Write these four words down…in order.
Those four words by themselves mean nothing. Put into the context of influence and the correct sequencing…impressive things can happen. Watch and see what I mean…
A couple of years ago, I got an invitation to be a judge in the Miss Rio 2006 Beauty Contest. Now that may or may not sound cool to you, but I live for stuff like this….
And I said “no.”
Now, how is THAT possible. If you REALLY want to do something fun and it comes along, how is it POSSIBLE that when you have the means and ability…you say “no.”
(Aside from just being not real bright…)
Take a peek at the invitation to be that judge at the “driver” level. (see the 16 Basic Human Desires, as discussed in Covert Hypnosis: Home Study Program) the pleasure of judging the contest would be a 10….on a scale of one to 10…or more.
And that would still be underestimating things. Now, let’s say that not finishing the date-promised novel (finishing a novel is along the lines of having a baby…a wonderful experience and painful in the final moments) on time is painful…also a 10…on a scale of one to 10. I’m never late for anything and have an annoying habit of doing the right thing…10…is underestimating the anticipation of regret.
But, most of you know that pain is far more powerful in motivation than is pleasure. On average, across themes, it’s 2.5 times as powerful. So to overcome the “10” would take a “25” on the pleasure scale and, unfortunately, the scale only goes to 10.
The competing commitment in this case is very big and the discrepancy between finishing the novel (status quo) and taking a two-day weekend (desired outcome) is too big of a gulf to personally “change my mind.”
And it is an either/or scenario. Conflicting desires are often, but not always, put to the test of values and beliefs. Values and beliefs are *not* usually as powerful as desires and drivers. It takes thought and cognition to move to this level of decision.
When people are sitting in a room all by themselves and the hidden cameras have all been shut off, people will jump on their desires and leave their values in the dust.
And I’ll come back to the element of discrepancy shortly. The fact that I wasn’t going be a judge, didn’t mean I wasn’t persuaded to WANT to go. It means my behavior… my actions are such that I didn’t go. In spite of the desire, due to the perceived value of a competing commitment, the pain wins. And notice that this is not a bad thing, necessarily.
Now, how did The Rio learn to have empathy for me? (How did they know that I might be an excellent choice to be a judge?) Why not invite me to play slots or give me free tickets to The Scintas and The Chippendales shows?
Once they got to know me, they found out how to appeal to me. They found the hot button. Harrah’s owns The Rio and is well known for getting to know their clients.
But it wasn’t always like that with The Rio. They are very good at keeping a customer, but not so good at acquiring one…watch…
The Rio is one of the truly fun hotels in Las Vegas. It’s very hard to walk into that place and not see just about everyone having a great time….so…turn the clock back 9 more months with me…as I think about The Rio…
You and I both remember stuff that at least in the moment boggled your mind.
Customer service is huge in my business and because it’s a monster value for me, I am rather programmed to believe that it matters for everyone else.
November 2004…I’m on hold with The Rio Hotel in Vegas. On hold longer than any hotel I’ve called except the Hard Rock. I’m thinking of switching my reservation from the MGM Marquee Suite to The Rio’s “Super Suite.” (What a stupid name for what was at the time, their most luxurious suite, but, whatever…they aren’t paying me …!)
I’m thinking, I’ve never stayed at The Rio. I’ve seen Penn and Teller there 12 times. A dozen. Penn and Teller could be comping me by now…. The in-casino “ceiling shows” are very cool and the people I’m taking will love it. The in-casino dancers are very classy and unique to the Rio. The decor is cool. The atmosphere is great fun especially at night! ….If it’s similar in price, quality and amenities, I’m in.
“Hello…Dr. Hogan…I’m Rafael…”
“Hi Rafael, How much for the Super Suite on the 3rd and 4th?”
“Well Dr. Hogan, we are an all-suite hotel with over blah blah blah blah blah blah…we have four pools, blah blah blah blah…”
Now STOP right there. Where is the empathy? Nowhere. It disappeared off his computerized BS script right along with his customer. My curiosity has now been squelched with enormous RESISTANCE.
I was sold. He assumed I knew nothing about the hotel, it’s theme, and so on. And if the marketing people at Harrah’s (they own The Rio) are reading this, it’s YOUR fault! (And typically Harrah’s marketing is the most efficient out there.) Rafael is not a bad guy, he’s just doing what some moron in marketing told him to do on the phone. (Do everything you can do…to tick off future guests by not answering their questions and boring them with details with things they already know…ASSUME they are not in a hurry when they call and that speed of service is not important…and don’t ever ask an intelligent questions like, “Are you familiar with the hotel sir?”. NO. Be stupid and make their eyes fall out of their heads.)
I will not listen to another discourse, but I do want to know what I would have paid.
“How much for the Super Suite on the 3rd and 4th Rafael?”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…that will be 700 per night, Dr. Hogan.”
“Rafael, if I call back I’ll ask for you, are you on commission if you book the high end rooms?” (I always ask because it’s the right thing to do.)
“Yes sir.” (First question he answered that wasn’t prompted on his computer screen.)
“Cool, have a good night, Rafael.”
Voice in the background: “Are we staying at The Rio then?”
“Not this time…”
What was missing?
Legend Point: Lack of empathy destroys business. Treat your client and customers like people, not automatons with wallets.
