way you’ll also get
several tips on how to be a better salesperson.
Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
How NOT to Sell a Dishwasher
A few weeks ago I went to a large household
appliance shop in Rome with the intention of buying a new dishwasher. I have
almost zero knowledge about this kind of machine but didn’t have time to perform
an accurate search on the Internet. Because I didn’t understand which would be
the best buy for me (among the dozens of models exhibited), I decided to rely
on the advice of the store clerk.
I approached the clerk with this question, “In
your opinion, which is the machine with the best quality/price ratio?” From this
point forward the guy presented himself in one of the worst sales performances
I have ever seen in my life. It was so bad I decided to write an article for
this blog about it. Let’s sum up the main mistakes he made:
1. MISTAKE: He asked no questions.
In reply to this question the clerk started to
list all the brands and models the store had in stock. He should have asked me
a few questions instead in order to better understand my specific needs in
terms of a dishwasher.
“Why are you buying a new machine today?”
“Did the old one failed and if so, why?”
“How often do you wash your dishes and how
many people in the household?”
There were some basic questions I expected him
to ask but he didn’t. It’s like going to the doctor and the doctor just starts
listing all the drugs available without first investigating your symptoms, Not
2. MISTAKE: He was completely unprepared on
the products.
The machines available in the store ranged in
price from 300 to 1,500 Euro. While it was quite easy, even for the untrained
eye, to spot a difference between the most expensive machine and the cheapest
one, it was surely more tricky to understand the difference between a machine
of the same size, priced at 500 Euro vs. one priced at 650 Euro. At one point I
asked him about the difference between two machines, which happened to be the
same brand, that had an 85 Euro price difference. This should not be a
difficult question for somebody who makes a living out of selling these types
of appliances! His answer was, “I guess the more expensive one has more washing
programs.” I thought to myself, “You’re paid to guess rather than to provide
information.” Trying to go a bit deeper into the question I soon realized his
knowledge of the products was close to mine, which made him almost completely
3. MISTAKE: He presented the prices in the
wrong order.
Not knowing how to move forward, I tried a
different question, “Which one would you buy for your family?” He told me he
would have probably bought a Bosch machine priced 659 Euro or an Ariston
machine priced 779 Euro, or why not the Candy machine priced at 809 Euro. Had
he knew the basics about how to present a price, he would have started the list
with the most expensive one and he could have answered in the following way, “
I would surely buy the Candy, at 810 Euro. It definitely has the best
quality/price ratio and in 20 years it will work as smoothly as it does today.
I do understand, however, it is a bit on the expensive side so an alternative
might be the Ariston at 779 Euro because it’s a very good machine indeed. It’s close
in performances and consumption to the first one.” With this kind of
presentation, the 779 Euro of the Ariston would have appeared to be a good deal
had I not opted for the more expensive machine.
4. MISTAKE: He did not close the sale.
At this stage, I was seriously thinking about
leaving the store and going somewhere else so I told him I just wanted to think
about it. The guy said okay and left me there so he could “assist” another
customer. As he left he told me to call him if I needed him. Very bad! That’s absolutely
the best way to lose the sale. He should have asked something like, “Exactly, what
do you want to think about? Is it the price or something else?” He could have
asked, “Is there any way I can help you think about it? Do you need some
additional information?” In other words, you never want to leave your customer,
who already gave you buying signals, on his own before you even tried to close
the sale.
I really needed the machine (the old one
failed and washing dishes by the hand is not in the list of my favorite leisure
activities and my wife claims to be allergic to dish soap) so I ended up buying
a mid-priced machine and left feeling unsure as to whether or not I’d done the
right thing. With a more skilled clerk I probably would have spent more and
felt better about it. I wonder how much money that shop is losing every day
because of an incompetent salesman? Poor salesmen like the guy I encountered is
good news for those who study sales and the principles of persuasion. Studying
those two disciplines will help salespeople bring more value than a regular
store clerk who’s never spent time studying either subject and the end result
will be significantly better sales.
Marco Germani

