Maximize Your Influence

The Hostile Prospect

This person disagrees with you and may even actively work against you. For a hostile prospect, use these techniques:

Find common beliefs and establish a common ground.

Use appropriate humor to break the ice.

Don't start the presentation with an attack on their position.

You are only trying to persuade on one point; don't talk about anything else that could trigger disagreement.

Because of your differences, they will question your credibility. Increase your credibility with studies from experts or anything that will support your claim.

They will try to find reasons to not like you; don't give them any.

Don't tell them you are going to try to persuade them.

Express that you are looking for a win-win outcome rather than a win-lose situation.

Show them you've done your homework.

Respect their feelings, values, and integrity.

Use logical reasoning as clearly and as carefully as possible.

Use the Law of Connectivity and the Law of Balance.

Direct download: Podcast_119.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm CDT

Have you ever noticed how some people can captivate, inspire, and influence others without effort?  Other people instantly like them and want to be around them. Some individuals can enter a room and everyone notices. They seem always to get what they want because the people around them want to give it to them. How do they command such instant attention and influence everyone they meet?

This is the power of charisma. Charisma is a vital persuasion and life skill that can and must be mastered if you are going to influence others.

People often ask me what is the most important tool or skill in the entire influence toolbox? What is the one thing I can learn to achieve maximum success? The answer is simple. If there were one skill to master out of all the tools of persuasion and influence, it is charisma. It gives you the quickest return on your time and dramatically increases your success and income.

This vital success skill permeates every aspect of your life. Your career, your relationships, your ability to influence, and your income are all related to your ability to radiate charisma. Have you ever wondered why two people with the same education, the same contacts, the same IQ, and the same experience get dramatically different results from their lives? One enjoys massive success while the other one is barely making ends meet. Some call this simple luck, but when you have charisma you are guaranteed to have good luck. Imagine your success in life when you can automatically get others to willingly do what you want them to do, beg to do it, like to do it, and tell all their friends that they should also do it.

Charisma is the ability to empower and persuade others to believe in you, trust in you, and want to be influenced by you. You captivate and motivate them. You help them see themselves in the future carrying out your vision. They are moved and energized by your passion and enthusiasm. They are magnetized and driven by your charisma. They are lifted and inspired by your optimism and expectations. In essence, you’re a source of empowerment, encouragement, and inspiration.

Direct download: Podcast_118.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am CDT

Humor can be a powerful tool to create rapport. Humor makes the persuader seem more friendly and accepting. Humor helps gain attention, helps you create rapport, and makes your message more memorable. It can relieve tension, enhance relationships, and motivate people.  Appropriate use of humor increases trust in your audience.  

Humor can also distract your audience from negative arguments or grab their attention if they are not listening.  Humor diverts attention away from the negative context of a message, thereby interfering with the ability of listeners to carefully scrutinize it or engage in counterarguments. If listeners are laughing at the jokes, they may pay less attention to the content of a message. Humor can "soften up" or disarm listeners.  Humor connects you with your audience and increases their attention to your message.  

Humor must be used cautiously, however. If used inappropriately, it can be offensive and may cause your audience to turn against you. Humor should only be used as a pleasant, but moderate distraction. As a rule of thumb, if you are generally not good at telling jokes, don't attempt it. Be sure that you have good material. Non-funny humor is not only ineffective, but irritating. Modify your humor so that it is appropriate for your audience.  

Another aspect of humor is the smile.  A smile is free, generates a great first impression, and shows happiness, acceptance, and confidence. Your smile shows that you are pleased to be where you are, or happy to meet this person. As a result, they become more interested in meeting you. Smiling also conveys a feeling of acceptance, which makes your listener more trusting of you. It has been shown that sales representatives who smiled during the sales process increased their success rate by 20 percent. However, as with traditional humor, use a smile appropriately.

Direct download: Podcast_117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm CDT

Social Validation and Marketing

The more a brand is advertised, the more popular and familiar it is perceived to be. We as consumers somehow infer that something is popular simply because it is advertised. When people are buying gifts for others, social proof is one of the most effective techniques that a salesclerk can use."  

Many salespeople find great success in telling clients that a particular product is their "best-selling" or "most popular" on hand because social validation increases their credibility of the product. When customers feel that something is more popular, they spend more money to acquire it, even if there is no proof other than the salesperson's word. So it is with advertising: Asserting that a product is in super-high demand or that it is the most popular or fastest selling, etc., seems to provide proof enough. When consumers perceive a product is popular, that's often all they need to go out and purchase it.

The creation and use of social validation is rampant: Clubs make their spots look like "the place to be" by allowing huge waiting lines to congregate outside their facilities, even when the place is practically empty inside. Salespeople often recount the many other people who have purchased the item in question. That's why referrals are some of your best prospects! Referrals are your greatest source of social validation.  Sales and motivation consultant Cavett Robert said it best: "Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer."

