Archive for the ‘Power of Persuasion’ Category

Power of Persuasion: I’m a fraud

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I am a fraud, a fake, a charlatan.

How do you know when someone is lying to you?  They don’t just admit it.

I’ve been experimenting with that very question.  Most of my readers know me as a professional development trainer, but I am also an expert sleight-of-mind magician.  In professional performances I have a unique opportunity to test principles of body language and persuasion.  My latest experiment delves into the art of deception.

A member of the audience is asked to select a card at random.  She is then asked to repeat the card in her mind ten times.  Finally, she is asked to make a secret choice of being a liar or a truth teller.  My job is to ask questions and study her as she answers.  I must then determine her veracity.

Results: Liars unknowingly give off common signals

What are these common signals?

Some of the conventional wisdom was proven wrong.   Those of us who study body language have read that liars often look away, stutter, and pause to calculate a false answer.  Sometimes this can be true, but here is what I’ve found.

Male Liars:

  • Make far more direct eye contact than when they are not lying; thus overcompensating.
  • Answer faster and shorter.
  • Blink less than when they are telling the truth.
  • Make almost no facial expressions as compared to moderate facial expressions when they are telling the truth.

Female Liars:

  • Smile more and become overly expressive.  This can include a laugh or giggle for no reason.
  • Take a longer time to answer.
  • Shift eyes far more as they search for their answers.
  • While they make less eye contact than usual, when they do so, they tend to raise one eyebrow.

When I started my experiment in September 2010.  I was correctly “guessing” whether they were lying in 60% of cases.  After dissecting the differences between men and women, my success ratio is now at 90%.  It is not pure science, and some people pause or laugh because they are nervous. It helps to ask five questions that I know are true to use as a baseline to see how quickly they answer and how expressive they are.

Application:

The ability to persuade others is imperative if we wish to advance our personal agendas, careers and businesses.  It is a fact that when people internally disagree with what you are proposing, they will sugar coat and even lie to avoid what they perceive as unpalatable disagreement.  Once you learn to read others, you can understand when they are not sold, even if their words say that they are.  And this ability will prove priceless.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Younger by Moving

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Look Younger by Moving

Standing in church I look over at my 4 year-old boy to see his body in continual motion.  His head turns left, then right and then he looks at the ceiling.  He puts his hand on his head, he leans back then forward.  Maybe I should have been listening to the sermon, but I couldn’t help to start counting how many seconds before Nicky moves again.  I couldn’t get past two.  Then I look at my eight-year old.  He moves around, but not quite as much.  I could count to ten before his head turns and his body shifted then five seconds later he puts his hands on the pew in front of him.  I started looking at other people.  Right in front of me was a man and his wife, both around seventy years old.  One of them moved only once in the first ninety seconds.  The rest of that time they appeared frozen in place. 

This got me thinking.  Is there a correlation between movement and age, and if so could a person use movement to appear more youthful?

For the following two months, we observed over 300 people in public places in the following age categories: kids, teens, twenties, forties, and sixties.  A head-turn, look at a watch, posture change, gesture, etc. qualified as making a move.  I only analyzed people in listening situations or alone, because when people talk they are far more animated.  Here are the results measured in moves per minute (MPM):

The older people grow, the less they move and shift.  Morbid as it appears, it is a natural progression towards death.  How does movement affect how others perceive you?

Likability is one of the six pillars of persuasion.  When studying the most likable people, one common denominator is that they nod and make facial expressions as they react to other people talking to them.  An observation made in this study showed that the older people grow, the less they externally react to others.  This may have a negative impact on how they connect.  Dale Carnegie said it best, “Be interesting by being interested”.

What about appearing younger?  After analyzing the chart above, we decided to test whether movement makes people appear younger. We asked people to watch a twenty-five-year-old woman for a minute and then guess her age.  In some circumstances she would move only once during the minute; in others, she would move ten times.  Here are the results:

1   MPM:         average perceived age: 22 years old

10 MPM:         average perceived age: 19.5 years old

Next we tried the experiment with me (age 43).  Here are the results based on 48 respondents:

1 MPM:           average perceived age: 40.7 years old

10 MPM:         average perceived age: 38.4 years old

You look younger when you move.  Movement requires energy and energy is associated with youth.  Lethargy is associated with age and decline.

The point of this blog is to remind us of how loudly our body language speaks to others.  Chances are if you allow yourself to be more animated you will be perceived as more likeable and a bit younger.  And, if it works for you, you can thank Jake and Nicky for their bouncy behavior in Church.

If you liked this, please comment here and share it by clicking below.

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Power of Persuasion: What’s gender got to do with it?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

What’s gender got to do with it?

