Tag Archive for: Marco Germani

Influencers from Around the World – The Principle Of Liking With Real Estate Agents

This month our “Influencers from Around the World” post comes from Marco Germani. Marco is a native of Italy and lives in Rome. A skilled practitioner of influence for decades, he even wrote a book on the subject in Italian. In this post he explains how the principle of liking can impact the sale.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.  

The Principle Of Liking With Real Estate Agents

The principle of influence popularly known as liking, as expressed by Dr. Robert Cialdini, states people are more likely to say “yes” to those they know and like and those they perceive as similar to themselves. I had a real-life test of the liking principle recently when my wife and I decided to buy a small apartment in a coastal town near Rome, our home in Italy. Our goal was to rent the apartment and generate some extra passive income.

I carefully researched the market and I got in touch with all the existing real estate agencies of the area, visiting almost 20 different properties, within the size and budget we defined, before settling on two particular apartments, the most appealing of the lot.

Next we had to make a decision – which to purchase followed by a formal written offer to the owner. Both apartments looked good, were in a nice area close to the railway station and shops, had better than average quality-price ratios, and both owners appeared to be particularly motivated to sell quickly. All things considered, for a few reasons we both liked apartment #1 slightly more than apartment #2. We were also dealing with two different real estate agents.

The agent dealing with apartment #1, whom I’ll call Mrs. Bianchi, was a middle-aged woman and owner of the real estate agency. From the beginning she didn’t appear to be very skillful or professional. When she sensed there was real interest from our side, she started to ruthlessly apply every selling technique straight out of a sales book:

  • She called me the following day telling me there was another very motivated buyer for the same apartment and we needed to hurry up with our proposal.
  • She gave me an inflated evaluation of the rent rate I could ask to the future tenant.
  • She tried to “close” us in several other ways, but without any particular skill in doing so.

We were interested in the apartment anyway, so her poor sales skills were not a problem for us. When I went to her office to negotiate her agency commission she become upset and acted surprised that I was asking for a reduction. She treated me like I had offended her. By keeping a straight face and with the technique of the “broken record,” simply asking over and over for my conditions regardless of her behavior, I was able to obtain a reasonable reduction on her requested fee and everything seemed to be right to make an offer at a price the apartment owner would have accepted.

The agent dealing with apartment #2 was a completely different story. Fabio, a salesperson working for the agency, was a skilled and trained professional and from the moment he first told me “hello” on the phone. I could clearly tell he was somebody who understood the basics of salesmanship and worked hard on his craft. From our first meeting he was focused on building a relationship with me:

  • He tried to find common ground and he told me about his passion for the Greek island of Santorini, after hearing I have been there twice on holiday and loved the place, where he even owns a small studio, advising me to consider buying one myself one day, even proposing to help for free.
  • He also told me, after noticing my interest for apartment #2, that there was another motivated buyer and I needed to hurry (a trick I guess must be on page one on the manual of the good sales agent in Italy!) but he did it in a sincere and elegant way, always positioning on my side and asking “for my help” in solving the problem when we needed to move forward in the discussion.

After some smooth negotiation, we ended up with the exact same conditions, buying price and agency fee, for the two apartments. We liked apartment #1 slightly better but we liked Fabio, the agent for apartment #2, a lot better. It was a difficult call and, to my surprise, my wife and I both felt better about moving on the apartment sold by Fabio, even though we liked apartment #1 more! We mentioned a bunch of rational justifications linked to the technical aspects of the business but we both knew it had all to do with the personality of Fabio and the principle of liking at work. This principle being so powerful to lead us to want a less appealing “product” because we liked the salesperson better!

The story does not end there. After defining a strategy with Fabio for the proposal, with a very low first offer which was meant to be turned down by the apartment owner (which he did) to then come up with our real offer, something else happened.

Fabio called us one evening telling us he had just received the mission to sell another property. Apartment #3, a real deal being sold by a “don’t-wanter” (someone with serious financial issues ongoing, who urgently needed money) was ready to sell a much better apartment than the one we decided to buy, for the same price. Everything was contingent on the money coming in fast and in cash, which was possible for us. We closed the deal quickly and everybody was happy, including Fabio, whom we decided to reward by accepting his request for a much higher fee than the one we agreed, one which still kept the deal very advantageous for us.

The moral of this story is twofold:

  1. Even though you are trained on the principles of influence and are aware of how the principle of liking could (and sometimes shouldn’t) influence your buying patterns, it will work all the same and you can find yourself buying a less appealing product sold by a salesperson you like more.
  2. For anybody involved in sales, neglecting to work on this principle, by learning to genuinely be interested in others, create empathy and build a relationship before talking about the deal, can be very expensive. In today’s economy nobody in real estate, or in any other business involving human interactions, can afford to ignore the principle of liking.

Besides, we might start investigating if any good property is available in Santorini someday, with the help of Fabio, of course!


