Persuasive Communication is one of the cornerstone skills you need to have if you want to, get what you want, make your way and leave your mark in this world.
This is a short summary of the book Persuasion IQ – by Kurt Mortensen.
What is the book about?
It’s about making people say YES to you. Whether it is a raise, sale, pitching an idea to investors, asking for money from mom and dad, asking for sex… the everyday stuff.
This summary is made up of two parts:
- Part 1: Quotes, a list of traits of great persuaders and obstacles that prevent you to become one.
- Part 2: The summary of EACH of the ten skills great persuaders have
If you’re in a hurry, you can read it in 15 minutes and get about 80% of it. We suggest reading slowly, with a pint in your hand.
YOU are what’s persuasive, not some tactic you employ. You’re the real deal. You are persuasive because of the traits, talents, and characteristics you have integrated into your life.
Traits Of A Great Persuader
Informed, Educated, Knowledgeable, Honest, Organized, Cooperative, Adaptable, Good listener, Resilient, Great communicator, Hardworking, Punctual, Solution-oriented, Emphatic, Candid, Dependable, Friendly, Proactive, Determined, Accurate, Humble, Admits mistakes, Sincere, Creative, Pleasant disposition, Great personality, Continuous learner.
“Dull knives work the hardest.” Working hard is not the same as working smart. Are your knives sharp? Are you working smart?
Obstacles That Prevent Most People From Becoming Great Persuaders:
Obstacle 1: “Lake Wobegon Effect”
To describe the tendency most people have to see themselves as better than average. When afflicted by it, we become numb to reality and fail to see exactly where we stand and what we need to improve. This tendency can lower our expectations about ourselves and falsely improve our confidence.
Why it is called lake Wobegon? Because of the lake called Wobegon.
Obstacle 2: The Brick Wall Of Resistance
- Most people will never say anything to you to alert you to the fact they are feeling resistance to you or what you express their way. While friendliness and enthusiasm are great attributes, if there is even so much as a hint of force, deception, hype, or selling underlying any of it, you’ve pretty much sunk the deal.
- They assume you’re going to be the sleazy, manipulative sales guy before you’ve even had a chance to speak. They are all ready to resist you before you start.
- What do you do to overcome this tendency? Your persuasion attempts must be non-threatening and very natural. Forget loud and flashy. That strategy only encourages resistance.
- Great persuaders have cultivated a sixth sense when it comes to the “push and pull” aspect of persuasion. You must encourage without pushing. Entice, but don’t ensnare.
Obstacle 3: Thinking Like An Employee
Most people think of themselves as employees. They make their hourly wage or their annual salary; they get their fixed amount. The truth is we all are paid for our performance. We are all really on commission, whether we realize it or not, whether we like it or not. The path to success is often blocked by our inability to take full responsibility for our current situation.
Obstacle 4: Talking Too Much
- Great persuaders listen more than they talk.
- Great persuaders use their listening and questioning skills to get their audience to persuade themselves. Often when someone comes to you, they already know what they want. They already have something in mind. She just needs to talk through it with someone.
- 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.
Obstacle 5: An Avalanche Of Information
- When you want to draw attention to the benefits of a product or service, the best thing to do is uncover the features or benefits your audience is looking for first.
- It is critical to remember that most people already know what they want. In fact, your audience’s mindset often is looking for reasons not to buy. It is a natural defense mechanism.
- Let them tell you what they’re looking for.
- Don’t oversell by cluttering or distracting the few most important key points.
- Sometimes you can state a benefit they don’t want.
- Consider the doctor analogy to persuasion:
A doctor, in order to provide the right treatment, FIRST listens and understands the patient.
Obstacle 6: Being motivated by desperation
Don’t be. It looks so desperate.
Obstacle 7: Fear Of Rejection
- It’s nothing personal – they are rejecting the deal not you personally – They DO NOT EVEN KNOW YOU DUDE!
