Finding Another Gear

I was out for an early morning walk not too long ago and was startled when a big German Shepherd came running straight at me. It was apparent he didn’t want to play so I raised my hands to get ready for the inevitable when suddenly his owner appeared, called his name, and the dog turned back to his house.

The incident got my heart rate going and reminded me of a similar situation when I was in college. During the summer I worked at a golf course which was about 10 miles from my home. I didn’t have regular access to a car so I rode my bike to work most days. Riding home was a little dangerous because quite often I was riding around 10 or 11 at night on some very busy roads and a few that were not well lit.
Because riding at night wasn’t safe I tried to get home as quickly as possible. I made a game of it, setting a goal to always ride home faster than the night before. I tell you that so you’ll know I was pushing myself hard the whole time I rode. In fact, like most people who push themselves, I didn’t think I could go any faster every time I rode home. My perspective changed one night when I heard a large dog barking and it sounded really close! I was amazed at how much more I could push myself and at how fast I could ride when I summoned all my energy. It was as if all of a sudden I found a new gear!
So what does this have to do with influence? As I thought about the bike riding incident so long ago it made me think about teaching people influence. I believe most people work hard most of the time. They probably convince themselves they can’t work any harder or longer, much like I convinced myself I couldn’t ride any faster.
While I found I could ride faster, unfortunately my extra effort couldn’t be sustained for long because of muscle fatigue. The same thing applies at work. Although we can always work harder in any given moment, or longer some days, we can’t do so indefinitely or else burnout sets in.
Not to worry because I have good news for you! You don’t always have to work harder or longer to get better results. When you tap into scientifically proven ways to communicate you will get better results by weaving persuasion into what you’re already doing. That’s right; you don’t have to come up with a new sales process, new marketing campaign or any other new endeavor to take advantage of the science of influence. Just look at what you’re currently doing with your communication and see where you can apply the science of influence. I’ll give you a few personal examples.
Voicemail – I incorporate a branding message at the beginning of my message and use consensus in the middle when I say “I’m probably on the phone helping another customer.” The last thing you want is for people to hear, “I’m probably in a meeting or away from my desk.”
Email – My autosignature has my title and designations which is an application of the principle of authority. I also use my picture when I’m dealing with new people because a photo creates familiarity which taps into the liking principle.
Marketing – We regularly send marketing material to prospective insurance agencies in hopes of signing them up with State Auto. When we started alerting those prospects about our agency appointment goal, and where we were relative to that goal – an application of scarcity – we saw a noticeable uptick in agents responding to our marketing emails. Those extra communications become our opportunity to sell the merits of our company.
Each of those examples are probably the kinds of things you’re currently doing in your business. However, if you’re like me before I learned about persuasion, then you’re probably missing out on some golden opportunities that are right in front of you.
There’s a time and place for working harder and longer hours because success comes through hard work and a little luck at times. On the flip side there are also times when we need to slow down and work less because we can’t maintain the hectic pace all the time. Whether you’re in the phase of longer hours and harder work or a slower time, if you ethically employ the scientifically proven principles of influence you will get significantly better results immediately; finding another gear so to speak. I’m confident of this because science and personal experience back me up on it.
Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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