Tag Archives: maximum influence

Episode 175 – The Energy of Influence

Energy of Influence

      Another way to enhance your ability to motivate yourself and others is to make sure all things are balanced in your life. Great persuaders lead a balanced life and keep everything in perspective. I call this delicate balance “life alignment.” Make sure there is balance in every aspect of your life. Imbalance can undermine motivation and cause inaction and unhappiness. Many times, we quit early because of imbalance, even when we don’t realize an imbalance exists. It may be only one area of our life that is out of whack, but it can still have a direct effect on other areas of our life. Just as in a mutual fund, where one bad stock can pull down the fund’s overall value, one bad area in your life can also have a disproportionate negative effect. 

            Ask yourself these questions: Would I invest in my own mutual fund of myself? Would I suggest that my family or friends invest in me? These are hard questions to ask, but the answers to them are necessary as you get your life on track. Take a look at the stocks in which you have invested in your own life. What stock is pulling the rest of your portfolio down? Are you a growing mutual fund or is your mutual fund losing money? Is your fund stagnant? If you won’t invest in your personal mutual fund (yourself), who will? 

            When we look at life, we have to realize that it is not lived in segments, but rather, it is part of a greater whole. Every aspect of your life will either help or hurt the rest of your life. Our aim is to get all aspects working together to create a high-performing fund. Realize, however, that you can invest too much in one aspect of your life. When you do, you can get unbalanced just like a tire on a car. Even too much of a good thing can lead to disaster. 

            As you invest in yourself, you must make sure you are diversifying in the following six areas: We often spend too much of our time spinning our wheels and investing in stock that has no value or that is diminishing the value of our mutual fund. We get so busy buying the stock society recommends that we forget to examine whether this stock is helping or hurting us. There may also be times when you need to sell a stock (change a habit or belief) because it is not performing. We always need to make sure that we are a growth fund and that we are continually investing the right things in ourselves. If we neglect any one of the life-alignment areas, our overall happiness and success will diminish.

link to article: 


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Episode 173 – How Aroma Can Help/Hurt Influence

Smells: The Aroma of Persuasion

We all know what the smell of movie popcorn does to us. Smell is directly linked to our emotions.  Our sense of smell is so powerful that it can quickly trigger associations with memories and emotions. Our olfactory system is a primitive sense that is wired directly to the center of our brain. By four to six weeks, infants can tell the difference between their own mother’s scent and that of a stranger.  Almost everyone has experienced situations in which a smell evoked a nostalgic (or not so nostalgic) memory. Think of the smells that take you back to your childhood. For some it is the smell of fresh baked bread, or freshly cut grass, or of the neighborhood swimming pool. You can go back twenty years in a matter of seconds with the sense of smell. Smells require little mental effort to be experienced and the subconscious reaction happens with little conscious attention.


There have been numerous studies conducted on the impact scent and fragrances have on association. A study conducted among undergraduate students found that female students wearing perfume were rated as more attractive by male students.  Scents were even found to improve scores on job evaluations. Of course, offensive odors can also be used (and have been used) to evoke a negative response. This technique was once used while campaign committees were rating and appraising political slogans. Not surprisingly offensive odors caused the ratings for the slogans to go down.  The smell of citrus Windex helped people to be more generous with their money and time towards the habitat of humanity.  Cleaning aromas also help more people be honest and fair and their dealings with others.

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Episode 172 – 4 Power Skills of Persuasion


Talking Too Much 

  Being an extrovert, having the gift of gab, or being able to make small talk with anyone you meet can definitely be used to your advantage, but watch yourself. How can you persuade if you are always talking? It will be very annoying to your audience if they sense that you like hearing yourself talk more than listening to their concerns. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Great persuaders listen more than they talk. In fact, great persuaders use their listening and questioning skills to get their audience to persuade themselves. 


Often when someone comes to you, she already knows what she wants. She already has something in mind. She just needs to talk through it with someone. Which approach do you think will have better, longer-term results: you persuading your audience, or you helping them persuade themselves? It’s much better if your audience feels as if they have made the decision themselves, without perceived external influences. When you do have to talk, be succinct and to the point. A good rule of thumb is not to talk more than 30 percent of the time. 