Direct download: Podcast_116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10pm CDT

Your environment and the expectations of that environment should be persuasive. There is a concept called the Phillip Zimbado’s Broken Window Theory. This theory suggests that a building full of broken windows will cause people to assume that no one cares for the building or its appearance. This in turn will spur more vandalism and more broken windows. In other words, the environment's condition gives suggestions that lead people to hold certain assumptions, and people then act on those assumptions. The broken windows invite greater damage and crime.   Zimbardo did a study illustrating this point.  He left his car out on the street in Palo Alto California.  The first week the car blended in with all the other cars and nothing happened to it.  After the first week he broke one on the windows of the car and left it on the street.  Just by the one broken window he found that it dramatically increases the chances that it would be vandalized.

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell uses an example of the Broken Window Theory as he explains the New York City subway clean-up. The subway system was in dire need of rebuilding—a multibillion-dollar endeavor. With the system about to collapse, the focus was understandably on issues like reducing crime and improving subway reliability. As a consultant hired by the New York Transit Authority, George Kelling urged officials to utilize the Broken Window Theory. They were hired to clean up the subways, they immediately assigned people to start cleaning up all the graffiti. Removing the graffiti seemed to be of such little consequence compared to everything else there was to worry about, but Gunn was insistent. In his own words:

The graffiti was symbolic of the collapse of the system. When you looked at the process of rebuilding the organization and morale, you had to win the battle against graffiti. Without winning that battle, all the management reforms and physical changes just weren't going to happen. We were about to put out new trains that were worth about ten million bucks apiece, and unless we did something to protect them, we knew just what would happen. They would last one day and then they would be vandalized.  The entire anti-graffiti campaign took years, but finally, the incidence of graffiti subsided.

In another study, volunteers were asked to participate in an experiment on prison environments. Half of the volunteers posed as prison workers, while the other half posed as prison inmates. The results were astounding. Previously tested to be psychologically sound people, the participants rapidly became more and more hostile, crude, rebellious, and abusive—both those acting as inmates and as guards! One "prisoner" became so hysterical and emotionally distressed that he had to be released. The study was supposed to last two weeks, but was called off after only six days! 

Direct download: Podcast_115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12am CDT

Touch is another powerful part of body language—important enough to devote a whole section to it alone. Touch can be a very effective psychological technique. Subconsciously, most of us like to be touched; it makes us feel appreciated and builds rapport. It is true, though, that we do need to be aware and careful of a small percentage of the population who dislikes being touched in any way. In most instances, however, touch can help put people at ease and make them more receptive to you and your ideas. Touch increases influence.  When you are able to touch your prospect they usually becomes more agreeable, enhances mood and increases the chances they will agree and do what you are asking.

Touch can create a positive perception. Touch carries with it favorable interpretations of immediacy, similarity, relaxation, and informality. In one research study, librarians did one of two things to university students: either they did not touch the person at all during the exchange or they made light, physical contact by placing a hand over the student's palm. Invariably, those students who were touched during the transaction rated the library service more favorably than those who were not touched at all.  Waiters/waitresses who touched customers on the arm when asking if everything was okay received larger tips and were evaluated more favorably than those waiters who didn't touch their customers. Touch also induces customers to spend more time shopping in stores. In one study, physical contact on the part of salespeople induced customers to buy more and to evaluate the store more favorably.

We know that certain areas of the body can be freely touched while other areas are off limits. Safe areas of contact include the shoulders, forearms and hands, and sometimes the upper back. This all depends on the situation, the culture and relationship between the two parties prior to the touch.

Direct download: Podcast_114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29pm CDT

To maintain order of the world, our brains link objects, gestures, and symbols with our feelings, memories, and life experiences. We mentally associate ourselves with such things as sights, sounds, colors, music, and symbols. These associations create quick subconscious triggers.  The feelings you generate can help or hurt your ability to persuade.  

Power Persuaders take advantage of association triggers to evoke positive feelings and thoughts that correspond with the message they are trying to convey. In this sense, you, as a persuader, can actually arouse a certain feeling in your audience by finding the right association key to unlock their door. Associations are not the same for all people—obviously, each person and culture has their own set of triggers. However, once you understand the general rules, you can find the right associations to match any situation. Why do you think restaurants decorate a certain way, have their lighting just right, and play certain types of music? All these things are defined in the Law of Association. 

Direct download: Podcast_113.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29am CDT

The Law of Scarcity plays a large role in the persuasion process.  Opportunities are always more valuable and exciting when they are scarce and less available.  We want to be the ones to own the rare items or to get the last widget on the shelf.  The more the scarcity of an item increases, the more the item increases in value, and the greater the urge to own it.

