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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.

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.

When a Cookie is More than Just a Cookie

Have you ever stayed at a DoubleTree Hotel? If you have, then no doubt you received a cookie when you checked in at the front desk. And it wasn’t just any cookie, it was a warm chocolate chip cookie presented to you in a bag that read:

This delicious chocolate chip cookie is our way of saying welcome to the DoubleTree by Hilton. Enjoy your stay.

That’s a nice way to start your stay! Now, contrast that experience with other hotels. Many give free cookies. I know Hampton Inns put cookies out every afternoon. Getting them out of the plastic case with tongs isn’t quite the same as being presented with them at a DoubleTree.

I’ve stayed at many Embassy Suites and they put out free cookies too. They’re usually located between the hotel entryway and front desk so you can grab as many as you want on your way in our out.

In my travel experience nobody talks about the cookies at the Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites or any other hotel. However, people rave about the DoubleTree cookies! They’re very tasty but it’s more than just how they taste, it’s also how you experience them.

In persuasion there’s a principle of influence known as reciprocity. It describes the feeling you have – an obligation of sorts – to repay the favor when someone does something for you first. Reciprocity is the difference between the DoubleTree cookie and all others.

Just because something is “free” doesn’t mean it’s viewed as a gift. If you don’t perceive something as a gift then there’s no obligation to do anything in return. Grabbing a cookie on your way in or out of the hotel doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to reciprocity. A hotel employee presenting (not just handing) you with a cookie taps powerfully into reciprocity. At a minimum you thank the employee but, as noted earlier, people rave about the DoubleTree cookie. As I wrote in the opening paragraph, it’s a very good cookie but presenting it the way they do is what sets the DoubleTree apart. Some people stay at DoubleTree hotels for the cookie above all else!

Conclusion

Reciprocity is a powerful principle of influence because the need to repay the favor weighs heavy on us. That’s why it feels like an obligation. Do you have “free” items for employees, customers or vendors? If so, how do you present those items? If people are required to get those things themselves then they’re probably not perceived as gifts. If that’s the case then you’ve lost an opportunity to tap into reciprocity and perhaps move people to yes when you need it next.

Here’s my advice – look at what you freely give away and consider how you’re doing that. Think of ways you might present those same items so they’re perceived as gifts. Sometimes a cookie is more than just a cookie and so it is with other items you may give to people. Remember, it’s when you give, not when people take, that reciprocity is engaged.

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, the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 65,000 people! Have you watched them yet? Click a course title to see what you’ve been missing.

 

Influence PEOPLE: The Book – Reciprocity

In early April I shared a little from a book I’m working on. To build a more excitement I thought I’d share another short section from Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, which will be available this summer.

Principle #1 – Reciprocity

“You can get everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
Zig Ziglar, famous author & motivational speaker

Simply put, reciprocity is a mutual exchange. As a principle of influence it could be described in layman’s terms as the “good old give and take” principle or “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” When someone does something for us, we typically feel obligated to do something for them, to return the favor, so to speak.

You can easily think of a time when someone went out of their way to do something for you in return for a good deed you initially did for them. Although you probably recognize the principle just described, if you’re like most people, you may not realize how powerfully reciprocity actually works on you. Quite often reciprocity gets you to do things without you even realizing it! Take a moment to consider your response to each of the following questions:

  • Have you invited someone to a social gathering (summer cookout, wedding, graduation party, etc.) because they invited you to a similar event first?
  • Have you added someone to your Christmas card list after getting a card from them first?
  • Have you donated money to an organization because you received a free gift, like mailing labels?
  • If you’ve been to a home party like Pampered Chef or Tupperware, did you buy something because you would have felt bad not doing so, especially after you were served food and given a free gift?
  • During the holidays, have you ever bought Christmas wrapping paper, cards or some other items from neighborhood kids because their parents bought similar items from your kids?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then reciprocity was influencing you! Society ingrains something in all of us from the time we are young: it’s right to repay the favor. When you do something for me, I feel obligated to do something for you in return.