- The ability to bounce back after being faced with rejection on any scale is critical in the persuasion world. Great persuaders have the ability to erase the negativity from their minds at will and move on with a clean slate in a matter of minutes.
Obstacle 8: Lack Of Preparation
- Winging is not OK.
- There are four areas in which great persuaders prepare. They are:
- Knowing your product or service inside and out.
- Knowing your audience and what their needs and wants are so you can tailor your presentation.
- Having several tools in the toolbox so that you can present them with options and alternatives.
- Knowing how to customize your presentation.
Obstacle 9: Prejudging And Making Assumptions.
- Many, many times we find that the people who seem to be the least likely candidates are the ones who become a big part of your business.
- Don’t judge a book by its covers.
Obstacle 10: Assuming Closing Skills Are The Magic Cure
Great persuaders don’t even have to use closing techniques. That’s because their audience is ready to purchase before the end of the conversation has even been reached. You need to be able to connect with your audience, to be sincere and emphatic, and to show them you have their best interests in mind.
PART 2: 10 Skill Summary
Skill 1 | Mental Programming of Top Persuaders
With the right mental programming, you know where you’re going and what you want to accomplish. Then, anything negative or derogatory people say won’t matter. They won’t be able to crush your dreams no matter how hard they try. The right mindset involves knowing what you want and having a plan to get it.
- When your psyche (mindset) is in the proper place, you will always follow your heart.
- Embracing what’s closest to your heart will unleash your greatest energy, imagination, and potential.
- When your mind pre-accepts your victories as already won, you’re halfway there. You’ll find that instinct, and intuitions begin to emerge. You’ll find yourself thinking, talking, and behaving in a more positive and productive way. In short, all of your energies will be aimed at your goals.
- Understand that your conscious and subconscious mind must agree. The subconscious will accept what you feel to be true.
Ingredients For A Strong Mental Programming:
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #1: THOUGHT DIRECTION
Your thoughts are what program your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is the center of all your emotions. When your subconscious accepts an idea, it begins to execute it. And then your subconscious uses your ideas, knowledge, energy, and wisdom to find the solution.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #2: SYNCHRONIZED BELIEFS
- Just as airplanes have guidance systems to direct them, so do we have systems guiding and shaping what we think, do, and believe. Without these influences, we will miss our intend- ed destination, just like an airplane out of touch with the control tower would never be able to land.
- After you have identified which beliefs shape your life, you need to determine which beliefs represent personal truths for you and which ones you have simply acquired by social and cultural osmosis.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #3: CONFRONTING FEAR
- Human infants are born with only two fears: fear of falling and fear of loud noises. A newborn baby fears nothing else. All other fears are learned. The good news is that if we can learn fears, we can unlearn them.
- How do you unlearn a deeply ingrained fear? You must face it.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #4: VIBRANT, FULL-COLOR VISUALIZATION
- The subconscious mind cannot distinguish between reality and that which is vividly imagined.
- Always remember this adage: Winners win in advance.
- As Muhammad Ali said, “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” Your vibrant, vivid visualization will give you the wings you need to soar over any obstacle. And since it has no limits, your unfettered imagination is wasted only if you don’t use it.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #5: FINDING YOUR PURPOSE
That’s it. Find it.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #6: SELF-ESTEEM
Self-esteem is like a mirror of what’s going on inside. If you have a hard time maintaining a healthy and balanced degree of self-respect, you’re going to have a hard time persuading others. You’ve got to persuade yourself first! It is only when you are truly happy and comfortable with yourself that you will you be able to influence others.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #7: HEALTHY HABITS
- You’ve picked up your habits somewhere—often without even thinking about it— and you’re not even sure why.
- Instead of trying to drop all of your bad habits at once, try replacing each of them with something else. Pick other activities that are enjoyable and fulfilling, but more productive.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #8: ACCOUNTABILITY
- Stop Rationalizing and Take Action
- Rationalization only encourages inaction, so stop the “I would, I could, I should” stuff and do something to take ownership
- Stop Blaming Everything and Everybody—Except Yourself.