Influencers from Around the World – Italians and the Principle of Liking

Marco Germani is our guest blogger for this month’s “Influencers from Around the World” post. Marco lives in Italy, just outside of Rome. He’s not only been a guest blogger in the past, he wrote a book on influence in Italian. Marco is married and has two young boys. He gets real world influence application in his various business pursuits. Readers have always enjoyed Marco’s perspective on influence and I’m sure that will be the case this month.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Italians and the Principle of Liking

I recently read about a survey conducted by Citibank, a corporation with employees across the globe. The object was to identify how the different persuasion principles would apply to different cultures around the world. The question asked of employees was: If someone within your organization came to ask you for help on a project, and this project would take you away from your own duties, under what circumstances you would be mostly obligated to help?

The results displayed that in the U.S., the principle mostly taken into account to answer this question was reciprocity. What has this person done for me? Do I feel obliged to render him a favor? That would determine whether the help is granted or not.

In Hong Kong, the most important principle was authority: is this person connected to my small group and in particular, is he a senior member of this group?

In Germany, authority was considered but under a different light: according to the rules and regulations, am I supposed to say yes? In this case, I am obliged.

Finally, in Italy, yet another persuasion principle was mainly taken into account: the one of liking. Is this person connected to my friends? I am loyal to my friends so, therefore, I must help him or her.

Being an Italian I can confirm this is true most of the time. I then started to think about the reason this principle is so important for Italians and I came up with my own theory. It goes back to my country’s history. Contrary to what happened in other European countries, like

France and Germany, Italy started to exist as a single centralized unit only quite recently (250 years ago, which for Europe is a really short time). For thousands of years, the regions eventually forming Italy existed as isolated kingdoms (Kingdom of Naples, Kingdom of the two Sicilies, etc.) and often fought bitterly against each other.

When Italy became a nation it was hard, for a central government, back then based in Piedmont in northern Italy, to maintain control while being politically and physically present in the whole country.

This was especially true in southern regions like Calabria or Sicilia. The formation of small clans of people, which eventually led to the creation of the most (unfortunately) famous criminal organization in the world, the Mafia, became a necessity of survival.

Where the hand of the government couldn’t reach, there you had a small group of “friends” ready to kill for each other in order to keep order and peace and fight against the “bad guys.” If you wanted protection, you must become their friend too. If not, bad things could happen to you. Assuming this theory has some part of truth, it must be eradicated in our DNA a sense of loyalty to our group of friends, not anymore for survival, but to have some kind of advantage in our daily lives, according also to the principle of reciprocity.

This can be observed also when two or more Italians meet abroad. We tend to establish as soon as possible a sort of connection, because we know that we could, as a small team (or clan) be more effective in overcoming problems and finding solutions. Of course this happens without any criminal or illegal intention nowadays. On the other hand, in a business setting, this is a universal rule, which transcends cultures: always try to build a relationship with your customer or business partner before talking shop. With us Italians, it is even more important and it is an aspect which should never be underestimated by any serious negotiator or influencer.