In shows when someone saves another’s life, the one snatched from death expresses profound gratitude. The saved person may ask: “How can I ever repay you?” Of course Good Samaritans don’t help people to accrue favors, yet those who are helped feel a huge burden anyway and want to repay the Good Samaritan.

Let’s focus on understanding how the ball gets rolling when it comes to this principle. It happens when you take initiative and act first. In a sense you give a gift, whether tangible or intangible. This is the point: your action is usually met in kind by the person you gifted or helped.

Let’s go further with the principle of reciprocity and consider  concessions. When someone says “no” to you, if you immediately come back with another request, often the person will meet you part way because compromise is met with compromise. Concessions are the basis for negotiating as people barter their way to some sort of agreement.

When it comes to reciprocity, think of this word – Giving. When you give most of the time people will give in return.

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, the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 65,000 people! Have you watched them yet? Click a course title to see what you’ve been missing.

 

The Dumbing Down of Social Media

Did you know, in many European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Poland) organ donation rates are almost 100%? However, in some countries (U.K., Germany, Denmark) it’s less than 25%! Are some Europeans four times more socially conscious than their continental partners or is something else going on?

The gap can be explained by one simple difference – in many countries the default when getting a drivers license is to be an organ donor. In countries with high donation rates Europeans drivers have to check a box to opt out of organ donation. In countries with low participation rates people have to check a box to become an organ donor.

Checking a box takes virtually no effort but that small change in the default – check to opt in vs. check to opt out – makes a huge difference! Many people argue it’s good for society to make certain choices, like organ donation or saving for retirement, easier whenever possible.

Behavioral economics looks how people make choices and what’s been discovered can help individuals and organizations structure choices in ways that benefit more people. But, resetting defaults doesn’t always lead to the hoped-for outcomes, especially with social media. The problem is many sites are dumbing things down.

Congrats on your work anniversary!

If you spend any time on LinkedIn then it’s a good bet you’ve seen notifications alerting you about work anniversaries for your connections. That’s nice because those milestones might otherwise go unnoticed.

To make life easier for LinkedIn users the platform lets you click on a link that automatically sets up a message which reads, “Congrats on your work anniversary!” The vast majority of people hit the send button and move on with their day.

But here’s the problem, we’ve come to realize it takes almost no time, effort or thought on the part of the person who sent the message. It’s like getting spam except it comes from someone you know. The same applies to the birthday alerts.

What Can You Do?

People value what you do for them, the gifts you give and the congratulations you offer, much more when you take time to personalize them. In one study, a simple handwritten message on a yellow sticky note doubled response rates on a survey. Why? Reciprocity dictates the more someone does something for us the more we feel we should do for them.

When you take a moment to personalize whatever you’ve done it makes people feel special and shows you put in some extra thought, time and effort. That’s a great way to build or strengthen relationships.

Gifts. You could argue a gift card is the best gift because it lets the receiver buy whatever he or she wants. Letting the other person choose their gift may be nice but there are a couple of problems with this approach:

  1. Now the burden is on the recipient to go to the store.
  2. It might indicate you don’t know them well enough, or care enough, to understand what they might like.

The best time for gift cards are when you know something about the person so it becomes personalized. For example, if someone loves to browse books at Barnes & Noble then a gift card is a reason to go somewhere they enjoy. If they happen to walk away with an unexpected find they’ll remember it was your gift card that led to the purchase.

Congratulations. We all like to be recognized, especially on important dates. It hardly takes time to modify the “Happy birthday!” or “Congrats on your work anniversary!” that automatically pop up daily on LinkedIn.

  1. Happy birthday Joe. Any fun plans for today? Enjoy!
  2. 15 years is a long time Ann! Congrats on the anniversary!

If you take a moment to send a text instead of the LinkedIn message you’ll be surprised at the responses you get. Taking it one step further, there are people I call every year on birthdays. I know they really appreciate it because not only do they tell me, they tell others. A friend recently told me she mentioned my birthday calls to Nick, a mutual connection. Nick told her he doesn’t get a call on his birthday so I sent him this message the same day:

I had lunch with Christy today and she told me you two know each other. I got the sense you weren’t feeling as loved as she does so I’ve marked December 16 as a special day to give you a call. Hopefully we’ll see each other well before then. Enjoy the downside of the week.