- Begin to Acknowledge and Own Your “Failures”
- Rest assured that the universe will test you to see if your goals and dreams are mere fads or a true, burning desire. No one is exempt. Don’t ask yourself, “Why me?” Ask yourself, “Why not me? What do I need to learn?” Neglect compounds itself exponentially. It’s just like interest that compounds itself with other interest. Before you know it, you are deeper in debt. Over time, failure grows into a huge problem. Don’t ignore the initial problem. Like with a small wound, if you ignore it, it may turn into a festering infection, and you could lose a limb.
FOUNDATION INGREDIENT #9: TRUE HAPPINESS
Great persuaders are happy people. They love and enjoy life.
Skill 2 | Understanding How Your Audience Thinks
- Great persuaders can find patterns in human nature and customize their ability to persuade accordingly.
- There are two paths to persuasion—the conscious (analytical, factual) and the subconscious (emotional, gut, feel right)
Up to 95 percent of persuasion and influence involves a subconscious trigger.
This tendency means that inclinations like “It just feels right,” “I trust this person,” or “I don’t like this person” are all based on subconscious emotional reactions.
- Emotion inspires us to take action, but logic then justifies those actions.
Emotion, Not Logic, Dominates Our Decision Making
People don’t ask for facts in making up their minds. They would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.
Objections & Concerns
You will realize that when people voice objections, it indicates that they are both mentally interested and emotionally involved in whatever it is you are proposing, even if they are skeptical. Interested and involved—what more could a persuader want from their audience?
Great persuaders are always able to accomplish three critical objectives during the objection step in the persuasive communication process:
- They can distinguish between a real objection and a knee-jerk reaction. Our studies show that most objections should not be taken at face value, because there are other issues involved.
- They listen intently to the entire objection before attempting to solve it.
- They stay calm. Tests have proven that calmly stated facts are more effective in getting people to change their minds than becoming emotional.
The Power Of Questions
- Top persuaders ask lots of questions and then let their audience do the talking. The person asking the questions has control; the person doing all the talking does not.
- Questions engage – Anytime we hear a question, we instinctively start seeking an answer. It’s an automatic response. Even if we don’t actually voice the answer, we think about it in our minds.
- Great persuaders use open-ended questions. These questions allow your audience to express their feelings and concerns.
A No Means Maybe
When we get that initial no, we just accept it because we assume the person has thought it through and come to an educated conclusion. Well, the truth is, he or she often hasn’t. People forget or they get distracted. That’s why repetition and persistence are worthwhile in a persuasion scenario. It’s often not that people are putting you off as much as they just haven’t taken the time to really sort it all through.
Skill 3 | Instant Rapport And Social Synchronization
Rapport is equivalent to being on the same wavelength as the other person.
It’s not the customers job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have a chance to forget you.
How To Connect With People & Ante Up Your Persuasive Communication
- Through trust
- You can’t get others to trust you unless you first trust yourself.
- Your message will not be convincing to others unless it’s convincing to you.
- The five c’s of trust.
- Character – we do not trust those we perceive as lacking in character
- This is a very good quote on character:
- Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking
- This is a very good quote on character:
- Competence – we do not trust those we perceive as being incompetent in the immediate subject.
- Confidence – we do not trust those we perceive as not being confident in their role or their words.
- Credibility – we do not trust those we perceive as not being credible in general terms as well as specific terms.
- Congruence – we do not trust those we perceive as not being congruent in their speech and behavior.
- Character – we do not trust those we perceive as lacking in character
Skill 5 | Command Attention With Power And Authority
Power instills response and there are several types of power.