Link to article: http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/discoveries/curse-chinese-buffet


Now, with these general guidelines in place, it is worth pointing out that you must always be prepared to adapt and adjust to the personality type of your audience. For some people, talking 30 percent of the time will still be too much. Discussing only what is relevant to the matter at hand and keeping chit-chat to a minimum is best for these no-nonsense types. Your attempts at being their buddy will likely annoy and maybe even offend them. Some people feel that being overly warm and personable is not appropriate when you have just met someone for the very first time. Polite and professional, yes, but warm and fuzzy, no. The bottom line is, don’t get too friendly too fast

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Episode 162 – Dealing With Difficult People

We all have them in our lives: difficult people. Admit it…when you heard “difficult people” you automatically thought of a couple by name, didn’t you!

So what is a difficult person?  This person is difficult by nature and/or disagrees with you and may even actively work against you.

For a difficult person, use these techniques:

  • Find a common belief and establish a common ground.
  • Use appropriate humor to break the ice.
  • Don’t start the presentation with an attack on their position.
  • You are only trying to persuade on one point; don’t talk about anything else that could trigger disagreement.
  • Because of your differences, they will question your credibility. Increase your credibility with studies from experts or anything that will support your claim.
  • They will try to find reasons to not like you; don’t give them any.
  • Don’t tell them you are going to try to persuade them.
  • Express that you are looking for a win-win outcome rather than a win-lose situation.
  • Show them you’ve done your homework.
  • Respect their feelings, values, and integrity.
  • Use logical reasoning as clearly and as carefully as possible.
  • Use the Law of Connectivity and the Law of Balance. (Maximum Influence)

Episode 150 – Quit Helping Your Competitors!

Have you ever felt like you put in a bunch of work only to pave the way for your competitor?  Many persuaders inadvertently do this only to find out too late that they lost the deal.  The key to avoiding this is generating genuine scarcity.  To create genuine scarcity, make sure you have as much of the following in place:

1.  Deadlines. Give your prospects a deadline or a point of no return. We all operate on deadlines in our personal lives and in our businesses. Deadlines are what cause us to take action. If there is no immediate reason to take action now, we won’t. Many people don’t pay their bills until they have to. Judging by the lines outside the post office at midnight on April 15th, most of us don’t pay our taxes until the last possible second. No deadline, no consequence means no action.

2.  Limited Space, Numbers, or Access. If your prospect feels like they are competing for a limited resource, they will be much more motivated to take action. When people fear they’re going to miss out on a great deal, they feel an urgency to act. Think of shoppers at closeout sales. They’ve got to speed over there and check things out before all the stuff is “picked over.” Otherwise, with the store’s limited supplies, they’ll miss the deal forever! This limit can also include access to information. Our response to banned or secret information is a greater desire to receive that information and a more favorable outlook toward it than we had before the ban was set in place.

3.  Potential Loss. Prospects must recognize that they might be limited in their actions if they don’t take advantage of your offer. People will always overvalue the thing you are restricting. Create a state of emotion in which your prospect will fear the loss or negative consequence for not taking action.  This is an overwhelming feeling they won’t be able to ignore. Motivated by restriction, your prospect becomes an emotionally motivated buyer. They will not be denied. The more you deny them, the more energy you give to your cause. You have denied their right to something, so they’ll do anything to have it.

4.  Restrict Freedom. We want what we can’t have. When we are told a product is or will soon be unavailable, we want it even more. Our desire goes up and so does the urgency to act. Create a scenario where you tell your prospect that the offer is only good for so long. Tell them they have to act now to take advantage of the opportunity or they will lose out. This technique works so well because we have all walked away from offers like this before, and they weren’t there when we returned. Walk through clearance stores and you will see “Sold” signs on the furniture. These signs create urgency because somebody else has found a deal, and so should we.

Episode 144 – Deflect 3 Hardball Negotiation Tactics

You know we love talking about “Negotiaton’s Dirty Deeds.”  A recent article by the Harvard Business Review gave some great pointers on deflecting some of the more common negotiation tactics.

One of the best ways to insure a smooth transaction is through managing your clients expectations correctly.  Persuaders are most effective when they’re persuading, not when they’re stuck resolving client questions and concerns that could have been avoided in the first place.  On this episode, Kurt and Steve discuss this very issue.

