Maximize Your Influence

You've met these people before.  The kind of person who has it all together.  They're dressed right.  They know how to talk and they seem very knowledgable.  But something just isn't right.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve talk about "gut instinct" and to what extent our prospecs can tell if we're "full of it" or not.  In this week's "geeky article moment brought to you by Kurt", we learn that "gut instinct" is actually real and a lot more literal than we ever thought.  According to a study by the University of Zurich, mamals have a nerve connecting the brain and the stomach.  When the brain is uneasy about something, it sends a message to the stomach to create that uneasy feeling that we've all experienced.  In a study done with rats (yep, rats), those with a severed nerve behaved more recklessly than others. The bottom line is, the stomach has a say in our decisions!

This leads into this episodes core topic: congruence.  Congruence is that subconcious connection between what somebody is saying and what they're doing.  Our subconcious mind picks up on little micro expressions, different words, and different actions.  This ulitmately creates the difference between the message you think you're saying and what your prospect is actually hearing.  You could be passing out $100 dollar bills on a street corner...for free...but if you're not congruent people will sense it. 

What do we do when we're not confident or congruent when it comes to our product?  How do we fix that?  It comes down to doing what you say and using the correct "non verbal" behavior.  Avoid touching your face or covering your mouth.  Avoid leaning back in your chair.  Make sure the level of your eye contact is natural.  Those who are being deceptive tend to make very little eye contact or too much.  Make sure your feet and shoulders are square.  When the subconcious mind isn't okay (or doesn't believe in) what you're saying or doing, your feet and shoulders tend to point away from your prospect.  If you think your prospect's subconsious mind doens't pick up on this you are sadly mistaken! 

Direct download: Podcast_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm CDT

After a brief rant about their listeners in Iran and the intimidation tactics of police in the United States (get off topic much, guys?), Kurt and Steve discuss a recent study about confidence.  According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, well all have some internal wiring that makes us want to trust strangers.  Despite being told not to trust them our whole life, strangers are able to gain our trust.  Whether it's online or at a retail storefront, we are more likely to trust strangers when there is a social norm involved.  When we feel it's our duty or responsiblity to trust others, we're likely to comply.  This is because the human brain wants to creat short cuts and make decisions easier.  So it's likely to make you trust people that maybe you shouldn't. Kurt suggests that it's better to trust and risk getting hurt than to never trust anybody.  Otherwise you could end up "living in a van down by the river."

Continuing onto the topic of charisma, Kurt and Steve briefly review last week's subject, passion.  You have to have passion (only one guy has ever been able to be passionless and still hold our attention).  But beyond passion, you have to have confidence.  But how do you know when you've crossed the line between confidence and arrogance?  It's okay to be aggressive and try to show that you have confidence.  We want confident people that we can trust to tell us what to do so we don't make mistakes.  That's part of human nature.  But as we said before, avoiding arrogance is key.

We can avoid arrogance by taking criticism with an open mind and heart.  Kurt uses a recent interaction with his teenage son to illustrate this (way to go for the low hanging fruit, Kurt).  Confidence is about you serving your prospect.  Arrongance is all about you and what you know and how great you are.  We all hear the same objections over and over again.  We think that we can jump in and cut the person off and give them the answer.  But that crosses the line between confidence and arrogance.  Your prospect has to verbalize the objection as this is likely the first time they thought it.  This takes time and there is simply no way around it. Steve then can't help himself on the food front and compares spending sales prospects to a delicious rack of baby back ribs.  And no, listening to him explain it probalby won't help it make anymore sense than it does here. 

But what if you aren't confident?  What if you're new or what if you don't even believe in your product?  Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it.  Sometimes you have to do what athletes who are in a slump to.  You have to stay in the game until you get even a minor victory that you can build on.  But if that doesn't work, sometimes you have to make a change.  Ironically enough, passion again comes into play here.  If you aren't confident you aren't passionate.  If you aren't passionate you aren't confident.

