Yes. Today you will see the influence of your name on all of these things…
Influence Without Resistance
I point at what needs to be done. I say, “get it done.” There is no “hope” or “wish.” They know by INFERENCE that they simply are capable and competent. And they WILL succeed.
This is as honest, direct, covert as you can get. Because your mind, your body language, your demeanor and tone provide compelling evidence they are going to succeed. It’s also the highest form of expectation which yields the highest performance.
Today we begin with the simplest and most potent aspect of covert influence: Your name.
Your name is LOADED with influence (general change-ability of perception of others and persuasion (what you will specifically ask for and do right now.)
The influential power of your name is completely covert. The people hearing your name don’t know what hit them, but they have a “feeling” about you long before they see your face or hear your voice.
Covert influence is exactly what the moniker says. “Subtle or hidden influence.” If you understand and optimize the power of covert influence you may never have to seriously ask for the sale or much of anything, ever again.
You hate trying to convince people by arguing. You don’t like to verbally inflict pain or even ponder using “strong arm tactics” when attempting to influence others. And in general this kind of communication is rarely necessary in life.
You simply want people to say, “yes” OR simply DO what they NEED to do.
They need to lose 20 pounds… they look terrible.
They need to get a job or they will be in serious trouble.
They need to get their grades up or drop out.
They need to get their bills paid or they will go bankrupt.
Then there are transactions you take part in. Selling your product or services for example.
Hopefully you make your products and services available to people who can really take advantage of, and profit from, what you sell. If not, I have to ask, “why not?”
There are a lot of people out there who make a living by bashing their customers over their heads by “overcoming objections” or pushing for a “close.”
Covert is subtle, gentle, easy, and at it’s extreme it is calm.
Pushing for a closed deal or overwhelming objections with answers is not covert. Pushing and closing are inefficient. Sure, you do need to clarify certain things in communication and you definitely need to complete the cycle of communication. But…you know what I’m talking about. I don’t much care for overwhelming closing or overcoming objections.
I’ll do it if I have to…nothing is coming to mind… but overall I’d prefer people to beat on my door and irritate me with calls on my phone and emails in my box.
Therefore I put all my attention years ago on reducing Resistance and Reactance.
Covert influence is almost always the best way to accomplish reducing the R’s.
Think about someone who was TRYING to sell you something that you really didn’t need or want. They started pushing so hard they appeared totally desperate.
That’s what I don’t want people to feel when they talk with you.
We all feel “desperate” in certain specific situations. It’s natural and normal. But when you are attempting to influence, desperation is deadly to your desired result.
I last felt desperation about a year ago in Italy. I was driving a Prius through the Alps. And my level of desperation for getting “there” was overwhelming. Mountain driving there and in Switzerland was enough to cause me to be more than edgy. I “snapped” at my co-pilot a couple of times. She was generally forgiving…
I once thought Boston was the craziest place in the world to drive. I was 100% wrong…
When people are desperate they almost always let the increased pressure they feel escape their body and flood the environment. In selling this is referred to as “high pressure tactics” or as “high pressure selling.”
[Note: I can happily resort to pressure (be PUSHY and AUTHORITARIAN) if I am time pressed and things are not moving along. My only fear is that I will lose my temper and say something I might regret. The feeling on the other side is different. Instead of the other person (or people) sensing fear and desperation they might sense bossiness and condescenion! And if we go on stage in 5 minutes… so be it.]
Covert moves in calm and comfort. Pressure and desperation most often operate in intense negative emotions.
High pressure tactics begin in fear.
The salesperson is a afraid he won’t be able to make a sale or he will not make the rent payment.
He becomes desperate and therefore he believes, he must “pitch.”
Example: I was set to be the closing speaker at an L.A. event at what I thought would be a cool gig. I waited in back and watched the guy who was the second to last speaker of the weekend, “pitch” his stuff. Famous guy. You’d know him. I’ll spare him the embarassment.
