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Hi, it’s Dennis again and it’s time to Connect & Convert. About 20 years ago. I had the great fortune and honor of going out to Phoenix Tempe, Arizona to the Arizona State University. And I got to meet and study with Dr. Robert Cialdini. Yes, Dr. Robert Cialdini, the godfather of influence. I think in the mid-80s, I first became aware of him

He wrote the definitive book on the principles of influence. It’s been used by anybody who’s been in sales or marketing or any, related field. We’ve all used it. I used it and I had a chance to meet him. He had a workshop called Influence At Work. There were only about 8 or 10 of us in that workshop, but he taught most of it.

And wow, what an experience. So yeah, I’m a fanboy of Robert Cialdini and have been for a long time. And he basically taught me how to get to yes in a very fast and ethical way. And he’s taught millions of people how to get to yes in an ethical way. All of a sudden, recently, they decided to form the Cialdini Institute, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the founding members of the Cialdini Institute.

What does that mean? That means that I have access to all of Cialdini’s research — all of his works. Everything that I can teach and use. In any way that I see fit, of course, in an ethical way and I love that. I love the fact that I’m now a qualified Cialdini coach, an ethical practitioner of influence, and a founding member of the Cialdini Institute.

So I guess that puts a little pressure on me now because I’m supposed to know the answers, right? And I get a lot of questions, particularly. How does this relate to sales? When I started using it back when I first was introduced to this, I was running radio stations in Miami and I said, how can this stuff work in our marketing, our advertising?

How can it work in the communications that we put out there? And also, how can it work in our sales? Obviously, we had 20 – 25 salespeople at the time, how can we use the principles of influence to improve sales? Guess what I found out. Yes, it worked all the way around. So again, I am a devotee. I’m a fan. I’m a believer. I definitely had a drink of the Kool-Aid. And today I want to talk a little bit about how this can help you in sales.

System One and System Two Thinking

First of all, as discussed already, our brain has two systems. System one and system two. System one is the automatic brain. It’s on autopilot. It’s 90-plus percent of the thinking that we do.

The system two brains are our factual brain. When we need to make a particularly tough decision, not a decision we’re used to making every day, we engage the factual brain and the slower-thinking brain.

The system one brain is fast. It works on heuristics. It works on automatic responses to things. And that’s how we can influence the sales situation because most buyers, I don’t care what level of customer you’re talking to, they buy with system one brain. We all do. 90 percent of what we do is system one and the principles speak directly to system one.

Okay, not that there’s anything wrong with system two. That’s just not what we normally do. So why not go with the part of the brain that’s exercised the most? System one. So his works are iconic but I’m often asked now that I have the name in my credentials. How do we use these things? Yeah, we know there are, there were six, and now there are seven.

How do we use these? Oh, I did also meet someone in Phoenix, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Gregory Neidert. He’s a very close colleague of Cialdini’s. And Neidert created what he calls the Core Motives Model. Now, what the heck is that? He wanted to define the seven principles and where they can be used the most effectively.

Not all seven principles should be used in every situation. If you use the wrong principle of influence in a certain situation that’s not appropriate, it’s not going to work. And then you’re going to throw it all out and say this crap doesn’t work. That’s why Neidert created this is to say there are times when each of the seven principles can play a role.

Okay, so he divided it into three different tasks, if you will. The number one task, how do we cultivate or begin a relationship? In sales, how do we bring on a new client? How do we meet people? How do we cultivate that new fresh relationship in sales? Number two, how do you reduce uncertainty about you or your company or your product? So there are principles that apply to that. And third, how do you motivate action? How do you get somebody to make a decision? How do you get to close? So depending on which you’re in — new relationship, remove uncertainty, or get action — that defines the principle of influence you should use.

So let’s break that down a little bit. There are three principles that are most helpful when you’re trying to build a new relationship. Let’s take unity first.