Expectations as Assumptions: Expect with Confidence

Consider the profound impact this can have in your own life. Are the assumptions and expectations you have about yourself (or others) liberating or victimizing? There are countless examples of “self-fulfilling prophecies,” or the Law of Expectations at work in everyday life. Ever notice how people who think they’re going to be fired suddenly experience a drop in the quality and enthusiasm for their work? Then what happens? They get fired! Their belief causes them to act a certain way, and those expectations then work to bring about the very thing that at first was only a figment of their imagination.

There was a study done on a military base that was used to train combat soldiers.  They created two groups of soldiers of equal aptitude and were randomly selected into three groups.  Now these 3 groups were assigned 3 different types of instructor’s.  One was high expectancy, regular expectancy and unspecified expectancy.  We already know the high expectancy group that was expected to perform better, scored significantly higher on achievement tests, felt more positive and had better attitudes.

In another study, second graders listened to statements from their teachers before taking a math test. There were three types of statements: expectation, persuasion, or reinforcement. The expectation statements went something like, “You know your math really well!” or “You work really hard at your math.” Persuasion statements involved sentences like, “You should be good at math.” or “You should be getting better math grades.” Finally, for the reinforcement statements, teachers said things like, “I’m really happy about your progress” or “This is excellent work!” Now, what do you think the results were? The scores were the highest in the “expectation” category! Why were the expectation statements the most effective? They created personal assumptions within each student. Those assumptions conditioned the actual external results.

This can also be called implicit priming.  Let’s look at a few studies and how to apply this.  A study was done where they asked participants to complete a scrambled sentenced in a puzzle.  They were shown various groups of words to create these sentences.  Some of the participants were shown rude type words (obnoxious, aggressively, annoyingly, disturb, interrupt, impolitely).

The other group was shown polite type words (respect, courteous, considerate, patiently, polite, and behaved).  When they went to the next room to complete a second task they would find the experimenter with another student trying to explain a task that the student could not comprehend. The group that was primed with the rude words waited an average of 5.5 minutes and the group primed with the polite words waited an average of 9.3 minutes.

Here is an interesting study. Watch how these numbers prime your brain. Participants were given this set of numbers and were told to estimate (not calculate) the answer in 5 seconds.

8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

Than they would find another person to estimate the following numbers:

1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 x 8

Now logically we know the estimation should be the same for both (40,320). Remember one group was primed with the 8 in front of the problem and the other group was primed with the 1 in front of the problem. The average estimation for the first problem was 2250. The average estimation for the second problem was 512.  Isn’t it interesting how no one even came close to the right answer.

Episode 142 – Are Colors Killing Your Presentation?

Happy Memorial Day!, 

If you’re not in the US, we hope you had a great Monday, May 30!

If you have a tough negotiation coming up where your opponent will play the empathy card, we have good news. Acetaminophen can dull your sense of empathy! So next time you need to negotiate, pop some tylenol and turn yourself into a cold blooded shark of a negotiator.

How Moods Can Affect Persuasion

Moods affect our thinking, our judgment, and our willingness to say yes. When the person you are trying to persuade is in a good mood, they are more likely to accept your offer. The opposite is also true. If they’re not in a good mood, chances are much higher they won’t bite. This is a huge advantage to you when it comes to persuasion. Great persuaders create the right mood. Great persuaders actually put people in a happy state. When we are feeling happy, we tend to think happy thoughts and to retrieve happy ideas and experiences from memory. Conversely, when we are in a negative mood, we tend to think unhappy thoughts and to retrieve negative information from memory.

If you can influence the mood, you minimize the likelihood of objections and resistance. How do you influence mood? The most important thing is to make sure you are in a good mood yourself. Even if your audience is in a good mood initially, a bad mood on your part will quickly dampen their spirits (even if you are trying to hide it). Then, your chances at successful persuasion decrease significantly.

One particular study demonstrated just how much the moods and attitudes of those around us influence our responses. Three individuals sat down to a meal together—two who were in on the study, and one who was unknowingly being evaluated on whether or not his companions altered his opinion of the food. The two conducted themselves in a very disagreeable manner and were unpleasant and contentious. On another occasion, this same individual was brought back to the same place and offered the same food. The only difference was he was given different table companions. This time around, the company was fun, interesting, and enjoyable. How do you think his evaluations of the food differed? You guessed it—the first evaluation was negative, while the second was positive, even though the food itself was identical from the one situation to the next.

