Category Archives for "Persuasion"

The Curious Secret to Getting People to Believe You

Ever wonder how you could get more people to believe you?

It’s easy, actually. And quite odd the way it works.

What’s the secret? Never tell a man more than he’ll believe.

Sounds like a moron statement, right?

Let me explain why it’s not.

The Law of Diminishing Credibility

There’s a law of diminishing returns directly tied to the law of diminishing credibility.

Even if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a home will triple in price in the next 5 years, if you have any concern that the buyer might find what you say hard to believe, it’s best to leave that information out.

See, the moment your claim passes the point of believability, credibility drops off like a rock.

In the 60’s some brilliant ad men took advantage of this.

Selling the Ugliest Car in the World

Remember the old Volkswagen sedan with the rag top that hadn’t changed in 20 years, the round top one?

One of the ugliest cars ever made.

In addition, it didn’t have any extra features that any ad man could talk about. Only later years did it have a gas gauge.

You could get so many miles on a tank of gas that you simply drove it until you ran out of gas and then switched to a small reserve tank that held more than enough fuel to get you to the closest gas station.

When the Doyle, Dane + Bernbach agency was given this account, they must have groaned.

What could you say about the car?

It only had two features: it was cheap to run and it was reliable. But everyone already knew that.

What more could they say about it?

Then they hit on a brilliant flash of inspiration: they decided to tell the truth.

I can imagine every ad man in America coming off their chairs and saying, “You are going to do what?”

Doyle, Dane + Bernbach ran a whole series of ads that said, “This car is ugly. It looks like a bug. A beetle.”

“This car is slow. You’ll be lucky if you ever get a ticket.”

The results of the campaign?

Phenomenal. People loved the campaign and sales shot up.

The truth. Simple, pristine truth is an astounding force. And these ad men had touched on a very important key of persuasion: if you point out the disadvantages, it makes everything else you say more believable.

How This Works in Real Estate

In real estate this might mean being frank with others about a house with some real issues, like its small, only has two bedrooms or one bathroom. The roof hasn’t been shingled in 25 years. It’s so old there isn’t central air and heating.

But once you have the disadvantages out of the way, then you can share the advantages.

“Quaint cottage with a historical background. Nice for one, maybe one-and-a-half, with ambition and muscle and a tad bit of cash.”

Isn’t that curious how that works?

By positioning the disadvantages first, you view the advantages in a whole different light. And it is a whole lot easier to swallow.

Besides, when we see an ad for a home that says “great home, lots of potential” don’t we immediately think, “Money pit.”

This rule of persuasion says this: never tell a person more than you think they’ll believe.

In fact, tell them the truth, share with them the disadvantages first, then move onto the advantages and you’ll have a captive audience.

How to Leave Compelling Voice Mail Messages

Cold calling is probably the least favorite activity of most real estate agents. At any given time you could get on the phone with an irrate caller who wants to do nothing but chew you out.

More than likely, though, you’ll get dumped into the voice mail box. See, in today’s world people with cell phones will look at the incoming call–and if they don’t recognize the number they then ignore the call.

That’s your opportunity to leave a persuasive little voice mail message that gets people to call you back. Let me show you how.

Step One: Who You Are

Right off the bat you need to identify yourself. So, leave your name, your phone number and the name of your company. For example, “Hi, this is Gary Elwood from Coldstar Realty here in Grand Forks Rapid. My number is 000-111-2222.”

The key here is to say it slow enough so that the person can write it down. And if your name is difficult to pronounce or spell, then spell it out for him or her.

 Step Two: Why You Are Calling

Now’s your chance to indicate the value you can bring to the table for the client. This is not about you–it is about them. “I just wanted to let you know that I recently helped your neighbor sell his home for five grand above asking price, and to let you know if you are thinking of selling this may be a good time to get the most value.”

