Influencers from Around the World – Beware of the Bogus Authority

To kick off the New Year, our Influencers from
Around the World series starts with Sean Patrick. Sean is originally from Dublin,
Ireland, but now resides in London where he works in sales and sales management.
You can connect with Sean on LinkedIn or Twitter. Sean also owns a sales training and coaching
company, SPT (Sean Patrick Training), Ltd. Always thought provoking, I know
you’ll enjoy Sean’s point of view on “authorities” and their content.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Beware of the Bogus Authority
I’ve just finished a well-written book by
Georgia attorney Loren Collins called Bullspotting.
It was a nice segue from another brilliantly written piece by Massimo Pigliucci
called Nonsense on Stilts. As you can
probably tell, the book attacks the nonsensical logic behind some of today’s content
that craftily bypasses the critical filters of its followers, making absurd
claims believable. 
Ironically, the author himself was a proponent
and follower of such people who disseminated misinformation. This got me
thinking about how dangerous it is when we open up to pseudo-authority. This
isn’t just a phenomenon that exists on the fringes; it is everywhere.
In business, we have the same problem but not quite
to the same extreme. Misinformation is like a mind virus that quickly infects
those who really need information to back up their status quo. We’re living in
a time where content is everywhere; it’s like drinking from a fire hose. What
kind of misinformation am I referring to? Half-truths mainly, or tactics that
worked for the author on one very lucky occasion but are now claimed as a
There’s also the other kind, the kind where we
think we know about a subject because we read one article or in some cases, the
first couple of paragraphs.  Our ability
to contaminate information further has to be taken in context. Our ability to
recall accurately goes through a process of bending, shaping, remodeling until
we think our warped view is exactly how we saw it. And bogus authority figures
really know this sharing of half-truths is immensely powerful, so we can dot
the lines ourselves as part of the journey to finally agree with the author’s
In business a client base is like a portfolio
of investments and treating them as such will create long term of value and
recurring revenue. Our job as salespeople is to go deep and create ongoing
change and help clients solve their next problem, and the next and so on. We
strive to drive results with practical solutions and provide serious impact
continually on the relationship. 
Great sales people earn higher fees via
commissions because of their ability to create huge impact and provide value. One
of the key areas in providing value is overcoming the hurdle of misinformation
that clients buy into. As I noted above, most people who consume so much
information on a daily basis fail to employ quality control.  
Over the years as a coach, one of the misdemeanors
that some of my clients were guilty of was dining out on so-called
authoritative content on sales topics and stuff that overlapped into self-development.
What the information consisted of mainly was of brain candy quality. 
The kind of content I’m referring to is the
stuff that isn’t earth shattering (but is marketed as so) and if you sat and
thought long enough you’d probably have come to those conclusions without any
help from the author…and you would have dismissed them!
As people who sell, own a business, or provide
professional services, it’s up to us to engage the client in a way in which we
become the authority and the go-to-favorite of the client. We can achieve this
by proving concept, demonstrating value, helping a client take ownership of a
problem by providing deep insightful information that is contextually relevant
to their most pressing problems.
Focusing on conversations that move things
forward are essential in setting boundaries and prove to the client that we
have a proprietary approach in getting grounded and having more clarity in
aligning themselves with their key priorities.
In this age of content creation and re-creation,
we are deluged by pure nonsense most of the time or at the very least someone’s
biased, one-sided view on matters. This is dangerous if we fail to act
objectively. Thanks to the internet, everyone is now an “expert” and we sit
there in a glassy eyed daze agreeing with what’s being presented to us, largely
because it passes through our filters — 
but only if we let it.

Sean Patrick

Influencers from Around the World – Alex Ferguson’s Persuasion Secrets of Managing Manchester United

If you’ve followed Influence PEOPLE for any length of time then you’re familiar with Sean Patrick. You know Sean hails from Dublin, Ireland but what you may not realize is he’s moved to London. You can connect with Sean on LinkedIn or Twitter. Sean owns his own sales training and coaching company SPT (Sean Patrick Training), Ltd. I’m confident you’ll enjoy what Sean has to share this month.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Ferguson: Persuasion Secrets of 
Managing Manchester United

In May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson or SAF as he’s
otherwise known as, stepped down as manager of Manchester United.  He had just won his 13th Premiership title,
the most successful and highly decorated manager in English football.  This ended his 26th season in charge of one
of the biggest sporting franchises in the world.