Whenever choice is limited or threatened, the human need to maintain a share of the limited commodity makes us crave it even more.  Scarcity increases the value of any product or service.  Scarcity drives people to action, making us act quickly for fear of missing out on an opportunity.  Potentially losing something before we’ve even had an opportunity to possess it drives people to action.  We don’t want to miss out on anything we could have had.  We want to get around any restriction placed upon us.  We feel uptight and want back our freedom.  This causes tension and unrest.  The Law of Scarcity  not only pertains to physical products, but also to time, information, price, and knowledge.

Direct download: Podcast_112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am CDT

For this episodes article, Kurt and Steve discuss the top techniques of hostage negotiators.  Admit it, you're thinking of the movie "The Negotiator" all of the sudden.  Now that we got that out of the way, we can actually talk about negotiation.  While hostage negotiation can seem intimidating and have very high stakes, there are some critical lessons that we can learn that can apply to even the most seemingly mundane of everyday business interactions.

Based on listener questions that have been coming in, it's time for a rapport tune up!  As Kurt likes to say, a lot of times closing skills are like trying to get a kiss after a bad date.  All the slick one liners in the world won't matter if you haven't developed decent rapport.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss rapports basic components that are sure to make you a rapport building machine!

Direct download: Podcast_111.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27pm CDT

The better you become at handling objections, the more persuasive you will be. The key to great persuasion is anticipating all objections, problems, or concerns before you hear them. Great persuaders are always able to accomplish three critical objectives during the objection process:

1. They can distinguish between a real objection and a knee-jerk reaction. Our studies show that most objections should not be taken at face value, because there are other issues involved.

2. They listen intently to the entire objection before attempting to solve it. They stay calm. Tests have proven that calmly stated facts are more effective in getting people to change their minds than becoming emotional.

3. Great persuaders are never arrogant or condescending. They give their audience room to save face. People will often change their minds and agree with you later, if they have the room to do so.

Another great way to handle objections is to address each of the seven main areas during your presentation, before they become big issues in the mind of your audience. That way, you've stopped any potential resistance before it happens. As a result, there aren't any main objections left for them to bring up. Studies demonstrate that persuaders were four times more successful when they handled objections during the persuasion process, instead of waiting until the end.6 Also, nothing de-energizes persuasive efforts more than lingering doubts and concerns that remain unresolved in your audience's mind.

Direct download: Podcast_110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31am CDT

We tend to rate our skills that we want, that we need or that we require higher than they actually are.  To improve, grow and become more successful we have to know our weaknesses and be able to identify our blind spots.  If we don’t know what they are than we can never truly improve. 

 The reason self-perception bias has such a negative impact in our lives is because we are lying to ourselves. That's the bottom line.  We are blind from the truth.  We are deceiving ourselves.  Denial is our happy place where we can cover up our weaknesses to protect our self-esteem.  We set our expectations that are not based on reality or honest evaluation. It might seem nice to view the world through rose-colored glasses for a while, but in the end, you're setting yourself up for failure. 

 Self-perception bias manifests itself when we are evaluating a skill or talent that we expect ourselves to have or when others expect us to have that particular skill. When social pressure or social validation is involved, we make higher-than-expected evaluations of ourselves.   Self-perception bias ultimately gives us an unrealistic view of reality and a false sense of security. We become numb to reality and fail to see exactly where we stand and what we need to improve. 

 We are good at judging others and finding out what is wrong with them, but that analysis does not seem to work on ourselves.  The same is true for our skills.  We have to have the ability to honestly access ourselves – both our strengths and weaknesses.  Then find the skills and the discipline to improve our faults.  We always will feel we must gloss over our weaknesses to make things seem better than they actually are. We also lie to ourselves about our incomes, our debt, and our true weight.  When you ask husbands and wives individually about what percent of the housework they each do – the numbers never add up.  Most people will rate their people skills as above average.  We all know that is not true.  If you want to see human blindness and bias in action, all you have to do is go to a sporting event as a neutral party and listen to the bias and comments of each opposing side.

Direct download: Podcast_109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm CDT

Are you good at flirting?  Admit it, when we asked you rolled your eyes but were A LITTLE bit interested, deep down.  As it turns out, flirting is related to your ability to influence.  A recent article by Psych Central discusses what makes somebody good at flirting.  Check out the article here.  At a minimum you'll be entertained.

Thoughts → Emotions → Actions

 It all starts with your thoughts. Your thoughts lead to emotions and your emotions lead to your daily actions.

Take an honest look at your life right now. Where do you find yourself? That place is the sum total of your thoughts over the course of a lifetime. Where have your thoughts taken you thus far? Where will they take you tomorrow, next week, or next year? It is only natural that negative thoughts will creep into your mind from time to time. As soon as they sneak in, escort them right back out. Don't entertain them. They are destructive. Some people use a rubber band to snap their wrist every time a negative thought comes into their mind. The pain associated with this technique fixes their negative thinking very rapidly. If you don’t want to try the rubber band, you can send me a $2,000 check every time you have a negative thought. I am sure that would start to work for you real fast, because that is what it is probably costing you! Your thoughts are what programs your subconscious mind.