I mean, there is nothing wrong with “pitching.” You DO you have to sell your work and yourself. But the entire presentation was a pitch. Obviously if this was a corporation and your job is to come in and make a group proposal for a plan of action then you’re arguably “pitching” the entire time. It is a very real necessity in SOME aspects of business. Even the preacher on Sunday morning is going to do similarly.
But this wasn’t one of those situations.
This nauseated me. It embarassed ME.
The man was desperate.
Here’s the deal… People watch you work. This is what you want them to think about YOU: DAMN that guy is AMAZING. I want whatever he’s taking.”
At the event in L.A. they watched a 105 minute commercial.
The people in the audience paid a couple thousand to be there. It was a small event but nevertheless everyone’s entitled to a good show if you are spending that kind of money. Fortunately, I spoke last and that left a better, rather than bitter taste, in the audience’s mouth.
I guess the people in the audience did learn one thing. They found out how it felt when they were being pitched for 105 minutes. I suspect none of them will ever inflict that kind of pain on another human.
I promise I won’t if you don’t. Deal?
Core Principles of Influence
I have two personal core principles in influencing, selling, and in marketing. I’d like you to consider adopting them.
1) Give the Person a Great Experience. Create or represent products that are incredibly useful, a great value, life changing. Give the customer a great experience, in short, that gives the customer what they bargained for and then some. Then present that product in such a way that is compelling. One minute, two minutes, five minutes. Whatever it takes is whatever it requires. I’ve never seen a product that takes more than 30 minutes to sell and those were all infomercials.
i.e. This is a Lexus. You came to the dealership to buy a new car. You have the money. You say you want the best for the money and that is this one over here. If I’m selling for Lexus, my job is to specifically detail why this is likely their best choice and in their best interest and let them buy and get on with it.
I don’t like dinking around and YOU shouldn’t either.
The longer people hem and haw (oscillate) the more REGRET they experience later.
Read that again.
When the salesperson or marketer sucks, they are less influential. That means it takes longer to make a sale. That means the buyer, the customer, the client REGRETS having bought.
It is just STUPID to use too much time in verbal communication.
Let people say, “yes,” NOW.
It’s in your best interest. It is in their best interest. The only place you can’t do this is online marketing or in direct mail where you really have to work quite hard to gain trust and build a relationship.
2) Make This Relationship a Long-Term Relationship with Their Best Interests in Mind.
Once number one has been accomplished, then number two is simple.
I don’t waste my time or the client’s time in some kind of mental tug of war. I don’t fight clients, I work with them.
I might (metaphorically) smack them silly if they are about to do something that is not in their best interests.
I might point and say, “Get that Lexus. It’s best for your situation.”
But I won’t argue. I won’t debate.
I would win a debate. (Think University, not fighting with the wife over dinner.)
That is my training. I did lose a few times back in the day… but not often.
Debate is a competition. It all comes down to framing evidence in a compelling way while ripping to shreds your opponents point of view.
Debate champs often become attorneys. They love to win and winning is profitable.
But in a lot of cases it’s profitable because the other person loses.
And “winning” debates with other humans isn’t necessarily a good thing when you are in a relationship with that person!
I’m not going to be involved in a relationship with someone where THEY LOSE.
(If THEY lose, I’m going to immediately or eventually LOSE as well!)
If I’m going to have beat the other person, or “win,” to “get them to say, yes” then I’m not interested.
Most sales trainers, most people who teach sales skills use devastating “models” of communication that do NOT engender long-term relationships, trust and good will.
The underlying thinking process is that these are one time sales that don’t repeat in the future so close, close, close, close.
I refuse to play in the ball park where someone will lose.
Because when someone loses…the loss spreads far beyond that transaction.
Here’s your first quiz of the day. You’re me. Someone emails you this:
“Kevin I’m deciding on coming to your next event, but I don’t know what to do. I’ve read all your stuff…should I come?”
This is how I want you to respond…
There are a few good responses to “should I buy this?”
The best is going to be, “would it help you if you were better at X?”
If the answer is “yes,” then you simply say, “There you go.”