During his time at Old Trafford he won 38
titles including two UEFA champions league trophies. Ferguson took control of
the club at a time when player status was more important than winning titles,
over the course of four seasons and under severe pressure to deliver, he
transformed the club from the inside out.
He employed countless talent scouts to find the best youth players at
grassroots level and developed an academy that produced one of the most
successful teams in English football history.
Every season a major development was installed inside the club that
cemented United’s ability to find and retain the best playing staff.  Ferguson was well known for having his finger
on the pulse in every area of the club.
Only Matt Busby, a legendary former United manager had any such
influence across the entire club.
So how did he do it?  Ferguson was well known for his ability to
psychologically influence the players around him and rival managers.  Ferguson believed that the key to success was
to make sure that every player put in 100% during training.  He never allowed a bad training session as
this proved a player would find mediocrity acceptable, he knew bad habits form
quickly.  He ensured that every player
who under-performed at half time became aware of their poor performances thus
the legendary motivational skills reared itself in the dressing room.
Former rival manager Jose Mourinho claimed
Ferguson was the master of the ‘second game’, sing the media to motivate his
team and to begin, as he put it, ‘to play the next game before it starts’.
The club and everyone around him knew he was
the authority figure.  If a player tried
to take over the dressing room or put in a poor performance he was either
swiftly removed from the club or was given a severe face-to-face screaming
which had become known as the hairdryer treatment.  His authority was without question embedded
into the organization. Over the course of his 26 season reign he made difficult
choices and this came in the form of releasing established world class players
such as Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and David Beckham to make room for untested
younger players such as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo who became medal
winners at United.
There was another side to Ferguson, he was
liked and respected.  He was treated
respectfully by senior management and back-room support staff and reciprocated
respect by demonstrating fairness and his ability to empathize.  These skills were tested during the season of
1995-96 when maverick player Eric Cantona attacked an opposition supporter
Kung-Fu style and consequently given a heavy suspension lasting several
months.  Over the course of this period,
Ferguson mentally coached Cantona, firstly to retain his services and secondly
to mentally motivate and prepare the player for his return.  Subsequently, Cantona blossomed to become a
model player and became club captain helping United secure more silverware.
This method of psychologically preparing and
motivating players culminated in United’s first UEFA Champions league title in
1999.  They faced a tough fixture against
Germany’s Bayern Munich.  At half-time
United were trailing, he reminded his players that if they lost the match they
would not as much be allowed to touch the trophy, just amble past at a safe
distance wearing their losers medal.  One
of the players later recalled that Ferguson’s inspirational speech turned
fearful men into world-beaters.  During
that same season, United became the first side from a major league to win the
treble of Champions league, English Premier league and League cup in a single
Ferguson understood the importance being
consistent. One of his key skills in improving the preparedness of his players
was his use of story telling and being to talk to each player
individually.  He liked to change the
themes of his team talks with regularity.
“I once heard a coach start with ‘this must be the 1000th team talk I’ve
had with you’ and saw a player quickly respond with ‘and I’ve slept through
half of them!’  If a player was to sit
out a game, he gave a personal and very frank conversation that conveyed
empathy and instilled confidence in the player.
Ferguson emphasized on the use of instilling
confidence on the training pitch.  “There
is no room for criticism on the training field’.  ‘There is nothing better than hearing ‘well-done.”
Cialdini “Influence”
 Would you like to learn more about
influence from the experts? Check out the Cialdini “Influence” Series featuring Cialdini
Method Certified Trainers from around the world.


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 – 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 – A Nightmare on Persuasion Street

This month our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes from across the pond from my old Irish friend Sean Patrick. Sean owns a sales training company, Sales Training Evaluation, and writes a blog, Professional Persuader. Sean is a big fan of Dr. Cialdini and attended the Principles of Persuasion workshop I led when he visited the States in October 2010. Always thought-provoking, Sean’s post this week is no different.
Brian, CMCT 
Helping You
Learn to Hear “Yes”.

