Kevin, in what order do I use all of these techniques, tools, and influential methods?”
Some variation of this questions is asked of me several times a week at our Q&A page at Ask Kevin Hogan!. Some people ask this question in a selling context, and others in a marketing context. Some also in a therapeutic context. With minor alterations, the value of this particular model is great when you add a few artistic strokes to fit your particular situation.
Each tool of influence you discover in The Science of Influence CDs (or The Covert Hypnosis program) for example, you can apply with great success in conjunction with at least one of the 10 keys in the following model of influential communication.
Before going through the 10 critical elements of influence in the 21 Century model, you should be aware that some of the keys are “things I’ve heard before.” That Is what I’m HOPING! I want you to rethink anything you have intuited or known in the past so you really begin to utilize these SKILLS immediately. Ready? Here we go!
(1) Managing Your State of Mind in All Situations
Your state of mind is one element of the sales process that you have a great deal of control over. Your “state” is generally considered to be made up of three elements, two of which you can control and one of which is difficult to control.
(1a) Your Internal Representations
There is no question that the pictures, words and emotions you experience in your mind, are in large part under your control. If your internal representations are sabotaging you, then you need to take back control of your mind. You must begin to paint new pictures for yourself. Begin to see your life as more likely to succeed. Begin to see yourself as becoming competent in understanding the behavior, actions, and thinking of other people. Realize that as you become effective in understanding the workings of others you become more in control of yourself.
Your Internal Representations include what you say to yourself when you talk. These representations include the tone of voice when you talk to yourself. If you don’t like what is going on in your brain change it now. You can change the tone of your voice when you talk to you from one that implies, “You Dummy” to one that commands, “You ARE going to Make it BIG!” When you experience pictures that create a sense of hopelessness immediately change the picture to a struggle that ends with your success instead of failure. Taking an active role in your self-management is very important to your success as a highly effective salesperson.
Managing your mind is inextricably linked to managing your body. If you are finding yourself to be obese, suffering from aches and pains that can be attended to and notice that your day to day posture and “carrying of yourself” is impotent you must take action to change now.
Overweight? Start a weight reduction program immediately. Your body image directly affects your self esteem and that means it affects your sales. Become active and get your body image in line so you are proud of the way you like. How you see yourself impacts your perceived attractiveness by others.
Do you suffer from pains, aches, and other somatics that can be treated or helped with therapy? Do it! Pain and other somatics reduce your effectiveness and drain you of necessary energy that you need to give to your customers.
Is your posture lousy? Start sitting up straight and walking as if someone has a huge hand pushing your buttocks forward. This will improve your posture dramatically. The way you carry yourself will change many “no’s” into “yes’s” because many people perceive that a hunched over appearance is indicative of low self confidence. When people think you are not confident it drains their confidence in you as a salesperson and reduces your sales volume.
(1c) Genetic Factors
If you suffer from depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and other emotional challenges, talk to your medical doctor and find appropriate medications to help yourself. There is no shame in utilizing anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to make up for inefficient neuro-biology. It is very difficult to change your “brain chemistry” in a predictable manner with cognitive techniques alone. Take advantage of the laser beam like medications that are available to help you. Consult your physician. There is ALWAYS something you can do.
(2) Managing Your Customer’s State of Mind
You can begin to manage other people’s minds once you have your own state managed. Managing your customer’s states is accomplished in the same manner that you manage your states of mind. The only difference is that you must pull your customer’s Mind Access strings instead of pulling your own.
(2a) Internal Representations
If your client needs to experience a brief dose of status quo misery to help him change to a brighter future, then you are obligated to paint a vivid picture of both what he must move away from and what he must move toward. Make the voices he is going to hear in his mind clear and loud. Help him feel the pain of stasis and the pleasure of change if he can’t do it for himself.
Sometimes it is necessary to get your client to move to create internal change his state of mind. Hand him something. Give him a book and have him turn the pages. Ask your client to participate in some activity with you. DO SOMETHING with your client. You are not obligated to always sit face to face, across the table from each other.
If your client is in a “stuck state,” the sale is going to be lost if you don’t change his state. Sometimes it is appropriate to get up and go or at least move somewhere else. Changing your client’s physiology will change his internal state.
(2c) Appeal to You Client’s Genetic Makeup
In my book, Covert Hypnosis: An Operators Manual, you learned the dozens of genetic traits and pre-programmed tendencies. Utilize this information by practicing the strategies necessary to pull the genetic persuasion points that you have learned about.