Influencers from Around the World – Three Lessons from Arnold

This month our “Influencers from Around the
World” post comes from Marco Germani. Marco is a native of Italy, originally
hailing from Rome. He’s been a fan of influence for decades and wrote a book on
the subject in Italian. The father of two youngsters, he now gets to apply his
influence skills outside of his business pursuits. I’m sure you’ll enjoy his
post on lessons he’s learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Three Lessons from Arnold
I have recently given a second go at the
spectacular Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography, Total Recall – The Truly Unbelievable Story of My Life, which
didn’t fail to impress and inspire me, as it already did last year when I first
read it. You may or may not  like the man,
but it is undeniable that what Arnold has accomplished in his life thus far is
nothing short of incredible. Arnold was a legendary bodybuilding champion, a
record-breaking Hollywood action movie actor, and an accomplished real-estate
investor who made his first million from this business. If all that wasn’t
enough, he was also the “Governator” of California.
I thought Arnold’s story would fit well in
this blog because in order to accomplish all that he has, Arnold had to develop
the capacity to influence millions of people.
I’ll try to extrapolate a short, actionable
lesson from each phase of his career, which enabled him to accomplish such
extraordinary things and maybe each of us will become a better influencer
because of it.
1: Focus on your strength
Since he was a teen, Arnold had a clear vision
in his mind: Go to the USA and become famous. He had no idea how to accomplish
this, not even the field of endeavor. He then started his quest, his search for
his unique talent, which would bring him fame and fortune.  As he realized that nature had gifted him
with a body built to grow and become incredibly muscular, he put all of his
heart and soul into a single project; becoming the most muscular man on earth
and winning all the existing body building competitions around the world. It
didn’t matter if it meant endless hours in the gym lifting huge weights, it
didn’t even matter if sometimes it meant fainting or vomiting in the gym out of
All that counted was getting to the top. And
he made it! Not only that; he set new standards for his sport and made bodybuilding
famous to around the world, becoming the international ambassador for the
He worked on the mental aspect of competition
(the “Pumping Iron” documentary is a great testimonial of this), he even went
to ballet classes to perfect his posing; in other words, he did whatever it
took to become outstanding and make his dream come true. Thanks to bodybuilding,
Arnold finally got to the USA. He was penniless, with no other skills under his
belt, but ready to pursue his second lifetime goal: to make it big in Hollywood.
2: Persistence in spite of obstacles
When Arnold, already a celebrity in the bodybuilding
circuit and on his way to financial independence thanks to real estate
investments in Santa Monica, started to pursue his acting career he had all the
odds against him. He spoke English with a thick Austrian accent, he had below
average acting skills, no particular artistic talent and he was even told his
name was too long to fit on movie posters! Thanks to his body, he managed to
get a part in a B-movie called “Hercules” in New York where he first had to be
dubbed due to poor English pronunciation. The movie itself was never released
due to production financial issues but is now a cult movie because of Arnold’s
In spite of this, he did not get discouraged,
he kept the vision clear, he simply ignored everybody else around him advising
him to open a gym and to let go this impossible dream to become a world-famous
actor. He patiently waited several years, turning down dozens of parts, even as
a leading actor, in movies which would have not benefited his career in the
long run. His big movie break was “Conan the Barbarian.” Arnold knew this movie
would be a game-changer and, once again, he put his heart and soul in
preparation for this part, taking care of every single detail. In the first
scene of the movie, he was actually bitten by a real wolf and had to have a
dozen stiches on his leg, but this didn’t discourage him a bit to give his best
and make this movie into a cult classic, which he did.
The rest is history. Conan brought Arnold into
the firmament and just a few years later, with movies like “The Terminator,” “Total
Recall” and “True Lies,” he was paid as much as $25 million per movie, becoming
the highest paid action movie star in Hollywood…as he originally planned.
3: Expand your expertise
After becoming a Hollywood superstar Arnold
was ready for a new challenge and decide to enter politics. Though married to a
Kennedy family member, Maria Shriver, he was never afraid to express his liking
for the Republican Party. He got close to the Bush family and openly supported
them. When he saw the opportunity to run for governor of California, he
understood he had to massively expand his knowledge and expertise in order to
become credible and have a serious chance to win.
Almost anyone who spent his life in body
building and acting probably would have be intimidated by the massive amount of
information, in many different subjects an aspirant governor must assimilate.
That was not the case for Arnold. He established the “Arnold University” instead.
He gathered notable experts in each of the fields he needed to learn such as
economic, public health, the environment, etc. He worked long hours taking
notes and learning everything he needed to learn. When it was time to debate on
national television with seasoned and shrewd politicians, ready to attack his
weak points with no mercy, he used humor as his best defense, having a set of
punch lines written by professional comedy authors and memorized in endless
preparation sessions. His motto was, “It is just reps, reps, reps,” in
bodybuilding and in life. That is what made a farm boy from a small village in
Austria the Governor of the richest state of America.
Of course Arnold had his lows as well – like
his divorce from Maria due to a secret child he had with an housekeeper 20 years
ago or admitting using steroids in his competition days – but he was not afraid
to expose these in either of his books. However, his life remains a shining
example of what a human being is capable of, when ready to pay the price.
Arnold was able to touch many lives and influence many people along the way, for
which he deserves, in my opinion, the highest recognition as a master influencer!
And who knows what he will accomplish more in the next 20 years…


Influencers from Around the World: The Importance of Preparation Before the Sale

This month our Influencers from Around the World post comes from Marco Germani by way of Italy. Marco has been a guest writer for Influence PEOPLE from the start. He combines great knowledge (he wrote a book about persuasion in Italian) with real world experience (he travels the world selling wine). This month’s post is excellent because I can attest to the need for preparation in sales, or any endeavor in life, if you want to succeed. Read Marco’s words of wisdom and enjoy!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

The Importance of Preparation Before the Sale
A professional athlete would never dream of
starting a major competition without any warm-up. This would increase the risk
of getting injured and, in the best scenario, drastically reduce the
possibility of delivering a great performance. Similarly, a professional
salesperson should never approach an important sales call, without the proper
What you do in the 10-15 minutes prior to a
face-to-face or telephone conversation with a potential customer may determine
the outcome of your presentation. It is therefore surprising how most
salespeople completely ignore this principle and too often enter a meeting with
a client having no strategic preparation of any kind. Far too many people just
listen to the car radio on the way to the appointment filling their brain with
commercials, low quality music and what I like to call “chewing gum for the
Let us instead summarize, in three points,
what a professional salesperson should do in the minutes leading up to a sales
The first – and Golden Rule – when we are in
front of a customer is not to ask any question where the answer can be easily
found somewhere else. For example, if I ask my customer information about his
company, which I could have found on his company’s website, I am just showing
him I didn’t care to do my homework before the meeting. This is a very bad
start for any salesperson. If, on the other hand, I say to the customer, “I
understand your company has manufacturing facilities in three countries, sells
about 80% of its production outside the U.S. and is one of the top three players
in the market,” I’m showing my potential customer I’m a professional, serious
and committed person who cared enough to learn as much as possible about his business.
In addition to showing concern it also prevents wasting the prospect’s time.
This is a very good start, which builds trust and opens the door to the
possibility of starting a partnership.
In the minutes immediately prior to the
meeting, it is also a good rule to briefly review your marketing material
(presentations, any samples to show, etc.) to make sure everything is in order.
Mentally summarize the objectives of the meeting, recall any previous contact
with the customer and how you initially met. This is necessary in case you need
to refer to past details and it gives you a clear, ideal picture of how you
wish your perfect meeting would unfold.
Shortly before the meeting put yourself in an upbeat
mood and be sure to establish a positive winning attitude. Picture in your mind’s
eye the best possible scenario, in which everything goes as planned, and the
sale ends in the best possible way, with great benefit to all parties involved.
This positive attitude will be perceived by the customer, who will understand
he is dealing with a sales professional, who is prepared, confident and ready
to help him make the decisions that are in his best interests.
These three simple steps, if carried out
diligently before a sales appointment, can greatly influence the final result.
Often I hear salespeople complain about how hard it is to “bring home” a sale,
or how customers are difficult and never seem ready to make a buying decision.
If they do not do the preparation I’ve described, or preparation of any kind, then
they’re the ones to blame, not the customers! Preparation is 80% of success;
let us never forget about it!