A Nightmare on Persuasion Street
Persuasion is one of my life long loves.  It is constant learning and working out practically what makes people say “Yes.”  There are many types of persuasion principles and methods and one of those is coercion. When I refer to coercion, I mean two things; unethical use of persuasive techniques and emotional tampering.
The world is a changing place and has changed dramatically over the past three to four years, in particular. People realize we have moved into a new reality in which economic uncertainty is here to stay. As a result many bury themselves into fantasy land with the help of the internet and television soap operas.
Television has become one of the most potent forms of persuasion abuse in recent times. Politicians remind us constantly that we are all ok, that we’re being looked after, and that the sons and daughters of our countries are doing the right things by sacrificing themselves to affront a common enemy. As this all goes on we remain ignorant of the true facts even as our pension funds, life savings and home values erode to nothingness.
What I have just described is known as the “Lucifer Effect.”  What makes people accept brutality and evil as normal? The Lucifer Effect raises this question and also delves into the psyche of perpetrators of abuse or coercion. Throughout history we have been conditioned to accept one rule of thumb as being our normal even if other people in different countries vehemently oppose our ideals. Yet we gladly accept that what is normal should not be questioned in case we are ridiculed or have our loyalties questioned.
Human character is a dynamic thing, it transforms on the basis of different chronologies. What makes normal, law abiding, educated and healthy people become raving stewards of hate? When we look back in time at the inquisitions of the Catholic Church, The Third Reich, Rwanda, the abuses of the U.S. military in Abu Ghraib, Iraq and similar episodes in Afghanistan, what we see are normal law abiding citizens becoming perpetrators of sadistic evil.
This is where social proof in the influence process comes in. Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion are subliminal and powerful! In all of history’s foibles you can spot the persuasive mechanisms at work. Even today in North Korea, the power of the crowd plays an important role in keeping the population at large from uprising against a despotic regime.
It isn’t just politics where the abuse of influence is at work, we can see it every day in the mainstream news media, the press, soap operas, Hollywood films, advertising, and even religion. Once you’ve become accustomed to seeing the six principles it becomes more and more apparent how each principle is embedded in the context in which it is given.
Finally, where we see dehumanization at work we need to ask questions about what is really going on, and we can do this by seeing exactly how much effort is being put into the persuasive mechanism and how much others really want us to buy into it. Usually, such efforts are preceded by what I call the “Carrot and Stick” approach. This is the highly coercive act of offering a solution to a perceived problem by provoking a public reaction.

Hitler’s genocidal policy began through the introduction of a re-education of school children. Educational propaganda is nothing new and is intentionally designed to form dehumanization towards the common enemy.  This necessarily doesn’t need to be targeted towards people; it can be attitudes towards finance, work, immigration, foreign policies, centralization of government etc. A manipulation of public attitudes is definitely affected by this principle.
I’ve become more intrigued about this principle that was coined by Philip Zimbardo and to this end the fascination of watching the trial of Anders Breivik in Norway keeps reminding me that there is a greater degree of understanding needed when normal people become evil.

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Influencers from Around the World – My Favourite Principles of Influence Used by Online Marketers

This month our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes all the way from Ireland courtesy of Sean Patrick. Sean owns his own sales training company, Sean Patrick Training, and writes a blog, Professional Persuader. We met through Facebook several years ago because of Dr. Cialdini and we’ve maintained regular contact ever since. I know you’ll enjoy what Sean has to say this week.