- Authority power
- How ppl perceive your expertise
- By title, uniform, position, physical characteristics
- Respect power – is the best one it is enhanced by:
- Mutual respect
- Unspotted history
- Long term stability
- Proven track record
- Unquestionable rep
- Knowledge power – when you KNOW what you are talking about
- Informational power – when you know something others want to know
- Resource power – same as above
- Expertise power
- Reward power – If used too much, people expect it and just deliver only as much as you reward them
Skill 6 |The Ability To Influence People
Seven characteristics that enhance influence and improve your Persuasive Communication:
The Two Primary
- People with great charisma have these traits:
- Strong and clear vision
- The know-how to present their vision so that the weakness of the current situation makes the vision not only justifiable but desirable
- They have a history of success expertise and vision to change
- They possess the behavior they encourage others to have
- How to augment your charisma
- Develop confidence in yourself and in your message
- Show a lighter side – don’t take yourself too seriously – life is fun 🙂
- Have great presence and energy by projecting the five c’s of trust
- Be knowledgable of the subject matter
- Have a pleasant professional manner
- Be sensitive to others and needs
- Make sure the message is easy to follow and clear
- Make sure you are exiting and engaging to listen
- People with great charisma have these traits:
- Passion – Passion is viral
- Closely related to the enthusiasm which means to be inspired by a god – it’s contagious. When one gets enthusiastic, the personality lights up – the mind becomes sharper, more intuitive, the entire life force and creative ability are enhanced.
5 Secondary But Equally Important
- Empathy – Seeing through the eyes of others.
- Vision – To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination and how to get there – and this is contagious and pulls in people because they all look for this yearn for direction.
- Optimism – As an optimist, you see the world as a series of exciting challenges.
- Attitude – self-explanatory
- Self-esteem – low self-esteem people don’t like themselves. And people who don’t like themselves are people that nobody likes.
Skill 7 | Motivate yourself and others
Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.
Skill 8 | Presenting
Presenting is the art of going on stage and convincing a group of people/individuals to do something.
- Listen, don’t interrupt, ask questions, don’t jump to conclusions, be in tune with emotions, adapt to the situation, be confident. Speak slowly, find common ground,
Great Presentations Should:
- Convey value
- Be complete
- Clear and concise
- Inspire interest
- Have a call to action
- Suggest the next step
- Be filled with passion
- Tailored to the audience
- Provide answers to the following:
- Why should I care?
- How will this benefit me?
- Will this fulfill my needs?
Types Of Audiences And How To Deal With Them:
- Solution: Find smth to agree on; don’t attack them; show credibility; do homework; respect their feelings and beliefs; listen to them
- Indifferent (understands but does not care about the outcome)
- Spell the benefits, inspire, tell a story, make them feel connected, use simple arguments, tell with passion.
- Uninformed person
- Encourage questions, keep it simple, convey an interesting message, use statistics, quote experts the person respects, be clear.
- Supportive (agrees with me but does not have a call to action)
- Increase energy and enthusiasm, enhance their esteem, use testimonials, get their commitment.
Great Presentations Should Also Have A Killer Message.
A way in which successful persuaders increase the impact of their message within their persuasive communication is to use vividly descriptive language. Pretend you are standing in a beautiful, sunny kitchen. You reach across the counter and grab a bright, juicy lemon. You can feel it is heavy with sour juice and you can smell the powerful lemon scent as you rub the oil of the skin on your hand. Reaching for a knife, you slice the lemon in half. One of the halves drips bright, sticky lemon juice over your finger. You raise half of the lemon to your lips and take a bite. As your teeth sink into the fruit, you feel the juice burst out around your teeth and tongue. The liquid is incredibly sour! You start to cringe, and then you swallow.
You can smell the powerful lemon scent as you rub the oil of the skin on your hand. Reaching for a knife, you slice the lemon in half. One of the halves drips bright, sticky lemon juice over your finger. You raise half of the lemon to your lips and take a bite. As your teeth sink into the fruit, you feel the juice burst out around your teeth and tongue. The liquid is incredibly sour! You start to cringe, and then you swallow.
- Make them feel as if the sale is done and what is left is just letting them imagine the result.