Step Three: When You Can Help

I need to point out that in the last step you not only told them why you are calling (the value you can deliver), but you also gave proof that you could deliver on that benefit. Now is the time to use the principle of scarcity. If you want them to take your offer seriously, then you need to create a sense of urgency. You need to give them a reason to act now. “These conditions were perfect but may not last  since I hear in the next couple of months that a new development across the street might drive down values in your market.”

Step Four: Close with Call to Action

At this point you’ve stated who you are, why you are calling and why it’s important that the caller act now. This is where you tell them to act…and how. In other words, you tell them to give you a call, and then re-state who you are.

“Give me a chat if you’d like to talk or have any questions you’d like me to answer. No obligations, just want to help you in anyway I can. Just give Gary Elwood a call at 000-111-2222. Look forward to hearing from you!”


I porbably don’t have to tell you that enthusiasm and joy will go a long way when leaving a voice mail message. If you mumble and sound like you’d rather be somewhere else, then I don’t care if you nail the above script perfectly–few if any people will want to talk to a dead beat.

So get perky. Call during the time of day you are the most upbeat. Drink a cup of coffee or two (but make sure you talk VERY slowly) or have a beer or glass of wine. Something that gets you in a good mood.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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7 Ways to Make People Feel Like the Center of the Universe [Real Estate Persuasion Training-Part 2]

Part of a series on real estate persuasion training.

Real estate agents invest in people, not houses. As a real estate agent, you need relationships to succeed.

But that means you need relationships with not just clients, but those in your office or across town. Heck, even across the nation. And the best way to build those relationships is to make them feel special.

Make them feel like they are the center of the world.

How should you do that? Here are seven ways that Brian Tracy outlines in his wonderful little book “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline.”

•  Accept people the way they are. Most people will be rude or mean, critics and judges…so you can offer people unconditional love for who they are. You can take the time to bolster their self-esteem and build up their self-image. This will give you an advantage among your competition, and persuade people to listen to you and even follow your lead.

•  Show your appreciation for others. People love it when you recognize what they’ve done because it makes them feel good about themselves. And do you know what’s cool? You don’t have to buy them expensive gifts. All you have to do is say Thank you. Thanks them for everything. Ideas, opinions, time, suggestions, leads and business.

•  Be agreeable. Ever work with someone who is high-maintenance, never happy and negative? It’s a real drain, isn’t it? Well, when you are positive and agreeable, people will love to work with you and for you. Real estate agents who are combative and pessimistic will have a hard time ever signing any contracts. Sure, they might bully a person or two into it, but in the long run they’ll lose.

•  Show your admiration. People love to show off their possessions and achievements, but they love it even more when you go out of the way to notice it and then compliment them on it. It’s like they are getting the recognition they feel they deserve, which in turn makes them trust you even more.

•  Pay attention to others. There are lots of ways to give attention to people, but one of the most powerful ways is to simply listen to what someone is saying, ask questions and then understand their point before you speak. You will appear like a very intelligent and interesting person before you even say a word.

•  Avoid the 3 Cs. Just like in every other area of life, condemning, criticizing and complaining will destroy people, lower their self esteem, turn them against you and ultimately lead to your failure. And please, don’t criticize someone who is absent from the room, because all that says to the person you are talking to is that you are not to be trusted.

•  Use these 3 Cs instead. People will feel loved when you are considerate, concerned and courteous…and when people feel loved, they will respect and value you. So get in a habit of thinking about other people, understanding and connecting with their emotions and say things that are important to them.

Look back in your past…you’ll notice that price was almost never an issue when you were dealing with someone you trusted, respected and liked. However, price became a real issue when you were dealing with people you felt were deceptive, unkind and rude. In fact, you probably didn’t even do business with them.

If being a leader in real estate is important to you, then you need to make your prospects and clients feel like they are the center of the universe. Use those seven tips to make people feel great about themselves and you won’t have any problem generating a following.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Powerful Persuasion: 10 Simple Ways to Establish Rapport

Anybody who loves real estate probably loves it because they love the opportunity to use their personal influence to help people achieve their dreams, get things done and earn a great living.