Little things like this can make a big difference! Nick and I will have a nice laugh on December 16 and I know this; if I ever need his assistance he’ll gladly help, not because he has to, but because he wants to.

Conclusion

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about social media being social. I applaud the efforts of LinkedIn, Facebook and other social platforms to make it easier for us to remember important milestones for the people we’re connected to. But, don’t let the ease create a laziness in you. Building and maintaining relationships is different than prompting behavior change for social causes. If you don’t understand this you might end up hurting relationships when your intent was to do something nice.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker and trainer, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses, Persuasive Selling and Persuasive Coaching have been viewed by more than 60,000 people! His latest course, Creating a Coaching Culture, will be online in the second quarter. Have you watched them yet? Click a link to see what you’ve been missing.

What’s the Worst that Can Happen?

Did you parents ever try to convince you to try something new or different by asking you, “What’s the worst that can happen?” They were subtly trying to get you to realize you’d probably be no worse off for having tried. For example, asking someone for help, what’s the worst that can happen? If they refuse your offer you’re no worse off. However, if they yes you’re better off.

Asking for Help

If you’re struggling with something – driving directions, a project at work, chores at home – you’d think asking for help would be a no brainer. Unfortunately, all too often people don’t ask for help because of fear. Here are three fears you might have when it comes to asking for help:

  1. You’ll look incompetent. This is an outward focus. You want to appear like you have everything under control. In your mind asking for help indicates weakness in the eyes of others.
  2. You’ll feel stupid. This is an inward focus where you put pressure on yourself to have all the answers. Not wanting to feel stupid you may spend much more time than necessary to come up with the answers you need.
  3. The other person might say no. For the most part humans are little pleasure seekers and pain avoiders so it’s natural for you to want to avoid the pain of rejection.

People are More Willing to Help than You Think

Here’s some good news – research shows people are more willing to help than you might think. In one study university students were given a task – ask for an escort, not just directions – to the college gymnasium. The gym was about a 10 minute walk from where the ask was made so it was going to be a bit of an inconvenience for anyone agreeing to help.

Before getting to the task, each student was asked how many people they thought they’d have to approach in order to get a yes. The typical student thought they’d have to approach seven or eight people in order to get someone to help. The average guess was 7.2 people.

When the participants began asking they typically got help after approaching just two or three people. The average for all students was 2.3 people.

That’s significant! People overestimated rejection by more than 200%. If you knew you’d get the help you needed two or three times more than you thought, you’d be much more likely to ask for help whenever you needed it.

The Benefits of Asking for Help

There are lots of benefits to asking for assistance but we’ll focus on three that are very significant.

First, you get the help you needed. Getting help allows you to finish whatever you were trying to accomplish. That feels good but it also feels good knowing people were willing to help you. It restores a little faith in humanity.

Second, the people you help feel good about themselves. When we help others we get a little shot of oxytocin and that feels good. That good feeling reinforces people’s willingness to help in the future. We can accomplish more together than alone so it’s one way humans were designed to ensure our survival.

The third reason is the people who help you will like you more. Typically, you’d think getting help would make you like the helper more. And it does. However, a side benefit of getting help is that the helper comes to like you more.  Those who help you will justify their actions by generating reasons for having done so. Some of those reasons will include thinking about things they like about you.

Conclusion

Imagine there was raffle with a $1,000 prize and all you had to do was fill out an entry form to possibly win. You don’t have to buy a ticket, you won’t be put on some email list and there are no strings attached. Simply put yoru name on a slip of paper and drop it in the bucket. Would you enter the raffle? You have nothing to lose and you might win big.

Next time you need assistance look at asking for help like gambling without having to put money down. The odds of winning are better than you think but even if you don’t win you’re no worse off.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker and trainer, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed by more than 53,000 people! Persuasive Coaching went live earlier this year and Creating a Coaching Culture will be online in the second quarter. Have you watched these courses yet? Click either to see what you’ve been missing.