If the answer is “no” then simply say, “if you’re certain, then make other plans. If not, be there.”
Covert Influence: Your Name, Your Initials
Definition: Covert communication usually encompasses communication where the message arrives unnoticed by the conscious mind. Most covert communication (and covert influence) experienced in daily life, is accidental.
Here is the most dramatic example I can give you of ACCIDENTAL covert influence…
Send your kid to JAIL because of the name you gave them at birth?!?!
It couldn’t possibly matter right?
You better believe it does.
119 of every 100,000 people with the name Jeremy have been arrested in the U.S.
Of the top 20 arrestees in the U.S. (per 100,000 people), EIGHT of the names begin with the letter “J” and the names of the top 7 arrestees ALL end in “Y”
Examples of who is arrested most often in various states?
Washington, Minnesota and Oklahoma? Jesse.
Texas, Alabama and Virgina? Johnny.
Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, Idaho, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas? Jeremy.
Across the U.S. Jeremy is arrested TWICE as often (per 100,000 with these names!) as Michael, but they are both in the top 20!
Who is arrested for Murder in the U.S. (per 100,000)
How about Fraud? (per 100,000)
Want to do some looking to see where your name ranks for various arrests?
The first lesson you learn here is that YOUR NAME influences YOUR BEHAVIOR.
“What should we name our child?” is one of those things that people in the process of starting a family, think about all the time. Albert Mehrabian’s groundbreaking work didn’t tell you the derivation of names.
He told you how the world would judge your child.
Imagine that a new Mom and Dad give their baby a really unusual name. The kid ends up in jail, dropping out of high school.
Sadly it’s predictable. It’s not fair. Parents have a simple choice. You can try to defy odds that are set in stone (people’s minds that never change) or you can give your kid the best statistical chance for success there is.
If there is no reactance or resistance to begin with you have an advantage at the first impression with another person. It’s not rocket science. It’s simple. Elementary.
I was writing The Psychology of Persuasion at this time. And I needed it to be done because a child was about to be born…
Mehrabian’s book influenced my thinking about persuasion and influence for the rest of my life. His book is now largely out of date, but picking up a copy is still instructive. Clearly people have biases for and against every name.
A woman who is perceived as beautiful (based solely upon hearing her name) is not necessarily the same as a woman perceived as intelligent, in the minds of others.
With a little girl on the way, it was clear that this wasn’t just some “fun task” parents get to do. It was serious life changing business. Choices had to be made. And for me it was simple. Arguing with Mehrabian’s book would have been like trying to out debate my Grandmother.
Name selection was seriously simplified by giving my daughter a name that would be perceived as moral, intelligent, beautiful and kind.
It’s a massive life advantage. Because the other 99% born in that period were given all these other names many of which were outstanding choices and many others completely disastrous. Look at Mehrabian’s work and you knew the answer to your decision, in advance.
Programming the world to be open to and to initially like my daughter was precisely what I wanted to accomplish.
Once she opens the door and walks in the room, she can reinforce the name or start on a trajectory downward. All I could do was create the PRIME by offering a name people knew before they saw/heard her.
(In two weeks, she will receive her doctorate degree in Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Correlation but probably not causation.) Another Dr. Hogan… whew…
So how important in 2017 is a name?
Will people hire one name more than another?
Marry one “name” more than another?
Watch… very carefully….
Imagine that your friend’s name is Charlie.
You have another named Kirk
…and another named Billy.
Research shows us that Charlie is more likely to be a “C” student in school than Billy.
Billy is more likely to work for a company called Black’s Photography than Kirk and…
Kirk is more likely than Charlie to strike out when they play on the same professional baseball team. (“K” is baseball lingo for “strikeout.”)
…AND Billy is more likely to marry Brenda than Kristine.
…And Kirk is more likely to capture Kristine…..holy smokes what is going on here?
Here are some powerful examples of the impact your name has on you and others:
NAMES IN BUSINESS: People with names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker got about 50% more second interviews for jobs than did people with names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones.