Your thoughts are what program your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is the center of all your emotions. When your subconscious accepts an idea, it begins to execute it. And then your subconscious uses your ideas, knowledge, energy, and wisdom to find the solution. Now, it might occur in an instant, or it might take days, weeks, or even longer. Nevertheless, your mind will continue working on a solution. You need to understand that as you program your mind, you must ask yourself, "Do I program negative suggestions in my mind?" If you are telling yourself that you can't do it, you are right. When that inner voice tells you that you can't do something, it is important that you replace the thought or turn down the volume or intensity of the negative voice. Then you can change it to "I can do it," "I'm going to win," and "there's plenty for everybody." Altering your inner voice's perception is going to make a difference, and that's the important thing. That's because your subconscious mind will always accept what you program it to think. The bottom line is that you are what you think about, and you have the power to choose what you think. No one can do it for you. Great persuaders work on this mental training every day, while average persuaders think they have heard it all before and are doing OK.


If we are going to squash our negative thinking, we must replace those thoughts with new, positive ones. As you practice mental programming, new and inspiring ideas will intuitively and instinctively arise on their own. But give yourself specific goals and targets to keep your thoughts centered on—this type of focus will nurture and augment your newfound inner strength. Sure your logical mind will fight you on these new thoughts, but eventually your new programming will win.

Direct download: Podcast_108.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:40am CDT

Being in sales or being a business owner can be emotionally exhausting.  It's important to develop the ability to pick yourself up out of a bad mood.  To start this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article that gives you "8 ways to feel better in a hurry."  

If there's one topic that people just don't want to hear about anymore, it's listening. Ironic, isn't it?  As we've researched successful persuaders, we've found listening to be one of their top attributes.  Listening is a habit we can lose.  If we aren't careful, months down the road we find ourselves jabbering too much with our prospects instead of listening to them.  

Direct download: Podcast_107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22am CDT

Can your personality type change?  A recent article from Psychology Today seems to think so.  It's not uncommon for many to become more friendly (or less friendly) the older they get.  Check out the article here for more info.

Did you know there are over 60 different personality types?  This has led many to try and simplify the science of personality types down into sixteen, or even as few as four different categories.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve give a compelling argument as to why peresonality types could be scraped all together, due to the concept of "meta programs."  This allows a persuader to quickly isolate the key patterns in their prospects mind craft their message accordingly.

On this week's persuasion blunder, we see a text book example of a teenager unable to assess long term consequences. 

Direct download: Podcast_106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46pm CDT

Is Google rigging elections?  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article that thinks so.  Merely telling the masses that a candidate has a "high" approval rating tends to gender more support.  So how much influence do the "Googles" of the world actually have?  Check out the article here.

Most persuaders would rather deal with an angry prospect than an indifferent one.  Indifferent prospects are tough to do anything with!  Enter the Law of Involvement.  Using the Law of Involvement helps us to get prospects to mentally focus and engage in what we are saying.  It's what gives you traction in the persuasion process. 

Direct download: Podcast_105.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13am CDT

Everything that we understand and know about our world is based around words.  Words don't just have meaning, they have feeling.  That's why some words in some languages just don't directly translate.  One particular author has used this to apparently create a childrens book that makes children fall asleep. 

When it comes to influencing, there are words you should never use.  Kurt and Steve discuss many of these on this weeks episode, as well as many of the most influential words in the English language.  Influential words can change, however.  Words that were effective 5-10 years ago are no longer.  Tune into this episode to find out more!

Direct download: Podcast_104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12pm CDT

As we get closer and closer (even though it's a long way away) to the 2016 presidential election, more and more persuasion blunders will be on display.  A recent article shows that politicians who have deeper voices (yes, even women) are perceived as more credible by voters.  Check out the article here.

Due to listener feedback, Kurt and Steve realized that they didn't cover the Law of Expectations deeply enough on Episode 101.  On this Episode (103) they return with more ideas on how you can prime your clients expectations to make your selling go more smoothly. 


Direct download: Podcast_103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:03pm CDT

You can't visit a business web page without hearing "follow us on Twitter!"  We're certainly guilty of this too.  Follow us on Twitter @influencemax! 

A recent article from Psych Central shows that when customers complain about a business on Twitter, businesses can actually shoot themselves in the foot by responding too much!  Check out the article here.

If you've ever been told your product is too expensive, you need the Law of Contrast.  This is the most effective way to set the terms of value.  Many times prospects come to the table with a preconceived value of your product (justified or not).  You can turn the tables with the Law of Contrast!

