Maximize Your Influence


  1. "He kept his promises." Promises made during the persuasion process are fulfilled. Persuaders are honest and realistic in what they promise—they don't build false hopes or expectations. They "underpromise and overdeliver"—not the other way around!
  2. "She's really dependable." Successful persuaders proactively give their audience the attention they deserve, doing everything in their power to resolve any problem or concern. They are reliable; nothing stops them from getting the job done or from getting a call back.
  3. "He's clearly very well trained." Successful persuaders know the ins and outs of their product, including its strengths and weaknesses and how it stacks up against the competition. A great persuader is always an expert on the product, service, or idea he is handling.
  4. "She was very sincere, very genuine." Real persuaders don't act like they're just out for a hefty commission. They are sincerely interested in their audience and have their best interests in mind.
  5. "I consider him a friend." Taking the time to build rapport pays off. Personable, likable, caring, and friendly persuaders make the grade. They know that people buy from people they like.
  6. "She'd never argue with us." A good persuader is not so bent on making a point that she argues with her prospects. She is not consumed with her own need to be right; she knows she will not persuade by demonstrating that her audience is wrong, misinformed, or uneducated.
  7. "He provides solutions that work!" Helping an audience visualize their success brings the persuader and audience together to illustrate how the product or service will get them there.
  8. "She always takes 100 percent responsibility." No matter what happens, a great persuader accepts full responsibility for results. When challenges present themselves, she deals with those challenges rather than making excuses.
  9. "I can tell he is really behind his products." Successful persuaders love what they offer. They know they cannot get someone to believe in their product more than they do.
  10. "She is honest." It is always clear where a great persuader stands. She is always honest with herself and with others. From this position of strength, she is the audience's friend, advisor, and advocate.
  11. "He's really entertaining—his visits are always a treat." Winning persuaders are fun and enjoyable to talk to. They help others feel good about themselves and put smiles on people's faces. They are full of charisma, love to be around people, and are the ones to bring light to a room. Their presentations are lively, engaging, and informative.
Direct download: Podcast_145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:50pm CDT

You know we love talking about "Negotiaton's Dirty Deeds."  A recent article by the Harvard Business Review gave some great pointers on deflecting some of the more common negotiation tactics.  

One of the best ways to insure a smooth transaction is through managing your clients expectations correctly.  Persuaders are most effective when they're persuading, not when they're stuck resolving client questions and concerns that could have been avoided in the first place.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss this very issue.  

Expectations as Assumptions: Expect with Confidence

Consider the profound impact this can have in your own life. Are the assumptions and expectations you have about yourself (or others) liberating or victimizing? There are countless examples of "self-fulfilling prophecies," or the Law of Expectations at work in everyday life. Ever notice how people who think they're going to be fired suddenly experience a drop in the quality and enthusiasm for their work? Then what happens? They get fired! Their belief causes them to act a certain way, and those expectations then work to bring about the very thing that at first was only a figment of their imagination.

There was a study done on a military base that was used to train combat soldiers.  They created two groups of soldiers of equal aptitude and were randomly selected into three groups.  Now these 3 groups were assigned 3 different types of instructor’s.  One was high expectancy, regular expectancy and unspecified expectancy.  We already know the high expectancy group that was expected to perform better, scored significantly higher on achievement tests, felt more positive and had better attitudes.

In another study, second graders listened to statements from their teachers before taking a math test. There were three types of statements: expectation, persuasion, or reinforcement. The expectation statements went something like, "You know your math really well!" or "You work really hard at your math." Persuasion statements involved sentences like, "You should be good at math." or "You should be getting better math grades." Finally, for the reinforcement statements, teachers said things like, "I'm really happy about your progress" or "This is excellent work!" Now, what do you think the results were? The scores were the highest in the "expectation" category! Why were the expectation statements the most effective? They created personal assumptions within each student. Those assumptions conditioned the actual external results.

This can also be called implicit priming.  Let’s look at a few studies and how to apply this.  A study was done where they asked participants to complete a scrambled sentenced in a puzzle.  They were shown various groups of words to create these sentences.  Some of the participants were shown rude type words (obnoxious, aggressively, annoyingly, disturb, interrupt, impolitely).

The other group was shown polite type words (respect, courteous, considerate, patiently, polite, and behaved).  When they went to the next room to complete a second task they would find the experimenter with another student trying to explain a task that the student could not comprehend. The group that was primed with the rude words waited an average of 5.5 minutes and the group primed with the polite words waited an average of 9.3 minutes.

Here is an interesting study. Watch how these numbers prime your brain. Participants were given this set of numbers and were told to estimate (not calculate) the answer in 5 seconds.

8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

Than they would find another person to estimate the following numbers:

1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8

Now logically we know the estimation should be the same for both (40,320). Remember one group was primed with the 8 in front of the problem and the other group was primed with the 1 in front of the problem. The average estimation for the first problem was 2250. The average estimation for the second problem was 512.  Isn’t it interesting how no one even came close to the right answer.

Direct download: Podcast_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02pm CDT

Francis Bacon once said, "Knowledge itself is power." Knowledge power is based on proficiency in a certain subject, procedure, or situation. Remember that you are the expert. People can be persuaded if they think you have more knowledge or expertise than they do. For example, lawyers, mechanics, and doctors possess knowledge power. People rely on these professionals' opinions, believe what they say, and trust implicitly what they do because of the extent of schooling or experience they have. We accept the arguments and data of people we assume have knowledge, whether it's real or perceived. In addition to coming from formal education and training, knowledge power also comes from life experience and innate intelligence and aptitude.

Great persuaders use three different types of knowledge power: informational, resource, and expertise:

1.  Informational power. When you know something others need to know, you hold power over them. Informational power is exercised when someone needs, wants, or desires the information, facts, or data you possess. As Aristotle Onassis said, "The secret of business is to know something that no one else knows."

2.  Resource power. If you have access to key persons, commodities, goods, or services that are valued by others, you hold some power over them. As the saying goes, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." Are you perceived as having the right affiliations? What connections do you have?

3.  Expertise power. When you have special skill sets, expertise, or knowledge that others believe is relevant to their needs and which exceeds their own, they will do what you say or listen to your opinions. Why are you the expert?


Direct download: Podcast_143.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43pm CDT

On this episode, Kurt and Steve interview Wes Schaeffer, the Sales Whisperer!

There are ways to start implementing empathy in your daily contacts and conversations.  It does take some practice and evaluation.  After every encounter ask yourself what do you do well and what can you do better next time.  Try these steps to increase your empathy.

•           Mentally prepare yourself to hear the message

•           Listen with your ears, heart and mind

•           Read their body language

•           Evaluate the true message sent          

•           Acknowledge the feelings and emotions being displayed

•           Practice taking on their perspective

•           Respond with empathy


Sure empathy takes some effort, but it is worth every moment until you perfect this skill.  You will be more trustworthy, empathetic, charismatic and it also increases productivity and inspires commitment.  Our rushed modern life does not cultivate the mindset or skills of empathy.  You need to look for opportunities to develop empathy.  Just start off by asking yourself two questions during your conversations.    “How would I feel if I were that person?” and “Why are they feeling that way?”  Practice that today.  Find one person you can demonstrate empathy and show them you truly care.

Direct download: Podcast_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm CDT