This U.S. based study done in 2014 showed that someone like Mehrabian needs to come forth and give us the next Baby Code Book for Success. The assumption (not fact) is that Lakisha and Jamal are perceived as names of blacks and not whites and thus the white person gets the second interview. Sounds about right to me. That’s how the human mind works. If you live in the U.S. you probably don’t need to name your baby Vladimir. If you live in North Korea you don’t need to name your child Donald. Simple enough?
WHO IS LIKABLE: People with common names are perceived as more likable than people with more interesting names. People with common names are also more likely to get hired than people with uncommon names. Again, this kind of research doesn’t tell you WHY but here is a clue. If your child or nephew is John and a “John” comes applying for a job the probability of “John” getting the Job over Wilbur seems likely because it is familiar. Again, I can’t prove it. No one can, but this is at least part of the most plausible explanation. Common wins…
DO NOT PASS GO…GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL: Here’s where it gets real. Kids with unpopular names are far more likely to be juvenile delinquents than other kids.
The researchers in the study were probably right when they guessed it was because the kids were mistreated by others when they were younger yet. T he uncommon name triggers initial then ongoing mistreatment which breeds traits/characteristics needed to get the cops to throw kids in jail.
You see, the research into covert influence is becoming more widespread and we now know far more about the REAL influences on human behavior than we ever did.
In Invisible Influence, you learned about the covert influence of the initials of your name.
Mine are KLH.
What are yours?
The studies I’m drawing from today, are all about names of people, places, things, initials and letters.
Let’s take a peek at initials.
The initials can be first, middle or last initial.
You and I are human and humans are drawn to people, places, things, and permanent relationships like where you go to college, the company you work for, and marriage partners *because* (in part!) of the initials in your name.
Covert Influence Secret: You are “primed” or “conditioned” to resonate with other people, places and things similar and desirable if they have one of the same initials that you and I do.
AND if their name starts with a less used letter (Z,Y,X,Q) or has an unusual name, the effects are MORE pronounced!
So Quincy is even more likely to be influenced by the initials of his name than are Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
The phenomenon doesn’t stop here. 9 more findings for you to see today.
You are more likely to marry, go to work for the company, go to the store, and do things with the person/place/thing whose name has the same initial(s) or if their initials are immediately next to yours in the alphabet.
This was my argument a few years ago for my interest in Keeley Hazell. (KH, yes?)
You don’t think? Self Analysis is difficult, I admit. It certainly is true that there are other factors at work in every connection, but throughout this article you’ll discover that initials and the sounds of initials are hidden connection points between individuals, and between individuals and other objects/experiences.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John….all within FOUR letters of each other J,K,L,M. Interesting that other authors in the New Testament were James, Jude, Paul and….the exception to the rule was Timothy.
When I was a senior in high school my locker was next to Nick Higginbotham. We became good friends. When I first got into the field Hypnosis …H,H,H, H….my closest colleagues were Horton, Hunter, Hastings…and Holly Sumner.
During the summer I still play catch and talk life with Hastings every week. 🙂
I could be wrong but I believe that Barry Bonds got more walks “BB” (Bases on balls) than any player in baseball history. Hank Aaron held the home run (HR) record for almost three decades.
I can hear you say, “yes but Kevin he took that record from ‘Babe’ Ruth!” …at which point I have to make sure you remember that his name wasn’t “Babe,” it was George Herman Ruth.
20 years ago, scientists would have attributed this to “selection bias” or randomness. Those are good arguments by the way. But, today we know that initials are more impacting on the unconscious than anyone ever would have imagined.
School evaluations and Grading
There’s NO difference between the grades of people whose initials are A, B and R, S in law school.
Now that is interesting because
students with the initials of C, D, E, F all do worse than they should!
And check this out. The A and B initials are found far more often in the best law schools when compared to mediocre law schools!!!