And of course YOU have YOUR “Rio stories” too. Perhaps you have one every day where people treat you like a nonperson with a wallet. And just like you, I forgave The Rio and did stay there this past winter, which is how they know me and know to make the empathic invitation for this week.
So they lost my business.
The Rio temporarily lost my business because the salesperson didn’t hear my dismay at his babbling on about nothing. He didn’t know I tuned him out, because he didn’t talk to me. He talked at me. My resistance went up high…and there was nothing done to change the scenario.
KEY: He needed Empathy…
The Persuasion Sequence
Empathy Begins With Being Curious, Asking and Feeling
Before any technique or strategy can be implemented, there MUST be empathy.
…and I remembered this classic scene which ultmiately coined a phrase for a generation, from television history…Tony Randall shouts at Jack Klugman in a scene from The Odd Couple: “When you assume you make an as_ of you and me.”
It sounds very cliche and rather goofy and it is true.
This is one of those life-changing moments made possible through the miracle of the sitcom. I’ll never forget it. Felix Unger at the chalk board writing the words out as Oscar Madison watches open-mouthed. I saw it 25 years ago on ABC right before Monday Night Football. It was a surprisingly powerful imprint.
Curiosity, the Key to Empathy
From that moment forward, I made it my habit to be curious. I never assume what someone else’s experience was…what they were feeling…what they were thinking. To predict…to anticipate all possibilities: good, very good. To assume my “intuition” was “right”, to believe I knew what they felt.. always a big mistake…
That one characteristic…the willingness to wonder and be curious…is a skill of personal mastery. I have watched literally thousands of people screw up deals, dates and enterprises of all kinds because they had the incapacity to shut up and listen. Instead, so many people suffer from blurtitis…the dreaded disease of thinking you know what they are thinking or feeling and being stupid enough to say it out loud. Blurtitis….
Your client resists blurtitis and other similar diseases of bad verbal and emotional hygiene. In fact…so do you…it’s just much easier to recognize rampant stupidity in others instead of yourself.
Continue this article for a $10,000 KEY….!
$10,000 KEY: It’s not the client’s “resistance” that matters so much, but how you respond to it that will ultimately determine the final one word answer you hear. (Yes or No!) This is true in sales, marketing, management, dating, therapy…
In EVERY human interaction you should ANTICIPATE resistance because it IS going to happen.
How did Rafael respond to me? With a script. Yuk.
How many thousands will leave The Rio and go to The Venetian because they are amazing when you call and do NOT use a script???
In other words, the responsibility stands with you to determine your response to your client’s reaction and resistance. You can think of it as your personal style.
Your Personal Style Does Matter
Empathy means thinking about what your client/customer might want and giving it to them with your own personal flair.
There’s a restaurant at the MGM Grand called Nob Hill. It is 100% style. The food is great but it is only secondary to the restaurant itself. Why? There are dozens of booths that are beautifully partitioned with glass dividers creating an intimate atmosphere where you can hear the person you are with. In another part of the restaurant there are numerous larger tables where you can enjoy energetic conversation with a group. It’s elegant. Style…
And then there is Burger King…
Now, when I walk into Nob Hill and when someone walks into Burger King, I might hear the exact same words from the person who is going to serve me…but I suspect that those words will be heard and mean very different things depending on which restaurant I’m in. (Nothing against BK, my kids enjoy getting the drive thru once in awhile…)
BK is not trying to be empathic with ME, they are being empathic with my kids and THERE, they succeed.
YOU are the place. You are the context. You create an aura and ambience around you. It is rather unique and it is going to be perceived as positive or negative, comfortable or threatening, conducive to agreement or preparatory to doing battle. Style…
Initial resistance is normal and necessary! In a small percentage of people, there is only resistance. But in the majority of people resistance can be temporary. The right communication style, not words…will determine whether the resistance stays and becomes impenetrable.
Take Responsibility for Dealing with Resistance
Rule: 8 times out of 10. It’s not them. It’s you.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is kidding you. Don’t buy it. You take it personally because it is personal. You matter a lot. If they don’t like you, it doesn’t mean you are a bad guy.
If you are regularly experiencing PERSISTENT resistance that is maintained and increased through your persuasive communication attempts, it IS you (or possibly the product/service).
Discrepancy is simple. It’s the difference between where someone wants to be and where they actually are.
And as I’ve discussed before, just because someone wants to be somewhere that isn’t where they are at, in no way means they will take any action to get there. In fact, they probably won’t.
As noted in Science of Influence Volume 31, the hamster on the wheel must come up with reasons for change and feel them. You can offer reasons not to change and validate the reasons your client must change BUT…if you hard-sell anyone…all you get is a “yes” followed by no follow-through, a canceled order, a canceled appointment….a canceled career.
Relationships built on empathy will last, and discrepancy discovered in an empathic relationship will be acted on as a TEAM. Two against the discrepancy. Not coach against client.
The Persuasion Sequence
Find your client’s sense of discrepancy through curiosity, asking and feeling. Ask how you can help resolve it. The results are going to be obvious as you learn the sequencing of persuasive communication.
Where can you find more information like this? The only place we know that gives you specific ways that you can influence others through motivation with empathy (and other techniques!)
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