LinkedIn is “Social” Media so Try Being Social

One definition for social is “pleasant companionship with friends or associates” (Merriam-Webster). You’re probably social at work when you interact with people in friendly ways. That’s natural and makes work more enjoyable. Are you social on social media?

Social media helps connect people. Never in the history of humanity has it been so easy to connect with so many people anywhere in the world. I’ve made friends across the globe – and met some in person – because I chose to be social on social media. You never know where those relationships will lead.

How I use LinkedIn

I accept every request to connect on LinkedIn even though most people don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively. For example, too many people just click on the request to connect button without sending a personal message to say why they want to connect. When I get a request like that I always send this message immediately after accepting the connection:

Thanks for reaching out to connect with me Joe. I’m curious, how did you come across my profile? Brian

Almost everyone responds and the number one reason they want to connect with me is because they’ve taken one of my LinkedIn courses. It would be foolish on my part to dismiss so many connections – especially those who’ve enjoyed my course – just because they’re not more LinkedIn savvy. And who knows, those people could be clients in the future.

I like when people are honest and tell me, “I just clicked on the connect button because LinkedIn suggested you. I hope that’s okay?” My usually response: “Thanks for letting me know. Today is your lucky day!” My humor gets laughs and often opens up people to further communication. It’s being social.

An Interesting Exchange

The best exchange happened recently. I changed the name and a few other facts to keep the person anonymous. You’ll see the importance of being social in our brief exchange. There was humor and the principle of liking was clearly in play for both of us.

Me: Thanks for reaching out to connect Joe. I’m curious, how did you come across my profile? Brian

Joe: It suggests people. You looked interesting!

Me: Thanks for letting me know. I’ve done courses for LinkedIn Learning so a lot the time that’s the reason. It’s good to know why people are reaching out. I’m going to let my wife know someone found me interesting today. Every little bit helps. 😉 Have a terrific day. Brian

Joe: You tell her I found you interesting AND handsome AND someone who looked like he’d be an awesome husband.

Me: I’ll show her that message!

Me: I just show her and she said, “He seems like a funny guy.” I told her I wasn’t sure about that but being an Ivy League grad, I knew you were smart…and perceptive!

Joe: A smart something …. do you do talks for insurance conferences?  I am co-chairing an insurance sales conference this year.

It remains to be seen if I’ll speak at the conference but I know this: my odds are much better than they’d have been if I had rejected the connection. If I’d have accepted the connection, but not been social, my chance to speak would have still been much less.

Consider…

There are plenty of reasons to steer clear of social media and one big one is the time suck once you start scrolling through feeds. To prevent falling into the time trap set designated times to use certain apps. For example: I generally try to use LinkedIn early in the morning and limit browsing Facebook to the times when I take a mental break from reading or writing.

Something else to consider – don’t wait until you need to make LinkedIn connections to start making them. That’s one of the biggest mistakes people make. They start working it after they’ve left a job and need a new one. Think of LinkedIn connections like regular relationships – the more time you invest everyday the better positioned you’ll be when you need help. People are more willing to help those they consider friends (liking) and those who’ve helped them in the past (reciprocity). It starts with you being friendly and looking for ways to help others.

Conclusion

If you want to grow your influence I encourage you to be more social on social media. It’s a great opportunity to practice your influence skills, make friends, and maybe open the door to new opportunities.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed by more than 50,000 people! His latest course, Persuasive Coaching, just went live. Have you watched them yet? If not, click on either course name to see what you’ve been missing.

The First Day of My New Career and the Rest of My Life

Today is the day – the first day of my new career and the rest of my life!! In September I announced a huge change was coming and it’s finally here. After 28 ½ years I’ve left State Auto Insurance to pursue Influence PEOPLE as my fulltime endeavor.

When I decided to make this move back in September my feelings were primarily a mixture of fear and excitement. As each day passed and I began to see the future more clearly the fear subsided and my excitement grew. While there are no guarantees in life all I see is opportunity ahead.