Influencers from Around the World – Real World Persuasion in Selling

To start the New Year our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes to us by way of Ireland from my good friend Sean Patrick. Sean owns a sales training company, Sales Training Evaluation. He  came to the States in October 2010 to spend a week with me and attended the Principles of Persuasion workshop I hosted. You can connect with Sean on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian, CMCT® 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Real World Selling
As a reader of Brian Ahearn’s blog, you’ve come to expect to read mostly about Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. This post is slightly different, as I’ll be talking about some fanciful tactical elements that can make up a potent mix and get more people to say “Yes” more often.
You’ve probably read it somewhere that people buy from people and people trust people that appear similar to themselves. The next time you are solving a personal crisis with a friend or about to go and pitch to a new customer, how about understanding those people first? Do your research and find out as much about that person as possible. Learn out about their past, their likes, dislikes, as well as their personal and professional milestones. You can actually find a lot of this information just by using a strong Boolean search in Google, by reading press releases and other material such as presentations and white papers, and more importantly by “listening” to that person on social media. This gives you an advantage because you’ll understand what motivates that person.
We all have fears, whether it’s fear of putting on weight, missing deadlines, death, inflation, debt, the unknown, and growing old. From a young age, we’ve been coached into making prejudices about our decisions by making cross-references between our past and current experiences. Fear, uncertainty and doubt make us think irrationally and can be powerful enough to drive us into making decisions that are negative as well as positive. If we make negative decisions such as taking up smoking, there is usually a positive intention behind the original decision, and that positive intention could be to help us get some relief from stress. This is what’s known as secondary gain.
If we go back to our fears just for a moment, think about the decisions to buy life insurance and invest in pension funds. We buy expensive gym memberships because of a fear of putting on weight; we buy home security products because we fear for the integrity of our home and possessions. Our first lesson here is to think about the underlying motivators that cause us to make decisions because a lot of our decision-making isn’t logically grounded but rather, can be very irrational.
One way of looking at this is to view your decisions in two groups: away from and towards. For example, we move away from our fears and we move towards things we love. But think about why we either fear or love. This is a huge motivator and can wreak havoc on unsuspecting customers and cause great profit from vendors.
How do you perceive value and ask yourself what does value mean to you? When you’re selling or trying to get a friend or associate to buy into your idea, think in terms of what value you can offer to help sweeten the deal. Value comes in two different types: personal value and business value. Let’s take a look at personal value first. Think about all those times when you volunteered information nuggets gratis (or free). What happened? More than likely, the recipient profited in some way. This is called personal value and most of the time, you give this away too cheaply. As a law abiding and decent citizen, your mother brought you up to share things with other people. This is a lovely gesture but charitable acts such as sharing in the business world will leave you feeling punished and dejected. Never share your candy too soon.
Business value is slightly different. You show this type of value by demonstrating your capability in a way that is unique to you. This differentiates you and lessens the likelihood of being commoditized by a buying officer. You can offer business value by selling a $10 lunch for $ 7.99 but is that going to be enough? Certainly not for everyone. Real business value is doing something utterly different that allows you to create your own rules and profit from them because no one else can offer the same product or service as you. For example, Apple rode out financial turbulence by moving away (think of motivators here) from debt and making profit by creating remarkable products that weren’t available anywhere else. Or were they? Similar products were available but Apple went a step further, they created unique enhancements to increase the user experience, which increased its products’ value exponentially.
Finally, think of our motivators again back at the beginning of this post. This time let’s turn those inside out. This is called expectation. When we buy expensive gym memberships we expect to receive help in getting fit and losing weight. When we buy life insurance we expect to insulate ourselves against our loved ones being left high and dry financially. You get the picture.
This is yet another way of thinking about benefits, those by-products we experience positively via our purchases. We want results and solutions to our problems and that’s exactly what we expect when make those purchases. Whenever you’re embarking on a persuasion process with someone, think about how the other person can benefit from your idea and tell him or her exactly what he or she can expect. If you find this tough to do, ask that person a series of questions to find out what they want, then match what you can deliver that gives them a solution and then tell them precisely what they can expect.

Influencers from Around the World – I Can vs I Did

Most of you long time readers of Influence PEOPLE know Hoh Kim because of his many guest posts to the Influencers from Around the World series. Hoh is also a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT) and has his masters in communication from Marquette University. You can find out more about Hoh by visiting his website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can connect with Hoh on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter
Brian, CMCT 