As a tradeshow lead generator, my job is to stop traffic at my client’s booth, show a quick magic trick that showcases their brand, and finally to introduce qualified prospects to my sales team.  It’s a number’s game.  I’m able to increase leads by 25% to 100%.  That’s quite a range. Why the difference?

Professional tradeshow lead builders calculate a stop ratio for each show. If I am asking attendees walking by our booth to stop for a moment so that I can show them something amazing (as I fan my cards), how many out of ten will actually stop and how many will ignore me?  My worst ratio ever: less than 1/10, and my best 9/10.  Again, that’s quite a range.  Why the difference?  Gender.

The lowest 1/10 stop ratio was for my client Vencom at a Yankee Dental Conference.  While there were hygienists and students attending, my job was to stop dentists.  At this show, most of the dentists were older men in conservative suits with dour faces.  The best ratio I experienced was at ASHRM where I had to stop hospital risk managers, most of whom were women with nursing backgrounds.

When Fidelity asked me to build leads for them at the AFP conference  they told me that the large majority of attendees were male.  I selected my female lead builder Clair Park, and her stop ratio was better than 9/10.

This experience is not unique to me.  My fellow trade-show lead builders concur: Gender matters. 

At least on the trade show floor, women will stop for men and men for women with far more frequency than the opposite scenario.  This has little to do with age, looks and approach and much to do with the opposite sex. 

Application:  If you work tradeshows, have a male to approach female attendees and have a female to approach male attendees.  A good stop ratio is vital because when attendees walk by your booth without hearing your message, you are burning your tradeshow dollars. 

Off the tradeshow floor: Do you think the same dynamic carries over to the networking arena?  Will a man have more success breaking into a conversation, when the conversationalists are women? How about vice-versa?  Weigh in with your thoughts here.

Amusing side note: To a lesser degree, stop ratio is also determined by industry.  For example marketing professionals are more likely to stop than are plastic surgeons.  Of the hundreds of professions I’ve targeted, dentists were the hardest visitors to stop, and they smiled least.  I remember one dentist who actually was smiling.  I stopped him and said, “look around at all the faces.  Not a smile to be seen.  Why are you smiling?” He smiled even more broadly and replied, “I’m retired”.

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Power of Persuasion: NO

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

The Power of NO

Nothing is more empowering than the ability to say “no” and walk away. In a recent blog I discussed the most persuasive way to make a request. In this entry, I’ll share a strategy that relies on the power of NO.

 

BUYER’S PERSPECTIVE

In July I moved into a temporary apartment while awaiting the closing of my new home. I had basic cable and Internet through Charter. The fee was $41, and I asked that they waive the one-time fee for the representative to come out and connect me. Charter obliged.

When I moved in August, I called Charter and asked for the same deal. The rep said there would be a $50 charge for hook up. I told him that Charter had waived the fee the first time, and I requested the same. He denied my request, explaining, “the free install promotion just ended”. I politely asked to speak to his supervisor to see whether an exception could be made. He said he would connect me, but he guaranteed the request would be denied.
 

THE POWER OF NO: I thanked him for “trying” and said, “Cancel the order because I need to check out Verizon’s options, and if they can’t do better, I promise I’ll call back and give you my business.” His response? “Oh, wait, I just saw a promotion that will enable me to waive the fee.”

I had already done my research and was going to go with Charter irrespective of a hook up fee. But my trick worked. I knew that Charter trains their reps to open new accounts, and once I was walking out, the rep gave me the deal I requested.

Interestingly enough, I shared this story with a friend who is moving this week. When Charter wanted to charge her the install fee, she cited my case, and they explained, “promotion just ended.” She pushed and they “found” an offer to waive half of the fee. I am confident that if she had requested that they cancel the order she would have received a full-waiver.

Charter’s behavior is reflective of human nature. They want to profit the most from you, but they lose their power when the see that you are ready to walk away.

In many cases using the walk away factor works as long as you don’t back the other guy into a corner and give yourself an opportunity to come back. Be sure to be polite and explain that you need to examine your options.

 

SELLER’S PERSPECTIVE

From a seller’s perspective in a non-commodity market such as training, I use the power of no effectively. I provide custom public speaking training and power of persuasion courses to companies that need to get better results from their people. Some prospects ask for Nordstrom quality at Wal-Mart prices. I always respect that they ask, and I explain how they are getting Nordstrom quality at JC Penny prices.

Then, if they still balk, I don’t push. I tell them the truth, “this training is not for everyone, and I will be happy to pass a referral to another trainer who can work within your budget.” Many times the walk away will convert to a sale because they respect that I know my value. Other times, I will make the referral to another company, and I am okay with that. This system helps me work with the right type of client while passing on those who don’t fit to someone else who can help him or her.