Finally for this week's blunder, Kurt and Steve revisit the gift that keeps on giving, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  Kurt and Steve discuss the PR debacle this has become and why Sterling is a horrible example for anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they need to back peddle. 

Direct download: Podcast_41.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm CDT

Charismatic people have a presence whenever they walk into a room.  You can actually be in introverted person and not have a very outgoing personality and still be charismatic.  Once you have charisma people what to be around you.  They WANT to be persuaded by you.  Sales reps, business owners, politicians all know that they can get a lot more lattitude when they have charisma.

Next in the podcast, Steve discusses an article by Harvard Business Review entitled "Getting Your Point Across."  The article give a few points as to how we can make our message more memroable.  First, "you can't communicate what you haven't defined."  What do you want the audience to do?  What are the bench marks along the way to that?  It's important to build your presentation backward.  Decide what your call to action is and build backward from there.  There always needs to be a call to action or a definite goal that you want to achieve.  The second point from the article is "lose the slides and have a real conversation."  Too many presenters rely on their slides and drone on and on and never make in impact on the audience.  Those who can have a conversation with the audience will be the most successful.  Finally, "be repetitive without being boring."  In the political campaign of Bill Clinton back in the 90's, there was an important slogan: KISS, or "keep it simple stupid."  That's why it's important to repeat without being repetitive.  Audiences can ony remember a few simple points.  Drive home the point but don't bore yoru audience to death.

Rounding out this episode, Kurt and Steve dive into passion as it relates to presence.  Can we have passion for a job that we don't like at all?  It depends.  It is however, much beter if you can be in a position to promote a product, service, or cause that you have some belief in.  Passion is most effective when it comes from deep within.  Kurt relates one of his best lines: "are you singing the words or are you singing the song?" 

Product knowledge, testimonials, dwelling on the positive, and constant improvement are a few of the things that fuel passion.  If you feel stalled in your career due to a lack of passion, try learning and growing on a daily basis. This furthers a positive attitude and can ignite your passion for your career again.  If after you do this you still just can't get any passion for what you're doing, it may be time to move on.

Finally, Steve relates the weekly persuasion blunder: a door to door sales person that was so pushy that her prospects called the police on her!

Direct download: Podcast_40.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42pm CDT

Leading off this episode, Kurt introduces a recent article that discusses the effect of an optimistic spouse.  This study was conducted by the University of Michigan and is the first study we know of that links the optimism of others to ourselves.  Not only does it make us more optimistic, but it also shows increased health!  In another effort to offend their listeners, Kurt and Steve discuss that if you're spouse isn't optimistic, it's time to get divorced (joking, of course). 

Top persuaders and influencers are inherently optimistic.  There is a line, however, between "constructive" realism and optimism.  We need to be able to understand threats and problems realistically.  However there is a difference between being realistic and being excessively negative.  Some people are programmed to be negative.  All they know is how to find what's wrong.  Persuading these type of people can be a challenge.  Persuading them means you strategically give them something negative in an effort to control their negative perspective more.

An optimistic attitude literally adds years to your life.  And it's not just quantity of life.  The quality increases as well.  Pessimistic people have a tendency to give in faster than others.  With most sales being made after multiple attempts, pessimists are at a clear disadvantage here.  Optimists are more likely to forge ahead and make adjustments when they fail.  Their chances for success in the world of persuasion and influence increase exponentially as a result. 

Successful persuaders also have a gift when it comes to learning from mistakes, but moving on as quickly as possible.  In sales and persuasion its common to have days where you feel like you got kicked in the teeth.  Learn from those bumps in the road, then move forward immediately.  Dwelling on the failure doesn't help.  Learning from it and adjusting does.

Finally, Steve discusses the persuasion blunder of the week: A professor who accidentally taught the wrong class for a whole semester.  Yep.  It really happened. 

Direct download: Podcast_39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39am CDT