My Favourite Principles of Influence Used by Online Marketers
The following is a list of my all time favourite principles of influence used by online marketers and how I see them used; the good, the bad and the ugly.
1.     Authority
Marketers use this principle to create a sense or feeling of how the potential customer is in safe hands because they make the prospect feel as though they’ve found someone who has or can demonstrate ability, credibility and proof of concept by knowing the exact pain, dissatisfaction and problem that the prospect is currently feeling. It’s a demonstration of experience by telling a story of how the knowledge to overcome the problem or dissatisfaction came about, the journey of anguish and frustration followed by one “Eureka” moment that just blew the problem apart and facilitated a solution.
Solutions imply success and this is where testimonials come in handy. The marketer will supply oodles of proud and happy customer testimonials which make the prospect’s imagination itch with anticipation. Unfortunately all too often the testimonials are nothing more than cronies and affiliates who have an interest in the product’s success by earning commissions on each sale.
The real heavyweight to this principle is when the marketer offers a cast-iron guarantee or assurance as to the efficacy of the product that the prospect will only ever experience success. This deflects any come back to the marketer by implying that it’s the customer’s problem if they don’t experience the same results as all the other customers.
The last piece of the authority principle that the marketer needs to employ is by bringing in the heavy-weight celebrities, famous affiliates or mentioning some major event they sponsor.  The principle of authority when used credibly creates and confirms expertise, but when done in an egotistical manner it implies “Guru Status.” There is a world of difference between the two and self-appointed gurus are best avoided.
2.   Scarcity (Fake Urgency)
When done properly and all other conditions are met this is the one principle to send a would-be buyer over the edge. It makes them buy, especially when potential customers are spoon-fed the notion that what they are pondering is about to be taken away from them due to two things:
a. Limited stock or supply, or
b. Time limited price offer
Scarcity is often perceived as the one to watch out for because it’s been used over and again, but if all the other principles are used effectively then scarcity becomes the trigger that’s easily pulled. The easiest way this is done on the web is by stating right from the start that what is about to be sold is scarce either because of limited supply or because the guy in the stock room messed up and priced all the labels incorrectly, stupidly at a much lower price so therefore the marketer can’t afford to sell the product at the launch price for an extended period.
The reality is that scarcity is quite often fake and the sense of urgency is false; just a ploy. The majority of products sold on the web are information products so how can something produced digitally be of limited supply? The same rule applies with price simply because no one sells anything at a loss; unless it’s a liquidation sale where all stock is liquidated at low prices in order to pay the exorbitant fees of the liquidator. This why a time limited price offer can be extended and often is when the guy in the stockroom screws up again and finds a ton of stock that was hidden under a polythene cover.
In my opinion scarcity is really powerful when people travel and they see something that is scarce back home but is abundant in the region they are travelling through. But the conundrum is either to buy there and then or to go on the web and buy via direct mail when they get back home. Generally, the window of opportunity is narrow for both seller and buyer and most of the time the tourist will succumb and purchase on the spot.
3.   Reciprocity (Concession)
The principle of reciprocity has been killed to death by marketers on the web. The usual tricks follow the pattern of exchanging an email address in return for some pointless or semi-useful report, whitepaper or mp3 that contains only self promoting messages rather than ready-to-use-instantly-valuable information.
A new wave of reciprocity is to receive an invitation from a marketer to a live web-conference where you can learn X and Y and achieve Z for free. It’s like a 3 for 2 offer. This tactic achieves both receiving the identities and email addresses of prospects that sit at the beginning of the sales cycle and during the lead nurturing process the marketer can choose to offer more freebies of varying scales to the prospect with the aim of qualifying the prospect further. The principle of reciprocity states that I’m more compelled to do something for you because you gave me something first that was both personal and timely.
Prospects will begin to find the marketer as a source of authority through a repetitive experience of this principle.
4.   Contrast
Perceptual contrast is one of the sneakiest tricks that a marketer can play out in the online world. The same tricks that a mentalist employs are played out online all the time.
This principle plays stage to how a menu of prices can confuse and distract and leave the customer financially worse off. Just the like the 3 for 2’s you see in the shops a similar price structure ensures that the marketer is maximizing every dollar from every customer. But the pricing structure can be a lot more complicated if bonus materials and legacy products are offered at supposedly discounted prices.
Just like price, how problems are solved can be distorted very easily by using this principle. Questions a lot of people don’t ask themselves before buying include:
a. What will this product really do?
b. How much time do I need to invest in order to get a return?
c. How does the product really work?
More often than not the obvious gets blurred by the use of other principles melding together that creates dissonance in the prospects mind. This in turn creates a contrasting perception of where they are and where they’ll be in the future but at the same time seeing their potential future self in the present because they’ve convinced themselves to buy the marketers product and now feel a part of a tribe of successful like-minded people. They trust wholeheartedly the marketer to be their sole authority over their problem.
5.    Liking
I like you because you appear to be similar to me because of experience, status, color, race, sexuality, football team, or our stamp collection.  ; )
Liking is powerful because it brings about a sense of trust that is long lasting. We all want to be a part of the same crew, tribe, team and corporation or we like people who value our sense of freedom and independence and therefore feel camaraderie. This tactic is very popular with online marketers who launch membership sites that take in monthly fees or marketers who create pre-launch events that bring together the entire pool of prospects who suffer the same dissatisfactions and allow them to network, mingle and produce fellowships by way of interacting in web-chat facilities, forums and social media sites.  It also goes hand in hand with the social proof principle that facilitates the need to purchase even more because people who we came into friending are buying, and those who bought before had huge successes and you know what they were pretty cool people too and I like them!
Hopefully your eyes are open a little wider now and you can spot legitimate use of certain principles of influence vs. illegitimate use.

To read about Influential Negotiations on Sean’s site click here.

Influencers from Around the World – Split Second Selling

If you’ve been a reader of Influence PEOPLE for any length of time Sean Patrick is a familiar name to you. Sean is my good friend from Ireland who is in the sales training arena like I am. Sean is going to give you insight into Split Second Selling in this month’s Influencers from Around the World Series.

