Excerpted from The Science of Influence Volume 22. Copyright 2003 Kevin Hogan All Rights Reserved
Did you know that there are actually a significant number of sales calls, persuasive presentations and proposals where you should NOT mention the benefits of you, your product, service or idea? Heresy, you say? Heretical yes; and absolutely proven factual.
Did you know that different people need different amounts of information and if you guess wrong as to how much and what you say you lose the client, the sale, the date and the deal? True.
And that’s just the beginning.
I confess that there is some knowledge in the arena of influence that even I simply don’t like to part with. The value is so great that it’s worth keeping quiet about. Yet, when I started the Science of Influence series, I was compelled to put (almost) everything on the table for the program. This is one of the dozen or so in a collection of secrets that I didn’t plan on bringing out because the material is so profound that it will soon be replicated by others and will bring the cumulative value of the information down in five years. Nevertheless, I want you to have it. This collection of secrets is about optimizing your persuasive message.
After producing the first 21 CD’s in the Science of Influence series one thing is clear. You’ve discovered that there are a plethora of variables, useful tactics, powerful strategies and precision models in the process of gaining compliance that you never knew existed and now can easily “operationalize.” You’ve also discovered that there are also numerous models of persuasion and influence that can help you gain compliance rapidly.
Today we take the process of persuasion and help you tailor your message with some pretty shocking tactics. (A tactic differs from a strategy in that a strategy is more of a plan. A tactic is one element, a smaller piece of the strategy.)
Knowing When Enough is Enough: Before You Begin
“Too much information!”
You hear that sometimes when you tell someone something that they really didn’t need to know. Maybe it was about an operation or some bad food or changing the baby’s diaper. Just about anything about these subjects will draw a response, “too much information!” from some people.
What about in selling? In the process of persuasion? How about asking for the date?
Closing the deal?
Is it possible to give too much information and lose up the sale?
Yes, it happens all the time.
Is it possible to not give enough information and screw up the sale?
Yes, it happens all the time.
Can you predict when to give what amount of information?
In fact, this one factor is *so* important that if you guess wrong you *will* definitely lose the sale. Period.
How much information to give someone is just one crucial piece of information you must know to optimize every persuasive presentation. How you determine this is based upon whether the person you are communicating with is likely to mentally process your information peripherally or centrally. Now don’t freak out!!!
That means, are they actually considering, pondering, analyzing, thinking about your message; or, are they relying on other cues like positive images or positive values for the answer. (Your appearance, your expertise, your status, your company reputation and so on are all examples of peripheral cues that have nothing to do with your actual message: your presentation.) Generally speaking the more information your client considers and the more they evaluate the more information you need to give them. The less information they want, the more likely they will say “no” if you go into great detail.
There are other things that are crucial to success as well. Message repetition, prior knowledge, self referencing and other factors will determine whether or not you will be successful in persuading someone to your way of thinking.
As far as how much information to give someone, here is a good rule of thumb: The more expert a person is in a given area, the more features (not benefits) that person needs information about to make a decision. They are going to match your message to what they already have stored in their memory and mind. If you come across as not knowing the actual working details of whatever your idea or proposal is, you lose. If you have quality information you engage the client and optimize your chances of making the sale.
When a person is not an expert in a certain area, less information is generally more likely to be processed more quickly and favorably. And because in this case, less is better, you want that message to be very different. You want to share benefits and not features with this client. When the client is not an expert, peripheral cues become crucial. (I’ll discuss peripheral cues in detail a little later.)
When you are communicating with your client/customer, be absolutely certain to “paint them in the picture of your presentation.” Research clearly shows that your client will give far more consideration to your proposal and will REMEMBER it in greater detail if your presentation encourages the client to see themselves using your product or service. Remember that self referencing is a peripheral cue. If your client has tons of product/service/idea knowledge, and you spend time on getting them in the picture, you are wasting your time and blowing the presentation! However, if YOU are the expert or your sources are and they have marginal knowledge, then self referencing is a powerful peripheral cue to hit on.
This is true for almost all advertising where the customer/client has some motivation to use your services. (If they have no motivation to make use of you, all the self referencing in the world won’t make the sale!)
The more people self reference the more likely they are to buy, and the more likely they are to remember you and your services.
Remember the controversial commercial that came out about a year ago where the two beautiful and scantily clad girls were wrestling in the mud? It aired a lot last year (and sequels do today) but: what was the product? If you guessed beer you got that right. But what brand? Right, I don’t know either. OK, I really do, but most people don’t. It was Miller, but you get the point right? The viewer may have a great feeling toward mud in the future but they are unlikely to find a particular brand of beer interesting because of the ad.
Why? There was no viewer involvement with the product. Had the catfight girls sipped on the beer during their bout or had they used the beer cans as defensive weapons, then the product could be referenced by the viewer. But there is no linkage between the commercial and use and therefore the commercial will ultimately fail.
Would you like to find out more secrets?
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.
Science of Influence Master’s Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with the last five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won’t find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.