Maximize Your Influence

If Kurt and Steve haven't yet offended you on the podcast, they give it a good try here (all in good fun, of course).  They also discuss the strange fact that a lot of listners to the podcast seem to be from Iran.  After the initial banter that for some reason didn't involve any "food talk", Steve apologizes profusely for not posting the link to the Advanced Influence Course from last week.  Kurt then shamelessly plugs the course so that all may enjoy.  Why not?  It's 85% off for listeners of Maximize Your Influence!  Persuasion is a soft skill that requires regular attention so that you don't lose your touch.  It's not like "hard skills" like riding a bike.  When you learn to ride a bike  you know it for life.  But with persuaison, it requires constant practice or you'll get rusty. 

Steve asks Kurt about a recent study published on Psychology Today entitled "4 Ways Men Can Woo Women."  According to the study, Men who are nice, are also nice to children, are creative, and are dog lovers have better luck "wooing" women.  Kurt and Steve discuss how effective these techniques may be with one giant caveat: neither of them are women.  They then ask women listeners from the show to chime in and vote as to how effective they think these techniques may be when attracting women. They also point out that if the article is right and being a dog lover attracts women, being a cat lover is just creepy.  Check cat lovers off of the list of people to offend.

Heading into the main segment of the show, Kurt discusses how more business is done online and via email and phone today.  Word choice is more critical than ever before.  While we might think that we use the right words when persuading, over time words that are not effective tend to creep into our presentations.  Kurt offers a list of words that we shoudln't be using when persuading as well as gives some real life examples of when word choice can go wrong.

Kurt and Steve then delve into things like vocal tone, rate of speech, and the strategic use of silence.  Those who can talk a little faster than average are actually statistically more persuasive.  The reason for this is that the prospect has less time to doubt and quesiton the information being presented.  There is of course, a fine line between talking quickly and being effective and coming across as a slick fast talker.  Kurt and Steve also discuss vocal fillers and how to best elminate them from your vocabular.  Vocal fillers can easily creep in on all of us so it's important to have a third party (or record ourselves) identify them from time to time.  It's just like staying in shape.  You're never perfect! 

Finally, Steve awards the persuasion blunder to owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling.  Kurt and Steve discuss what happens in people's minds when somebody commits a massive PR blunder, ala Donald Sterling.  They also reflect on what PR firms are trained to do when these kinds of things happen.  And because Kurt is obsessed with Seinfeld, he once again brings up Michael Richard's (Kramer) massive racial blunder in front of a comedy club a few years ago.  He breaks down whether or not people who commit these kind of blunders can ever recover in the public eye. 

Direct download: Podcast_38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:14pm CDT

Do you like green tea?  Then we have good news.  The Journal of Psycho Pharmacology (yeah, that's a thing) recently released a study showing that those who drink at least two cups a day are "sharper" mentally.  You can read a summary of the study here.  The study essentially discusses how green tea increases the brain's ability to quickly process information.  Kurt and Steve discuss how, if you can get away with it, getting your clients to have a green tea or a coffee may help your prospects make decisions faster.  Steve facitiously accuses Kurt of promoting "persuasion roofies." 

After discussing the article on green tea, Kurt and Steve begin discussing the concept of selling with stories.  Selling with stories allows you to access your prospect's subconcious mind.  We've all heard the adage that "facts tell, stories sell."  A good story at the right time is very persuasive.  Stories grab attention of bored prospects and engage people who weren't previously interested.  Stories also persuade without detection.  If you tell your prospect overtly "do this, do that", it just doesn't work.  But if you can sell with a story about a prospect who had a problem and solved it through your product, you stand a much better chance.

Stories also allow you to build credibility without sounding arrogant.  Saying things like "hey listen to me, I went to Harvard" or "I'm the best there is" can be a turn off.  But telling a story that involves you using your expertise or your education lets people know your legitimate without you coming across as arrogant.  Stories that you've lived are easier to tell.  But if you don't have a story that you've lived that's applicable to what you're selling, borrow something from a colleague or co-worker. 

