The Most Powerful Persuasion Technique On Earth
In order for anybody to do anything, we have to be convinced that doing the thing will make us better off than not doing the thing. This is true whether we are buying our first home or just getting up to get another beer out of the fridge.
Everything we do has costs. Getting up to get a beer out of the fridge costs calories and time. Buying a house costs a crapton of money. All action not only has direct costs (the calories and time spent to get the beer, and the money spent to buy the house) but also opportunity costs. If you get a beer, you might miss one of the best commercials ever created. If you spend money on a particular house, you can’t buy any other house, nor anything else with that money.
Whenever we make a decision we nearly always have objections. With an expensive purchase, these objections are conscious and rational and talked about and discussed. With smaller actions, these objections exist, but they are rarely completely at the conscious level. If you got to the fridge and realized there were none left, you might contemplate going out to get more, but then you’d have objections. Maybe by the time you got back your show would be over. Maybe it was too late. Maybe you had too many and you shouldn’t drive.
All Actions Come With All Three
Whenever we consider doing something, they are costs, opportunity costs, and objections. Very rarely do we take an action (that doesn’t involve life or death instincts) that don’t include all three. For example, if you are walking down the street and saw a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk, the decision to lean over and pick it up would be quick and automatic. The costs (leaning over) opportunity costs (having to live with the guilt of gaining from somebody’s loss) and the objections to potential risks (maybe the person who dropped it will see you and get angry) all happen under conscious awareness, and they happen very quickly. But they do exist.
Whenever we persuade others, all three need to be considered. Well, they don’t need to be, but if you want to be effective, considering and addressing these will tend to give you better results than if you ignore them and hope for the best.
Most sales techniques teach a form of persuasion that is based on the “features and benefits” model. Even when we persuade our friends or family members we tend to use the features and benefits model. This simply means we build up the benefits of our idea as much as we can. We generally don’t consider the opportunity costs, or the objections.
For Any Persuasion To Succeed
For any persuasion to succeed, the person doing the action, or buying the product must believe that the costs and the opportunity costs are less than the benefit of the action or the purchase. If this idea doesn’t ring true in their mind, they won’t do what we want or buy what we want. They must feel, on a deep and subconscious level, that they will be better off after the transaction.
Just Shut Up!
Sometimes the salesperson or the friend is creating such an uncomfortable situation, that the person goes along with our idea just to get us to shut up. Or maybe they fear negative repercussions if they don’t go along with our idea. This if fine if you’re a cop or a tax collector, but if you are a friend or you hope to get future referrals as a salesperson, this is not a good strategy.
The Importance of Criteria
Many sales people or friends simply assume they know the criteria of the target. When dealing with friends, this is generally OK. You know them, and if you are thinking of seeing a movie, you have a good idea of what kind of movie they like. If you work as a real estate agent, you will tend to have a good idea of the kinds houses people shop in. But this is as far as most people go.
Features And Benefits With Assumed Criteria
This is the extent to which salespeople and friends use to persuade. They assume the criteria, and the they hammer their friends or potential clients with features and benefits. They hope that by overwhelming the client or friend with plenty of features and benefits, the target will finally go along with the persuader’s idea.
Outside In Persuasion
This is like taking an idea that exists outside of the mind of the target, and cramming it in with as much force as possible. The idea is that if you cram your idea into their mind with enough features and benefits, it will take root in their brain. If you cram it in their long and hard enough, they will accept it as theirs. Of course, this sounds a lot like brain-rape. Is there a better way? Yes, Dear Reader, there is!
Inside Out Model
This model is much easier, much more enjoyable for them, and much more effective for you. This requires that you turn off the wonderful ideas inside your brain just for a little while, and let them do all the thinking. In fact, this whole process is based on you helping them to create the most compelling idea of what they want possible.
We Forgot About Rapport!
Of course, when you persuade anybody, you need rapport. If you have enough rapport, you don’t really need any type of persuasion. If you don’t have any rapport, then no persuasion will work. Think of your very best friend. If you know somebody that would help you get rid of a body (or you would help them) that’s the kind of rapport that doesn’t need any persuasion tricks.
Rapport Easiest And Most Overlooked
Rapport is curious. It’s the easiest thing to create. It’s the easiest thing to measure. It’s the most necessary part of any persuasion. Yet when even beginning persuaders see the word, “rapport,” their brains gloss over and they think, “Oh yeah, I know all about that.”
This means that most people just assume rapport. They ask silly questions about the weather or what kind of fish they like to catch and imagine they are building rapport. Luckily, the technique you are about to learn creates so much rapport they’ll never ever forget you.
The Hardest Part
The absolute most difficult part of this technique is to keep quite. Seriously. The actual technique, from a linguistic point of view, is incredibly easy. But it requires that you not interject and add your own “opinion” on top of however they answer these simple questions. For some reason, we humans have a hard time listening to other people talk without telling them how awesome our related ideas are.
More Talk Less Money
But think of it this way. The more you talk (in terms of sharing your ingenious and awesome ideas with them) the less this technique will work and the less money you’ll make. The more you ask them questions, pull out their ideas out of their brain and stand the hell back, and let them get all the glory, you’ll easily make a ton of cash, or get them to do whatever you want.