There is evidence across the board that mood is a major factor in persuasion. Even simple mood-boosting methods like eating a good snack or listening to pleasant music have been shown to make people easier to persuade.  An interviewer who is in a good mood tends to assign higher ratings to job applicants.  Happy moods also increase creativity, which is critical for great persuaders.  Consumers who are in a good mood will be more aware of positive qualities in products or experiences they encounter.  And as any kid has already figured out, parents who are in good moods tend to be more lenient.

Just to reinforce the point, I will highlight one other study. The study was conducted in a hotel room that did not have a window or any other means by which the occupant could know what the weather was like. When the guest ordered room service, the server would describe the weather as cold and rainy, cold and sunny, warm and rainy, or warm and sunny. How do you think these pleasant or not-so-pleasant reports affected the amount of the server’s tip? Interestingly, it did not seem to make much difference whether it was warm or cold, but when the weather was reported to be sunny, tips increased by 26.65 percent!

Episode 135 – How Ego Destroys Influence

After briefly mentioning it on last week’s episode, Kurt and Steve quickly learned that most have a lot of “feelings about” the urban phenomena, RBF (otherwise known as Resting Bitch Face).  So they dived in a little more and wouldn’t you know it…there’s an actual website that will tell you if you have it!  All we ask is that if you do, you send us your picture to maximizeyourinfluence@gmail.com.  We want to see what RBF looks like!

Ingratiation: Make Others Feel Important

Ingratiation is gaining favor by deliberate effort. Ingratiation techniques can include compliments, flattery, and agreeableness. Ingratiation can also involve a special recognition of someone such as, “We don’t usually do this, but in your case I’m going to make an exception,” or “I am personally going to take care of this matter and see that you get what you want.” Many people consider ingratiation sucking up or brown-nosing, but it is an effective technique for making others more persuadable. The reason this strategy works is because The Law of Esteem increases likability and promotes an increase in their self-esteem

Research has demonstrated these conclusions about using ingratiation. In one study, “ingratiators” were perceived as more competent, motivated, and qualified for leadership positions by their supervisors.  In another study, subordinates who used ingratiation developed an increased job satisfaction for themselves, their coworkers, and their supervisor.  In yet another study, ingratiators enjoyed a 5 percent edge over noningratiators in earning more favorable job evaluations.  Ingratiation works even when it is perceived as a deliberate effort to win someone over. Our esteem is so starved that we accept any flattery or praise we can get.

Interesting Ingratiation Facts

•           It is better to use one great effective ingratiation method, than lots of smaller ones or in other words, less is more.

•           Ingratiators will be judged more positively using opinion or compliments conformity by the prospect than by a bystander.

 •           Ingratiation will always work better when we are using downward influence (coworker, employee, you are their manager)

 •           When we are attempting upward influence. (boss, CEO, power player)  Using apology, self- deprecation are more successful when you are persuading up or there is a large difference in status.  Using favors or compliments have little effect.

 •           When ingratiating someone and they know you have an ulterior motive and it is transparent it will likely fail and decrease their liking towards you.

Episode 130 – Price…a non-issue?

This week’s article is sure to offend some listeners.  If you’re a short man or an overweight woman, the British Medical Journal has bad news for you.  Hey were just the messenger!  Check out their recent study linking hight, body mass, and socio-economic status.

“Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get.”  -Warren Buffett

The Law of Contrast explains how we are affected when we are introduced to two different alternatives or options in succession. We know that contrasting two alternatives can distort or amplify our perceptions of price, time or effort. Generally, if the second item is quite different from the first, we will tend to see them even more differently than they actually are. As a Power Persuader, you can use this contrast to navigate your audience toward the object of your persuasion.

The use of contrast is based on our perception of items or events that happen one right after the other. If you’ve had a rotten day because you found out you’re losing your job and you come home to a new scratch on your car, you will have a different reaction than if you were having a great day because you’re getting a promotion and then came home to the scratch on your car. It’s the same scratch, but there are very different perceptions and reactions to it.  Contrast is used for negotiations.  When we offer a really low or high bid or when we ask for $200 and only expect $50. This is contrast. What if you thought it was a 60 minute meeting and then it only took 30 minutes.  What if that 15 minute meeting lasted 30 minutes?