WHO is GOING TO be ACCEPTED AT COLLEGE? In a fascinating study from the Czech Republic, (90,000 people in the research) …names that were near the top of the alphabet were more likely to get accepted into the best schools. (What was remarkable was the best grades in high school were attained by the kids with last names that began with letters at the end of the alphabet.) I reported on similar research in Invisible Influence 4 years ago.
Who is going to be high in IMPULSIVITY: People with names that begin with letters at the end of the alphabet tend to be more impulsive. (They have been “last” all their life and now they are going to do something about it? That’s a pretty good guess.)
Who will others PERCEIVE to be HIGH in INTELLIGENCE? Want people to think you are smarter? Use your middle initial. Kevin L. Hogan. Want to be perceived as even MORE intelligent. Use K.L. Hogan. Two initials are better than one. AND to top off the study I’m pondering, authors cited with THREE initials then a last name, were perceived as most intelligent. K.V.L. Hogan (There is no V… it’s just an example.) Covert Influence is being experienced 24/7….it’s changing people’s lives because of…something as simple as a person’s initials.
The influence goes beyond the actual letters.
It goes to the actual SOUNDS of the letters.
The “K” in Kevin and the “C” in cat have the same sound in English and I’m likely to be drawn to people, places and things with that “kuh” sound in addition to just the “K!”
Kevin is more likely to have a pet cat and Danielle is more likely to have a dog than chance would allow for.
If you haven’t already thought of a thousand creative uses for these revelations, step back and think for a moment.
Can names determine who is going to be a CEO or a good Team player?
Certainly names can’t factor in to who is “CEO MATERIAL!”
On Linked In the top male CEO names are almost all SHORT. Tom, Bob, Jack, Fred, Bruce, etc. But for women? Longer names, fully spelled out do find themselves on the CEO list more frequently than other women.
Wait, what about other people in the office? Can we have a hint on who the better TEAM PLAYERS will be?
People with the same first initials tend to do better in team projects with other people that have the same first letter. (Bill, Bob, Bruce) The gist of the research, the theme of names as predictors of connection, likability and success, is replicated over and over in study after study.
My co-author for Covert Persuasion: Psychological Tactics and Tricks to Win the Game is James Speakman. Imagine that Jimmy goes to meet with Brian Tracy (they are friends).
There is no major connection in the letters (OK the S is right next to the T.)
How should Jimmy approach Brian if he wants Brian to do a favor for him? What would Jimmy actually DO? Does he use words that all begin with B and T?
That could get a little challenging.
BUT, if he put a proposal on Brian’s desk called Break Through or Break Through for Brian Tracy, Tracy’s nonconscious mind IMMEDIATELY gives a greater than a random weight of attention to the proposal.
It doesn’t mean he will instantly say, “yes” but it does mean that there will be a “bias” assigned to the proposal that isn’t suggested elsewhere.
Initials and letter sounds make a big impact where they shouldn’t.
What other surprises are there here?
The letters in your name are viewed more favorably, by you, than are the other letters in the alphabet.
So I identify more with kevinlynnhogan than I do other letters. Later in this article you’ll see how dramatic this becomes when it comes to asking for compliance but for now do a little looking in your environment.
Perhaps coincidentally another of my favorite people to look at is British actress Kelly Brook.
That would be KEELEYHAzELL and KELLYbrOOK are both found particularly unique by KEvinLYnnHOgAn.
Selection bias? Perhaps.
I would guess there is a coincidence in the attraction. There is no coincidence in the power of identification and influence which will be discussed at length in this series.
Initials influence…a lot more than they should.
In fact it can get bad and sad….the research is in….
For people who like their name too much….and that name has initials of bad performance labels (like a “D” or “F” in school, for example) an individual can sabotage their own success!
Last year Kris Bryant did a real nice job for the Chicago Cubs in his MVP year. He also K’d (struck out) more than any other player in baseball.
Check out this cool experiment.
Initials and Where You Work
One of the most important decisions that we can make is what company we will work for. One of the most important things a company does is hire. But companies don’t hire, people hire. And people do or don’t identify with very small things, like initials and letters.
