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Chapter 1

The Power of Persuasion

Overview

The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.

—ZIG ZIGLAR

Understanding the theories of persuasion, motivation, and influence will put you in life's driver's seat. Why? Because everything you want, or will want, in life comes from these three simple concepts. Did you know that less than 1 percent of the world's population understand and can actually apply the twelve Rules of Persuasion? Therefore, as I reveal the secrets of influence and science of persuasion, you will be able to persuade and influence with complete accuracy. You will gain instant influence over others and inspire others to take action, all while getting exactly what you want from life. You will win people to your way of thinking and will empower yourself with an unshakable confidence. You will triple your prosperity in sales and marketing. You will become a captivating magnet of success.

As you develop what I call Maximum Influence, others will be drawn to you as metal filings are drawn to a powerful magnet. Financial, social, and personal success will come to you. Gateways previously closed to you will swing wide open and the world of opportunity will beat a path to your door. The life-changing skills and techniques described in this resource are based on timeless, proven principles. They have been developed from countless hours of persuasion research and exhaustive studies into human nature. And now, for the first time, they are being unveiled to you.

This guide teaches the twelve critical Rules of Persuasion and instructs you on how to utilize these cutting-edge persuasion strategies so you can gain the influence you need NOW. You'll learn how to make people instinctively like and trust you, something that might otherwise take you years to accomplish. No longer will you face the unexpected with fear or intimidation. Rather, you will confront it head on with credibility, control, and confidence. Day in and day out, you will turn each challenge facing you into a winning situation. In short, you will be a master of your own destiny.

Persuasion: The Heartbeat of Our Economy

The power of persuasion is of extraordinary and critical importance in today's world. Nearly every human encounter includes an attempt to gain influence or to persuade others to our way of thinking. Regardless of age, profession, religion, or philosophical beliefs, people are always trying to persuade each other. We all want to be able to persuade and influence so others will listen to, trust, and follow us. A recent study by economists found that a whopping 26 percent of gross domestic product was directly attributable to the use of persuasion skills in the marketplace.[1] Persuasion is the gas to our economy's engine. Think about it — $2.3 trillion of our gross domestic product comes from the skills of persuasion and influence. You rarely see large corporations downsizing their sales forces. Sales professionals are assets to the company, not liabilities. Top notch persuaders will always find employment, even in the slowest of economies.

The ability to persuade is power, for good or for bad. Think of all the people in your life who have persuaded you to reach higher and achieve greatness. Persuasive people keep kids off drugs, prevent wars, and improve lives. Of course, persuasive people also get kids on drugs, stir up wars, and destroy lives. We want to focus on the power of persuasion for the improvement and betterment of ourselves, our friends and families, and our communities. Let's face it, though: Most of us are not born persuaders. For the majority of us, the arts of persuasion and influence are not gifts we inherently possess. Sure, there are the stereotypical persuaders who are naturally friendly, outgoing, and sometimes loud. Research reveals, however, that some of the best persuaders are actually introverts.

For many, the notion of becoming a polished persuader means being forceful, manipulative, or pushy. Such an assumption is dead wrong. Tactics like these might get results for the short term, but Maximum Influence is about getting results for the long term. Lasting influence isn't derived from calculated maneuvers, deliberate tactics, or intimidation. Rather, proper implementation of the latest persuasion strategies will allow you to influence with the utmost integrity. People will naturally and automatically trust you, have confidence in you, and want to be persuaded by you. In short, they will want to do what you want them to do.

It is a common misconception that only individuals involved in sales, marketing, or leadership positions need to learn the Rules of Persuasion. This is simply not true! Sales professionals, business managers, parents, negotiators, lawyers, coaches, speakers, advertisers, and doctors can all use these skills. Everyone needs persuasion skills, no matter their occupation. What people don't realize is that everyone uses the techniques and tactics of persuasion each day. People constantly study one another, trying to figure out how to get someone to do what they want them to do. Needless to say, mastering communication and understanding human nature are essential life lessons if we want to effectively persuade and influence people. We can't get anywhere in life unless we are able to work with other human beings. It is through our dealings with others that we achieve success. No one is self-sufficient. Everything of any value that we accomplish in life is achieved through the support and help of the people around us. As a society, we are interconnected, and the ability to make those connections is vital to our success.

