The Persuasive Power of a Yellow Sticky Note

In the decades that I’ve been teaching influence, it’s abundantly clear that most people find the research on influence and persuasion fascinating. I certainly do and my fascination with the science changed the course of my career. However, something else I’ve noticed is that many people struggle to implement the findings from social psychology and behavioral economics so they can run a better business. 

Imagine you’re attending a business summit. During the keynote address you’re riveted by a well-known coach as he or she narrates stories of leadership and team dynamics. Each anecdote is a blend of humor, wisdom, and intrigue. But once the applause dies down, there’s a problem: how do you translate that captivating presentation into actionable steps for your organization? The talk was informative and entertaining but not transformative for your business so you go back to doing what you’ve always done. Not a recipe for success.

This all-too-common occurrence might explain the unprecedented popularity of a piece I wrote more than a decade ago. In 700,000 Great Reasons to Use Yellow Sticky Notes I detailed how my former company recovered from a $700,000 error in short order using Yellow Sticky Notes. 

We’d overpaid 150 insurance agents, accidentally doubling their commission in December, but recovered money from 130 of them…in just two weeks! Within two months 147 or the 150 had returned the money in full which astounded the agency accounting manager.

The story had a big impact on my friend and fellow author, Bob Tiede. Bob emailed me recently to let me know the impact using Yellow Sticky Notes has had for him. 

His latest book, Leading with Questions, came out earlier this year and he shared the following success story:

“Ever since I read this ‘Excerpt’ from your book – I have been writing ‘Yellow Sticky Notes’ whenever I send someone my new book. On the [sticky] note I write: ‘NAME, will you please do me a huge favor? Will you please take a photo holding my book and then text it to me?’ To date I have received over 300 photos!”

Here is a picture of Bob’s collage of Yellow Sticky Note responders who are helping him promote his new book. Impressive! 

I encourage you to read 700,000 Great Reasons to Use Yellow Sticky Notes so you understand the research, see the real-world business impact, and can think about ways to leverage the power of Yellow Sticky Notes in your business.

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE and a faculty member at the Cialdini Institute.

An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, Brian helps clients apply influence in everyday situations to boost results.

As one of only a dozen Cialdini Method Certified Trainers in the world, Brian was personally trained and endorsed by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His latest book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable designed to teach you how to use influence at home and the office.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 650,000 people around the world!

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