This is all about human perception. The human mind has to find a benchmark or comparison to make judgments, especially when we are talking about unfamiliar situations or new products. People need to make comparisons with their past experience and knowledge. The brain will always attempt to contrast your product or service. Is it the best or worst, cheapest or most expensive? Is your product the safe or risky choice or is it familiar or strange? By presenting your prospects with contrast, you are creating those comparisons for them. The mind can’t process everything at once and so it develops shortcuts to help make decisions. Instead of making a completely internal judgment, we look for boundaries, patterns, and polar opposites. We want to know the difference between our options, so we naturally contrast the two items. We mentally create a value or price in our mind from highest to lowest. Do you want your prospects to compare your product or service to a second-hand used car or to a Rolls Royce? You get to decide where you want them to start their benchmark.

Adjusting Value Examples 

Bonuses - 3 bonuses worth $25 each have more value than to get one bonus worth $75

Product – Having all your product arrive in one box has less value than receiving 3 separate shipments.

Retail – Keeping the high prices at a grocery store increases the perception of value and savings when the savings is shown on the receipt

Cars – We feel like we get a better deal on a car when we see the large retail price, and we get a rebate.

Payments - It is easier to swallow the monthly payments on a large purchase rather than seeing the whole price tag upfront.

Gas – Getting a 10 cent discount when you pay cash is easier to swallow than a 10 cent surcharge for using your credit card.

Payroll – There is higher perceived income when you separate all their benefits on their check versus putting it all in one large sum.

Negotiation – Starting as high or low as possible will get you better terms.

Episode 122 – Foot In The Door vs Sympathy

When we feel dissonance, we have to find a way to deal with the psychological tension. When the rubber band stretches, we cannot not live with this internal pressure.  We will instantly try to find a way to relieve this tension and reduce our dissonance. We have an arsenal of coping mechanisms at our disposal to help us return to cognitive balance. When you see your prospect exhibit one of these behaviors (except modify) you have stretched the rubber band too far and they have snapped.  The internal pressure was too much and they went down an easier or different path.  They will find another solution besides you.  The following list outlines different ways people seek to reduce dissonance.

Denial—To eliminate the dissonance, you deny there is a problem. You do this either by ignoring or demeaning the source of the information. You could attack (usually verbally) the source – making it their fault. This is somebody else’s fault! You are not to blame.

Reframing—You change your understanding or interpretation of the meaning, or what really happened. This leads you to either adjust your own thinking or devalue the importance of the whole issue, considering it unimportant altogether.

Search—You are determined to find a flaw in the other side’s position, to discredit the source, and to seek social validation or evidence for your own viewpoint. You might attempt to convince the source (if available) of his error. You might also try to convince others you did the right thing.

Separation—You separate the beliefs that are in conflict. This compartmentalizes your cognitions, making it easier for you to ignore or even forget the discrepancy. In your mind, what happens in one area of your life (or someone else’s) should not affect the other areas of your life.  Everyone else should do it, but it does not apply to me.

Rationalization—You find excuses for why the inconsistency is acceptable. You change your expectations or try to rationalize what happened. You also find reasons to justify your behavior or your beliefs.  You could say this is not a big deal because everyone is doing it.

Modification—You change your existing beliefs to achieve mental alignment. Most of the time this involves admitting you were wrong or off course and will make changes or adjustments to get back into alignment.

How about real life example?  You told your friend about your new year’s resolution.  You are committed to lose weight.  This will be your year and you enlist your friend to help.  Your friend commits to help you and you are off and running.  Fast forward one month and your friend has caught you polishing off a large container of ice cream.  They call you on your commitment and your rubber band stretches. You feel dissonance. How to do you handle this tension?


Denial – You are fatter than I am, why ride me – remember the time you did…..

Reframing- What I really meant was I will start my diet after I finish this big project.

Search – I researched exercise on the internet and found exercise actually hurts your knees and your health.

Separation – I meant to diet during summer for the beach.  It is winter now so I have time before I will start.

Rationalization – I had a salad for lunch and a meal replacement drink for breakfast, so I am way below my caloric intake.

Modification – You are right I am going to start right now.  Thanks for saying something.