Speaking of the Law of Contrast, this episode featues a horrible use of it which HAS to be the persuasion blunder of the year!

Direct download: Podcast_102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm CDT

When you're an entrepreneur or sales person, being mentally tough is key.  If you want the rewards that come from owning your own business or being on commission, you need to put up with days that can be full of rejection and disappointment.  Check out a recent article posted  by Psych Central that discusses the Six Stages of Mental Strength.

In any persuasive encounter, your prospect has certain expectations.  And so do you!  When things don't go according to expectation, people feel frustrated and are more likely to act out in anger.  This is a basic pyschological response that we can leverage in our favor as persuaders.  Tactfully letting our prospects know what we expect of them is a great way to get them to behave the way we want them to.  This also spins off into NLP (neuro linguistic programming).  Kurt and Steve discuss some of the merits of NLP and how to use them.

Direct download: Podcast_101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am CDT

It's been 100 episodes!  After inserting some canned applause and patting themselves on the back, Kurt and Steve discuss why disobedient kids may actually make more money as adults.  They then proceed to insult people who don't listen to their show.  But if they're not listening does it really even matter?

Different personalities relate to different persuasion techniques.  One method may resonate clearly with you but be completely useless on your prospect.  That's why it's important to use the T.E.S.S. system.  It stands for Testimonial, Example, Story, and Statistic.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss how to successfuly implement T.E.S.S. into your message.

Direct download: Podcast_100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am CDT

Whether you think you love it or not, you love to procrastinate.  The brain thrives on it.  The reason is that we tend to treat our "current self" much better than our "future self."  We give our future self way to much credit.  We think "future me will save more money" or "future me will lose more weight."  But when the future gets here what happens?  Kurt and Steve discuss it during this week's article. 

We don't like getting objections.  Nobody does.  But when they come, take it as a good sign!  Your prospect is actually listening!  There's nothing worse than an impartial prospect.  Some objections need to be dealt with as they come.  Other's need to be dealt with in advance.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss the difference.

Finally, Kurt discusses a "blinja" (when a blunder meets a ninja) sales robot!  Yep.  A sales robot.  Tune in for details. 

Direct download: Podcast_99.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:46pm CDT

Do you sort your mail over the trash can?  Do you delete most emails before you even consider them?  That's the reality of advertising today.  Messages to your prospects need to be compelling and grab their attention.  To start this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article about which is more effective: digital or print media?

Ever now and then on Maximize Your Influence, we like to return to what is most imporant: mindset.  All the tactics in the world dont' change anything for a persuader who is negative, pessimistic, and just not right in their persuasion head.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve dive into what it takes for persuaders to have enough self discipline to make it.  Working on commission or in an industry where your living depends on getting other people to cooperate with you can be mentally taxing.  Follow the tips discussed here and you'll supercharge your discipline!

Direct download: Podcast_98.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10pm CDT

After Steve gives the full report on his recent trip to Puerto Rico (including a priceless blunder by the Ritz Carlton resort), Kurt discusses this week's "geeky article moment."  A recent article on Psych Central reveals the advantages of both active and passive communication styles.

The rest of the show centers around a recent interview Steve conducted with Brad Harker.  Brad is the author of The Laws of Influence - Mastering the Art of Sales, Leadership, and Change.  He operates a sales company, and actively consults with professionals and organizations in the disciplines of sales, leadership, and influence.

Direct download: Podcast_97.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20pm CDT

To kick off this episode, the guys discuss what is likely the most offensive article they've ever featured on the show.  Kurt insists that it's Steve's doing.  We'll let you read it for yourselves, but just know that "hand's on" father's might be uhm...smaller. 

For the main show topic, Kurt and Steve discuss some of the non-verbal habits that can kill your charisma.  Use these habits and your sales career will never get off the ground.  Conversely, they discuss some of the habits that the charismatic instinctively do.  Implement these habits into your behavior and you will be perceived as more charismatic.  We all want to do business with charismatic people!


Direct download: Podcast_96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46am CDT

A recent study shows that if you want to look trustworthy, you should also look happy.  What's the catch?  Looking happy doesn't necessarily make you look competent.  Kurt and Steve discuss this study and how persuaders can walk the line to acheive maximum trust and competence at the same time.

On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss recent obervations they've made about Negotiaton's Dirty Deeds (yes, they are done dirt cheap).  When your prospects resort to infantile tactics that have worked for them since childhood, you have to tactfully let your prospect know "that doesn't work here" without jeopordizing the potential business arranagement. 

Finally, Steve throws a sleazy real estate developer under the bus for this episodes persuasion blunder. 

Direct download: Podcast_95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm CDT

In persuasion, there are a few words and phrases that a lot of people say, but that they don't really mean.  In a recent article on, 11 of these terrible sayings are reviewed.  It's an entertaining article and Kurt and Steve discuss it in detail.