[1]Amanda Bennett, "Economist plus meeting equals a zillion causes and effects," Wall Street Journal, January 10, 1995.

Used for You or Against You

Advertisers spend billions of dollars researching and analyzing our psycho-graphics and demographics to figure out how to subtly persuade us. Roselli, Skelly, and Mackie point out that "even by conservative estimates, the average person is exposed to 300 to 400 persuasive media messages a day from the mass media alone."[2] We are bombarded with thousands of persuasive messages each day through a myriad of sources, including newspapers, magazines, billboards, signs, packaging, the Internet, direct mail, radio, TV, mail order, catalogs, coworkers, management, sales professionals, and even parents or children. The question is: Are these tactics being used for you or against you? Thousands, even millions, are persuaded against their better judgment every day, simply because they are unequipped to accurately interpret and effectively respond to the advertising barrage we perpetually face. In this case, what you don't know will hurt you. Persuasive influences flood our daily existence and are inescapable. It is without question in our best interest to master Maximum Influence, know how it works, and learn how to implement its proven techniques so we are empowered today.

[2]F. Roselli, J. J. Skelly, and D. M. Mackie, "Processing Rational and Emotional Messages: The Cognitive and Affective Mediation of Persuasion," Journal of Experimental Applied Social Psychology 163 (1995).

When You Have the Right Tools You Will Succeed

Let's be honest: We all want and need things from other people. We want people to follow, trust, and accept us. We want to influence others to our way of thinking. We want to get what we want — when we want it. Possessing the right tools and knowing how to use them is the secret to success.

Maximum Influence supplies a complete toolbox of effective persuasion techniques. Most people use the same limited persuasion tools over and over, achieving only temporary, limited, or even undesired results. You can do only so many things with a hammer, right? We need to open our minds to the whole toolbox of persuasion and influence. We have all heard the maxim: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." The problem is, everyone is not a nail. The art of persuasion must be customized to every group or individual, to every situation or event. It's like playing the piano with only two or three notes: You're playing "Chopsticks" when you should be playing Mozart. When you play with all the keys of persuasion and influence, you can create a masterpiece with your life.

Definitions

Persuasion is the process of changing or reforming attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or behaviors toward a predetermined outcome through voluntary compliance. If you properly implement the strategies of Maximum Influence, you'll persuade others not only to want what you want, but also to be eager to do what you want. Note that persuasion is not the same as negotiation, a term that suggests some degree of backing down or meeting in the middle. Rather than compromising, as in negotiation, effective persuasion will actually convince the opposing party to abandon their previous position and embrace yours.

Influence is who you are and how you, as a person, will impact the message. This includes whether you are viewed as trustworthy and credible, for example.

Power increases your ability to persuade and influence. This power can be seen with people who possess knowledge, have authority, or use coercion during a persuasion process.

Motivation is the ability to incite others to act in accordance with the suggestions and ideals you have posed. Motivation is your "call to action," or what you want your audience to do.

Persuasion and Rhetoric

One's ability to persuade meant great social prestige in the ancient Greek world. Homer regarded the rhetorical skills of Nestor and Odysseus as tremendous inborn gifts. It was Aristotle who first introduced persuasion as a skill that could be learned. At that time, rhetorical training became the craze for the citizens of Athens, especially the politically elite. The first book ever written on persuasion was Aristotle's The Art of Rhetoric. The book's basic principles established a foundation for persuasion that still holds true today.[3]

Aristotle taught that rhetoric was an art form that could be approached systematically by a formula for all persuasive attempts. Aristotle's most famous contribution to persuasion was his three means of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. He argued that the most effective persuasive attempts contain all three concepts, setting an unshakable foundation for success. Let's briefly review Aristotle's three basic means of persuasion.