Influencers from Around the World – How to Ask for a Pay Raise

This week you’ll learn how to persuasively ask
for a pay raise. The advice comes to us to from Italy’s Marco Germani. Marco
has written guest posts regularly for Influence PEOPLE since I started this
series nearly four years ago. I know you’ll enjoy his perspective on influence.
To learn more about Marco, connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. 
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

How to Ask for a Pay
recently read an article on the labor market in the U.S stating; according to a
study, about 95% of employees never ask their company for a rise, during their
entire professional career. One of the obvious considerations of this finding
is that the remaining 5% of employees earn on average much higher figures than
others! “Ask and you shall receive,” says a well-known passage from the Bible,
but in the field of labor, people often don’t ask because often they don’t know
HOW and WHEN to ask. Lacking adequate preparation, they fear a refusal could at
least complicate, if not compromise seriously, their future stay with the
follows summarizes the advice of many experts in personal development,
including Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, and Jay Abraham. In my opinion it’s the most
relevant information related to the request for a salary increase.
Who can apply
In the
current economic situation, those who have a more or less stable job in a
company consider themselves already lucky and often see no reason why they
should take the risk of asking their supervisors for a pay rise. This mentality
is unfortunately very common today among employees, who prefer to complain
about the boss, colleagues or their job at the coffee machine rather than
focusing on how they can create more value for the company through a greater
commitment in what they are doing. These people obviously have an attitude and
probably a performance that doesn’t justify a request for an increase.
On the
other hand, those who are constantly focused on performing effectively and
efficiently the tasks they’ve been assigned — those who constantly look for
more responsibilities and are willing to learn new things — should periodically
assess whether the wage they’re currently paid is in line with their true
market value. If not, they should decide to ask for a pay raise. Many people
live in hope that their supervisors, seeing their hard work and great results, will
decide to increase their compensation in the right time. This seldom happens
and asking for a pay raise can be a very appropriate action.
When to ask
timing, in the request for a salary increase is crucial and can determine in
large part the success of the operation. The best strategy is undoubtedly to
make an appointment with your superior (it’s important that you speak directly
with the person who can make this decision, when possible) and simply tell him
you want to make a point of the overall situation on your work, without going
into too much detail. A half hour should be sufficient. When hearing this
uncommon request, your supervisor, especially if you are a “top performer” in
your company (if you’re not it may not be appropriate to take this appointment
in the first place), would probably worry about the fact that you might want to
resign, which will give you some negotiating power in the first place.
The preparation of the meeting
is everything and especially if, as in this case, most likely your manager will
not invest the time to prepare, can give you a big advantage in the
negotiation. In your case, preparation consists in collecting as much objective
data as possible, relating to the results that you have produced for your
company during the past 12 months or since your last salary increase. Ideally,
you should sum up the most important points in a short document in Word or
PowerPoint where, highlighting the concrete results that you generated with
your work.
second field on which you must prepare are the average salaries offered by the
market for positions similar to the one your cover. The important thing is to
provide objective information, citing sources (just search on the internet and
there are many sites that offer this type of information).
The meeting
It’s important
to enter the meeting with a relaxed and confident attitude: you are well
prepared and you are carrying a high value for your company, then you’re in a
position of power. Many find it difficult to ask and this makes them nervous
but this should not be your case! Start saying you want to make a point of the
situation regarding your work and that you’ve prepared a document that
summarizes your results.
discuss it with your boss and ask him what, in his or her opinion you could or
should do better. Now, since your boss 
probably will not be prepared, unless there is something serious and
obvious, it is likely he will be unable to say anything particularly
significant, which does nothing but increase your negotiating power in view of
the request.
You may
proceed citing an authoritative source (website, a head hunter, etc.) about the
average level of salary for your position that is higher than what you’re receiving
and finally make your request, precise, clear, expressed in percentage of your
gross annual wage. “I think it would be appropriate to revise my salary
increasing it by 15% because…” At this point it is essential to remain silent
and wait for the reaction of the boss, which will be positive or negative.
The follow-up
In case
of positive response it’s important you define the terms and exact timing with
which the increase will be allocated. Starting from which paycheck? Will there be
an official announcement? Over what time period? If your boss tells you she
feels your compensation should be increased but, for X reasons, she cannot
change your salary at the moment, then work together to find a formula that
leads to the same result: a prize, bonus, etc. The important thing is there is
something of substance.
If your
boss tells you that he does not consider it appropriate that you receive a
salary increase, ask for detailed reasons, trying to get him to focus on your
performance. Very often motivation is given along these lines, “Your colleague
Tom earns the same salary and increasing your salary could cause a problem.” Of
course an explanation like this makes no sense at all and has nothing to do
with your performance. However, if your boss is really insistent about not giving
you the salary increase right there, sk the following question, “What needs to
happen to allow me an increase of 15%?” At this point your boss is forced to
define an objective condition, the achievement of which, automatically gets the
You just
have to try. Remember, if you don’t ask you won’t get anything. However, even a
“No” might just be a “Not yet.” If you think you are not in the position to
ask, get more engaged in your work and focused on producing greater results,
until you are in the position to ask for a pay rise.