Think about it, there are a number of factors to consider when making the decision about where to work, including salary, benefits and work location.
However, there are also less-obvious factors in play that sway our decision, and that of the person who hires you. And both of your are oblivious to the phenomenon.
Psychologists Frederik Anseel and Wouter Duyck from Ghent University (Belgium) were interested in testing the extent of the name-letter effect and if it is potent enough to affect where we choose to work.
The psychologists analyzed a database containing information about Belgian employees who work full- time. More specifically, the researchers looked at the employees’ name and how often their first initial matched the first letter of their company’s name. The researchers estimated the expected number of these matches (using a probability calculation) and compared that to what they actually observed.
In a study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the psychologists found that there is indeed a name-letter effect between employee names and the company they work for.
There were 12% more matches than was expected based on the probability estimate. The researchers noted that “hence, for about one in nine people whose initials matched their company’s initial, choice of employer seems to have been influenced by the fact that the letters matched.” In addition, when the psychologists looked across all letters, they found that this effect occurred with every letter of the alphabet, but was more apparent for rarer initials.
The authors concluded that they “have demonstrated that people are more likely to work for companies with initials matching their own than to work for companies with other initials.”
And there is more…
Initials and Success?
The identification between common letters and initials continues. It turns out that people are more likely to move to a town/city with similar letters or initials as are in their name.
Laurena is more likely to live in L.A. than she is in Pittsburgh. Jesse is more likely to live in Jacksonville or other towns that begin with the letter J than you would expect to find by chance.
Indeed Fred is more likely to live on Fourth Avenue than on Sixth. Identification is one of the most driving of all connectors between people, places and things but we never notice because people spend so much time on trying to think of what words to say instead of using what is right under their nose.
By now your brain must be percolating with ideas about application. Your creativity will be your only limitation.
But in case you are curious about a few of my ideas for you, I’ll drop a few hints about this next week.
I’ll leave you with one today.
If you were going to take someone out to eat, perhaps the cute girl or the client. Where might it make sense to take her? What might be a clue after you have determined the food and setting is appropriate?
Exactly. Now you will begin to see those opportunities every single day.
Where can you get more of the most innovative and cutting-edge influence and persuasion strategies and tactics?
New! Just Released on CD….
Covert Influence: Hidden Persuaders They
(Your Competition) Don’t Want You to Have
I want to show you one of the most surprising and perhaps one of the most uncomfortable….and powerful phenomenon in Covert Influence. In fact, I want to share with you all the latest research available (well, almost all…!)
Influence Without Resistance. What’s the Key Factor? You’ll have most amazing, truly stunning tactics in predicting what and how your client (spouse, child, customer, read: anyone) will choose. Thus, you are a step ahead of anyone else in implementing the most powerful phenomena in consumer research today. Find out with this program!
Creating Irresistible Impulse. The button is there (for everyone); it just needs to be pushed. What are some of the irresistible impulses marketers are using on you? How can you take advantage of these tactics yourself? It’s all here in this section. Kevin details the marketing phenomenon that pushes the buttons…all the way to irresistible.
Tapping into Human Desires & Emotions. With just ONE change in strategy, a non-profit organization can get 5 times the donations. What can this strategy do for you? You can’t afford NOT to implement this tactic now.
Desires and Emotions… That Influence. You’ve heard some rumors, I’m sure about negative emotions and positive emotions in the influence process. But do you know what actually works, and what to emphasize in the process, and when? Find out once and for all!
Tribes. You’ve heard the term. What does it describe? How does it come into play in the influence process? Most important, how do you utilize the concept of the Tribe in order to make more sales? It’s all here… Kevin explains about subgroups and how to make appeals based on whether a group is “in” or “out”. This is cutting edge research that benefits you.
Covert Influence…to Control Behavior. You’ve seen the signs. Above the candy jar, tacked to the break room wall. Even posted on a fence, or highway. How do signs really influence? What elements should be used in signs to covertly control behavior? Fascinating new research uncovered for you!