Become A Person of Influence
Copyright 2008 By Kevin Hogan, Author of Covert Hypnosis
People love doing it to me:
"Kevin, what is 'selling' - in two words?" Jeffrey Gitomer
"Kevin, is marketing the true face of magic?" Ben Mack
"Kevin, what is the single most important factor in persuasion?" Mark Joyner
All in the same lifetime…!
People love asking me questions for which they have an answer in the
moment and then blow me away with it…
(I'll share with you the answers to the questions Jeffrey, Ben and
Mark posed me later in this article.)
And it was Mark's question that got me going for this article.
You can know all the techniques, strategies and mental linguistics on
the planet...but...if you aren't a person of influence, you haven't
got a chance. Similarly, you can be a person of influence but your client quite simply might not be motivated to change. (at least not yet!)
Let's look at both of the people in the process and find out what kind
of a person a person of influence is...then find out what your client
must feel about you to best be motivated by you....
First: What is influence?
Influence is a process where one person motivates another person to
In the teleseminar I did for Mark, he answered... "framing." I could
hardly disagree that, that is, the single most important implementable tactic or strategy in influence.
But there is something more IMPORTANT in long-term successful
influence BY you or me, than framing.
Something more important than the context, the environment as well…
Let's look at just what it takes to motivate that person and who the
person of influence needs to be to accomplish persuasion.
Just Who is the Person of Influence?
Who is the great salesman, the great therapist, the great lover, the
great President, the great...you get the idea....
There are a number of qualities and characteristics that are crucial
to success in persuasion and influence...in every usage from therapy to selling. Above all else is one characteristic that dwarfs all of
the rest... Empathy.
Nothing is more important than empathy for someone who wants to
motivate others to change.
What is Empathy?
It's the ability to feel...to understand...to walk a mile in their
shoes...Empathy means that you can feel and see life from the
perspective of the other person. If and when you can do that...you can
be influential. If you can't you will only be able to "close a percentage" or get lucky now and then. You can know all the techniques on the planet, but if you can't feel their pain, you will never truly be a great salesman, a great communicator, a powerful person of influence.
You walk into the hospital, see your loved one with the I V in their arm. You paste a smile on your face, but they know it hurts you as much as it does them.
Your child is home sick from school. You feel as bad for them as they
feel. You see the result of their bad decisions and the pain of the
future they now face. You feel it too.
When I think of empathy, I think of people like former President
Clinton. He has far more empathy than most people in the public eye.
Politics aside, when you watched Clinton with people, you sensed he
could really be in that person's shoes...and he was. That means he has the capacity to identify and feel what others are feeling at this
moment. People of great empathy have three common traits.
* They have experienced pain first hand.
* They have a wide range of experiences with all kinds of other people.
* They are validated and feel good based upon the approval of others.
I saw a book on the shelf today at Barnes & Noble. It was called
"Disease to Please." I didn't pick it up. Why? The person doesn't get
it. (Just like the guy who wrote "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. It's All Small Stuff.") The book might be helpful, but the title spreads a
very bad idea virus.
In a broad sense, the ideal life is about two things. Giving and
receiving pleasure. (Pleasure broadly means anything that is good.)
Take away one of the two (giving or receiving) from the person, and
you have a half of a person...
Take away the giving part, and in the vernacular, you have a jerk....
I'll bet a nickel the author of "Disease to Please" will tell the
reader that the reason people are unhappy and unsatisfied is that they
are trying to please other people at their own expense. (And that
might be a fact.) The possible solution might be proposed to stop
trying to please others, and start doing what the reader has never
done perhaps...please themselves.
As soon as the person stops being helpful, kind, loving, supportive,
nurturing to others, they lose the other half of who they were. The
half of them that IS powerful and useful.
The real solution, obviously, is to always be supportive, kind and
helpful. And then to be supportive, kind and helpful to yourself as
well. (It requires no more time or effort. A simple set of choices.)
Then instead of becoming a jerk they become a complete person...and...a person capable of powerful influence...which means they are only one step away from success at any level they choose.
The influential person has a strong desire to please... and if they are going to be influential, that extends to the desire to help (for both altruistic and selfish purposes) others be happy, feel better,
and be useful as a human. This desire to help, to create value, to
love will often be paired with some kind of pain and no one should
tell this person to try and squelch the feelings of being rebuffed,
rejected or hurt. That IS the healthy and normal response. These are
the feelings that generate the empathic response.
When people see these characteristics in you, they judge you as a person who cares, is interested and wants to help others. Kindness.
The person of influence is typically a kind person. There are plenty
of exceptions in history, but in general if a person is empathic and
kind, they have the potential to help others create change.
Because you won't listen to a jerk. They don't care. All they have is
their self-interest and that means you can NOT trust them as they
attempt to persuade. It's as simple as that.
The Cornerstone of Motivation
Question: Can a person of influence, someone with great empathy, also
be intense, tough-as-nails, focused, able to self-satisfy at many
levels? Of course. People are allowed to have as many characteristics
as they can...empathy is simply the cornerstone of motivating others.
Fact: If you are empathetic, you will have the instant reservoir to
tap into to create change in other people's lives. This doesn't mean
you will successfully utilize your reservoir, it just means that you
don't have to work on building it!
So what is the big deal with something as touchy feely as empathy?
Well, if you're truly wondering, then it would be useful to begin
working on empathy.