(3) Gather, Manage and Implement Intelligence
Eliciting values, beliefs, and feelings, is a method of gathering vital intelligence about your customer. The best salespeople gather intelligence about their customers before they meet, if possible. In Covert Hypnosis you have learned about personality and buying types and who buys based upon what metaprograms. That is intelligence. There is more to be learned, however.
If you are selling to corporations, you can uncover everything from corporate earnings to corporate strategy by simply making phone calls to the company and asking before you go on your visit. Learn what you can about the needs, interests and wants of the company.
Secretaries are a fountain of knowledge. One of my favorite selling strategies is to not try and bypass the secretary but instead, make friends with her.
“Hi Jane, this is Kevin Hogan, the author of The Psychology of Persuasion. Does your boss decide what speakers to bring into your corporation or is that someone else I should talk to?”
“Once I get him on the phone, what does he look for in a good speaker?”
“Does he really go for motivational speakers or those who present more practical applications in sales and marketing?”
“What was your favorite speaker in the last year or two?”
“What was his favorite speaker in the last couple years?”
This gathering of intelligence is powerful. In this example you are speaking with the secretary who is indeed the gatekeeper in the corporate world. Instead of passing by the gatekeeper you have made friends by asking for her opinions and building a sense of respect for her and her knowledge about what her company likes.
(4) Networking Your Way to Sales Success
Networking only works if you have at least one of three things. You are the best in your business, you have great products and/or you have great services. If you can meet someone’s needs time and again then you can network your way to sales success.
One rule that is constructive to keep in mind is to do something to help someone else’s career every day. If you can help others with their families, businesses, careers, you will eventually reap the rewards of what you have sown. Networking is more than keeping a fat rolodex. Networking is the ability to recommend someone who can solve someone else’s problem. People appreciate you when you help them and have nothing to gain in return.
Assist people every day with random or intentional acts of kindness and you will build a network of friends and people who will help you in your future. It is almost impossible to help people every day and not experience the rewards of networking down the line.
Networking also demands that you have the courage to call the people who can make a difference in your career. Many people will not call on the right person to buy or even for advice simply because they believe the celebrity won’t talk to a humble salesperson. This is nonsense. 10-20% of celebrities, CEO’s, and even political leaders are attainable. If what you have to offer is useful enough, you can get your minutes with the biggest decision makers. Be willing to be bold and occasionally embarrassed in exchange for the benefits of being known by the “right people.”
(5) Be a Hunter
The world’s greatest salespeople don’t simply sit back and wait for business to come to them. The world’s greatest become adept at hunting for those who will buy your products and services. Business is always good for someone. Business can almost always be good for you.
One distinction between those who have great success in sales and those who are work-a-day salespeople is the hunter mentality. The hunter is always looking for people he can help. The hunter is relentless in the pursuit of the right groups and markets for his products and services. The hunter doesn’t rely on lead sources from inside the company. The hunter is constantly developing his own contacts. People who succeed in multi-level marketing are those who see opportunity for almost everyone they meet. This doesn’t mean the hunter is pushy or involves people in a project that won’t be in the individual’s best interest. It does mean that a hunter will always be aware of people’s needs and desires. The hunter always goes the extra mile. When you go the extra mile you always have more opportunities for success than the average salesperson. Going the extra mile can mean asking for referrals or better, asking who else will definitely benefit from an outstanding product or service. The hunter is always bending over backwards to help others. The hunter is generally thought of as “lucky” because they seem to regularly be meeting opportunity with preparation, one definition of luck.
(6) Building Credibility with Your Clients
When communicating with your clients, is it apparent that you have their best interests in mind? If you have any doubt that you are not selling a great product or a great service you must choose a product or service that is great to sell. If you are selling yourself as a consultant, then you must be the best. You must constantly go the extra mile to make yourself part of the top 20%. This is where credibility begins.
An excellent manner of establishing credibility is that of being able to bring out the key drawback of your product or service and make certain that your customer sees that one flaw. Once you have done this you have not only established credibility but you have already dealt with what is normally the only objection to your making the sale, except money issues, which may or may not be easily solved.
Remember the call letters: WII-FM. They stand for “What’s in it for me?” If you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and answer that question with a laundry list of benefits, you will begin making more sales, higher volume sales and a higher percentage of sales.
How do you appear less than credible on occasion?
Sometimes we get nervous in the sales process that our product may not be the best for our client and we continue to sell anyway. It is at this point that you must ask your customer, “If this product could only help you to this certain degree at this price, is it something that would be really useful to you?”If they say “yes,” you can allow the pangs of nervousness to leave. If they say “no,” then forget making the sale. You could still choose to pull all the right strings, walk away with a check, but you will have created a Win-Lose, and that means your career will take a step backward. Never, ever, enter into any sales transaction where one party loses.