Have you ever received an annoying voicemail from a salesperson?  Or better yet...have you ever LEFT an annoying voicemail?  We all have.  Many think leaving voicemials is pointless.  Otheres will leave them for days and not get any results.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss how to leave an effective voicemail that will get your prospects to call you back. 

Direct download: Podcast_94.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm CDT

When it comes to persuading others (through owning a business, church, non-profit), it's all about networking.  Anyone who has ever been successful can attribute at least a part of that success to meeting the right people at the right time.  But what if you hate talking to strangers?  Can you be an effective networker?  A recent article published in the Harvard Business Review discusses this very issue. 

On this episode, Kurt and Steve answer an email from a listener who wants to learn how to ask more effective questions.  Effective questions should move the conversation further and bring the prospects pain and or motivation into clearer focus.  They should make the prospect feel in control while the persuader is actually the one calling the shots.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this and Kurt and Steve discuss them in detail on this episode!

Direct download: Podcast_93.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm CDT

If you're like most people, you don't really enjoy paying taxes.  A study in the UK recently discovered how to vastly increase the rate of collected taxes, just by adding one simple sentence to collection notices.  Kurt and Steve discuss this on the show.  You can find an article from CNN Money here.

Many say there is such thing as "beginners luck" in sales.  But is it luck?  Or is that beginners haven't learned some of the habits that plague veterans?  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss three of the key mistakes that verteran sales people make.  Getting back to basics and avoiding these mistakes will help you see an almost immediate increase in your sales results!


Direct download: Podcast_92.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm CDT

Nobody has a perfect self esteem.  We all have insecurities in ceratin areas of our life. The same is true for your prospects.  Raise a prospects self esteem and you'll catapult your chances of persuading them!  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article that gives Five Tips For Raising Your Self Esteem.

Is your prodcut or cause desperation or inspiration based?  Your prospects are all either running towards or away from something.  It's essentially the difference between inspiration and deseperation.  Using the wrong kind of motivation on your prospects will backfire everytime.  Tune into this episode for great tips on how to leverage the power of dual motivation!

Direct download: Podcast_91.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm CDT

Did you know that the noise of an aircraft engine can cause you to crave different foods?  A recent study by Cornell University makes some compelling links between decibel level and food cravings.  Kurt and Steve discuss the artice and also learn a new word! 

There's one thing that annoys your prospect more than anything else: unsolicited small talk.  Many of the stereotypical sales annoyances (fast talkers, lack of knowlege) are still high on the list, but in this day and age your prospect wants to see value.  They want to feel like they have a reason to talk to you.  Only then does should you make a serious effort at buildng a connection with them.  Otherwise the unsolicited small talk will kill your presentation before it begins!

Direct download: Podcast_90.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45pm CDT

Is optimism overrated?  A recent study from the University of Utah thinks so.  Kurt and Steve discuss the study and what it means for persuaders.

Some of us are better negotiators than others.  Some of us respond differently to different tactics.  Negotiation is all about researching your product and what your prospect needs and wants.  Failure to do so inevitably leads to insulting your prospect and that's a tough one to come back from.  On this episdoe Kurt and Steve discuss how to make an offer to your prospect that sets the negotiation playing field, without insulting them. 

Direct download: Podcast_89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:40pm CDT

Do you know somebody who is always blaming other people for their problems?  Is it you?  The fact is, we all do it.  And sometimes we're right.  A recent article, however, shows why blaming others is not productive...even when it's completely true. 

We all know the stereotypical profile of a persuader: fast talker, slick, stretches the truth, etc.  And we all know that this style of persuasion is not nearly as effective as it used to be.  In this day and age, introverts are the best persuaders.  Kurt and Steve discuss why this is and we can apply techniques that come naturally to most introverts.

Direct download: Podcast_88.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16am CDT

It's always helpful to learn more about what successful people do in their daily lives.  In this episode, Kurt and Steve highlight three key lessons we can learn form succeessful people. 

For this week's Persuasion IQ question, Kurt and Steve talk about how to effectively build emotion at the right time during your presentation.  Measuring the rate of your speech during the credibilty phase and then changing to the right rate during your call to action can make or break you!

Direct download: Podcast_87.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26pm CDT

After discussing Kurt's recent trip to Las Vegas, Kurt and Steve discuss an article that may be helpful if you've been to Vegas recently: "Are White Lies Good For Relationships?"  You'll be surprised at the conculsion!

How can we tell if our prospect is "visually oriented?"  Whe asking them a question that requires some thought, they often look upwards.  In contrast if they are "auditory", they tend to look side to side.  Finally, if they are "kinesthetic", they look downward.  How does this impact you in the persuasion process?  Tune into the episode to find out more!