Make a comment below on your experience employing the power of NO.

Ask me about professional development training in the power of persuasion and public speaking.

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Public Speaking: Enthusiasm or tone it down?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

What do YOU think?

While coaching a top executive on presentation skills, I commented that the enthusiasm he exhibits in one-to-one conversations was not being conveyed in his presentations to the group.  His response: “as a company leader, I need to be taken seriously; so I tend to tone it down when speaking to my group.”

Of course, if a presenter is delivering bad news, such as layoffs, a subdued style is appropriate.  In general, however, is the assumption that when one speaks with enthusiasm he or she appears less serious or businesslike?  Does a more animated speaker seem any less credible to you?  Take our poll and leave a comment below:


After weighing in, then check out this related blog entry on the cartoon factor.

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Power of Persuasion: The Results Are Clear

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

All referrals were not created equal.

The results are clear.  My latest study reveals the secret to getting referrals that convert to sales.  This discovery may not be something you’ve ever considered.

When someone gives you a referral.  They may be connecting you with a friend, relative or colleague.   In some cases you will be connected with one of their vendors or one of their clients, and it is the latter two types of relationships that I tracked.

Let’s say Amber gives me a referral to John Smith because she thinks he would be interested in what I provide.  The fact is that if John is her vendor he is much more likely to connect with me than if he were her client.

I suspected this at the outset, but I never realized how big the difference would be.  Below you can see the percentage of successful connections made after the referral was given.

Why the difference?

Reciprocity.  One of the pillars of persuasion is the law of reciprocity, which dictates that people feel beholden to “pay back” those who help them.  In addition, people typically give back a great deal more than they received.

Above, we see the law of reciprocity in action.  Imagine yourself in the referral process:  If someone selects you to be his vendor and that person asked you to connect with one of his contacts, would you?  It is probable that you would feel beholden to at least make an initial connection.  However, if you are someone’s client or customer, you would likely be less compelled to reach out and make the connection.

Networker’s application.

I remember learning in Business Network International (BNI) that we should be specific when asking for referrals.  Instead of asking your contacts who they know that could use your services, you might ask which of their VENDORS could use your services.  Work with that population and you’ll have a much better success of making contact and avoiding the blow-off.

Beyond getting better referrals, you now have the secret to giving them.  Consider the BNI philosophy, “Givers gain.”  That creed was built on the law of reciprocity.  If you are able to give higher quality referrals by tapping into your pool of vendors, then the recipients of the high quality referrals will reciprocate.  And that’s how referral networking is supposed to be done.

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Power of Persuasion: Aura of Authority

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The honey vs. vinegar debate is eternal because in reality they both work. Consider these contradicting bits of wisdom: “You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar”; “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”. Both have roots based on the science of persuasion.  The former relies on the likability factor.  Likeable people tend to be more persuasive.  The latter relies on pain avoidance, wherein someone is likely to accommodate you if it helps him avoid a negative consequence.

Unbeknownst to many, there is another facet to the art of asking for and getting what you want: authority.  Sometimes it is less about honey and vinegar and more about how you ask.

During a cross-country flight, I noticed a young man stop the flight attendant to ask, “Um, could we get some, like, crackers or peanuts here please?”  The attendant curtly responded with a perfunctory smile, “snacks will be served in just a bit.” About five minutes later, a woman stopped the same attendant and said: “Would you please bring us our snack in advance, Jennifer, because it’s been one of those days”.  Surprisingly Jennifer responded, “Sure, would you like chips, peanuts, or cookies?” She promptly returned with the snacks.  About thirty minutes later everyone else was served.

They both said please; so what did the woman do differently that got her a better result?

1) She knew exactly what she was going to say and said it with confidence, while the young man fumbled uttering “um” and “like”.

 2) She used the flight attendant’s name.

 3) She made direct eye contact with the attendant.

 4) She used the word because, which dramatically increases odds of getting a “yes,” even if the reason is redundant.

 5) Her request was framed in a question, but her tone indicated that she expected to be accommodated.

 In short, the woman was polite, yet had an aura of authority.  The young man lacked that quality and appeared whinny and, judging by the attendant’s face, annoying.  This interesting little occurrence 35,000 feet off the ground is a case in point that it is not always about what you ask but how you ask.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part IV

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Two-hour lecture on Power of Persuasion: BUY NOW

Here are the final three tips to help your small business look bigger:

1) Be specific when answering the question, “how’s business?” The small fish will typically answer “it’s going well.”  The medium fish will usually answer, “Good, sales are up this year by 5%.”  The big fish will typically respond, “Good, this quarter is up 5% over last year.”  By speaking in terms of quarters and quantifying your response, you appear sharper and your business appears bigger.