1. Unity

Unity involves the blurring of the boundaries between ourselves and others. It’s creating a sense of we-ness, a sense of belonging, a shared background. Think of your college. Think of perhaps a church that you’re affiliated with. Think of a club or a group that you belong to. Think of that we-ness. I, for one, I’m a Miami Dolphins fan through and through. I’ve lived through some tough years. This year, is a little better. So I have a we-ness with people who wear the aqua and orange when I see that I say that’s my tribe. Those are my people.

There’s some confusion on the principle of unity. It’s often confused with liking, the principle of liking. We’ll talk about that as well. But liking is saying yes to people who are similar to us, similar people. We like to cooperate and say yes to people like us.

Unity is about saying yes to people who belong to the same group as us. Maybe they live in our neighborhood. Maybe we play tennis with them. That’s a very powerful and easy yes when we are appealing to a group that we belong to in common. There’s also some confusion with unity and social proof.

Social proof we’ll talk about well as well. That says that we will say yes to a request based on the actions of others. We look to others to get a clue of how to act. And unity says yes again because we belong to the same group or community. So they’re similar but yet different. Have you ever heard of a guy named Ponzi?

You probably have. It’s usually in reference to a Ponzi scheme. Have you heard of a Ponzi scheme? This guy was really named Ponzi. There was a real Ponzi and he was an Italian immigrant to the United States, and he will forever be known by the bad stuff that he did. He created a Ponzi scheme, which is a pyramid game where he promised high returns on investment, except the problem is he was paying those high returns from the next guy’s money and the next guy’s money, the pyramid scheme.

And of course he got caught and he got thrown in jail.

But how did he recruit these people? Because they were from the same ethnic group. He recruited other Italian immigrants. They’re going to say, “Oh, he’s one of us. I can trust him. Yeah.” Trusted him right to the poor house. He was able to carry it out by appealing to their heredity.

We’re in the same group. We’re in this all together. We’re all immigrants, the same background. Bingo. There was a recent case here in the U. S., we won’t mention the name, but you probably know it was a very similar situation.

Okay, what’s the second? And again, let me be clear, that is an unethical use of the Principle of Unity. We talk here about ethical — but we use that to describe it, showing you how it works. But that is not the proper use of unity or of any of the principles. Let’s jump to reciprocity.

2. Reciprocity

Everybody’s heard of that. Everybody thinks, okay, I know what that is. I give you something, therefore you give me something. Yeah, close, but not exactly.

When considering that gift, there are two things that you think about. Is the gift significant and is it unexpected? Reciprocity works best when it’s a significant gift that’s unexpected. Those are the two amplifiers of reciprocity. So what is the effectiveness of reciprocity?

Always give first. Don’t wait for somebody else to give. You give first. That’s how we exercise reciprocity. Also, another mistake that’s often made is everybody thinks it has to be something you pay for. Most reciprocity is intangible. It’s intangible. You can give your attention. You can listen to somebody. You can give information. You can share information. You can give someone your trust. You can give someone advice. You can do favors. Those are somewhat intangible. And yet, we don’t claim those. So here’s a pro tip in sales conversations. There are many intangible gifts that we give out of habit.

Of course, we fail to claim them. It’s not perceived as a gift unless we claim it. We bring it to awareness. So what, are some of them? Hey, thank you, sir. I’ve spent my time and I’ve listened to you carefully. I’ve gotten a bunch of good information and good needs from you. I’ve learned a lot from you and now it’s time for me to go back and put together some custom options for you. And give you my best advice right in that sentence there are about four intangible gifts to activate reciprocity.

3. Liking

Let’s jump to the principle of liking, the third principle, that works on building relationships. We tend to like people who are similar to us. Gee whiz. Yeah, think about that. So true. By the way, even small similarities count. They did, a study of people with the same name or even a derivative of your name and they did a direct mail campaign and they got more response. If the person sending the direct mail was John Smith and they were sending it to someone by the name of Johnson or anything derivative of John, guess what? Yeah, the donations went up. That’s a tiny little insignificant similarity, but it moves up the response to the direct mail piece.