Direct download: Podcast_86.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm CDT

Have you ever witnessed an animal "sniff" another animal and thought "wow I'm so glad I'm human?"  A recent study shows that you might rely on smelling other humans.  Check out the study here.

On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss what attribute customers appreciate most about top persuaders.  They give some pointers on how to improve this characterisitc as well as minimize more harmful ones.  Check out the episode for more details!

Direct download: Podcast_85.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm CDT

Do you rely on email marketing to generate leads?  What about telephone prospecting?  As it turns out, there are specific times of day and the week that are more effective...and it's not quite what you think.  Check out this episode for the exact statistics.

Colors shape our perception of products and services, period.  They can also be used to set the tone on how we feel when we go into a persuasive encounter.  Some colors instill a feeling of professionalism.  Some colors make us hungry.  Others grab our attention.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve break down colors and how we can use them to enhance our message as persuaders. 

Direct download: Podcast_84.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm CDT

They've talked about it a lot on Maximize Your Influence, but on this episode Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article entitled "10 Body Signs Somebody Is Lying To You."  They discuss the merits of the article as well as some additional suggestions that will help you detect deception.

Have you ever had a prospect stall on you?  Your product is a perfect fit, it fits their budget, but they just aren't making a decision? On this episode Kurt and Steve discuss some of the techniques that will get your prospect off of the fence.  Tune in for details!

Direct download: Podcast_83.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19am CDT

A recent study published by Psych Central discusses how to make new habits stick.  The article goes over a variety of techniques that will dramatically increase your chances of implementing new habits.  Check it out here.

On episode 82, Kurt and Steve discuss another important Persuaison IQ Test question.  What is the main reason people do things they don't want to do?  Kurt and Steve discuss the answer and give some tips on how to use the pyschological phenomena of "Cognitive Dissonance" to your advantage. 

Direct download: Podcast_82.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm CDT

Have you ever given a presentation and had a tough time connecting with the audience?  Some audiences are just difficult.  Other audiences can be connected with if you know some basic pointers.  For this week's article, Kurt and Steve discuss an article released by Harvard Business Review that gives some great tips on connecting with any audience.  Connect to the article here.

Does the mood of your prospect matter?  We're uncovering more and more research on the topic. No matter how appealing your product, if your prospect isn't in the right mood it doesn't matter.  Kurt and Steve give some tips for what to do when you run across a prospect in a foul mood. 

Direct download: Podcast_81.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm CDT

Have you ever encountered a prospect who had a skewed view of what they should pay for your product?  Would you like to have more control about what your prospects think your product is worth?  Tune into this episode for more information!

On this episode, Kurt and Steve also discuss how to properly frame somebody's expectaitons without insulting them.  Doing this is the key between getting kicked out and totally resetting your prospect's perceived value!

Direct download: Podcast_801.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm CDT

On this episode, Kurt and Steve continue in giving you the "cheat sheet" for the Persuasion IQ test.  You can find the persuasion IQ test by visiting and clicking "Persuaison IQ" on the bottom of the page.

What do all top persuaders have in common?  They're optimistic.  Chances are you've never met a top producer who also has a negative attitude.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss what it takes to maintain an optimistic attitude, even in the face of intense rejection. 

Direct download: Podcast_79.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48pm CDT

We've all heard of the sterotypical "fast talker."  They come across as too slick and like they're up to something, right?

On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss what the most persuasive rate of speaking is.  They also discuss what kind of tone, pauses, and energy to use when you're speaking at the most persuasive rate.  Tune into the episode to learn more! 

Direct download: Podcast_78.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm CDT

With Valentines now over with, you likely know where you stand with your significant other.  However, Kurt and Steve still find it fit to bring up a recent study that shows how you can tell if somebody loves you...or lusts after you.  Check out the article here!

It's been a few years since Kurt developed the "Persuasion IQ Test"... a way for you to get a straightforward assessment on how persuasive you really are.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve break down one of the questions on the test: the most effective way to create scarcity.  Check out the episode to learn the answer!

Finally, Steve wraps the episode up with a blunder by a company who has been featured as the persuasion ninja on multiple occasions: Apple. 

Direct download: Podcast_77.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm CDT

Do you know people who are ALWAYS late, no matter what?  Do you find yourself telling these people earlier times in an effort to get them to unintentionally show up?  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal studied type A (aggressive) and type B (non aggressive) and found something shocking: some people perceive time to go by slower than it actually is.  This explains a lot about people who just can't show up on time!  Check out the article here. 

Last episode, Kurt and Steve focused on detecting deception through verbal cues.  On this episode, they explore some of the non-verbal cues that reveal deception.  Tune in to hear all the great info!  

Direct download: Podcast_76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm CDT

Have you checked out yet?  Did you know that you can enroll in our 52 week persuasion course for as little as $7 a month? 