** To vote for Robert Cialdini, President of Influence At Work, for the Top Management Thinker of 2013 click here


Influencers from Around the World – How NOT to Sell a Dishwasher


This week you’ll read a funny story about how
not to sell. It comes to us all the way from Italy and is based on the real
life experience of Marco Germani. Marco has written guest posts for me for
about three years now. I think you’ll see humor in his situation and the value
a good salesperson can bring to customers. Along the way you’ll also get
several tips on how to be a better salesperson.
Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
How NOT to Sell a Dishwasher
A few weeks ago I went to a large household
appliance shop in Rome with the intention of buying a new dishwasher. I have
almost zero knowledge about this kind of machine but didn’t have time to perform
an accurate search on the Internet. Because I didn’t understand which would be
the best buy for me (among the dozens of models exhibited), I decided to rely
on the advice of the store clerk.
I approached the clerk with this question, “In
your opinion, which is the machine with the best quality/price ratio?” From this
point forward the guy presented himself in one of the worst sales performances
I have ever seen in my life. It was so bad I decided to write an article for
this blog about it. Let’s sum up the main mistakes he made:
1. MISTAKE: He asked no questions.
In reply to this question the clerk started to
list all the brands and models the store had in stock. He should have asked me
a few questions instead in order to better understand my specific needs in
terms of a dishwasher.
“Why are you buying a new machine today?”
“Did the old one failed and if so, why?”
“How often do you wash your dishes and how
many people in the household?”
There were some basic questions I expected him
to ask but he didn’t. It’s like going to the doctor and the doctor just starts
listing all the drugs available without first investigating your symptoms, Not
2. MISTAKE: He was completely unprepared on
the products.
The machines available in the store ranged in
price from 300 to 1,500 Euro. While it was quite easy, even for the untrained
eye, to spot a difference between the most expensive machine and the cheapest
one, it was surely more tricky to understand the difference between a machine
of the same size, priced at 500 Euro vs. one priced at 650 Euro. At one point I
asked him about the difference between two machines, which happened to be the
same brand, that had an 85 Euro price difference. This should not be a
difficult question for somebody who makes a living out of selling these types
of appliances! His answer was, “I guess the more expensive one has more washing
programs.” I thought to myself, “You’re paid to guess rather than to provide
information.” Trying to go a bit deeper into the question I soon realized his
knowledge of the products was close to mine, which made him almost completely
3. MISTAKE: He presented the prices in the
wrong order.
Not knowing how to move forward, I tried a
different question, “Which one would you buy for your family?” He told me he
would have probably bought a Bosch machine priced 659 Euro or an Ariston
machine priced 779 Euro, or why not the Candy machine priced at 809 Euro. Had
he knew the basics about how to present a price, he would have started the list
with the most expensive one and he could have answered in the following way, “
I would surely buy the Candy, at 810 Euro. It definitely has the best
quality/price ratio and in 20 years it will work as smoothly as it does today.
I do understand, however, it is a bit on the expensive side so an alternative
might be the Ariston at 779 Euro because it’s a very good machine indeed. It’s close
in performances and consumption to the first one.” With this kind of
presentation, the 779 Euro of the Ariston would have appeared to be a good deal
had I not opted for the more expensive machine.
4. MISTAKE: He did not close the sale.
At this stage, I was seriously thinking about
leaving the store and going somewhere else so I told him I just wanted to think
about it. The guy said okay and left me there so he could “assist” another
customer. As he left he told me to call him if I needed him. Very bad! That’s absolutely
the best way to lose the sale. He should have asked something like, “Exactly, what
do you want to think about? Is it the price or something else?” He could have
asked, “Is there any way I can help you think about it? Do you need some
additional information?” In other words, you never want to leave your customer,
who already gave you buying signals, on his own before you even tried to close
the sale.
I really needed the machine (the old one
failed and washing dishes by the hand is not in the list of my favorite leisure
activities and my wife claims to be allergic to dish soap) so I ended up buying
a mid-priced machine and left feeling unsure as to whether or not I’d done the
right thing. With a more skilled clerk I probably would have spent more and
felt better about it. I wonder how much money that shop is losing every day
because of an incompetent salesman? Poor salesmen like the guy I encountered is
good news for those who study sales and the principles of persuasion. Studying
those two disciplines will help salespeople bring more value than a regular
store clerk who’s never spent time studying either subject and the end result
will be significantly better sales.
Marco Germani