Ethos

Ethos refers to the personal character of the speaker. Aristotle believed that audiences could be persuaded if they perceived a speaker as credible. In his own estimation: "We believe good men more fully and readily than others." Aristotle also stated that "ethos is not a thing or a quality but an interpretation that is the product of the speaker-audience interaction."[4] Ethos includes such things as body type, height, movement, dress, grooming, reputation, vocal quality, word choice, eye contact, sincerity, trust, expertise, charisma. . . well, you get the idea. It is the audience's perception of the credibility of the speaker.

Aristotle taught that ethos was the most powerful of the three persuasive means. Indeed, scientific research has proven the power of individual ethos. A study by Hovland and Weiss gave students messages that were identical in all respects except for their source. High-credibility sources yielded large opinion changes in the students while low-credibility sources produced small opinion changes.[5]

Pathos

Pathos is the psychological state of the audience. The psychological or emotional state of the listener can affect persuasion because "our judgment when we are pleased and friendly [is] not the same as when we are pained and hostile."[6] When considering pathos, it is important to know both the individual's actual state of mind and his desired state of mind. When you determine the difference between the two, you can use that knowledge to your advantage. By helping them see how they can get from their current state to their desired state, you can persuade people to do just about anything.

Logos

Logos is the substance of a message, or the logic presented to provide proof to the listener. Aristotle believed that humans are fundamentally reasonable people who make decisions based on what makes sense. This manner of reasoning is what enables the audience to find the message persuasive and convincing.

Aristotle's three concepts are central to understanding modern-day persuasion. The principles and laws described in Maximum Influence are founded upon the principles presented by Aristotle and the ancient Greeks. Admittedly, however, the times and the means of persuasion have changed over the years. It is more difficult now than in any other time in history to persuade and influence those around us. In Aristotle's time, the people had limited access to information and most could not read. That gave Aristotle an advantage we no longer have today.

Modern-day Persuaders run into three major factors that make persuasion a greater challenge than it was in the past. First, people are better educated and have access to more information than they did in any other time in history. With the explosion of the Internet, information is instantly available. We can now find out the cost of a car before we even enter the dealership. The second roadblock to persuasion is that today's consumers are increasingly doubtful and skeptical. The number of persuasive arguments we see and hear every day is growing at an alarming rate, and it takes more and more effort to sort out the valid offers from the scams. The third barrier to persuasion is choice. Now, via the Internet, the consumer has access to the world market. In the past, if you had the only bookstore in town, that is where people had to shop. Now, one bookstore owner has to compete with hundreds of bookstores around the globe and with Amazon for the same business.

[3]Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric, translation by H. C. Lawson-Tancred (New York: Penguin Books, 1991).

[4]Ibid.

[5]Carl Hovland and I. Weiss, "The Influence of Source Credibility on Communication Effectiveness," Walter Public Opinion Quarterly 15 (1951): 635–650.

[6]Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric.

Persuasion, Communication, and Knowledge Breed Confidence

The greatest common denominator of the ultra-prosperous is that wealthy people are master communicators. There is a direct correlation between your ability to persuade others and the level of your income. Impeccable and masterful communication unarguably leads to wealth. The highest paid and most powerful people on the planet are all master communicators. These individuals put themselves at stake in front of large groups, communicating and persuading in such a way that people are inspired to support them. Your financial success in life will be largely determined by your ability to communicate with other people. Everything you want, but don't currently have, you will have to get from others. Your ability to effectively communicate and persuade will be your key to riches.

Persuasion is also your golden ticket to promotion. Communication skills rank number one of all the personal qualities employers seek in college graduates.[7] While most people shy away from overtly persuasive situations, master communicators welcome such opportunities. Master communicators feel in control of challenging situations because they understand the art of persuasion and they know how to recognize and use persuasive strategies.