If you’d like get to know Sean there are many ways: visit his website, Sean Patrick Training, take a look at his blog, Professional Persuader, or look for him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Brian, CMCT
influencepeopleHelping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Split Second Selling
Whether you know me as a sales trainer or not doesn’t matter, what matters is whether you’re reading this to be entertained, to see how laughable the content is or to scan read for a take-away that you can implement into your daily routine.
As some of you know, I write my own blog and articles for various other blogs. I am often asked to write for other people. And if you already follow me then you’ll know the content I deliver is very “niche,” to the point and content rich. This one is going to be a little different. In fact this article is going to nail one point directly and very firmly on the head in a simple, easy to grasp language that even a non-English speaking tourist from Mars could understand.
This little nugget is highly effective for people who cold call or who have to prospect for a living. As some of you already know, I am a hardened prospector and very much a relationship type of sales guy. For those of you who sit on the same bench as me, you’re in for a serious free money making and kick-ass tip you’re going to want to use. You’d be hard pushed to actually find a social media trainer who would know how to teach you this. Read on for what I believe is a very important tip about LinkedIn!
Here’s how to use LinkedIn and get appointments so you can exponentially close more business by using reciprocity.
  1. Target your contacts; e.g., HR, FD, CEO, CIO, etc.
  2. Research your contacts perceived pain points and vertical market trends
  3. Grab a piece of paper and write out a quick two sentence introduction that you can insert into the friend request that is relevant to person and pain point (hence the research)
  4. Now think about what you can give to them that is relevant to your research in order for them to increase the likelihood of saying YES to your following request.
  5. Send friend requests to each and every contact you wish to do business with while ensuring you insert your offer to give in order to receive; e.g., Whitepaper, invitation to a breakfast briefing but make sure the gift is relevant.
  6. When you have identified your new contacts (the ones that came back to you), repeat, but this time asking for their work email address. See examples below of how I use this effectively and tell them you have more important information to share. By this time, this is when I start receiving DDI and cell numbers to have actual selling conversations, but go to the next step when this doesn’t happen for you.
  7. Once I have sent at least two emails to my target contacts, I then proceed to call those contacts that hadn’t come back to me. I remind them on the call that I am the person who sent them valuable information that I thought pertinent to share with them and ask them straight out when they can book a time to either see me or commit to a phone call. Before I end the call, I repeat our next appointment out loud and ask them for the last time if this is definitely OK with them.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
Are you interested to find out how companies who have discovered X, have benefited from Y that has given them Z. Please add me if interested
I would like to offer you a white paper on how companies like yours have benefitted from X! Please add me if you want to learn how. Please ignore if not appropriate or add me to find out.
I’m currently networking with people similar to you that work within your vertical because I can give you new information on how to X that results in Y.
Just a quick note to point out that our objective is not to increase our LinkedIn network, although this will happen anyway. Our objective is to get to the person we want to sell to, either face to face or via the phone. This little tip is a cold call “killer!” Now, for those of you people who are lucky enough to be in the B2C space, this same principle works even better and without the need for LinkedIn.
Whenever you make a cold call, frame your call so that you are there to help the other person, recognise their voice patterns if they are harassed or busy, and tell them you can give them a couple of days to think about it. Then tell them how they can help you either by referring you to others or by finding out if they actually need to buy from you. You know what it’s like to be frazzled and hassled and can call back in two days time in order to help them out.
Repeat above method of gaining commitment by gaining mutual agreement before the call is ended.
Voila, no cold calls, thanks to Mr. Cialdini and his fabulous principle of reciprocity with a little dose of commitment and consistency thrown in for good measure.
Survey Still Open – if you’d like to participate in a 10 question survey you still have time. Results will be shared later this month.
  • If your last name starts with a letter between A and I click here for your survey: Survey A
  • If your last name starts with a letter between J and Z click here for your survey: Survey B
Brian, CMCT

“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”