Creating beliefs (i.e.. levels of certainty) is critical. If you expect to fail you probably will. If you expect to succeed you probably will. What you say to yourself in private is what you become. Begin to see yourself as a provider, a helper, a caretaker, a creator of value. If this isn’t possible, you are selling the wrong product.
You will have a difficult time selling a particular make of cars if you don’t believe that they are the best cars, for the money in the country. Believe it or move to a different dealership. Refuse to sell what is second best. Never compromise your integrity. People will talk about you and believe in you if you are the best, selling products that have great value. Once you are selling something you believe in, your enthusiasm will be contagious.
Your potential in selling, and that of all of your competitors is correlated to beliefs. These beliefs fall into two distinct categories. First, ethical selling demands that you believe in your idea, product, service, etc. Second, it must be evident that you KNOW that you are creating value by partaking in the sales process. If you feel tainted by selling then consider how your customers will feel if they are buying someone else’s products and services. Are your customers going to be buying second best if someone else goes to see them? Don’t let it happen.
Being believable is about being congruent. Remember when Kathleen Willey appeared on 60 Minutes in 1998 and clearly but emotionally told of her encounter with President Clinton at the White House? American believed her because she was congruent. She was perceived as congruent because what she said matched with how she said it. Her verbal communication matched her non-verbal communication. She was, believable.
Once you reach the point that you are congruent with what you are persuading another to, you will be unstoppable.
Name some congruent people? Describe specifically why you believe these people to be congruent.
Name some incongruent people? Describe specifically why you believe this people to be incongruent.
What can you do so you stay in the category of congruent people?
If you are not perceived as congruent and believable you will not make the sale. If you are perceived as believable and you sell excellent products and services, you will be on the road to success in selling. Your enthusiasm about the home you are selling, the stocks you are touting, the automobiles your customers are going to drive away in, is all going to be transferred to your customer like a mind virus. (A meme)
Your level of certainty, combined with pure rapport, and meeting their true wants and needs, allows you to sell at will.
(7) Develop a Sense of Fascination
Decide that you will learn everything about your customer that she is willing to comfortably share with you. Develop a sense of fascination about the work and livelihood about others. What is grand about your customer? What is great about their job? What is fascinating about their philosophy of life? Allow yourself to become curious and excited about learning about other people and their interests. Remember that what is interesting to you is likely to be boring to most other people. What is interesting to your customer, on the other hand, is something he can talk about for hours on end. Your customer’s interests become your new areas of fascination and curiosity.
(8) Change the Frame
Everyone looks at “things” from their own point of view, from their own perspective. Key number eight, will help you learn how to alter the way someone is looking at something so you can alter how they feel about that self same “thing.” Framing is analogous to what light you are going to place a communication in. What may seem to be a disaster for a client, can be re-framed as being an opportunity for change and growth. What may be seen as the end of a long sad marriage could be re-framed into the beginning of a new happy life.
Reframing is taking lemons and then upon further review, you make lemonade out of the lemons you have been given. Reframing allows you to help someone see something they perceive as a problem that really may be an opportunity in disguise. Read the examples below then write out common objections to your products and services and “reframe” them so you never have to think about doing this “on the spot.”
Example: If you are working with “big picture people,” you will now see the value of framing (creating an areas of focus) “things” in a manner where they are small and barely worth consideration or where they are large and life changing.“You know John, I realize that $197 per year for life insurance doesn’t seem to be much to think about, but, it really is important that you do this now, because of the un-predictability of life and death.”
“You know John, I realize that $18 per month can be seen as quite a bit of money, yet, that is why you MUST decide to do this. If anything happens to your wife will have a check for $100,000 waiting for her to take care of your kids. What greater gift can you give?”
Obviously frames help us see an issue from a different point of view than the one we just saw. Frames are used in Hypnotherapy and NLP to enhance and control the communication process. (Erickson, Rossi, Bandler, Grinder, Robbins, et. al.) Here are a few different kinds of frames and how to utilize them in putting your products and services, and, yourself in the best light possible with your clients.
(8b) The “As If” Frame
Have you ever had a client that said, “I don’t know what will happen if…” It may be that you have heard something like, “I don’t know what my wife would say if I…”
When you face these unknowns the most effective strategy is to utilize the “As If” Frame. You can utilize this them by asking one or more of these three pattern questions.
If you did this X, what would happen?
Imagine that we were successful at X, then what would happen?
If you did decide to do “this” (agree to “this”) what was it that would have changed your mind?
These patterns are so powerful that normally the customer’s objection or worry will be drained right from his mind as he answers the question.