[7]Wall Street Journal, December 29, 1998.

The Foundational Principles of Persuasion

The Rules of Persuasion Are Neutral

Central to understanding persuasion is the concept of neutrality. The Rules of Persuasion are neither good nor evil. They simply exist. Just as nuclear energy can be used to create electricity or an atomic bomb, persuasion can be used to create unity or to force compliance. Whether the outcome is good or bad depends on the person using the laws and how that person applies the techniques of persuasion. Some people desire to win at any cost, using any available tactics including misusing the Rules of Persuasion. These individuals are willing to use guilt, violence, intimidation, temptation, bribery, and blackmail to get the desired result.

However, when used properly, persuasion is our best friend. Through persuasion we create peace agreements, promote fund-raising efforts, and convince motorists to buckle up. Persuasion is the means by which the coach of an underdog team inspires players to win. It is also the method employed by the Surgeon General to convince people to have regular mammograms and prostate examinations, by managers to increase employee performance and morale, and by hostage negotiators to convince criminals to free their captives.

This guide focuses on using Maximum Influence in positive ways. Misuse of the laws will only come back to haunt you in the long run. You might get short-term instant results, but your long-term future will be bleak. The tools outlined in this resource are powerful and are not to be used selfishly. They should not be considered a means of gaining a desired result at any cost. Rather, you should use these tools to get your desired outcome only when it is a win-win situation for all involved.

The fable of the sun and the wind provides an excellent example of properly implemented persuasion. The sun and the wind were always arguing about which of them was the strongest. The wind believed he was stronger because of his destructive power in tornados and hurricanes. He wanted the sun to admit he was stronger, but the sun held fast to his own opinion and could not be convinced. One day the sun decided he wanted the matter settled once and for all, so he invited the wind to compete with him in a contest. The sun chose the contest carefully. He pointed out an old man taking a walk, and challenged the wind to use his power to blow the man's jacket off. The wind felt this would be an easy contest to win and began to blow. To his surprise, each gust of wind only made the man cling more tightly to his jacket. The wind blew harder, and the man held on tighter. The harder the wind blew, the more the man resisted. The powerful blows of wind even knocked the man down, but he would not let go of his jacket. Finally, the wind gave up and challenged the sun to succeed in getting the man to take off his jacket. The sun smiled and shone radiantly upon the man. The man felt the warmth of the sun, and sweat began to appear on his forehead. The sun continued pouring out warmth and sunshine upon the man and, at last, the man took off his jacket. The sun had won the contest. This is an example of Maximum Influence at its best. If your attempt to persuade is a win-win, others will be eager to do what you want them to do. As you perform the exercises and techniques outlined in this guide, you will notice powerful changes in your ability to persuade and influence others.

Persuasion Must Have an Audience

The art of persuading and influencing others always requires an audience, whether it's a single person, a small group of ten, or a much larger assembly of listeners. This component is constant, so it is critical to know how to adapt quickly to your audience's needs, wants, fears, and desires. Knowing how to research and read your audience will help you determine which tools or techniques will be the most effective in any given situation. Using the wrong techniques and tools, on the other hand, will automatically create barriers between you and your audience, which in turn will diminish your potential to persuade them. When you effectively integrate the principles and Rules of Persuasion with the characteristics of influence, power, and motivation, your audience will always be friendly, and desirable results will be the outcome. In Chapter 15, Your Pre-Persuasion Checklist, I will spend more time on how to analyze, adapt to, and read your audience.

Effective Persuasion Requires Adaptation

Have you ever tried the same approach with a customer that your boss uses on you and had it bomb miserably? Becoming an effective persuader requires more than mimicking other persuaders. You must not only fully understand the wide variety of persuasive techniques available, but you must also be ready to use the techniques best suited for any given situation. Acquiring this level of skill demands a commitment to watch, analyze, study, and apply the concepts of Maximum Influence.

