3 Reasons Influence is Critical for Your Professional Success

As we move deeper into Q4 it’s a good bet your organization has started laying plans for 2021. Personally, you may have already started assessing your 2020 performance and might be considering what you need to do to ensure more success in the coming year. There are three strong reasons you’ll want to consider boosting your influence skills as part of your personal and/or organizational plans for 2021.

It’s a Driver of National Income

Deirdre McCloskey, a Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researched the impact of persuasion on the U.S. economy in the early 1990s. In her book Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics she built the case that persuasion is responsible for 25% of our national income!

It’s more than 25 years since the book came out and with the growth of the internet, some estimate the figure is closer to 30% now.

Why is persuasion so important economically? Because persuasion is the underpinning of selling. If you want to make a sale you have to be able to persuade prospects and customers about the merits of your offering. Well-known author and sales trainer Brian Tracy put it this way, “Selling is the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of greater value to him or her than the price you’re asking for it.”

You Use Influence More than You Realize

In To Sell is Human author Dan Pink mentioned a study – “What Do You Do At Work?” – which surveyed more than 7,000 adult workers in the United States. The survey revelwed, “People are now spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling – persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don’t involve anyone making a purchase.”

Let’s put it this way; it’s very likely you and your coworkers are spending at least three hours a day using the skill we call influence. What would it mean for you and your organization if everyone was 10%, 15% or perhaps 20% more effective at getting people to say yes to their requests?

2nd Most In Demand Skill

Pink went on to write, “People consider this aspect of their work crucial to their professional success—even in excess of the considerable amount of time they devote to it.”

The importance of influence skills to employers isn’t limited to Dan Pink’s data. LinkedIn surveyed its 660 million users across 20 million jobs to find out what skills employers say they need most. In 2019 and 2020 the ability to persuade was the #2 soft skill.


Now you know that much of your success rides on influence because of the economic impact to your organization, you use it far more than you imagined, and employers are clamoring for people with good influence skills. What can you do to up your game and ensure your professional success? I have a number of resources for your consideration.

LinkedIn Learning Courses

  1. Persuasive Selling. This course looks at the application of the principles of influence throughout the sales process.
  2. Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personality Types. This course focuses on applying persuasion to different personality types.
  3. Persuasive Coaching. Part of coaching entails getting those you coach to adopt new behaviors and persuasion can help.
  4. Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance Through Timely Feedback. While not directly related to influence, this course can help you implement coaching in your organization no matter your position.

Books you might want to check out

  1. Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. My first book builds on Robert Cialdini’s classic, Influence Science and Practice. It gives you real-world, practical application for the principles of influence. Not only was it an Amazon best seller in several categories, it was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority.
  2. Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Agents. My new book will be out in early January. The focus is applying the principles of influence throughout the eight steps of the sales process. It also gives ideas for persuading people based on personality types.

Workshops which can be conducted in person or online

  1. Principles of Persuasion is an interactive two-day workshop based on Robert Cialdini’s classic, Influence Science and Practice. During the workshop you’ll:
    • Understand the difference between ethical persuasion and manipulation,
    • Learn the four-step influence process,
    • Get in-depth training on each of the principles of ethical influence,
    • Learn the Core Motives model so you’ll know which principles to use when trying to build relationships, overcome uncertainty and motivate people to action.
  2. Moment Maker is a one day workshop is based on Robert Cialdini’s New York Times best-seller, Pre-suasion. In this workshop you’ll:
    • Be introduced to the 7 principles of ethical influence,
    • Learn what it means to “pre-suade”,
    • Understand how to implement pre-suasion through the T.I.M.E. approach,
    • Leave with an action plan to tackle a real situation you have coming up.
  3. Persuasive Selling is a full day workshop that builds on the principles of persuasion. During the training you will:
    • Explore the eight steps in the sales process,
    • Find out which principles of influence are most effective at each point in the sales process,
    • Learn through group activities and real-world sales examples,
    • Using a DISC type approach to understanding people, you’ll learn which principles to use with different personality styles to up your odds of hearing yes.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world.

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