In other words, they love persuasion, which boils down to these three keys: establish rapport, establish rapport and establish rapport.

You can’t really have an persuasive power over people unless you have their trust…and you can’t have their trust if you don’t take the time to build a relationship. A solid relationship is the groundwork for persuasion.

But how do you create that relationship…how do you build that rapport? In the coming up months I’m going to run a series on developing persuasive power. Today, to get you started, here are ten ideas you can actually start using this very day:

  1. Know what you want. You have to understand what makes you tick before you will ever be persuasive. You have to understand what you want out of life and who you are. What drives you? Is it power or money? Making people happy? Who are you? Powerful persuasion starts with soul searching questions.
  2. Make people fell like the center of the universe. Get your head out of your rear and out of your navel and start caring about people. Start treating them like royalty and you will begin to have incredible influence over their lives.
  3. Compliment people constantly. Sure, it’s flattery, but there is nothing like buttering people up…even if they know about it. People love to feel like the center of the universe, and they like to be told good things about themselves. That bolsters esteem for them. For you it’s like investing in that person that allows you to make withdrawals when the time comes.
  4. Remember people’s name. You can’t really start to make someone feel like the center of the universe if you don’t remember their name, can you? Look for tricks to do that.
  5. Give power to other people. This includes things like freedom and purpose. Give them room to make decisions and make them see the bigger purpose. Help them achieve their dreams and you are giving them power.
  6. Be positive. Even if a negative situation arises, you can control and influence people if you can find ways to remain solid and upbeat even in the midst of a storm. That kind of influence attracts people. You can also help avoid people making bad decisions by guiding them towards thinking about situations and questions when they are not so emotional…whether positively or negatively.
  7. Understand the person. Of course, if you don’t know anything about your prospect, you really don’t know what to give them to influence them. Take the time to get to know your prospect or client. Try to invest as much time into the relationship as you invest into getting the deal closed.
  8. Develop a sense of humor. Have you ever noticed that some of the most influential people are very funny? They like people and they like to make them laugh. Give it a whirl…learn a few jokes, learn how to tell a story and start making people laugh.
  9. Ask better questions. You can influence people by simply asking questions. Ask the right questions and you will be irresistible.
  10. Relax. Even the most influential people lose. When that happens to you, don’t take yourself so serious. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Look for future posts on each numbered point in the coming months.

Your Turn

What tips can you share that have helped you to be more persuasive?

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Nine Dead-Simple Ways to Persuade People

“Show business is not hard. It’s all just basic Dale Carnegie stuff,” Jay Leno once said in a Selling Power magazine interview.

Easy enough for Leno to say. The thing you should know, though, is that Leno’s back-of-the-napkin statement is supported by decades of smooth, polite and consistent relationship building. And nine easy-to-follow techniques.

1. Try to make a good impression that lasts. That Leno’s everyday personality is nearly identical to his nice-guy image on television doesn’t detract from his success. It adds to it.

2. Get guts. Don’t be afraid to tackle more than you think you are capable of handling. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you’ll never grow.

3. Take the high road. If during a conversation with a client or prospect someone insults you, avoid the temptation to retaliate. One up them, in fact, by responding in praise and affection. “Gee, I’m hurt that that was said about me, especially since I admire <so and so> so much for his family values, etc….”

4. Ignore failure. Failure will come. That’s a given. What you need to do is bounce back as quickly as possible and keep truckin’ as if nothing even happened.

5. Love what you do. When you love what you do, everything else just seems to fall in place. It’s easy to get out of bed, it’s easy to do the hard things.

6. Fake it before you make it. Even if the ink is still wet on your real estate license, give people the impression that you are the best person at what you do.

7. Treat everyone as a potential customer. This is particularly true for real estate: everyone buys or sells houses, and your market is probably made up of the people you run into everyday.

8. Treat your team as if they are stars. Whether it’s your lender, listing coordinator or buyer’s agent, make the people you work for, and who work for you, feel like your world would collapse without them.