Influencers from Around the World – Moments of Power: How to Identify and Use Them

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post comes to us by way of Italy and Marco Germani. Marco has been guest writing for me almost since the start of this blog. In addition to helping me out several times a year he took time to write his own book on persuasion in Italian, I Meccanismi della
. I encourage you to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter because he loves connecting with people.

Brian, CMCT 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Moments of Power: How to Identify and Use Them
During our interactions with others we often unconsciously find ourselves in the so-called “moments of power,” times where we can engage our partner with a highly persuasive lever for the future, even if, at that very moment we have no interest in persuading the person to do anything.
Recognizing and using these moments of power is of vital importance and has become a standard practice of every good persuader. On the other hand, letting these special moments pass without any benefit, as most people do, deprives us of a favorable opportunity to exercise
our powers of persuasion, forgoing the chance to move others in our direction in an ethical way that’s also in their best interest. 
So, what are these “moments of power” and how do we recognize them? And above all, what should we do when we find ourselves in the middle of them? The answer to these questions is surprisingly simple and can be illustrated with a short example:
Dr. Smith, manager at a large company, receives a call from a colleague who asks with a worried tone if Dr.
Smith can lend a hand because he has a meeting with a key customer of the company the next morning and producing sales report is of the highest priority for the colleague. He also needs to produce some other documents and has no time to do this by himself before the meeting.
The colleague is not aware of it but Dr. Smith has recently created a report very similar to the one in question and, with only a few changes, the same document can very well be used for next day’s meeting.
The next day, the two men meet at the office and the colleague first thanks Dr. Smith profusely, praising his
responsiveness and the timing of his action, telling him that he pretty much “saved
his life.” How should Dr. Smith respond to this praise? Being a person of integrity and honesty he simply says, “Well, you don’t even have to thank me, it was a small thing, I had already prepared a similar study and didn’t do anything else but send it with a few changes. I would have done it for anyone!”
Here, Dr. Smith has just found himself in one of the famous moments of power and has just blatantly wasted it!
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s happened to you recently.
Now let’s see what the good doctor should
have done instead. We can identify three fundamental points:
Do not belittle the magnitude of the action.
This doesn’t mean you have to brag about what you have done, saying that the report cost us hours and hours of work, because this wouldn’t be ethical! Just say something like, “I tried to create for you the most accurate and precise report possible.  I put all my efforts in it and I am glad you appreciate it.” The detail that the report has already created is beside the
point when it comes to persuasion and may be omitted.
Highlight the fact that the action was done specifically because the request came from that person.
Instead of saying, “I’d do it for anyone,” say, “I know how important it was for you and I know how hard you work, so if I could give you a hand, I did it very willingly.” In other words, we are customizing our action.
Laying the foundations to be reciprocated.
Proper use of a moment of power gives us a future persuasive lever to use with that person. Another way to look at it is it gives us a “credit” with the other person and the principle of reciprocity alerts us to the fact that the other person will feel obligated to reciprocate in some way. To emphasize and establish this point you just say a simple but powerful phrase, “I know you would have done the same for me if the roles were reversed.”
Think of how many times somebody
thanks you for a favor and how, you can now quickly and easily apply the three
points described above. Begin to practice this technique now so you don’t miss
any more “moments of power.”