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

I Can vs. I Did 

are the key differences between more influential people and less influential

participated in the Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in 2005. Then, I was trained by Dr. Robert Cialdini to be Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT) in 2008. Since then I have facilitated the two-day (16 hours) POP workshop more than 20 times. Sometimes, I meet some of the past participants of my workshop and discuss how they have used the principles of influence.
who participate in the POP workshop learn the scientific research and practical
application of the six principles of influence, which come from Dr. Robert Cialdini’s lifetime research. Even people who never participated in the workshop or read his book would be familiar with one or some of the Cialdini’s principles, like scarcity; people want more of what they can have less of, or authority, which says that people defer to experts.
But still, even after learning all the principles and tools, there are differences and some people become much more influential while others don’t. What makes the differences?
came to realize there are two types (or levels) of “educated” people: those who say, “I can do it,” vs. those who can say, “I did it.”
  1. “I can do it.”
  2. People get various sources of influence/persuasion; from books, advice from experts, school, seminars or workshop like POP, and so on. Let’s assume that you read the right books, got the right advice, and attended the right classes, seminars, or workshops on influence and persuasion. Once people learn the principles and techniques, they are in the level of “I can do it.” This is a level of possibilities and knowledge. For example, all the POP workshop participants can reach this level. Education and training can put the knowledge into your head but you need more than just that in order to become more influential. You have to move from “I can do it” to “I did it.”

  1. “I did it.”
  2. Over and over, year after year, I found that previous participants of my workshop who have reported they became much more influential and negotiated better outcomes for themselves share one important factor. They said “I did what I learned – at least one or some of the principles and techniques.” These people are in the level of practice (not just possibilities) and action (not just knowledge). They not only have the knowledge in their heads but they actually take actions with their hands.

Less Influential
More Influential
can do it
did it
last slide of my POP workshop says, “All know the ways, few actually walk it.” This is a quote from Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century. The more I think about this quote, the more I come to believe its truth. For example, I know how to lose weight; i.e., eat less, exercise more. But, simply knowing that doesn’t mean I walk the way.
days, we can learn all those “ways” from the Internet and skip school, seminars and workshops. In most cases, the reason we fail to do something is not because we don’t know the way, but because we don’t walk the way we know.
here’s a little tip for all of us as we are approaching Christmas and year-end. This is the opportunity to “practice” the principles of liking and reciprocity.
  1. Allocate at least one “uninterrupted” half-day in December (I allocated two full days for this).
  2. Review your calendar/schedules or business cards/your contact list. Select 30-50 people you really want to thank in the year of 2012.
  3. Write
    down short messages via cards, emails, or even text messages for them. You have to be specific in what you thank them for, not just “thank you for your help!” Praise them as appropriate. For some of the people, you can send little gifts.

the year 2013, let us “walk the way” not just “know the way.” 


Influencers from Around the World – Treat Your Reputation Like Gold


The September Influencers from Around the World post comes all the way from down under, from Australia’s only Cialdini Method Certified Trainer Anthony McLean. Anthony just started a new venture called Social Influence Consulting Group. You can connect with Anthony on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Treat Your Reputation Like Gold!



How are with staying on top of things?  Are you across social media?  Do you hide away from it?  Well this next big change is going to drag you along whether you like it or not!



Imagine a world where:



  • You are hired based on your performance in online forums.
  • Where banks review your online reputation as well as your credit rating.
  • Where good references in making payments on time like renting a house can assist in renting a car.

In the reputation-driven world of the future, before anyone meets or does business with you, they will not only Google you but assess your online reputation through the many tools available to display this data.
And just as good reviews and referrals will drive people in your direction, negative comments will also impact you like never before.

Your online trustworthiness is your next big business commodity. The thing is, Reputation Marketing is not a thing of the future, it is here, now!
Your Reputation Data is already being expertly mined and collated for all to see.  Those with good reputations, as evidenced by likes, recommendations, endorsements, etc., will in the next six to 12 months see themselves gravitating towards page 1 on Google because they can be trusted and people like to interact with them.  Those with questionable reputations will fall
by the wayside just as it happens in the offline world.