9. Give back to the community. Volunteering your time to worthy causes proves that you are committed to the area you live and work in, which, by the way, provides a good way to meet potential customers.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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I don’t know about you, but I think this market sucks. I know people who are flailing. I know people are are failing.

You probably know some people, too. Maybe you’re flailing. Or even on the point of bust.

Whatever your situation, good technology and talent can help you endure a tough market. But that alone won’t do it.

You also need a good attitude. No…you need a super attitude. A superstar attitude. Let me show you what I mean.

Superstars don’t think like everyone else.

“The average person has 2,000 to 3,000 thoughts a day,” says Jim Fannin, performance coach for big name ball players like Alex Rodriquez. “And 60 percent of the average person’s thoughts are in chaos.”

How many thoughts do you think the superstar has? The superstar, says Fannin, has 1,100 to 1,300 thoughts a day. How do they do that? They eliminate worry, envy, jealousy, embarrassment and anger.

The superstar thinks a lot less. But holds a thought longer.

Here’s my point: Most of your thoughts don’t matter.  Most of your thoughts are of the “Air conditioner just started” and “Breeze is cool this morning” breed.

And because of the randomness of some of your thoughts, you probably don’t focus on any of your thoughts. And that’s a problem. Let me explain.

If you ignored all your thoughts, you could miss out on great ideas when you have them. Like taking that much-needed vacation or placing an ad in that new homes magazine.

Worse, however, is when you focus only on your negative thoughts. This can literally cripple you at the negotiating table, the listing appointment or even at the cocktail bar.

My question for you when approaching any situation is this: where are your thoughts pointing? Are they surplus or scarcity?

Scaricity thoughts look like this:

“I don’t deserve this listing when I’m going up against that agent.”

“I bombed my last presentation. I’ll probably bomb this one.”

“If I don’t get this seller, I’m sure to foreclose on my own house.”

On the other hand, surplus thoughts look like this:

“I deserve this listing.”

“I can’t wait to deliver a killer presentation!”

“I love real estate and the thousands of opportunities to make thousands of dollars!”

As a rule, never believe your negative thinking…especially if it limits what you think is possible.

If you tend to be a scarcity thinker, stop right now and admit that your habit of thinking needs to be changed. You’ll need to do this because just being aware of limiting beliefs and thoughts is a major step in the right direction. And awareness alone can be curative.

Then begin to work on affirmations like the ones above in the surplus category. Also simply doing something different that counters limiting thoughts can work wonders.

For instance, if you typically avoid or neglect selling situations, hunt them down. And throw yourself at them. You’ll be amazed at the level of confidence you gain from simply doing something you’ve always dreaded. Even if your initial results are less than you expected. Practice makes perfect.

Only when we weed the limiting beliefs from our subconciousness is it possible to plant the seeds of new beliefs.

And new beliefs are the pathway to prosperity. Abundance. Surplus.

To help you on your new journey, we recommend you pick up two classics: Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins and Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

Both can be read in a weekend. And both will have you climbing the walls…hungry to make big money.

Did you find this article useful? If so, leave a comment. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Get Attention: 10 Unorthodox Ideas That Really Work

P. T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion something terrible happens. Nothing.”

Barnum was probably called an “attention junkie” repeatedly throughout his life for his outrageous stunts and hoaxes for promotional purposes. But you know what? He probably wore that label like a badge of honor.

Of course he had to be an attention junkie. He was trying to make some money.

But he was also insanely focused on delivering exceptional value to his customers. He even crusaded against schemers and charlatans that swindled people out of money.

So self-promotion isn’t evil. Just another way to generate business. And it can be fun. Especially if you take an unorthodox slant, as you’ll see from the following list.

1. View blog comments as a network tool.

Maki at Dosh Dosh had this to say: “See blog comments as a way to network with the author, so that you’ll be able to obtain a particular benefit in the future. Think long-term: not just incoming traffic today but exposure down the road. Don’t just focus on getting an immediate return (visitors via your link drop) but use comments to develop relationships of ongoing value.”

2. Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn.

Using the Answers feature at LinkedIn brings your name and profile around to people you’re not exposed to directly. This means more opportunities for someone to recognize your authority in some field, and to reach out and contact you for something further. It means sharing the fruits of your networking with others, and potentially connecting 3rd parties to each other for something bigger. This comes in handy when it becomes obvious that you’re also a good connector. [hat tip]

3. Advertise on MateOne.

I got this one from marketing black sheep Ben Mack. He listed his business profile in this saucy dating community, emailed his house list the link and hauled in a load of attention as the thing spread around the country. Now, whether he got any business from it or not is another question. Just depends on how good he’s at closing.

4. Create or sponsor a community event.

It doesn’t make sense for you to sponsor a rowing event…unless of course you are a rower. Same goes for a young adult’s chess tournament, a scuba clinic or a simple Mother’s Day breakfast.

5. Teach a class outside of real estate.

When you jump out side of your comfort box and rub shoulders with other people–and do it passionately–you are bound to make some good, lasting friends. One easy way to do that is to share your knowledge on a topic that does not deal with real estate. It could be a class on gardening or dealing with grief. Maybe it’s self-defense or guitar lessons. This is also a great way to take a break from the rigors of hard work and enjoy one of your hobbies while nurturing possible business contacts.

6. Write a book.

Sound too hard? Scott Berkun says, “There is no license required. No test to take. Writing, as opposed to publishing, requires almost no financial or physical resources. A pen, a paper and effort are all that has been required for hundreds of years.” He goes on to say If Voltaire and Marquis de Sade could write in prison, then you can do it in suburbia, at lunch at work, or after your kids go to sleep. Here’s some practical advice to get off the ground.

7. Do mission work.

It’s says something exceptional about you when you volunteer your time to help someone less fortunate than you. It’s easy to get picked up by the news. And it’s bound to dim the accusation that real estate agents–at least you–are no better than lawyers and used-car salespeople.

8. Approach strangers.

I struggle with this. You might not. But most people I know think people who do approach strangers and talk to them like they’ve known them for years a little crazy. Of course, these are the people who don’t know a stranger. Who, every where you go, knows just about everybody. And probably have no problem finding leads, business and clients.

9. Volunteer for a political campaign.

Whether local, state or national, volunteering your time for a political campaign will get you inside circles otherwise closed to you. It could be as easy as sticking a sign in your yard or stuffing envelopes. I’d suggest you volunteer to walk the streets and knock on doors and introduce yourself as a real estate agent who is helping to nominate a political candidate. Very low key way to start conversations because you’ll probably have a checklist of issues to talk about or a script.

10. Join a book club.

Sure, no one looks down on a trashy novel at the beach, but when your in a book club it’s time to dust off that thinking cap and tackle some seriously awesome reads. And make some really good, like-minded friends while your at it. From globe-trotting fiction to gray graphic novels to political nonfiction and British mysteries, scour your city for the best book clubs around and get reading.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the real estate marketing blog.

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How to Create, Build and Protect a Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Thomas Edison, considered the inventor who harnessed electricity, originally believed that the best way to harness electricity was to use a direct current (DC).

When the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla appeared to have succeeded in creating a system based on alternating current (AC), Edison was furious.

Edison determined to ruin Tesla’s reputation. He determined to make the public believe that the AC system was inherently unsafe–and Tesla irresponsible for promoting it.

To this end Edison captured all kinds of household pets and electrocuted them to death using an AC current.

When this wasn’t enough, in 1890 he got New York State prison authorities to organize the world’s first execution by electrocution, using an AC current. But Edison’s electrocution experiments had all been with small creatures. The charge was too weak, and the man–only half killed.

In perhaps the country’s cruelest state-authorized execution, the procedure had to be repeated.

It was an awful spectacle.

This is not the kind of reputation you want to follow you into any sales or negotiation setting.