Shameless plug over.  On this week's episode, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent article that shows us how to exercise more effectively.  Yep.  Pushing through a difficult task (like exercise) is key to success in anything.  Kurt and Steve break down the article and discuss how we can use it in exercise and in business. 

Due to listener demand, deception is back.  We all deal with it.  Prospects, family, kids, co-workers...they all have been known to deceive.  Hopefully most of the time it's harmless.  But we've all suffered due to taking somebody's word for it only to have them never come through. 

There are two ways to detect deception.  Verbal cues and non-verbal cues.  On this episode Kurt and Steve focus on verbal cues.  The best "liars" are the ones who tell half truths with their deception.  Tune into the episode for some great pointers on how you can detect verbal deception!

Finally...the blunder of the week.  Or is it a ninja?  Steve isn't really sure.  Due to a business trip he couldn't get out of, he didn't get to watch most of the Super Bowl.  From what he heard, the commercials during the Super Bowl this year were just downright depressing.  Kurt discusses whether this is an effective advertising techinique or not. 

Direct download: Podcast_75.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am CDT

Welcome to episode 74 of Maximize Your Influence!  On this episode, Kurt and Steve roll out an interesting article published in the Economist.  More and more, governments and intelligence agencies are analyzing body language to determine if somebody is a terrorist threat.  Kurt and Steve discuss the article and what it means for the study of body language.  You can check it out here.

Well it's late January now.  How are your goals coming?  If you're like most people, they're quickly fading into the distance.  While it's only been a couple of weeks since they discussed it last, Kurt and Steve re-hash the main components of successful goal setting.  If for no other reason than to at least REMIND you that you set some goals a few weeks ago. Accomplishing goals requires YOU to consistently follow up on them, measure your progress, and to be realistic.  Other wise you end up like everybody else:  your in mid February and things are right back to where they were!

On this episode Kurt and Steve also discuss vision versus worry.  When you're setting goals, trying to sell a product, or trying to promote a you do it out of vision or worry?  When it comes to you and your goals, this needs to be done out of vision.  Even though it brings on compelling short term emotions, acting out of worry never lasts.  Only a positive vision of the future will keep you going when times get tough!  Check out the episode for some tips on how to use this on your prospects and your marketing!

Direct download: Podcast_74.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm CDT

Have you ever met the kind of person who is always stressed, has a negative attitude, and who nobody wants to be around?  Oftentimes we later hear these people have major health problems down the road.  In this weeks article, Kurt and Steve discuss a recent study that shows why Optimism is heart healthy.  Not only is it good for your's good for your health! 

Oftentimes, persuaders run into the issue of their prospects having a miscontrued "value" of the persuaders product.  This usually isn't the persuaders fault.  It's just the reality of the market and the media that shaped the value.  So how can we "reset" the prospects perception of value?  How can we have home field advantage?  On this epsidoe, Kurt and Steve discuss how we can use the "door in the face" technique to gain the upper hand. 

Remember, go to for more resources on how you can become a power persuader!

And finally...this week's blunder features a waitress at Morton's Steakhouse who thought it would be a good idea to talk to Steve about the movie "Food Inc" while he ate a porterhouse. 

Direct download: Podcast_73.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm CDT

On this week's episode, Kurt and Steve lead off with the "Geeky Article Moment" as well as some banter about food, NFL playoffs, and seagulls eating hotdogs.  Yep.  It happened.

A restaurant in Pittsburgh has recently decided that it will ban "tips" for its servers.  Instead, servers will receive a salary and annual bonuses.  Kurt and Steve discuss how this will impact staff performance and if it's a good idea or not from a leadership perspective. 

After this, Kurt and Steve discuss presentation pitfalls.  Like it or not, we are all presenters.  Whether its one on one, on a web conference, or in front of thousands of people, we are all on stage.  Kurt and Steve discuss what the common pitfalls are that plague most persuaders. 

Are you a power persuader?  Would you like individual feedback on your video/audio presentation...for FREE?  Record an audio or video of your presentation and upload it here.  Kurt and Steve will go through each presentation and provide you individually with feedback!  Just put your email address in the subject line of when you upload your video.  First prize will get a free year to! 

Direct download: Podcast_72.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm CDT

Happy New Year!

We're back with the first episode of 2015! 

If you we're asked "do you have a rewards card with us" last time you were shopping, you're not alone.  Business are loading up on rewards programs like never before, in hopes of enticing you to return and buy more stuff from them. As it turns out however, a good old fashioned "thank you" is more effective.  Kurt and Steve discuss this recent study on this episode.

Well it's 2015.  It's time to set goals.  You're either excited about that or you're rolling your eyes saying "not again!"  Whatever you think about it, however, it's important.  Setting goals (in writing) is one of the main attributes that differentiates successful persuaders from failures.  Check out this episode for some concrete tips on how you can set goals more successfully in 2015!

Direct download: Podcast_71.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm CDT