- For example, when an electronics salesman says, “You’re really going to love how this TV makes your sports come alive,” he is shifting the focus away from the sale and creating an exciting image in your head. He is also speaking as though you had already agreed to the sale because you wouldn’t be watching the TV unless you were going to buy it. He’s acting like it’s a done deal—and the truth is, the more he acts this way, the more it is!
What If You’re Cold Calling?
The best persuaders do the following over the phone:
- Prepare before the call is made.
- Know the exact purpose and desired end result of the call.
- Smile during the conversation. (Yes, you can hear the smile.)
- Are polite.
- Focus on the audience’s needs and wants.
- Use appropriate humor.
- Use the phrases “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.”
- Return calls within twenty-four hours.
- End on a positive note.
- Are brief and to the point.
- Never ask, “How are you today?” because it is a telemarketing red flag.
- Qualify early and often.
- Exemplify sincerity and empathy.
- Employ listening skills.
- Use questions to control the conversations.
- Leave clear messages on voicemail and an explicit reason to call back.
Skill 9 | Pre-planned Anticipation: The Secret Formulas Of The Pros
Anticipation starts with asking A LOT of questions about the message/goals you are trying to convey and achieve, the presentation itself, the audience and questions that the audience might ask themselves. Such as:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- How can I ensure that my message is crystal clear?
- If I had to boil my message down to three main points, what would they be?
- How can I demonstrate my expertise?
- How can I increase my trustworthiness with this audience?
- What are the emotional reasons that will prompt my audience to respond?
- What are the logical reasons that will prompt my audience to respond?
- Why should others care about what I have to say?
- What is my “call to action”?
- What are some alternatives to my initial proposal?
- Does my plan have any potential pitfalls?
- What are the top five doubts or objections I will encounter? How will I respond?
- What information should I gather about my audience? My competition?
- Do I have product samples, brochures, order forms, and catalogs?
- Do I have additional bonuses or incentives to offer in the final moments?
- Are there other ways I can build the value of my product, service, or idea?
- How can I get my prospects involved in my presentation?
- How is what I have to offer different from the competition?
Q’s the audience will ask themselves:
- Why do I need this?
- What will happen if I follow through with this? What will happen if I don’t?
- How will this improve/change my life?
- What are my options?
- Where else could I go to fulfill this need?
- What is this going to cost me?
- Where can I get the best price?
- When do I need to make a final decision?
- What will my spouse/friends say?
Your questions about the audience:
- Who am I trying to persuade?
- What is the common background or interest that brings them together?
- Who are these people as individuals (business people, students, mothers, etc.)?
- What can I offer that they will universally care about and understand?
- What types of things will they be looking to get out of my message?
- In terms of my key point(s), are they likely to agree, disagree, or be indifferent?
- Do I need to be aware of their political, religious, professional, or other associations?
- What is their average education and/or income level?
- What is their general age range?
- Will they tend to be more conservative or more liberal in their life views?
- Is this likely to be an easygoing or demanding crowd? I How long will I be likely to keep them engaged?
- How much time is available?
- Is what I have to offer appropriate for this audience?
- What is my audience’s biggest challenge and how am I going to solve it?
- Can I find it?
- How long does it take me to find it?
- Is there a better, more efficient way of organizing it?
- Might I be losing credibility based on sloppy appearance or surroundings?
- Is there technology/software I can use to simplify my tasks and increase my productivity?
- Is there something I can delegate?
Skill 10 | Self-Mastery And Personal Development
There is a story about two neighbors who lived near each other in the mountains.
They were quite competitive and were always testing each other’s strength. One day, the first neighbor challenged the second. They would see who could chop the most wood in three hours. The second neighbor agreed to the challenge. The first neighbor started out strong. As he chopped away, the second neighbor chopped for only ten minutes and then sat down under the shade of a large tree.
The first neighbor could not believe his neighbor’s laziness. To his surprise, the second neighbor continued to take these ten-minute breaks each hour for the duration of the contest. Finally, the three hours passed. Not having paused to take even a single break, the first neighbor was sure victory was his. To his dismay, he found that the second neighbor had chopped twice as much wood as he had! In disbelief, he said, “That’s impossible! You took a break every hour.” Without batting an eye, the second neighbor replied, “I wasn’t resting; I was sharpening my axe.