Many of you reading have seen Sean Patrick’s name before because he’s written several posts for my Influencers from Around the World series. I asked Sean to write another post to generate interest because he’s in America this week. He’s visiting Columbus, to attend the Principles of Persuasion workshop I’m leading.If you’d like to meet Sean, stop by The Pub at Polaris at 6 p.m. on Friday October 8. In the meantime get to know a little about him by visiting his website, Sean Patrick Training, blog, Professional Persuader or just look him up on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”
Warren BeattyPersuasion is defined by many as the ability to move a person or a group from one level of thought or abstraction to a level the person performing the persuasion wants to move them to. Aristotle, often regarded as the founding father of persuasion, devised a simple equation of how persuasion can be both defined and performed with the outcome of moving a person or a group from point A to point B.The process of persuasion, according to Aristotle, needed three elements in order for the movement of abstraction to happen. When these three elements are blended together, this then represents a potent mix of persuasive behavior. And what are the three elements?Pathos – Emotional appeal Ethos – Ethical, character and reputation Logos – Logical
Pathos relates purely to the emotions felt by the audience. As Aristotle put it, persuasion may come through the hearers when the speech stirs their emotions. In other words it is essential to appeal to the emotions felt by your listeners in order to be persuasive. You need EMPATHY.
Ethos related to the speaker and his or her character as revealed through the communication. For the message to be believable there has to be a source of credibility which is something that exists in the minds of the listeners. So it’s the trustworthiness that the speaker has in the eyes of the audience. It relates to the person and refers to the sincerity that exudes from the individual.
Logos refers to the actual words used by the speaker. Choice of words and use of stories, quotations and facts are important in moving the audiences over to your point of view.
I think it’s a great idea to take a look at ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world. Do we use all three of these elements? Notice how other people present and broadcast their thoughts and ideas. More importantly look for those around you who use all three of these elements and model their behavior. Look at these people as a benchmark for your own communication style. It’ll be worth the effort.
When we look around today, pathos and logos mean nothing when a politician speaks. For example, do we believe the politicians when they tell us that our young men and women need to leave for some distant shore and potentially give up their lives for the good of the country? How about when tax increases are said to be necessary because the banks need more liquidity? Conversely this same rule applies to every other aspect of our lives and notably our personal relationships.
Aristotle’s pathos defines empathy toward the people we share our lives with either directly or indirectly. Showing empathy is a way of providing proof that we both “understand and know how it feels.” And showing this ability to perceive the true feelings of other people that you deal with is at the heart of every successful relationship.
Empathy is the ability to identify and understand the other person’s feelings, ideas and situation. It’s listening with your heart as well as your head; i.e., the ability to read emotions in others. Many people who train in the art of persuasion today, or even people who are professional persuaders prefer to use the term “connection” where empathy is concerned. Empathy is based largely on trust and before this can happen we move to ethos – source credibility or proving sincerity towards an individual or group.
This is essential if any form of persuasion is going to take place in today’s world where people have become increasingly suspicious and have developed a hardened sense of skepticism towards advertising and politics specifically. Sincerity is what allows us to attain a level of trust between people and without this process every other element in Aristotle’s model of persuasion is nullified.
Some people will emit trustworthiness more easily than others and this has been validated by the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, as illustrated in his persuasion principle known as “Commitment and Consistency.” This is where we grow accustomed to a person because his/her actions are consistent with how we expect him/her to perform, which in turn allows us to trust this person and grow to like them. In essence the more supportive you are, the more a person will allow their true inner feelings, thoughts, desires and fears to surface. And this is a two-way street;the more we are deemed to be trustworthy towards another person the deeper and more personal will be the feelings, thoughts and desires that the person shares with you.
In NLP this is known as “going there first,” specifically within a therapeutic sense, whereby the practitioner will demonstrate empathy and sincerity by going into a genuine state so the client can then follow along and open up to a much deeper level. This same principle applies to every aspect of our lives; it is how we are wired as humans.
These core qualities have recently been highlighted as being “emotionally intelligent.” Having empathy and sincerity are the two things alone which will make you stand out as a persuasion artist even more so than brushing up on technique or presentation of your communication style. If you cannot get to the core of this principle nothing else will ever work. Our interpersonal skill is our ability to understand and act out with other people how they feel, their likes and dislikes and their motivations. The person with this ability can almost predict how others will act and is therefore able to interact with them effectively and be very persuasive. When we look around us we notice how politicians, sales people, hypnotherapists and people who outwardly social animals have this innate sense of developed intelligence.
Again, if you’d like to meet Sean stop by and see us Friday evening at The Pub at Polaris. Until then, cheers!Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”

Influencers from Around the World – Selling to VITO

Several months ago I introduced Sean Patrick to readers in my Influencers from Around the World article. We’re up to readers from more than 125 countries so I’m continuing with the theme of hearing from other trainers around the world about how they use the principles of influence.


Sean’s a feisty Irishman who owns his own sales training company, Sean Patrick Training, and writes a blog, Professional Persuader. We met through Facebook because of Dr. Cialdini and we regularly chat over Skype. If certain things fall in place you might just see Sean in Columbus, Ohio in early October. Sean is a smart, funny guy and I know you’ll enjoy his point of view from across the pond. Look him up on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.


Selling to VITO

All the way through my sales career in the IT world I’ve had to learn how to sell high. If this wasn’t daunting enough I had to learn how to sell to C-level executives COLD. Whatever sales training I had attended throughout my career that had any meaning or left an indelible mark on me came from people I chose to go out and find, and pay to see with my own money.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have an understanding boss who considered sales training to be a service that more than paid for itself by an increased performance from the sales team. Nor did he view it as a chance to find and un-stick the sticking points. So my learning came from countless books, DVDs, and training courses that not only cost me financially but also in vacation time. Thankfully I usually ended up with just enough spare vacation time to go home for Christmas.