Patience Is Required
Depending on what your end goal is for them, you will need to be patient. But if you patient, and you are willing to let them be the awesome one with all the awesome ideas, while you keep your own opinions to yourself, you can get them to do nearly anything.
OK! I Got It! What’s The Technique?
The first step is to introduce the subject. This is the broader, meta-topic of what you want them to do. If you are going to eventually suggest a movie, talk to your buddy about the ideal movie. If you are going to suggest a restaurant, talk to your companion about the ideal dining experience. If you are selling a house, then instead of talking about the ideal house, talk about the ideal “thing” related to whatever room you are in.
Wanna Play A Game?
If this is a conversational topic with a friend, then bring it up as a game. Tell them it’s kind of like twenty questions. You do the talking, and they do the answering. Tell them it’s called the “Either-Or” game (hence the title of his post). You ask either-or questions, and they only need to choose one, simply by nodding.
Start Off As Broadly As You Can
For example, let’s say you’re warming your buddy up to see a particular movie, one you are worried he won’t want to see. So start off by asking broad, either-or questions about his ideal movie. However, unlike twenty questions, where the answers are yes or no, you have to be very careful.
Do Not Break Rapport
When you ask either-or questions, the answer HAS TO BE one of the two options. If you ask an either-or question, and the answer is neither, you’ve ruined it and have to start from square one. For example, consider these questions about your ideal job:
Inside Or Outside?
During The Day Or During The Night?
Doing It Alone Or With Other People?
Lots OF Talking Required Or Not A Lot Of Talking Required?
Far Away From Where You Live Or Close To Where You Live?
All of these questions are easy to answer, since it pretty much has to be one or the other. But suppose I asked this question next:
In A Clown Costume Or Dressed Like A Kangaroo?
Unless you were already imagining being dressed like one or the other, the game would stop, you would look at me and say, “Dude, WTF?”
Take Your Time
If you take your time, and slowly get more and more precise about their ideal version of whatever it is you are discussing, they will start to become very enthusiastic about the idea you are helping them create. Even if they started off with a vague idea of whatever it was, simply by asking the right questions in the right order, the idea will become clearer and more compelling.
When they put a bikini model next to a toaster, (or whatever they are selling) this works not because we believe the toaster will help us get girls. It works because our natural desire (in both men and women) or affinity for the bikini girl is copied and pasted onto the toaster. Very similar to how Pavlov copied and pasted the salivation response from the food to the bell.
When you build up their desire or affinity for the idea, so long as it is close to the same thing as what you will eventually suggest they do, it will have the same effect. Meaning if you talk to your buddy about his ideal movie, then he will be much more likely to see the movie you’d like him to see. For movies, you’ll need to do a little more work (there might be another movie playing at the theater that he would chose over your choice). But other times, you don’t really need to do any work.
Real Estate Example
For example, suppose you were standing in the empty kitchen of a potential new house with a young couple. And you started talking about cooking. And you got them talking about the ideal meal they would ever cook. Just standing there in the kitchen, their ideal meal will naturally be attached to that kitchen (like the bikini girl and the toaster) without you having to do much. If you repeat this in plenty of rooms, they will convince themselves that house is the one for them.
When More Work Is Required
If you suspect you’ll need to do more persuasive work once their ideal is built up, then you’ll just need to do a little bit more work when expanding it. For every three or four “either-or” questions, describe what you’ve elicited so far. Use the same phrases that you previously used. Change as little as possible. But when you do describe them back, set spatial anchors.
If you know your friend loved chocolate cake, imagine if you gestured in a specific way every time you said the word chocolate cake. Just like Pavlov and his dogs, you would soon connect that gesture to the same chocolate cake desire. This gesture is now a spatial anchor.
Set As Many Spatial Anchors As Possible
Whenever you take a break and describe back what you’ve elicited so far, do so with a specific gesture. The more you do this with the same gesture, the stronger of a spatial anchor this will become.
Look For Similarities
The similarities you want to look for are between the idea you are helping him describe, and the suggestion you will eventually recommend. For example, if his ideal movie is longer than two hours, (Either Or Question: is it longer than two hours or shorter than two hours?) Then say that phrase, “longer than two hours” while making your suggestion as well as using your previously set spatial anchor.
Take Your Time Eliciting
Most folks, when thinking of magic persuasion techniques, imagine one secret phrase or statement they can memorize before the conversation. While these magic phrases do exist, consider it your job to elicit them from the mind of your target. The longer you take playing the “Either-Or” game, the more of these magic phrases you’ll have.
Find Plenty Of Overlap
When asking these Either-Or questions, keep your eventual suggestion in mind. Try to find as many answers (that come from their brain) that will be a match to your eventual suggestion. In the above example, “longer than two hours” was one such example. Attempt to find as many as you can. The more you can find, the better.
Practice With Friends
It’s a good idea to practice this as often as you can with your friends, as it will help you keep asking questions that help them clarify any vague ideas.
Much More Than Persuasion
This simple technique is also perfect for getting complicated ideas out of their minds and in the open. If your partner has some issues, for example, do them a favor and help them describe them in detail. It’s very easy, and from their perspective, it will be a very easy process.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses designed to help you improve your communication skills in all areas of life.