Influencers from Around the World – How to Present Price Effectively

Marco Germani is our guest writer to start the New Year. Marco has been sharing posts with readers for a couple of years now and has written a book on persuasion in Italian, I Meccanismi della Persuasione. Marco always brings his unique perspective to his posts so I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading his views on How to Present Price Effectively. You can connect with Marco on Facebook,
LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian, CMCT 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
How to Present Price Effectively
As we all know, in a negotiation price is almost never the only factor that determines the good or bad outcome. There is always at least one other factor along with the price which decisively influences the final outcome; in other words, if the only obstacle to the successful conclusion of the negotiation is price, in most cases the two sides can find agreement. Let’s look at three ways to best present the price of our product or service and maximize our ability to successfully conclude the sale.
1) Never talk about price until you have explained value.
Jeffery Gitomer is renowned for saying that people hate to be sold but they love to buy. Therefore there is a great proliferation of shopping malls in our cities in Italy; places we feel we can freely choose what to buy without the pressure of a seller perhaps using some subtle technique to manipulate us. In addition, each article has a price tag on it so we can immediately attach an economic value to what we see and evaluate immediately whether we prefer to keep that amount of money in our pocket (or bank) or exchange it for the pleasure or utility that the product can produce in our lives.
In the case of a direct sale, which requires the knowledge and skill of a professional vendor, the price has completely different role. The potential customer, as we begin to introduce our product, often has in mind one question, “How much is it?” To unveil the price too early in the presentation is a very common mistake of inexperienced salesmen. The priority, in fact, must always be to communicate and explain the value of the product before communicating its cost. For example, if a customer asks me too soon the price of a product I am presenting, my response is, “Dear customer, the price is the best part of this product and I will cover this subject shortly, but first I want to explain why this product could solve that problem of yours you mentioned earlier, improve your life, etc..”
2) Break-down the price as much as possible
The same price can be communicated in different ways and have a completely different impact on the buyer. If I am presenting a nutrition program based on food supplements, which cost 100 USD per month, it will be my duty, when I go to communicate this price to the prospect, to affirm that the program costs “only 3 USD a day.” In this way the potential customer’s mind is focused on the daily price, comparing it with how much they already spend each day for food, rather than focusing on total spending of 100 USD. I’m not lying or trying to manipulate the prospect, I am just presenting the same information from a different angle, which, after all, is exactly the object of the study of persuasion.
3) Explain the price in relative terms
If I have to sell a training course worth 1,000 USD, I will address the issue of price as follows, “The COST of this course, which is what is necessary to the company that organizes it to cover the costs of educational materials, rent the hall, pay the people who work the event and the speaker, is 1,000 USD, but its VALUE is at least 100 times higher. If we were to charge for the value of this course, we would have a price so high that very few people could afford it.
And, in the case of a book, “The price written on the cover is just what the publisher needs to cover the printing costs, the supply chain to bring it to the library and ensure a minimum profit to the people involved, but its value is also much higher. If the prospects objects, stating 1,000 USD for a training course is too much, I can put the price in relative terms with the following reasoning, “Let’s say you make with your job 1,000 USD per month. You probably earn more than this, but let us make this conservative assumption. If a person you completely trust in these matters, suggested you to invest in a stock, which can give you a sure income, would you be willing to invest each month 10% of what you are earning now? Now, if you are not aware of this, I inform you that investing in yourself can give you, in time, a return infinitely superior to the best stock today on the market. How many training courses and seminar do you attend each year? (If the person did me the objection of the price, the answer is almost always zero). If you decide to invest only 10% of your monthly income on yourself, in less than a year, you put aside the amount you need for this course.”
By adapting these three factors to your product or service, you can greatly increase your chances of closing a sale, provided always that you are proposing a valuable product at a fair and competitive price and assuming your primary goal is always to help people, rather than simply to earn a commission!

Influencers from Around the World – Influence in the Hell of Auschwitz

With this month’s Influencers from Around the World we get the honor of hearing from my friend Marco Germani again. Marco has written several guest posts for Influence PEOPLE and always has something very interesting to share with us. I know you’ll enjoy Marco’s insights on Influence in the Hell of Auschwitz. I encourage you to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


Nazi death camps during the Second World War were without a doubt among the darkest moments in human history. What happened in those places, reported to us by the few who had the incredible good fortune to survive, is beyond all human logic and any rational understanding. Among the many poignant written evidences of the tragedy of the Holocaust, some can be placed alongside the literary masterpieces of our time. It is the case of the famous book “Se questo è un uomo” (If This Is a Man) by the Italian Primo Levi, which contains a remarkable attempt at a psychological analysis of the dynamics engaged among the prisoners within that scary context. I have read his book many times already and each time it doesn’t fail to touch a chord within me and to engage me in deep reflections about life and human behavior. The last time I read the book, my attention was caught by a short profile of one of Levi’s companions in misfortune, simply referred as Eng. Alfred L.

Levi writes: “L. ran in his country a very important chemical plant and his name was (and is) known in industrial circles throughout Europe. I do not know how he had been arrested, but I know he had entered the prison camp as everyone else did: naked, alone and unknown.”

Although apparently that particular situation presented no way out, L. had decided not to surrender before his time had come and, on the contrary, he implemented a precise strategy to save his life. Levi continues: “…no one had ever heard him complain. Indeed, the few words he let fall were such as to suggest resources to a powerful secret and solid organization. This was confirmed in his appearance. L. was impeccable: the hands and face perfectly clean, he had a rare dedication to wash his shirt every two weeks, without waiting for a change every two months (we note here that washing the shirt means to find the soap, find the time, find the space in crowded laundry; adapt to closely monitor, without taking off his eyes a single moment, the wet shirt and wear it, of course, still wet, at the hour of silence, when the lights go out in custody). L. had obtained essentially the entire appearance of a prominent long before becoming one: since only much later I learned that all this apparent prosperity had been earned by L. with incredible tenacity, paying each individual service and purchase with the bread of his own rations, undergoing additional inflicted hardship.”