One thing that’s really stood out with my career change is this – if you truly come to like and enjoy the people you support (principle of liking) and do whatever you can to help others (principle of reciprocity) you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people will want to help you before you even ask.

Not only is this a career change, it’s a life change. I told my wife I’m going to look at everything I do – when I get up, how I work out, where I do my work, when I work and so on – and see what changes I want to make. I feel like I’ve moved into a new house and the opportunities to make it my dream home are endless.

With Thanksgiving soon upon us this is a good time to give several big THANK YOUS.

To all the State Auto employees, former employees, and agents who have reached out to ask how they can help me – THANK YOU! Your willingness to support me gives more even more confidence that I’ve made the right decision.

To my friends at INFLUENCE AT WORK – Bob, Greg, Bobette, Cara, Eily and Jandy – THANK YOU for your support and  encouragement.

To all of you who’ve been loyal readers of Influence PEOPLE over the years – THANK YOU! When I started blogging nearly 10 years ago I never imagined I would gain a following across the country and around the world. You also give me confidence in the choice I’ve made.

As I close I will be so bold as to ask for a couple of favors:

  1. If you’ve enjoyed the blog and have found it useful on a professional and/or personal level would you share it with friends and coworkers?
  2. If you think your organization could benefit from influence training, coaching or consulting would you share Influence PEOPLE with decision makers?

One last time – THANK YOU!

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed 150,000 times! The course will teach you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process. Not watched it yet? Click here to see what you’ve been missing.

Nike’s “Just Do It” to Build Better Relationships

Nike’s “Just Do It!” is famous around the world. It encourages you to get up and get moving. What are you waiting for? Just do it!

When it comes to influence “Just Do It” is great advice to build relationships and strengthen existing ones. But there’s a twist; just do the right things because they’re the right things to do.

Last week I completed my final Principles of Persuasive Selling Workshop at State Auto Insurance. Over the past decade I’ve led nearly 60 workshops and worked with more than 700 managers and salespeople. When it comes to relationship building I always emphasize to participants they should do the right things just because they’re the right things to do. Let me explain.

Engage Reciprocity

When it comes to engaging the principle reciprocity I’ve heard people describe it this way, “Give to get.” No, don’t give to get! When people sense you have an agenda, you’re only giving or helping in order to pull some lever and get a favor in return, they’ll probably reject your offer.

You should give because it’s the right thing to do and the best way to live life. Thousands of years ago Jesus taught His followers it was better to give than receive. He understood how humans thought and behaved and knew people would naturally want to give back to those who first gave to them.

When you give without expectation some people might take advantage of you. However, I think you’ll find far more appreciate your generosity and will be open to helping you whenever you may need it in the future. This is why Zig Ziglar used to tell audiences, “You can get everything you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”

Tap into Liking

The other relationship building principle is liking. I think you’d agree that life is richer and more fulfilling when you have many friends and loved ones. However, don’t focus on getting people to love or like you because you might come across as desperate.

Instead, focus on coming to like people. When you focus on others, and people sense you truly like and care about them, they become far more open to any request you might make. Why? Because we naturally assume friends do right by friends. Abraham Lincoln put it this way, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him you are his sincere friend.”

When you tap into the principle of liking it all but removes manipulation from the persuasion equation. Why do I say that? Because when you truly like someone – you can call them friend – you won’t manipulate them. Far from it because you want the best for your friends and loved ones.

Let me wrap up with a question – Do you want more, and better, relationships? If you answered yes then I have two simple suggestions. First, go into situations with this mindset; I want to like the people I work with and serve. Look for the best in others, talk about what you have in common and give sincere praise when it’s due.

Second, focus on giving in ways that will be beneficial for the people you come across. This is much easier when you actually like them because you’ll naturally want to help your friends. And the more you know them the more appropriate your giving and help will be.

Relationship building isn’t rocket science. All it takes is your willingness and a little more effort. Just Do It!

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed nearly 150,000 times! The course teaches you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process. Not watched it yet? Click here to see what you’ve been missing.