Flagging is one of the most powerful cutting-edge techniques of persuasion. Combining the latest in memory research, neuroscience, and real-life selling and therapuetic skills, you begin to discover some fascinating phenomenon.
Flagging is one specific technique that you can use to dramatically increase compliance in almost all aspects of influence.
This article contains what I believe are the beginnings of some of the most significant advances in persuasion in the last 10 years.
Persuasion and Memory
In past CD programs I’ve released, you’ve learned that the way you remember your past is quite different from how it really was. That in itself is important. How to utilize this fact is another thing altogether.
You learned that people remember their (good or bad) “peak” experiences and how some experience “ended”, then generalize those two things to an entire lifetime of experience. This is important when attempting to influence people to re-purchase your service or product when they might have had a bad experience. Another useful way to prepare for people who have possibly misremembered past experiences with you or a competitor is to prepare your presentation to integrate with that new belief as it is their new “reality”, if you will.
Persuasion and Past Experience
You learned that people make current decisions (usually in the form of instant reactions) based upon past experiences.
You know that if someone has said “no” to a profitable opportunity in the past, it is very unlikely they will say “yes,” when asked again. This seems counterintuitive…it should be that people will always accept a proposal that obviously benefits them…but this is not how the brain functions. If the brain came to a “no” conclusion last time, then that will be the instant reaction to a similar proposal this time.
Much like driving to your office, the brain doesn’t like to make decisions more than once. Once it has “decided,” it will typically “stick” with that. This is not rational, per se; it is simply the way you and I were wired to make life “easier” in the decision making process!
You know that how people remember their past is crucial in how you must communicate with them today for optimum influence potential.
Here is the latest in persuasion research about how people remember the past and it’s impact on whether they will say “yes” to you, or not…and then what specifically to DO about it.
If you were to ask people what their opinion was last year (or even last week…or yesterday) about a political issue, a personal issue, or pretty much anything, there is a surprisingly good chance they will have remembered incorrectly…completely.
Studies have been done that show that people remember a movie as being particularly good when leaving the theater, only to change their mind the next day after reading a review in the newspaper that had a contrary point of view.
What past research hasn’t shown was specifically WHO was remembering more correctly and WHO was remembering more incorrectly. And this is a crucial piece of the persuasion puzzle that has been missing…until the 21st century. Now it is yours.
Think back to the year 2000.
Al Gore and George Bush were in a tight election race. In one experiment, participants were asked to predict the percentage of the popular vote each candidate would have. You probably remember that Gore was about 5 percentage points ahead going into the final days of the campaign. The polls were roughly matched by the participants of this experiment who said (on average) that Gore would win by 4.7% over Bush.
After the election, we only knew one fact and that was that Gore won the popular vote by about 0.3%. (We didn’t know who the President would actually be, because of chad in Florida!)
When the participants were asked after the election but before the winner was determined in Florida, they remembered saying that Gore would win by (on average) 0.6%!!!! What happened to those 4.1 percentage points???!!!!
What happened was that people watched the news and discovered that Gore won by 0.3% and the actual FACT superseded what prediction they made the prior month…and by a great deal.
Let’s pause here and quickly analyze this first step: People look in retrospect at what actually DID happen and not at what they THOUGHT would happen when evaluating how they thought at the time. That’s mighty important in persuasion all by itself, but there is more that is going to blow you away!
Key Point: When influencing others, remember that if you ask them how or what they decided in the past you will not likely receive accurate information.
The Expert vs. the Layman
Does anyone remember the past correctly? The first answer is, of course, no. Memory changes with every view of that “memory.” Experts or people who are directly involved in a situation remember their predictions of outcomes very differently from those who have little investment or interest in the outcomes.
In the Gore/Bush Campaign those people who admitted to not having political expertise remembered their predictions of the popular vote in a very interesting way (remembering after the fact that Gore would win by 7.5% of the vote vs. the 4.7% they predicted prior to the election which runs completely counter to the information they had after the election was over) Yes, they remembered that their original predictions were much less accurate (closer to the final result) than they actually were!
However, those people who felt they had expertise predicted Gore would win by 5% but remembered predicting a real horse race with only a projected 0.7% difference. Experts or people who have involvement remember things in a different way. In this study experts thought they were almost perfectly accurate in their predictions…They were far from it!
Help Them Feel Comfortable
One way to utilize the fact that we all have such dismal memories is to help someone feel comfortable with their expertise. See the examples below:
“You probably figured the Gore/Bush Election would be incredibly close, but who would have ever thought it would have been a decision made in court by one vote!”