You will recall that pointing out a minor flaw in your product or company can be a very useful tool in the sales process. It gives you immense credibility. Always, always, handle the problem that is likely to come up, in advance of the problem (objection/perceived, argument, obvious other point of view). Deal with any challenge early in the sales meeting while the significance of any issue will be considered to be very small and seemingly irrelevant.
Persuasion and Influence is in large part an issue of controlling the frame of communication. You must realize that unless a person dismisses you out of hand, that they see something they like about your offer. Therefore control that frame, that focus of attention and key in on this area. Therefore in any disagreement, argument, objection you must change the focus of attention of the other person or people.
Example: “Mind Access may not be the ideal weekend sales and persuasion course for you. It is possible that you will consider the price tag of $1,000 too great an investment in return for control of your life and a dramatic near term increase in income. Mind Access is about people who want to be happy, in charge of their lives and their communication. Mind Access is for people who want to be influential because they offer something unique to the world. If this isn’t you, then simply don’t come.”
Jim Pickens, the author of the most powerful sales book in history, “Closers,” calls deframing, the “take away close.” Once you are skilled in persuasion techniques you will have the confidence and ability to prudently utilize deframing.
Deframing is a linguistic tool that can only be effectively implemented when you know a person’s match/mis-match meta program, or, when you know the person definitely wants your service, product or offer. In a nutshell, you give the customer one opportunity to purchase your product or hire you. If they don’t, you make it explicitly clear that you will move on and allow others to take advantage of your services.
This is the basic deframing pattern:
“It makes no difference to me whether you buy this X or not. You have until tomorrow to make a decision and reserve your X or not. If I don’t hear from you by noon, I’ll know you didn’t want it. No pressure. Bye.”
(9) Uncover Conditions to Confirmation
Even the greatest product in the world may not be able to help a person with a condition. You may be able to sell a $300,000 home at half price to an owner occupant, which is a bargain anyone is unlikely to ever experience. But if your client doesn’t have the money for the down payment and hasn’t got the income, resources or ability to sign the loan for other reasons you have a condition and you should never ask a person to enter into an agreement where he will lose. Value is very important but it is not the only element in deciding whether to make a sale or not. If the client cannot do something, don’t ask them to. A condition exists in some selling situations which means a sale won’t be made, and when they do exist, you won’t let that sale happen. It’s a Win-Lose.
If you sense your customer has a condition, simply ask, “Is there something I’m missing, that I should know about that is causing you to wonder about this product?” If they respond with a concern, address their concern and let them own your product. If they respond with a condition, don’t let them buy your product. There will be another day for both of you.
(10) Develop a Series of Logical Reasoning
People will buy your products and services based upon their desires in most cases. You need to develop a step by step process that will assist your client to bridge the gap between emotion and logical reasoning to purchase your product. You should have several series of thought processes that you have prepared for your client to consider.
If you are selling a home and your client has the requirements met to buy the home you have a potential sale. If your client falls in love with the home you have an emotional sale. Your job is now to move your client from emotional thought to logical justification for purchasing this home.
How can you go from logical to emotional? First you can ask if this is a home they would really love to live in. An affirmative response leads you to your next thought which is, “Are you aware that every dollar you spend on your monthly house payment works for you in one way or another? Either it goes toward the principle which means the money comes back to you or you can use the rest of the payment as a tax deduction which means some of the money comes back to you. When you pay rent, all of the money goes away from you, down the toilet, flushed into the sanitation system forever. The question is, do you want to own a home or do you want to make someone else wealthy, instead of developing your own wealth, for the rest of your life?”
You move from an emotional response to a logical rationale to an integration of emotions and logic. This is ethical, it is honest and it is in the best interest of your client if no conditions exist.
(10a) Know When to “Close” and When to Leave
Most salespeople believe that you “close” the sale after the sales presentation is over. That is not correct. You close the sale the moment the customer wants to buy and not a second later. When the customer is ready, you let them agree to buy your product. You have them sign the papers, take ownership and shortly thereafter, you leave.
If the customer asks you for a lunch date, that is one thing. If they are busy and have a schedule to keep, make the sale happen and then politely but with efficiency wrap up your business. In many cases, I have made the sale, had the client write a check, put it away in my briefcase and then had lunch with the client. In situations such as this you do not discuss your business, you continue to develop the long term friendship by focusing on the client and his loves and interests.
In general, when your client is non-verbally or verbally telling you they want to hire you or they want your product, let them buy it now.
Then, after you have taken care of business, take care of any post-closing activities and thank your new customer.
It’s my hope that this massive volume on persuasion, covert hypnosis, and subtle influence will be used with ethical intent.
These are the secrets of unconscious communication and they will change your life.