Your digital reputation is fast becoming a guide to your trustworthiness; both in the digital and physical realms.
Wired magazine
reported in its September 2012 issue, “The value of reputation is not a new concept to the online world: think star ratings on Amazon, PowerSellers on eBay or reputation levels on games such as World of Warcraft.  The difference today
is our ability to capture data from across an array of digital services.  With every trade we make, comment we leave, person we ‘friend,’ spammer we flag or badge we earn, we leave a trail of how well we can or can’t be trusted.”
In the Principles of Persuasion Workshop, we know that when we are unsure of what we should do in a certain situation we look to a recognized Authority to guide our behaviour.  Critical to being a credible authority, however is not only our expertise but also our trustworthiness.  Therefore managing and marketing your reputation has just become far more important in persuading others because it will be tracked and easily found in the reputation centric world of the future.
In marketing now, a good online reputation will easily establish your authority, however if it is not managed well and is tarnished by negative comments, reviews, activities or statements, this will be made available for others to see and judge.
Likewise, when have no other ability to assess a person or their request we look to the behaviour of others like us to guide our decisions.  This is known as consensus or social proof.
A new study conducted by Berkley Economists Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder (published this month’s Economic Journal)found that across 328 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, if crowd-sourced reviews moved a restaurant from a 3.0 to a 3.5 star rating, this would increase a restaurant’s chance of selling out during prime dining times from 13% to
34%.  Moving from 3.5 to 4.0 stars increased the chance of selling out during prime dining times by another 19 percentage points and these changes occur even though restaurant quality held constant.
The study reaffirmed that crowd-sourced reviews have a bigger impact when there is a lack of alternative information available by which to judge a restaurant’s quality. “If a restaurant has a Michelin star or it appears in the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area, the Yelp star becomes irrelevant,” said Magruder.
Therefore Consensus (the opinion of others) is
trumped by Authority (proof you are
credible and trustworthy)!
You need to start managing your reputation.  From reviews to referrals, to customer service, to being mindful of the comments you and/or your staff make.
Get good comments, solicit referrals, and provide mechanisms for others to praise you, but stay on top of the negative feedback.  Counter it.
Apologise where necessary.  But
ignore it at your peril!
“We are only at day one in the whole idea of global reputation,” says Brian Chesky, cofounder and CEO of the peer-to-peer marketplace Airbnb.  “By the end of the decade, a good online reputation could be the most valuable currency in your possession”.
Anthony, CMCT

Influencers from Around the World – Thinking Hurts!

This month’s guest blogger in the Influencers from Around the World series is Cathrine Moestue. Cathrine emailed me her article all the way from Norway! She one of the 27 Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world today! If you’d like to connect with Cathrine you can do so on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. I know you’ll enjoy “Thinking Hurts!”

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Thinking Hurts!
Remember the love song from the Scottish rock band Nazareth called ”Love Hurts” from 1975?  Well it turns out more good things in life hurt too, like thinking. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel  Prize winner in economics, in his latest book Thinking Fast and Slow, explains why thinking hurts – we have two systems in our brains. He calls them rather simplisticly ”system one” and ”system two.” System one is fast, intuitive, and emotional whereas System 2 is slower, more deliberate, and more logical.
Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities – and also the faults and biases – of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. We are not rational decision makers but highly influenced not only by external stimuli but by our very own way of thinking.
Our biases become evident when we are overconfident about our corporate strategies. We are greatly affected by loss aversion, and our cognitive biases have a profound effect when we invest in the stock market. However, even more importantly they explain why we are faced with challenges of properly framing risks we encounter at work and even when it comes to our national security!
Recently  Norwegians were presented with evidence of how painful our cognitive biases can be. Last week an offical report stated the Norwegian police could have prevented the bombing of central Oslo and caught mass killer Anders Breivik faster than they did. Presenting the almost 500-page report, the inquiry team questioned why the street outside the prime minister’s office, Grubbegata, was not closed to traffic as had been recommended seven years before.
Even our prime minister knew it was a security risk but somehow he couldn’t make a descion to do anything about it. Something else must have been seen as more important, or maybe he thought someone else took responsibility for it. Either way it seems like a classic example of system one thinking, where self-defense prevails, and in reality not much thinking is actually being done at all. Our prime minister is only human and this issue concerns us all. We are blind to our own blindness about our how we think.
The report also notes that a two-man local police team reached the lake shore at Utvika first, but chose to wait for better-trained colleagues rather than find a boat and cross to Utoeya themselves. This waiting cost many lives, and the “Clint Eastwood” mentality was nowhere to be seen, unfortunatley.
When the consequences are not just loss of money, but the loss of lives, young lives at that, the knowledge of influence and decision making becomes rather more urgent, rather more pressing.
The good news is that raising our awareness of the  principles of influence (the shortcuts we use while making desicions) combined with understanding the process of thinking  (system one and two) we have a powerful new tool. A tool that we can use to become more effective in any organization.
Even though the report mentioned here can be seen as a national humiliation there is one Norwegian company that really glows in the dark; the architectural firm Snøhetta (named after one of Norway’s tallest mountains). Fast Company ranked them on its list of the worlds most innovative companies in 2011 and the company has won culturally significant, emotionally powerful commissions such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Egypt, the new 9/11 museum pavilion at New York’s Ground Zero; and the redesign of Times Square. This Oslo and New York based company has really taken seriously that thinking hurts.