This kind of approach reduces the “insult factor” that can happen when you have the kind of knowledge you do about influence, memory and decision making.
Flagging in the Persuasion Process
Another way to utilize people’s lack of accurate recall is to place a “flag” in their memory to begin communication with. See the example below:
“Remember when Gore and Bush debated and Al Gore seemed so arrogant to the public that his numbers started dropping at the very end? Well, that was one of the reasons I thought Bush had a chance.”
The flag is Gore’s arrogance. The point of placing a flag in someone’s memory is that once it is there, it becomes part of their permanent memory and gives you a point from which to establish a key piece of the persuasion process. A real life example…
“Remember when you bought this house? You wanted something that would be big enough for your family to comfortably live in.”
Now, the real estate agent may have no clue if this is true, but by flagging the memory of the decision to buy the house, they have added this specific “recollection” into the client’s memory and have made it as if it had always been there.
If you were to ask, “What caused you to buy this house?”, the client will generate numerous possibilities internally before giving you a reason. Now, that reason could be helpful in the persuasion process, or not, but one thing is certain. The reason that they stated probably had little to do with their decision in the first place!
Therefore, they will be more likely to doubt the generation of their own recollection and, even though you now have a piece of information that is useful, it also has drawbacks.
What, for example? Specifically that the person generated a number of internal responses of their “reason” before saying what it was. This causes question marks to pop up in the mind, and makes a further conversation more interesting, but less likely to persuade.
If you flag a memory, you will get one of two responses. Either the person will accept the flag (most typical) and think in terms of “comfortable”, or, they will rapidly tell you just why they did buy the house. See the example below:
“No, it wasn’t space or comfort at all. I needed a home that was near the school.”
At this point, you have a client with dramatic recall. (Still as unlikely to be accurate, by the way.) This allows you to utilize the flag in the persuasion process.
Once people have a flag anchored in place, it primes thinking processes to think in terms of the flag. Yes, you can bet that the “nearness to school factor” will be a determining factor at this point.
You can flag another person’s memory through their own generation of the flag, or by planting the flag yourself. The flag should always be something that was considered by the other person at some time. If the flag is self-generated by the other person they are more likely to “internally argue” or “struggle” with the flag because while they originally came up with the flag, they generated other options which they considered, and therefore they might recall these other points and begin to oscillate internally.
In next week’s article, I’ll show you how flagging works with numbers, and how you can try this new process out yourself!
Science of Influence: The Master’s Advanced Home Study Course
by Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
In the Master’s Home Study Course Part One (V. 1-12), you learned an enormous amount of cutting-edge material now coming to light in the field of influence. Now you are going to gain access to truly advanced information that has never been released to the public, ever!
The Delta Mind Control Model, for the very first time, shows you how to begin, “middle” and end a communication that is designed to influence. The DMCM works because you are able to control the direction of your mind and that of your client or counterpart. As a rule of thumb you have about 8 MINUTES to create change in someone’s mind. You will learn precisely what techniques and strategies can be utilized at various stages of those eight minutes.
Oscillation. Most people operate under the belief that what they believe is “real” What’s interesting is that these beliefs constantly waver throughout the course of a conversation! Understand oscillation and utilize the techniques to direct oscillation,and you can begin to re-map anyone’s mind.
Credibility: The Pivot Point for Persuasion. No credibility = “No!” I’m going to show you all the ways to build credibility fast and effectively! You MUST be 100% credible!
Metaprograms and Branding. Learn about NEW metaprograms and branding your SELF. These two CDs alone are more than worth the price of the entire package. Would you like to know how to have people see you as THE “go-to” person in your field? I’m going to show you how.
Branding. Most people think the word “brand” is a business term. It can be. What can branding do for you as an individual? Everything.
Mind Reading. I’m going to reveal some of my most closely held secret methods of determining what people are thinking in the moment.
Psychographics. This CD introduces you to some of the most powerful tools I utilize in helping clients determine what is going on in the minds of others…then how to use that information.
Twelve NEVER before Revealed Secrets to Optimize Persuasive Messages. 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.
59 Persuasion Tactics That Gain Compliance. Of the 59 persuasion tactics, Role Response Projection is one of my “favorites” and without a doubt one of the most powerful tactics you can utilize…with a person, a group or even a nation. This is just one out of the 59 tactics I place in your hands.
Intrigued? Make this program a gift to yourself and your future success.