Human nature is as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Human actions and thoughts are never perfectly predictable because each of us has different emotions, attitudes, beliefs, personalities, and traits. A beginner's tendency is to find one persuasive technique that works and stick with that. Unfortunately, you cannot use the same persuasion tool on everyone. Depending on the situation and the techniques you use, people will agree with you, refuse to listen, or be indifferent to your efforts. Persuaders have many tools and can therefore adapt and customize them to suit any situation or personality.

Effective Persuasion Has Lasting Impact

Do you want short-term temporary results or long-term permanent results? Effective persuasion has lasting impact, but it requires dedicated study and long-term commitment on the part of the persuader. The Hierarchy of Persuasion (Figure 1-1) sheds light on how the world uses different levels of persuasion, ranging from control at the most short-term level to genuine commitment at the long-term level.

The qualities listed at the base of the pyramid are the most easily and commonly used, but they achieve only temporary results. Such results are temporary because they do not address a person's genuine wants or desires. Persuasion based on the qualities listed at the top of the pyramid is effective whether pressure is perceived or not. Such a method creates lasting results because it taps into and involves a person's true interests. Determining whether you want short or long-term results dictates which area on the pyramid should be the focus of your efforts.

Imagine the CEO of a large corporation calling one of his vice presidents to a meeting. At the meeting, the vice president is informed that he must raise $20,000 in employee contributions for a charity the company is going to sponsor. The CEO is not concerned with the means the vice president uses as long as they result in a check for $20,000. Raising such a sum requires getting $100 from each employee — a daunting endeavor! The vice president considers the various ways he could accomplish this task. It would be both easy and quick to approach the employees using control. He could use fear or threats to obtain the money. This do-it-or-else mentality would get immediate results. The long-term impact, however, would likely involve rebellion, revenge, and resentment. What about coercion? Surely the employees would provide the requested donation if they were told doing otherwise would negatively affect their next job evaluation. Would this tactic get immediate results? Sure. Again, however, the long-term effects would be resentment, rebellion, and revenge.

The vice president decides control and/or coercion do not provide the best outcomes. Next he considers compliance. If he offered incentives, benefits, or rewards, it would be a win-win situation, right? Suppose each employee who donates $100 gets an extra two weeks of paid vacation. The problem is, once the incentive is gone, compliance will also disappear. He might get the $100 this time, but what about the next time he asks for a donation? This method is still only a temporary fix because the employees will be conditioned to always expect a reward for their compliance.

The vice president next considers cooperation. He could spend time with the employees explaining why this charity is so important and how it would be a great honor for them to participate. He could convince, encourage, or "sell" with logic, emotion, and information to donate to this worthy cause. Now, armed with the tools of effective persuasion, he's onto an approach that will have lasting, positive results. As long as the employees feel he is telling the truth and acting in their best interest, they will be open to his proposal.

Finally, the vice president considers the top form of persuasion: commitment. If he has a great reputation and relationship with his employees, there will be mutual respect, honor, and trust. These conditions will enable the employees to comfortably make out their $100 checks. They know the vice president is a man of honor who would never ask them to do anything that would not be in their best interest. They can commit to him because they feel he is committed to them.

Commitment is the highest ideal of Maximum Influence because its impact is the most permanent and far-reaching. Your reputation as one possessing integrity, honor, trust, and respect will continuously inspire commitment from everyone you seek to persuade.

The Formula: Twelve Rules of Maximum Influence

Getting people to do what you want and, at the same time, to enjoy it is not an accident or coincidence. You must use techniques based on the proven Rules of Persuasion and influence to achieve such results. As you master these techniques, you'll experience predictable control and influence over others.

Professional negotiators, sales professionals, and upper management professionals around the world use these twelve laws. They are the same principles that help thousands of people gain control of their lives and their financial futures. Mastery of all the twelve rules is crucial for Maximum Influence. If you read this guide and act upon your newly acquired knowledge, it will not be long before you find yourself in a completely different position than you are today. You will act instead of being acted upon. You will speak and be heard. You will lead and be followed.

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