The plan of L. was clear; through the principle of authority, he had decided to appear in the eyes of his captors as a powerful person. Someone strong, that would be saved, even if it meant standing for hours with a wet shirt in the snow with 10 C degrees below zero during appeals. Even if it meant giving up the daily ration of bread which each time, pushed only a few steps away death from starvation, for the Auschwitz prisoner. In Levi’s words: “L. knew that between being and becoming powerful the distance is short, and that everywhere, but particularly among the general leveling of the camp, being respectable is the best guarantee of being respected.”

As it usually happens, the disciplined efforts of L. finally paid off: “When Nazi established the Chemical Kommando, L. realized that his hour had come. He needed no more than his clear shirt and his gaunt but shaved face in the middle of the herd of the sordid and the slovenly to convince the Kapo and Arbeitsdienst that he was a truly saved, a prominent potential. So (who has will be given) he was undoubtedly appointed chief engineer at the Kommandos and assumed direction of the Buna lab as an analyst in the Department of Styrene.” In other words, salvation from death by exhaustion from physical work, from exposure, starvation or selections for the gas chambers.

Despite this methodical and disciplined application of the principle of authority, which saved his life, strangely Levi closes the story with words that reveal a degree of moral condemnation to what L. had implemented. “I do not know more of his story, but I think it is very likely that he escaped death, and lives his life now as a cold, firm and joyless ruler,” making it plain to the reader that the plan of L., had contemplated some kind of vile acts toward others convicted, omitted in the description made to us in the book.Marco

Influencers from Around the World – Berlusconi and the Principle of Liking

To start the New Year the Influencers from Around the World post is from my Italian friend Marco Germani. I had the pleasure of talking to AND seeing Marco the day after Christmas. I didn’t go to Rome, instead we used our iPhones. I also got to “meet” his wife Monika and their six month old son Martin. Technology is amazing! I’m sure you’ll enjoy Marco’s insights on how the principle of liking helped a famous politician in his native Italy. Feel free to reach out to Marco on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.Berlusconi and the Principle of LikingHe did it again. I am talking about one of the most famous prime ministers of the world, often for all the wrong reasons, my fellow-countryman Silvio Berlusconi. I guess his fame crossed the ocean and even in the U.S., people are aware of his tendency to have affairs with teenage girls and being caught. This already cost him his marriage and a number of scandals in the press. I guess President Clinton in comparison was a saint, or at least a bit smarter in not being caught so often. A few weeks ago, a 17-year old girl called Rudy, confessed to the press she has been invited several times in the previous months to attend parties with Silvio and friends and she gave to the press sordid details of what was going on in the Presidential Palace during those nights. Hot stuff, I tell you! Let’s see how Silvio took advantage of the principle of liking to turn the public opinion in his favour, even in a very compromising and critical situation.
When informed of what the girl just said, he didn’t try to deny it. He didn’t get upset or promise legal battles to his political enemies, who this time also were paying a girl to speak false against him and destroy his political figure. He stated instead: “I love life, I love women, I am like this, this is my nature.” Surprisingly, a majority of the public in Italy took Silvio’s side and, most surprisingly still, many Italian women started to defend him! What happened? Two different effects:
1) By not trying to lie or deceive Italian people, Silvio appeared as an honest, sincere person, who was not afraid to display his weaknesses and, by the way, is loving life and loving women really a weakness? 2) Many men, who also cheat on their wives or have affairs, saw their behaviour legitimized by an authority figure; i.e., the prime minister. If the highest official of the Italian government can do it, why can’t I? Maybe I am not so evil, this is ordinary behaviour, and everybody does it in the end. Women also, are often very intrigued by a man who can’t control his passions and must feed them continuously, even putting his political power in danger because of them. Power attracts women and a person with power who passionately loves women is a strong attraction for many of them. One famous Italian actress, Lory del Santo (the former wife of Eric Clapton, by the way), publicly proposed to Silvio as a lover, after his statements, writing a poem to him and telling him she could bring him to unattained before heights of pleasure. By using the principle of liking, Silvio saved face again and avoided the risk of being swept away by the scandal. Probably he did it on purpose, maybe not. What counts is that it worked!MarcoSome people have emailed me about the ethics on this article. Here’s what Marco shared with me: First of I all, it is my duty as an Italian citizen to specify that, culturally, in Italy it is NOT OK for the nation’s leaders to have this kind of behavior. Let us not forget we have the Pope and Rome has been the hearth of Catholic Church in the world for centuries now, which should give some hints about the morals standards over here…. On the other hand, I personally see the study of the principles of persuasion as a science, whose objective is to understand them and, at the same time, being able to use them and defend ourselves from them when used in an unethical way (like in this case). Knowing that Berlusconi is using the principle of liking, gives us the option to understand what he’s doing and seeing it for what it really is, beside the natural feeling of liking we can feel toward him, given by the power of this principle. In my article, I never say what he did was right or wrong, I am only observing it as a scientist, and then everybody can draw their own conclusions.Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.