So what’s the idea here? Become more interested than interesting. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? Yeah, become more interested in the other person before you become interesting. Prioritize listening before talking. Listen before talking. That’s a hard one for most of us, isn’t it? And do your homework to find out some similarities. Homework is easy today. Back when I started selling the Dark Ages, it was hard. Now you make two or three keystrokes and you can have a whole list of things that could be similar interests and organizations that you share with that person.

Here’s another intriguing study by KPM. That’s a big financial services company. They wanted to know how the relationships between their account managers (basically sales guys) and their clients using a very complex algorithm that they’ve developed. They categorize the relationships as either weak, average, or strong.

They’re trying to find out if the quality of the relationship had anything to do, any correlation with the acceptance of a proposal and the close of financial services deals. The results were remarkable. Weak relationships, maybe 30 percent acceptance. Average relationship jumped by 15 percentage points up to 45%. However, the strong relationship, are you ready? 70 percent, more than double that of a weak relationship. Wow. So the message, build rapport, make a connection before diving into business. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Again, be interested before you’re interesting. Are you willing to invest 10 or 15 minutes to possibly double your closure rate? How about that?

4. Authority

How to reduce uncertainty. We’ve already talked about trying to get the relationship. Now we’ve got the relationship, but there’s some uncertainty. The principle of authority. We rely on surface-level cues such as title, uniform, type of dress, type of car, type of house, articles published, and initials behind your name.

We rely on that surface-level cue to decide who is an authority. I did a personal experiment years ago. I was playing with this and I was speaking to a group of about 25 people. It was a planned speech and I decided to try an experiment.

For this speech, it had nothing to do with the principles of influence, but I wanted to try something. I donned the attire of what would appear to be a maintenance man. I had a hard hat on. I had a working vest. I had a tool belt. I had a credentials around my neck. I had my tool. I dressed up to appear to be a maintenance man for the hotel. This meeting was in a hotel and the people who were attending this were people staying at that hotel.

So they didn’t know me. So I came in and said, “Hey here I am. Let’s say that I came up to your room number and I knocked on the door. And I said, Hey, I’m here. There’s a problem with your electrical system in this room and I’ve been sent up here to fix it so that it doesn’t cause a fire or cause a big problem.” And I said, “How many of you based on what what I look like and, what I said would have let me in?” Almost a hundred percent, and I was a total fraud. Total phony. That’s scary, isn’t it? But not unusual.

Here’s another one. This one’s crazy. There were some nurses who received a phone call. They were working in the hospital. They got a phone call and it said to give this specific medication to a certain patient. It was against policy of course, to do that over the phone, to take instructions over the phone. It was not approved for use. And if they had administered the dose that was recommended by the caller this would have been double the daily maximum dose.

The phone call was from someone they had never met, but they identified as Dr. So and So. And guess what? 95 percent of the nurses prepared to administer it, even though it violated three major policies, however, they were stopped. They didn’t do it. This was an experiment. But they were prepared to do it.

Wow. How could this happen? It’s blind obedience to the title. The voice on the phone said they were a doctor. They sounded right. They sounded like a doctor. They gave their name and they mentioned the name of the patient. So they had a lot of information that only the doctor could have. But they’re used to following instructions and directions from a doctor.

Wow. System one takes control. So in our sales efforts, who holds authority in the eyes of your audience? If 10,000 people said that Dennis Collins is the greatest sales trainer in the world. However, if sales guru, author, speaker, Jeff Blum says, Dennis Collins is the greatest sales trainer, who would you believe? The 10,000 people or the sales guru? That’s easy. Which one is more persuasive?

5. Social Proof

When we are trying to reduce uncertainty, you’ve got a customer who just, they’re on the fence. I don’t know. Guess what? You’re in luck. People decide what to do based on what other people do. I’ll give you an example.

Have you ever gone online to book something on Orbitz or or whatever some of these are? And they started doing this years ago, but I really notice it more now. X number of people are looking at this same hotel or at the same air flight right now, and only two left at this price. Or today we have booked 1,000 people in this hotel in the past day.