We all want to be understood and liked by others. People who are
empathetic make it a point to understand others and to look out for the interests of everyone.
Salespeople, take a lesson from the great therapist (who truly is a
great salesperson). Numerous studies reveal that 50% of the results they achieve with a client at the one year point of demarcation is due to the therapist's personal qualities, of which the most crucial is
empathy. The remaining causes of success in therapy are spread out
among the approach, the client's motivation, their environment, etc.
When I say that people don't buy the product or service and that they
are buying YOU, I'm not kidding.
In the most simple terms: Your client is buying the empathy they feel in you.
There is little or no resistance toward the salesperson (or therapist) that has the complete best interest of the client in their heart and mind.
What About the Client?
We can talk more about the salesperson (therapist!) in a bit. For now let's switch to the other side of the table. The client.
The client, whether a prospect in a sales context, or a person needing
therapy...the elements are identical. In order for you to motivate your client, your client will need to meet several criteria.
Your client must be capable to change or take action. This simply
means that they can literally do something if they chose it. You can
try selling an airplane to a guy who can't afford a matchbox car but
he won't be able to take action.
Your client must be ready to change or take action. Remember that most
people are mired in the status quo. The client who smokes or drinks
too much who doesn't have an interest in changing isn't likely to be
motivated to change. Similarly the prospect who really believes that
he doesn't need to invest his money or buy a car that will get his
family safely from point to point will need to be motivated to get to
the "ready" stage. A person is ready when it is the most important
thing to them and whatever they were holding onto previously becomes secondary.
People don't like giving up anything. Attitudes, beliefs, feelings, emotions, thoughts, ANYTHING. People want to hang onto what they are familiar with.
People say they want to quit smoking...and "part of them" probably does...but it isn't as important as what they are getting from the experience itself. The person is ready to make a change when they have shifted their priorities.
The client must be willing to change. Do they want "it" at all? If it
doesn't hit their radar, then you haven't experienced a client that
even wants to make a change. They see no reason. They feel nothing.
And...nothing will happen as a result.
Your client will need to be approached in a fashion that will trigger change. The "approach" will vary from person to person. Over the
years, salespeople have learned that high pressure simply created
enemies and can destroy the relationship. 30 years ago various
therapeutic styles fell into the category of being confrontational.
(Direct challenges to the client.) These styles might work with a
specific individual but overall, they were a miserable failure. For the most part confrontation failed.
Similarly, extremely high pressure challenges fail in other
influential settings. Tell someone that if they don't buy the car
today that they lose out...well everyone knows the car will still be
there tomorrow and it is NOT going UP in value as it sits on the lot.
(The new home might, though!)
As a rule the vast majority of people DO need to feel some discomfort
to take action but they normally don't have to feel the fires of Hades
to make a good decision.
Think of it this way: Your client will not respond to high pressure if
it makes no sense to be pressured. A successful person of influence
simply doesn't need one person's "sale" that badly. And it will all show in the approach.
"If you don't buy this today you will have wasted my time and it cost
me a lot of money to be here for you and if you did this the way it is
you'd get rich and what are you thinking?!?!!?"
That said, if the salesperson is in poverty, and if they don't make
the sale then they (the salesperson) loses. This means the salesperson
is selling the wrong product for the client and salesperson.
"Whether you participate or not is fine with me. I'm happy to help you
here today. I'm busy. I might have a chance to help you in the future,
but you must make a decision that is best for you."
If you use the Science of Influence, you don't have to even think about "closing the sale" any more. It happens because it has to
happen. You might need to respond to questions or even natural
hesitation and fears of the unknown but there is no more need for
story-telling "closes" or emotional torture of people who could choose
to become clients. It didn't work in the therapist's office, and it won't work for most clients. (And if it did, is that *who* you want to be!??!!?)
The successful person of influence is the person who has great empathy
for the other person. They are inherently kind. They certainly can be
disciplined in approach. They can be tough as nails or as soft as a kitten. One thing is certain: They can feel the other person's pain....and... they want to help them feel better.
As for the client, make sure you are speaking to the person who is
capable of changing. The person who is ready to change and the person is willing to change. You can influence the willingness to come closer to ready (as in NOW) but you can't motivate actual ability. If they
can't buy the million dollar house, don't try and sell it to them.
What would the point be?
Empathy and kindness.
Who would have thought it?
The answer to Jeffrey's question was... "Ask Questions."
And Ben Mack certainly believes... that marketing is the face of
magick, but I'm just not sure how to counterpropose thoughts in that
one….so I simply agreed with him…which I knew would make him believe that I, too, am a genius…
About the Author:
Kevin Hogan is the author of Covert Hypnosis, a guidebook that Dr. Joe
Vitale (star of "The Secret" movie) has said to be "the most powerful
stuff I've EVER seen for selling, persuading, and motivating." Kevin
is the nation's leading body language expert. He is a dynamic,
well-known international motivational and inspirational keynote speaker, consultant and corporate trainer. He has trained persuasion, sales and marketing skills to leaders in the government of Poland, employees from Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, Meespierson, Auntie Anne's, Cargill, Pillsbury, Carlson Companies, Fortis, Great Clips,
the State of Minnesota, 3M, The United States Postal Service and
numerous other Fortune 500 companies. He recently spoke to The Inner Circle and at the Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) convention.
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