At one point in my career, still being somewhat of a whipper snapper, I came across this guy who sold in a very non-linear, very provocative way. He actually reminded me of one of the characters from the film Glengarry Glenross. This was the man that joined every selling dot together for me. From the initial mindset right through to putting the whole shebang together, I finally realized how natural and uncomplicated selling actually is. I don’t believe it has changed right to this day.

This trainer was the man responsible for opening my eyes to how people comply naturally, easily and unconsciously. When people talk about judgmental heuristics I know what they mean because this guy taught me. This leads very nicely to my point – from that time onward I made the bold decision that if I was to rapidly increase my worth as a salesperson I had to innovate. It was time for a change; time for a major overhaul for Sean Patrick!

“Renew, Revitalize, Rejuvenate!” was my mantra and so I did. At every opportunity I began to put the new ideas into action. I began to pitch my ideas to CEOs, the Very Important Top Officer (VITO). Now sales managers in a lot of companies will do this blindly and really press their salespeople to call high. The first problem with the CEO is the fact that he or she will not entertain a salesperson for one massive reason – language and communication. The salesperson under duress will not know how to speak in the language of the CEO. On the other hand most salespeople would love to talk features and benefits in hopes that the CEO’s ears will prick up and say, “I’m buying,” but that’s not how CEOs think and operate.

Finally we have the other big problem – the personal assistant. The personal assistant, or “PA” as we call her on this side of the pond, is worth her weight in gold at keeping the unwashed outside…and for good reason too, as the CEO’s time is limited and therefore valuable. So there we have all the challenges in a nutshell. Now here’s how to use the power of the authority and the liking principles to level the playing field…at least a little bit.

First of all the authority principle states that we are more likely to believe people in a position of higher power or knowledge that can lead us to a position of advantage or safety. If you want to sell to a CEO, then you have to behave and talk like a CEO. You have to get into their world and their way of thinking. Any CEO you approach is only going to be interested in what you can do to make their top job easier and add financial value for the company and shareholders.

The principle of authority allows us to take a look and notice the relevant symbols of authority; things such as title, clothing, and knowledge. You need to convey that you are an authority on what you know and the information you have is of vital importance to the CEO and this is a meeting he has to attend. All body language, language and behavioural patterns need to reinforce this belief or you will be exited to the front door where you belong. If however you find yourself selling to executives below CEO then act with your authority and beliefs about yourself and soon enough you will be greeted by the CEO.

The above principle of authority can be dramatically increased or enhanced when used in conjunction with liking, the principle whereby people prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like. This simple rule helps to understand how liking can create influence and how compliance professionals may emphasize certain factors and/or attributes to increase their overall attractiveness and subsequent effectiveness.

CEOs may be influenced by your authority and your ability to communicate at the senior level and these activate the principle of liking because you’ll appear similar to them. Combine these two the right way with confidence, act like a CEO and talk like one, and you’ll get the access you require. Then it’s up to you to make the sale.


I’m sure Sean would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a thought or question in the comments section.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Influencers from Around the World

Some of the best things about blogging for me have been meeting new people, making friends and learning about other cultures. Many of the people I’ve come to know through blogging are from all parts of the globe because people in more than 95 countries have taken time to read Influence PEOPLE! That stat blows me away!
Because the audience is becoming so diverse I’ve decided to try something new. I contacted several people in other countries who also have a deep interest in ethical influence and persuasion to see if they would write guest posts for Influence PEOPLE from time to time. They said “Yes” (see, persuasion works!) so I’d like to introduce you to four gentlemen because you’ll be reading their thoughts on influence in future posts.

Marco Germani calls Italy home. Marco reached out to me through Facebook and we quickly realized we had much in common. Besides the bond of influence, Marco has been an avid martial artist for many years. He recently wrote a book on persuasion in Italian, I Meccanismi della Persuasione, and has a blog by the same name, I Meccanismi della Persuasione.

A chemical engineer by training, about 15 years ago he became passionate about the study of personal growth. Over the years he’s channeled that passion by attending dozens of seminars and training courses around the world, learning from some of the best international coaches. An avid reader, he’s read countless books on subjects like persuasion, time management, coaching and goal setting.

He’s lived in France, Belgium, the USA and China while working as a technical manager and as export manager for several multinational companies in various industrial fields. During that part of his career he had the opportunity to take part in and manage negotiations in several international business deals. He presently works as a consultant for business internationalization, with a focus on Asian markets.