Three Universal Success Principles Upon Which Great Persuaders Live By And Improve Their Persuasive Communication:
- Work on yourself first. You cannot borrow success or the power to persuade. You have to master the skills yourself. This mastery is especially important if you aspire to help and serve those around you. Think of it as similar to being in an airplane. In the event of an emergency, the flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask first and then help those around you. If you don’t administer to yourself first, you will pass out before you have a chance to help others, and everyone loses. It is very difficult to persuade others when you can’t persuade yourself.
- Practice resolve, persistence, and determination. You’ll never know the exact date, time, or circumstances when success will hit.
- Tap into your value, find your worth, and exceed your potential. We tend to look everywhere except in our own backyards for the answers or solutions to life’s challenges. The answers are closer than you think.
Great Persuaders Master The Product By Asking These Questions:
- What are my product or service’s weaknesses? Strengths?
- What are my product or service’s advantages? Disadvantages?
- How will the economy help or hurt my business?
- What percent of the market do I have? What percent do my various competitors have?
- Why are my consumers loyal to my product or service?
- Do I know my (and my competitors’):
- Pricing structure?
- Delivery options?
Great Persuaders Universally Possess The Following Traits:
- Financial freedom
- Job security
- Solid relationships
- Life mastery
- Love of life
Great Persuaders Prioritize Throughout Their Day And Ask Questions Such As:
- What is the best use of my time throughout the day?
- What part of my day should be reserved for the most difficult tasks?
- Do I do the simple, enjoyable things first?
- Am I spending important time on unimportant things?
- Do I confuse being busy with achievement?
- Do I know my priorities?
- Is this knowledge reflected in the way spend my time?
- Am I clear about what I want to accomplish?
- What unnecessary things can I remove from my life?
- Is there any redundancy in my daily activities?
Toolbox For Maxing Time Management:
- Monitoring interruptions.
- Implementing deadlines and rewards.
- Restricting sleep to only what is necessary (not sleeping longer than is needful).
- Batching similar tasks.
- Scheduling all activities and events, even “catch-up” time and rest time.
- Using technology to automate your contact, email and tracking systems.
Great Persuaders Deal With Procrastination By Identifying The Symptoms And Causes Such As:
- Perfectionism. The first excuse is when a person insists that everything be perfect, that all their ducks be in a row, before taking the next step. These people are your classic perfectionists. There is always one more thing they need to fix or fine-tune, before they can get down to the business of talking to potential customers.
- Pessimism. The second common excuse behind procrastination is pessimism—always entertaining worst-case scenarios and all the reasons not to proceed. There are always many excuses not to do the work, but never any good reasons. These people spend all their time worrying and negatively forecasting the future.
- Amiability. The third excuse for procrastination is “amiability.” These are the folks who are always afraid of being too pushy, intrusive, and annoying. They avoid anything that will put them in a situation where someone might get upset or, even worse, not like them.
- Credibility. The final excuse-maker is the superficial expert. Superficial experts fear that if they let others find out that they don’t really possess all the skills they pretend to have, they will lose all credibility. They like being looked up to and admired from a distance, but the thought of being in a situation where they might actually have to demonstrate their alleged knowledge and abilities is terrifying. It would also force them to have to actually do some work. Instead, it is easier to avoid the call of duty.
Procrastinators Tend To Possess These Five Tendencies:
- Overestimate the time they have left to perform tasks.
- Underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks.
- Overestimate how motivated they will feel the next day, the next week, the next month—to do whatever they are putting off.
- Mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it.
- Mistakenly believe that working when not in the mood is suboptimal.
I hope this summary was and would be of use to you one day (and even now) Use it as a quick reminder whenever you feel in doubt about how to persuade someone (or yourselves) into buying what you have to offer or do.