If you are the most innovative architectural company in the world you do not have a choice, you have to get out of your mentally lazy state, out of the comfort zone, out of the box thinking and into system two where creativity lies.

Snøhetta has created a method of putting itself in other people’s shoes; it fools its system one by approaching any new project with a change in roles.

The architect must think like the artist, the artist must think like the architect, the economist must think like the sociologist and vice versa. When you hire Snøhetta, in other words, you don’t purchase a signature building (though you’ll probably get one in the end). You buy into a line of thinking, and a process that aims to place equal emphasis on architecture, landscape and social engagement. It is this flexibility of thought and of cooperation between departments we all have something to learn from.


Thinking, Fast and Slow is not only a unique book but also part of an intellectual revolution in which social psychological ideas have a profound influence on politics and economists, at least in some countries. Robert Cialdini’s seminal book Influence Science and Practice has been credited for being the key mover of this thought revolution. Indeed, Cialdini, along with a team of behavioral economists including Dan Ariely, Cal Sunstein and Daniel Kahneman, was called on by Barack Obama to help him win the presidency in 2008. I only wish our government had been as foresighted. Thinking hurts but if we want to improve we better get into the habit. The “No Pain – No Gain” slogan seems to be true for sport, business and politics.

Cathrine Moestue, CMCT


Influencers from Around the World – Moments of Power: How to Identify and Use Them

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post comes to us by way of Italy and Marco Germani. Marco has been guest writing for me almost since the start of this blog. In addition to helping me out several times a year he took time to write his own book on persuasion in Italian, I Meccanismi della
. I encourage you to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter because he loves connecting with people.

Brian, CMCT 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Moments of Power: How to Identify and Use Them
During our interactions with others we often unconsciously find ourselves in the so-called “moments of power,” times where we can engage our partner with a highly persuasive lever for the future, even if, at that very moment we have no interest in persuading the person to do anything.
Recognizing and using these moments of power is of vital importance and has become a standard practice of every good persuader. On the other hand, letting these special moments pass without any benefit, as most people do, deprives us of a favorable opportunity to exercise
our powers of persuasion, forgoing the chance to move others in our direction in an ethical way that’s also in their best interest. 
So, what are these “moments of power” and how do we recognize them? And above all, what should we do when we find ourselves in the middle of them? The answer to these questions is surprisingly simple and can be illustrated with a short example:
Dr. Smith, manager at a large company, receives a call from a colleague who asks with a worried tone if Dr.
Smith can lend a hand because he has a meeting with a key customer of the company the next morning and producing sales report is of the highest priority for the colleague. He also needs to produce some other documents and has no time to do this by himself before the meeting.
The colleague is not aware of it but Dr. Smith has recently created a report very similar to the one in question and, with only a few changes, the same document can very well be used for next day’s meeting.
The next day, the two men meet at the office and the colleague first thanks Dr. Smith profusely, praising his
responsiveness and the timing of his action, telling him that he pretty much “saved
his life.” How should Dr. Smith respond to this praise? Being a person of integrity and honesty he simply says, “Well, you don’t even have to thank me, it was a small thing, I had already prepared a similar study and didn’t do anything else but send it with a few changes. I would have done it for anyone!”
Here, Dr. Smith has just found himself in one of the famous moments of power and has just blatantly wasted it!
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s happened to you recently.
Now let’s see what the good doctor should
have done instead. We can identify three fundamental points:
Do not belittle the magnitude of the action.
This doesn’t mean you have to brag about what you have done, saying that the report cost us hours and hours of work, because this wouldn’t be ethical! Just say something like, “I tried to create for you the most accurate and precise report possible.  I put all my efforts in it and I am glad you appreciate it.” The detail that the report has already created is beside the
point when it comes to persuasion and may be omitted.
Highlight the fact that the action was done specifically because the request came from that person.
Instead of saying, “I’d do it for anyone,” say, “I know how important it was for you and I know how hard you work, so if I could give you a hand, I did it very willingly.” In other words, we are customizing our action.
Laying the foundations to be reciprocated.
Proper use of a moment of power gives us a future persuasive lever to use with that person. Another way to look at it is it gives us a “credit” with the other person and the principle of reciprocity alerts us to the fact that the other person will feel obligated to reciprocate in some way. To emphasize and establish this point you just say a simple but powerful phrase, “I know you would have done the same for me if the roles were reversed.”
Think of how many times somebody
thanks you for a favor and how, you can now quickly and easily apply the three
points described above. Begin to practice this technique now so you don’t miss
any more “moments of power.”