Marco has always been passionate about persuasion, negotiation and ethical sales. His personal mission is to create a high value for others by living his life with passion and total integrity. He realizes the key in this pursuit is the constant striving for self-improvement. He’s pictured above with his wife Monika. Marco is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter if you’d like to reach out to him.
Sean Patrick resides in Ireland. Although we both enjoy good ale we didn’t meet in a pub. We met because of this blog and Facebook. After having read my blog Sean reached out to me on Facebook and we started chatting then exchanging massages because of our interest in training, particularly influence. Thanks to technology (Skype) we now video chat with some regularity.

Sean has more than 15 years experience in generating high value, high turnover strategic business. He has worked in roles ranging from inside sales, account management, new business specialist, and sales management. He’s been a business owner in six different companies in the technology sector. He’s managed multiple teams of salespeople in different geographic locations across the UK and Irish Republic. His reputation for ruffling feathers and getting business in the door quickly is legendary. In addition, he’s coached and continues to coach salespeople from all industries because he is passionate about the art of negotiation and customer service.

Sean’s interest in persuasion began in the late 1990s. He wanted to know what motivated people to buy and what factors made people hesitate to say “Yes” even if price was irrelevant. As if this isn’t enough, Sean is master practitioner in NLP. Well-read and familiar with leading persuasion authors, Sean also enjoys reading academic papers on psychological persuasion. He believes it is important to explore what we know and what we learn. He advocates putting everything into practice as often as possible while continuing to learn from those with whom we interact. You can find Sean on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

To learn more about Sean visit his training site, Sean Patrick Training, and check out his blog, Professional Persuader.

Yago de Marta hails from Spain but gets around quite a bit having conducted lectures, seminars and training sessions in Spain, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Bolivia and Colombia. He contacted me because of his interest in persuasion and possibly pursuing the CMCT designation. His list of current undertakings is quite impressive: Consultant and trainer in personal communication and persuasive oratory; Trainer of Directors and Spokespersons; Political Candidates trainer in Spain and Latin America; Debate coach for teams from the University of Zaragoza, Pablo Olavide, Seville, Cordoba, Diego Portales (Chile), Uniminuto (Colombia), CIDE (Mexico) and American (Puerto Rico).For 12 years Yago has being training people and candidates to speak fluently and persuasively in areas such as parliamentary debate. He’s a fiery competitor, having received major awards for his debate skills in Spain and world-wide competitions. He was a champion runner-up in 2005 and 2004 Spanish debates and runner up in 2005 and 2004 in the World Debate in Spanish.The technique Yago applies in his training is derived from his experience working with thousands of different personalities who are trying to become good speakers in complex situations. His style relies on practical learning where participants take into account their potential as they sift through weaknesses and improve strengths. The results obtained can be seen within the first hour of training because the tools used match up to the ability and style of each individual participant. In training workshops led by Yago people develop techniques to enhance their emotional intelligence, NLP, Social Psychology and Persuasive abilities, ethnomethodology, Institutional Communication Techniques Enterprise and, of course, classical rhetoric. All this requires a keen sense from Yago for detecting the skills and qualities that can be improved in each person. Yago has prepared many political and parliamentary leaders, sales teams and managers. He has explored the application techniques of debate to the teaching of bioethics, has improved the teaching skills of teachers and students, and has personally coached leaders in important positions responsible for many different projects and companies. Feel free to connect with Yago on Facebook and LinkedIn.Hoh Kim is from South Korea but we met in Arizona in January 2008. We were both there to go through Dr. Cialdini’s certification training. Hoh is one of the two dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers (CMCT) in the world and he’s the first person to present the Principles of Persuasion (POP) workshop in South Korea. He is the founder & head coach of THE LAB h, where he counsels business executives and high-ranking professionals in government and medicine to positively influence their stakeholders.

With over 10 years of experience in strategic communications consulting, executive media coaching, and crisis simulation and workshop design/facilitations, Hoh is one of the most sought after consultants, coaches and speakers in the area of crisis communication management and crisis leadership. His client base ranges from local non-profit organizations to consumer electronics companies in Korea and multinational companies listed on Fortune Global 500. Find out more about Hoh at his website, THE LAB h , or by visiting his blog, Cool Communications. You can connect with Hoh on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Globalization is here to stay, even if we never move. In all likelihood it will only accelerate as the world seems to get smaller with technology. We will be interacting with people all around the planet and because cultural differences impact the persuasion process it is good for us to learn about those differences. I hope you enjoy exploring the different perspectives on influence and persuasion from this group if international experts. Look for the first guest post on April 5th and the first Monday of each month thereafter.

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”