Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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In this article I want to show you four life-changing ideas about persuasion. Read, learn, assimilate, and make this article part of who you are because people who understand and apply this can’t fail. Four facets of the power and importance of persuasion….save this article forever.

  1. Persuasion is the central determinant of achievement.
  2. Persuasion determines sales excellence.
  3. Sales excellence changes the world from scarcity to abundance.
  4. (….and most importantly) Sales excellence creates a personal level of self respect that can only occur as one who sells products or services that others need or want.

“If I can persuade, I can move the universe.”

Those words were uttered by Frederick Douglass…a black slave who escaped to freedom… some 150 years ago.

…one of my heroes since I was a child of 10 learning about his role in history. Frederick Douglass went from slave to abolitionist of great fame…and he DID move the universe.

Accomplish Through Dynamic Persuasion

He knew that only through dynamic persuasion could he accomplish his goal of freedom for all slaves in the United States. Then, of course, once there, to ensure things would never return to how they had been.

Had he been someone who refused to make the world a better place…someone who didn’t utilize rhetoric for the benefit of everyone…a lot of things might be very different today. Fortunately, he had a high level of self-respect and respect for others.

It was the rare black man that learned to read or write in 19th century America. He did both well. It’s an inspiring story to hear how it all came about, but for another day….To the point: Douglass was a passionate speaker with great powers of persuasion.

His influence on President Lincoln was significant…and thus Douglass was…one of those pivotal people in history whose butterfly create a hurricane…

I think of Douglass often.

His ability to influence…his defiant persistence…his “will do, no quit” attitude. When you read his life story it compels the reader to greatness as well.

Legend Point: …True greatness is woven in the ability to persuade.

Think of all the people of accomplishment who were *not* persuasive…

Exactly…it’s a very short list.

Aspire to Something Bigger

Aspiration to something bigger than yourself…. whether to build a tight knit family, thriving business or a community of cooperative neighbors…or all of these things… is only manifest through persuasion and the persistence that drives the message.

Legend Point: …People who are persuasive are by nature successful. People who are not persuasive never are.

Personal Power

Power is the ability to act and take actions. It is an inherent by-product of persuasion.

Legend Point: The individual that masters influence is someone that is in control of his destiny and is in control of the destiny of others as well.

How many people’s freedom has been affected by the persuasion skills of Frederick Douglass or those of Abraham Lincoln’s? Certainly millions. Perhaps in excess of one billion.

That’s influence.

But neither Douglass nor Lincoln knew, for example, that the information you give first and last in a persuasive message is most likely to be acted upon and remembered. Maybe they had a hunch. They didn’t know.

More Persuasion Knowledge Than Ever Before

There is so much that has been learned about persuasion and influence in the last decade that it overwhelms the prior knowledge in all the history of mankind.

Today, we have unprecedented knowledge of the human brain, how it works and what the impact of influential messages is upon it, and, our behavior.

My role has been to collect, assimilate, test, and disseminate all of the useful discoveries about influence from the last couple of decades…for people who can utilize the principles and laws of influence in their professions and lives.

Knowledge that is acted upon is power.


There’s probably a role in society that are more important than that of selling. I’m just not sure what it would be.

Selling turns the wheels of capitalism and of friendship.

A sale in Iowa or Liverpool pays a worker in Beijing, Bombay, Juarez and Detroit. Because they get paid, they create products for our pleasure and necessity. And our life is made better every time a sale is made. Imagine that Beijing sold a BILLION products to the United States. It would be very difficult for those two countries to go to war. More selling creates more interdependence and more selling means more people can live above the poverty level.

Selling Creates Wealth

Selling is the only activity that generates income for you and me. The salesperson creates wealth for himself, his company and his country. Everyone else’s income comes from the salesperson. The exception? Government. (Think: someone who takes without permission.) Governments can take a few dollars from you and build roads and thousands more and waste it as they see fit. The government generates no income and it can generate no “jobs.” Essentially, all legitimate income is generated by salespeople.

And when a sale is made, the world turns. When you buy something you set the world in motion.

I remember right after 9/11, I was doing some personal “think tank” projections. It became obvious that if people didn’t spend and spend quickly, that things could get nasty. No sales would mean millions and millions of lost jobs,.. Depression… But it didn’t happen. Salespeople started things up again and made a sale. A newspaper. A house. A car. A bike. A toy. A magazine. A website.

Back to governments for a moment. Without salespeople, there would be no tax revenue at all. Governments can only tax those who have money and without salespeople there is LITERALLY no money to exchange hands that can be taxed. Without a sale there is no job for the person who doesn’t sell something.

The salesperson needs and should want the ability to persuade and influence. To master the same is to live at a different level in life.

Twice the sales means a lot more than twice income for the salesperson, it means more income for everyone.

I became a salesperson at age 10. I sold greeting cards door to door. Then I sold my services as the kid on the block who would shovel the driveway or cut the lawn or pull the weeds.

I went back to my house where I lived during my school years. Originally it was about 750 square feet which 7 of us shared. Some people had it “worse” than we did. Most did “better.”

It was clear at a very early age that selling was the only way to break out from living at the poverty level. And a lifetime of selling would be that kids destiny.

When it hit me as to just how important each sale was,.. not just to me but the domino effect that happens when a sale occurs….I was 29. It was 1990, It took awhile but I finally figured it out.

Selling Helps Us Succeed as Individuals, Globally

I realized that only through more sales, and investing in companies that sell products people want and need…can we succeed as individuals or as a nation or as a global society.

It’s more than profound.

Sadly there still are a lot of people who think that because person X earns a lot of money, it takes money away from someone else. Obviously, the opposite is true. If person X (an affluent person), doesn’t earn a lot of money, a lot MORE people will be a lot less affluent themselves.

And the only way to that destination is persuasion, influence and persistence.

If everyone was selling and investing in companies that sell products that people want and need, there would essentially be no poverty. It would vanish. It would be a stretch to say that there would be global affluence because that would require capitalism and freedom everywhere. But, it’s certainly obvious that there would be an incredible increase in the standard of living if there were more salespeople selling products and services that people want and need.

And it begins with learning and “mastering” persuasion and influence…the core skills of the greatest salesman in the world.

A salesperson who presents his product in a way that is not persuasive, is unlikely to make a sale. Most salespeople have the ability to sell three or four or five TIMES what they currently do. (Some people in some situations? … 30 or 40 times current sales)

To grow sales exponentially requires persuasion mastery.

There is no greater attribute in achievement than that of the ability to persuade and influence.


I raise my cup of tea to you, for learning and mastering influence, for selling your services or products and for making the world a much better place.

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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