Copyright 2003, Kevin Hogan
When I travel to Warsaw I ask my sponsor to get me a room at the Sheraton Hotel there. They treat me like a king. I don’t think about it any more, I just instantly “know” that I want to stay there. Stimulus/Response reinforced over time. I have the same experience at the ‘W’ Hotel in Seattle and The Venetian in Las Vegas. There is zero time spent on “decision making.” It’s all done unconsciously and because these are based on repeatedly positive experiences, they are typically good decisions. Now, if you were to ask me if I seriously compare hotel travel plans to increase my enjoyment factor or get a better price or a better room somewhere else I’d probably say “yes,” and I’d probably be wrong!
90% of consumers leaving the check out line at a grocery store remember handling the brand they bought and the competing brand to compare with the one they bought. Hidden cameras reveal that most individual’s memory was completely wrong. In fact less than one in 10 actually handled competing brands. People regularly remember behaviors and actions that don’t happen in real life and this is critical to the influence process, sales and marketing.
People anticipate purchasing their brand prior to arriving at the store and then they do indeed purchase it. (Just like I am staying at The Venetian in Vegas.) They believe they spend time weighing their decisions in the stores but this also isn’t true. Where brands are involved, consumers only spend 5 seconds on average in that category of the store. Five seconds. There is no thought, no decision making. The conscious mind does NOT engage. The consumer remembers comparing products but they don’t. They go the category and purchase their brand choice almost instantly. They made their decision at home at an unconscious level. The consumer NEVER gave it a conscious thought.
The consumer had a good experience in the past with product X. Perhaps it was advertised and the advertising clicked in the consumer’s mind. Either way, the purchase happened with little or no attention (conscious thought.) At kevinhogan.com we have a simple rule. Put out programs that no one can match in quality and application. In other words, almost everything is new. Cutting edge new. Ahead of the market. Way ahead. And, we have loyal customers that know they will win with every program. It’s part of “branding.” More about that later.
KEY: People make many buying decisions in part because of trust. It’s well known in marketing that an individual will buy the generic pain killer for themselves but only Children’s Tylenol for their own kids even though the two products are identical. People trust the brand when the chips are down.
QUESTION: Are you branded for trust? Do people look to you/your company and immediately trust it over all the competing generics?
CASE IN POINT: Each month I put out two or three new CD programs. I love doing it! Each program contains truly cutting edge material that individuals can immediately use and there is never a question as to whether it will be “good,” delivered quickly and be just as magical (if not more so) as the promotion was for the program. Trust is branded into the name. If it isn’t the best, I won’t make the program.
MY GOAL FOR YOU: I want you to start branding trust into you/your company name so you become the instant obvious solution to some groups problems. Trust breeds loyalty. It’s VERY hard to switch from someone or something you completely trust. In fact, it’s almost impossible to change true loyalty because the stress of change would be enormous.
There is a lot more to making an indelible positive impression in every human being you meet. Trust is a great starting point. Loyalty is a perfect goal; but what about INFLUENCE?
Just because you are worthy of trust and loyalty does not mean that you have the ability to initially influence someone; nor does it mean you will be able to influence people to “buy you.” You must have something, some set of solutions that meet needs and wants of other people. And, you must be able to influence people to take a chance on you.
Why Most People Fail at Being Persuasive: Why Focus Groups Don’t Work
The focus group is nearly the biggest waste of money a company can make. Focus groups and job interviews in HR. Same thing. They don’t work. They predict nothing. “But Kevin, they said they would buy my product or use my services.” For some reason some companies (and small businesses) still use “focus groups.” Why? (There is an alternative: if you need to know, contact me.)
All the research shows that focus groups don’t work. In fact, almost all products that focus group research suggests to launch: fail.