Wow. Social proof. Dessert sales at McDonald’s. Cialdini’s people did a study. McDonald’s wasn’t selling enough desserts in one particular location. So they asked Cialdini, Hey, what can we do? What principle can we use?

The person on the intercom, when you pull up to the drive-thru, they order their hamburger, their French fries, blah, blah, blah. Okay. “Hey, would you like a dessert today?” And those people said, “No, not today.” They added a line. “Hey, could we interest you in a dessert today? Our most popular dessert is the XXX.”

I forget what it was. Guess what? Just adding those few words, social proof, people are buying this, and it wasn’t a lie — it’s our most popular choice — doubled and tripled sales of dessert. Making a few changes in words. What can you change in your approach and sales pitch? So social proof and authority. That’s how we try to reduce uncertainty.

6. Consistency

And now we’re down to motivating action. How do we motivate action? We’re down to consistency. We human beings are an interesting species. We want to avoid what’s called cognitive dissonance. That’s the experience that we have when we make a statement and are not true to that statement when we stake out a position.

It’s important to note that we must be mentally consistent with things we have publicly said. That’s why in sales we get what’s called micro-commitments. So maybe we have seven or eight micro-commitments during a sale. Why do we do that? So that the customer is consistent with their commitment to make a purchase. We ask the micro-commitments in an effort to get a series of commitments that they might be true to. So we act in a manner consistent with what we have previously committed to. The more public the commitment, the better this principle works.

I’ll give you an example. There was a restaurant, a popular restaurant in Chicago. I don’t remember the name. I think the guy’s last name was Gordon. But he was having a problem with no-shows. He was a very high-end restaurant. And of course, if he had a limited number of seats, a no-show was a big problem for him. And people weren’t letting him know.

So his people were on the phone when the reservation came in. “Hey, I’d like to make a reservation for next Saturday, four people at 8 p.m.” And the receptionist would say, “Certainly, we have availability. Your reservation is confirmed at Saturday, 8 pm. Please call if you if you have to cancel.” End of discussion.

He was getting 30 percent no-shows. He said I got to fix this. So he went to Cialdini and said, “How can we do this? So Cialdini looked at this and he said, “All you have to do is add two words.” What are those two words? Will you please call if you need to change or cancel your reservation?

Will you please call? And the answer was everyone said, yes. Guess what? You got it. They made a commitment to call. Small. It doesn’t have to be signing your life away. It can be that small of a commitment. They made a commitment to call. They reduced no-shows from 30 percent to just 10%. The transformation occurred because he gained an active commitment from his customers.

7. Scarcity

Last but not least is our principle of scarcity. Now, this is the one, in my opinion, that’s usually misused. Limited time only. The last one in stock. Act today or the price goes away. Now I’m not saying those aren’t true, but they sound very unethical and manipulative, and most of us who are hit with that reject it.

So the principle of scarcity, though, is very powerful when it’s used ethically. The principle that I like the most is scarce information. It doesn’t just have to be scarce commodities. Let’s say you have information that is very hard to come by. A database that you set up and you have some kind of secret network that gets you information that most people don’t have.

Let’s say you have that. How can you leverage that with customers? If you have a proprietary database that can’t be reached anywhere else, bingo. But you can’t just say that. You’ve got to use that. We happen to have information that’s proprietary and scarce. It’s not available to everybody, but we make it available to our customers. As a VIP customer, you would have access to that. No one else has that. Ooh. So I’d love the whole scarce information concept, not just some obviously something that is in short supply. It’s scarce. That’s obvious. But what’s not so obvious is sometimes we have information or we know something or we have a methodology — we have a way of doing business that we and only we do. That’s scarcity, too. So that’s the one that’s usually forgotten. So scarcity. Consistency. Those two principles are how you motivate action.

That’s a very quick run-through of using the core motives model. Some of you say, okay, when do we use this? I know some of you may want more on this and I will give more.

I will try to take one of these episodes and we’ll focus on just one of the principles of influence. How would that be? Hope this was helpful. It’s Dennis at Connect & Convert, until next time.