All too often the factors that matter the most as to whether they will say “yes” or “no” are truly covert. You can’t see them. They can’t fully prepare for them. They are utterly invisible! They are the things that books about marketing, selling, communication and decision-making simply don’t talk about. And that means that they’re either “holding out” or they don’t know! (The latter is more likely.)
I’ve talked with you a lot about genes and DNA, about mood, emotions and psychological factors.
Today… the things no one thinks about…
And yet, sales, relationships, successful advertising and marketing messages live and die on mastering the invisible ghosts.
Disarming the Ghosts of Influence
In order to disarm the ghosts, there are some questions you need to know the answers to. Read on to find out what they are.
Disarming the Ghosts
Here are some questions that you need to know the answers to, because they have as much impact on “yes” or “no” as the words you use and the quality of the message you communicate. The answers to these first four questions disarm some of the ghosts of influence.
- Imagine you are going up against a competitor to get the deal. Should you make your presentation First or Last?
- Imagine you have several different options or products or services that someone can buy from you. Which product should you show first? Which should you describe last? Which do you present in toward the middle?
- Imagine you have a choice to repeat a message (advertising/marketing/sales), several times in the course of the day. Say it was FREE. How many times would you run the ad? There is an exact number of messages that is the most efficacious for someone to be exposed to in a day. Want to know what it is?
- Imagine that not everything “happens” on the same day and it’s for a HUGE deal. Do you want to present first, in the middle or last if you are competing against others, when the competition for a bid or sale is on DIFFERENT DAYS? Even the world’s best salespeople have no idea!
- If you are competing for a proposal to be accepted do you want to present your material FIRST or LAST when there are required multiple bids? (And why does it matter?)
- And did you know there is a BIG GHOST in the PRESENTATION ORDER within the sequencing of ideas to your counterpart? Do you put your most powerful material first? Last? In the middle?
I know the third ghost is driving you nuts, so I’ll go there first.
Yes, even if you can get the air time at no cost, you don’t always want it….
The fact is that you can have overkill in message effectiveness. The fact is that there is a magic number that defeats the ghost of too much or too little repetitions. In any single sitting, whether an hour or three, seeing an ad THREE times is optimal. Once you get past three, people start to find the ad irritating and annoying and they develop a negative attitude toward the product.
One study that compared a persuasive message with a persuasive message followed by 20 posters supporting the message…followed by a persuasive message followed by 200 posters found some fascinating results. The most effective? By far the persuasive message followed by 20 posted. 200 posters was overkill and people got sick of hearing the message. (Politicians would do well to remember this.)
Repetition is good when it is spaced apart. Repetition that is communicated over the period of an hour or two or three is maddening whether on TV, in the newspaper or you and me talking. Three times. That’s it.
What about going up against a competitor?
Going Up Against a Competitor
The first question (#1) was about going up against a competitor. This is true whether you are in the Dating Game (or whatever the heck it’s called) or in the Marketing and Selling Game….And there is a secret difference that I’m going to share with you here for the first time. Notice that there are really two scenarios in our first question.
- You and a few others propose all in one day.
- You and a few others propose on separate days.
What do YOU do?
It depends first on the CONTENT, then on the time between presentations.
If you have an argument to make that is controversial, interesting and/or familiar, you want to go first. Said another way, if you have an argument (as opposed to a “sales presentation”) where you will be hammering home facts and data to experts, to people with knowledge of the subject yes, GO FIRST. ALWAYS GO FIRST IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH EXPERTS *and* your message is filled with features and facts NOT BENEFITS.
On the other hand, if you have a presentation to make where people are unfamiliar with the material and have little expertise, then GO LAST. When they know little about what you have to offer, go LAST. Going last is when you almost always look better against a group of similarly talented and “appearing” people.
If you have your competitors all presenting the SAME DAY, AND your arguments will be intense and thought driven, then you MUST GO FIRST. The primacy effect is strongest here.
If you have competitors all presenting on a different day/days then you MUST GO LAST. The recency effect as the people goes to the polls, so to speak, is far more profound.
Going first in any scenario is TOUGH, because everything you say can be wiped out later in the day.
Is there a way to defeat the ghost?
Defeating the Ghosts
But there is a way to defeat the ghost!
There is a fascinating factor called, The Inoculation Effect.
What this means, is that you can inoculate your listeners to what your opponent will say.
“In other words ladies and gentleman, my counterpart will tell you that he is in favor of banning nuclear weapons, but as he tells you that, remember that he has voted for their passage in 13 consecutive votes.”
Inoculation allows you to defuse the potency of your competitor’s arguments so long as you have the facts straight!
And going last where knowledge is NOT an issue can make all the difference in the world.
Don’t be surprised if singers going last, advance to the next round of American Idol. Studies by Carnegie Mellon University researcher Wändi Bruine De Bruin have found that participants who appear toward the end of juried competitions do better than those who perform at the beginning.
She found that participants who appeared near the end of the contests (like American Idol) earned higher marks from judges than those who performed earlier. This phenomenon, known as the serial position effect, doesn’t just affect would-be Kelly Clarksons; it is possible that the effect can be found in everyday evaluations such as job interviews and student exams.
Bruine De Bruin found that scores increased as the competitions progressed, not only when judges are asked to evaluate all candidates at the end of the contest, but also when they are asked to judge each individual performance after it has been completed.
OK, that’s two of the six ghosts. The rest we’ll take care of at Influence: Boot Camp.
How Can You Find out More about Defeating the Ghosts of Influence?
Influence: Boot Camp 10th Anniversary The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.