Why? Because very little of a person’s behavior is driven by their conscious mind. Most people cannot explain why they do what they do, or predict what they will buy (or do) in the future. The unconscious mind (a.k.a. implicit thought or implicit memory) is not accessible by verbal means. Words can only give an approximation of what the unconscious does and to analyze “why” a person does something or “what” they might do is only a guess on the conscious mind’s part.
If people knew what their behavior would be in the future then focus groups would produce product after product of winners. But they don’t and they never will. They are inherently and seriously flawed. “If we put this product on the market, would you buy it?” The answer is failure.
Why do most people fail to influence others? Because they attempt to only communicate with the intention of having the other person make a logical decision. If they can “just talk some sense into him,” they will get them to see things your way.
Of course people don’t decide on the answer to most problems in a logical fashion. Their reactive portion of their brain: the oldest and emotionally driven part of the brain decides. The conscious mind, mostly composed of the cortex, then justifies the behavior/emotional decision to make that decision “make sense.”
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you do something and then someone asks you why you did it? You make something up and then feel guilty because you aren’t sure if you are telling the truth. It’s completely normal and to be expected because people typically don’t think about what they are going to do. They simply do it and then communicate a reason that best fits the circumstances.
Have you ever seen a news story where someone performed a certain behavior then later realized how foolish it was? They couldn’t believe what they had done. And it’s true, the person couldn’t. Had President Clinton been discreet, his affair never would have been made public and his family would not have been hurt. His mistake (beyond the moral choice of his affair) was to have his meetings with his office intern in the White House. There are no secrets in the White House. No one knows that better than a President. Cameras, audio, surveillance, Secret Service everywhereâ€¦and this is the place a President selects for an affair? But because of the Inner Dummy, as one author likes to call it, the nation was scandalized for an entire year.
WHAT CAUSES THIS “PROBLEM?” People live lives where patterns of experience are repeated over and over. (We go to the same job, drive the same highways, do the same things, every day.) The unconscious mind “learns” all of this and executes the body’s behavior all day long. Rarely does the conscious mind come into play in decision making. It is the client’s unconscious mind that is saying “yes” and “no.”
YOUR GOAL as a professional is to ingratiate the conscious mind of your client/customer and focus most of your attention on the unconscious mind. What on earth does this mean? It means that you need to persuade the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is only the justifier of unconscious reactions. The unconscious reacts and the conscious tries to explain why you did what you did! And because of this, you want to have a true understanding of the nature of the mind and discharge what you were taught in the past as antiquated and dated. Then realize that people are influenced or buy mostly on their “gut” reaction. Their “instincts.” These largely flawed responses and reactions to the environment are the triggers to saying “yes” and buying.
QUESTION: What does your client use you or your product for? What would your client use your service for?
The FIRST ANSWER: This question can only be answered after you get past this fact: Whether you sell yourself, a product, a service. Really, people are buying, saying “yes,” to you. They are buying you and because of you, first, if they trust you. If they don’t, nothing has a chance to happen. Trust begins and is engendered when reliability is established. Are you always there? Do you respond quickly? Are you helpful? Do you respond to needs beyond making the sale? Do you produce results? Is every client/customer you have as precious to you as a family member? Is this felt by the client?
The SECOND ANSWER: Secondarily, (sometimes primarily) people are buying an experience. Diet Coke refreshes. The trip to the beach will relax the person. The trip to Las Vegas will stimulate and excite the person. The new car will make the person feel good, comfortable, hot, safe, secure, admired, or any of a host of other feelings that are associated with vehicles. A woman buys lingerie from Victoria’s Secret to feel sexy. She buys Wonder bread because it is wholesome. People want to have experiences. They want to have the feelings that these experiences foster.
MY GOAL FOR YOU: Determine what experience you want to give your clients and customers. Determine what experiences your product or service gives to your customer. The two things could be completely different. If you sell medical supplies, you’d probably like your experience with your customer to be different than their experience with the medical supplies. You should have your “self” experientially defined and you should have your product experientially defined. This is part of branding yourself and working with your products at a brand level.
And there is more. Much more!
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.