What's most important is passion.  If you can't passionately tell the story and use proper inflection, you'll be just like somebody who can't tell a joke: everyone will feel sorry for you.  Also be sure to pick out the top objections that you typically receive and make sure the "character" in your story over comes them.  People like to visualize and feel what it's like for somebody to get past the same objections that are bothering them.  Just make sure it fits your audience, supports your product, and answers their questions.

To finish of, Steve presents the blunder of the week.  Apparently some multi level marketing companies are training their reps to visit realtors who work at model homes.  The purpose of these visits is to recruit the realtor into the multi level marketing company.  One of these marketers recently committed a huge blunder by dragging the realtors profession through the mud in an effort to get them remorseful enough to make a career change.  Kurt and Steve give this one a thourough "persuasion autopsy."

Direct download: Podcast_37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17pm CDT

Whatever the reason may be, the average person's self esteem is lower than it has ever been in history.  While it's not great to hear that people are feeling worse and worse about themselves, persuaders can use this to their advantage.  In this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss how to use esteem and ego to build long lasting and profitable business relationships.  They also cover a recent article from the Harvard Business Review that will change your perception of how to brand your products and services. 

Direct download: Podcast_36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm CDT

We've all exeperienced times in our lives when we've felt "out of allignment."  Maybe one particular area of our life, such as finances, just wasn't going the way we wanted it to.  Most of the time we try to fix this by spending more time on the part of our life that isn't going well.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss why doing that is the exact opposite of what we should really do.  Developing a life built around balance allows you to perform better in all areas of your life, in less time.  Kurt and Steve also tackle this week's persuaison blunder and feature a new persuasion "ninja." 

Direct download: Podcast_35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53pm CDT

Do you like this podcast?  Do you hate it?  Either way, please leave us your feedback on Itunes!  Also if you have anyone to nominate for the weekly "persuasion blunder" or the weekly "persuasion ninja", please send your comments to 

After a brief chat about March Madness and the inevitable disappointment that every fan sets themselves up for every single year, Kurt and Steve launch into attraction, similarity, and humor.  In another geeky Kurt article moment, we learn that humor helps medical patients better manage chronic conditions.  In other words, laughter is the best medicine, according to the Journal of Health Research.  Kurt ties this into the fact that if we can get our prospects to laugh, the doors to persuasion swing wide open.  Your audience becomes a lot easier to persuade.  Nothing lowers somebody's guard more than humor, and nothing is more effecive that the use of self depricating humor. 

Not only is humor extremely effective, but so is attraction.  Being "too perfect" however, can make people feel jealous.  But if you're above average in the looks department, you're automically judged to be more intelligent and trustworthy.  While this might be offensive to some, it's just reality.  Kurt discusses a few studies that show that more attracive convicts in the judicial system get lighter sentences, and more attractive students in universities get better grades.

There are three parts to attractions: looks, clothes, and personality.  Kurt briefly discusses the "booth babe" industry.  "Booth babes" are attracive people for hire that staff booths at trade shows in an effort to generate more traffic.  Steve confesses to having hired booth babes in the past.  Whether or not you're considered physically attractive, one thing is for sure: you choose the clothes you wear.  Paying attention to fashion can go a long way.  The point is that we need to be aware of how people may be judging us.  

At the risk of sounding superficial, Kurt and Steve talk about some of the basic things that we can do to enhance our appearnce such as basic dental hygeine.  Steve offends the listeners in the United Kingdom by implying that they have "pirate teeth."  However, Kurt convincingly establishes the fact that these basic things are easy to do and take away common subconcious objections.

Kurt then discusses the number one complaint about trade show reps: bad breath.  We live with our own breath all day and may become oblivoius to the fact that it's just down right nasty.  Never assume that you're breath isn't bad.  If you're interacting with prospects face to face, make sure you always have mints.  Period.  Not only is bad breath a total deal killer, but good breath can actually help your chances. 

Also, Kurt and Steve discuss a persuader who is awarded the blunder of the week...AND the ninja too!  How is this possible!?  Check out this episode to find out! 

Direct download: Podcast_34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:47pm CDT