2) Appear busy because the law of scarcity dictates that people want to work with busy people. If you’re not busy, they wonder how good you really are. If you’re not busy yet, endeavor to look busy. When making appointments, avoid saying, “I have all day Thursday open” or worse, “Next week my schedule is pretty much clear.”  Instead, consider using this verbiage, “Monday is out, and so are Tuesday and Wednesday, but how does Thursday look at 11:20 or 4:40?” Off times such as 7:20 give the impression that you are well organized and busy, and they will respect your time more.  In fact, it is proven that people are more prompt for appointments made at less common times such as 11:10 rather than 11:00.

3) Observe the big fish in action. Listen to how they talk about their businesses, look at their business cards, analyze how they interact, and you will soon see the common denominators as clear as day.

Keep in mind that appearing bigger is not always beneficial. It depends on your product/service, target market and industry.  In the cases where it is beneficial, be sure to use these techniques as appropriate. Always use your judgement, as it is one thing to enhance your image and another to over-stretch.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part III

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Power of Persuasion instant download – BUY NOW

Three more tips in our top ten ways to make your small business look big.

I) Your email address communicates the size of your business.  Want a big fish image? You need a big fish address.

  1. Tiny fish: frank1257@yahoo.com. Any of the “freebie” emails (gmail, hotmail, etc) scream that you are a solopreneur working from home.
  2. Small fish: frank@targetintellect.com is more professional because a company domain name is in the address, however it indicates a small company because it uses only the first name. A small company will count on the probability that no two employees will have the same first name.
  3. Medium fish: damelio@targetintellect.com reflects a medium sized company as it uses the last name to avoid using duplicate first names of company employees.
  4. Big fish: fdamelio@targetintellect.com indicates a large company because it requires each employee to use the first initial. With so many employees, there are duplicate last names.
  5. Giant fish: frank.damelio@targetintellect.com is the address type that most national and multinational companies use to help differentiate addresses among their massive pool of employees.

Which email type you use depends on the image you wish to portray.

II) “WE” is the word that distinguishes you from the small fish. When people network, a common question is “tell me what your company does?” A big fish will almost always begin responding with the word “we”, while the little fish will open with the word “I”, which sends a clear signal that he is likely a solopreneur.

III) Free work? Many will disagree, but this proved to be a great investment for me in the early days. Big companies tend to choose other big companies as their vendors. Once you get work from a nationally recognized brand, be sure to weave it into your networking conversation.  Why? First, it shows that you are established if “national corp” found and hired you. Second, “national corp’s” credibility transfers to you by association.

Your track record doesn’t include any big businesses? Court them, make your proposals, and by all means charge for your goods and services. However, if you get close to a sale and there is a “no go” decision based on budget, then offer to do the work at a deep discount or free. In return ask for a video testimonial, letter of recommendation and that they be a standing reference for you. While many disagree, I say this does not devalue what you do. It is an investment in your brand that will give you credibility to sell in the future; plus once “national corp” sees how good you are, they may buy your goods or services in the future.

As always, my caveat here is for you to be aware of the difference between image management and gross exaggeration.  Use your judgment and that of those you trust when making your company look like a bigger fish.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part II

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Two-hour instant download on Persuasion lecture: BUY NOW

In certain industries, looking like a small fish gives that “personal touch” advantage. This series, however, is for companies that need to look bigger to court the business of larger companies. Here is tip number four in our top ten ways to make your small company look bigger.

Your business card design says a lot more about you than you think. After sorting a pile of over 130 business cards by company size, it becomes immediately clear as to why small company cards look SMALL.

Here are the common denominators to consider when designing a business card that you hope will make your company look like a BIG fish in the business pond.

1) Include a business address.  ALL of the big business cards I sorted had addresses, while only 18% of the small businesses did so. Residential addresses sound, well, residential. P.O. Boxes are okay, but suites are better. We have heard that some will rent a P.O. Box and call it a Suite anyway. We make no guarantees about that strategy. The best solution is to have a business address, which can be economically obtained by using a virtual office.

2) List more than one telephone. Most small companies only list one number, usually a cell phone. The majority of big businesses have two or three numbers – typically a main number, direct number and cell number. You can use your land line and cell.

3) Have a fax number: We realize that with email and PDFs, the fax is becoming obsolete, but this is about perception. All big companies list a fax, and if you want to appear big, you should too.

4) As counterintuitive as it is, small companies use big font and large companies use small font. Big font makes more sense because it is easier to read, but large companies want consistency with their font style and size; so the point size they select must be small enough to allow for the largest name.

Other things to consider: a professional logo that is not too big; thickness and quality of paper; professional printing.

Look forward to our upcoming five tips on making your small business look bigger, and forward this to anyone you know who is starting a business.

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