Although in the long run it is Edison’s name that has survived, at the time his campaign damaged his own reputation more than Tesla’s.

So he backed off.

The lesson is simple–never go too far in attacks like these in negotiations, for that will draw more attention to your own vengefulness than to the person you are slandering.

There are better ways to build a fearsome reputation.

How to Create Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Your reputation is critical. There is no exception to this law. You must build it, layer by layer, maintain it and protect it. Then it will proceed you in any negotiation.So you have to start at the foundation.

Since we must live and work in society and must depend on the opinions of others, there is nothing you can gain by neglecting your reputation.

By not caring how you are perceived, you let others decide this for you.

Back in October, the New York reported on online reputation management:

“There is all type of damage by miscreants on the Web to a business,” said Marc S. Friedman, chairman of the intellectual property practice at Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross in Manhattan. “The number of methods depends only on the creativity of the wrongdoer.”

While you shouldn’t shoot for stifling constructive criticism, you should definitely be the the master of your fate. And also of your reputation.

In the social realm, appearances are the barometer of almost all of our judgments, as a Chinese University of Hong Kong discovered a few years ago.

And you must never be misled into believing other wise. This is the reason for the supreme importance of making and maintaining a reputation that is of your own creation.

Sustainable reputation optimization requires going back to the root cause of what influences people’s opinion of you and what creates the buzz–whether online or offline–about you.

Then you must figure out how to set the conversation in the right direction.

The solution here may have less to do with paid media [read: billboards, banners and ballyhoo] than with such foundations as customer service, education, Web infrastructure, and personal mission and philosophy

If you think you can build a fearsome reputation with gimmickry, manipulation, or next-day PageRank, you’d better think twice.

And your blog, while it might allow you the opportunity to dialogue about how you’d like people to think about you, will only go so far if there’s isn’t a compelling, credible message.

It better be a message that bloggers can’t pick apart by comparing (via hyper links) disconnects between what you say and what consumers actually experience.

How to Build Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity of honesty or cunning.

This quality sets you apart and gets other people to talk about you. You then make your reputation known to as many people as possible. Step back, and watch it spread like wildfire.

A solid reputation increases your presence and exaggerates your strengths without having to spend much energy.

As they say, your reputation inevitably precedes you, and it it inspires respect. A lot of your work is done for you before you arrive on the scene, or utter a single word.

How to Protect Your Fearsome Negotiating Reputation

Reputation is a treasure to be carefully collected and hoarded. Today, this afternoon or tonight: take the time to discover what you will be known for.

[It helps, if you haven’t already, to get to know yourself through a profile test like Myers-Briggs. You can learn your Myers-Briggs profile free here.]

Make your reputation simple and base it on one sterling quality. This single quality–efficiency say, or leadership–becomes a kind of calling card that announces your presence and places others under a spell.

Then take the time to cultivate it. This happens slowly: steady but sure.

And remember, avoid Edison’s mistake: always take the high road when it some to reputation and never appear desperate or vengeful in your self-defense.

Never transgress this law. Learn to protect yourself from hurtful rumors. Confront people. Blog or post a response. Trademark your name.

And if all else fails, initiate legal action. But take action to protect the reputation you’ve so tenderly cultivated.

Like Jesus said, “When among the wolves, act like a sheep but play sly like a snake.” [Rough paraphrase. Forgive me.]

Ancient Observance of a Fearsome Reputation

Robert Green tells a fascinating story about a Chinese general who uses his reputation during China’s War of Three Kingdoms to avoid certain death.

General Chuko Liang of the forces of the Shu Kingdom dispatched his army to a distant camp while he rested in a small city. He kept with him only 100 soldiers.

In no time scouts returned shouting that an enemy army of over 150,000 troops was just over the hill.

Without wasting time Liang told his soldiers to fling the city gates open and to go hide. He put on a Taoist robe, grabbed a lute, lit some incense and sat on top of the highest wall, strumming and chanting away.

Minutes later he could see the massive army approaching, swarming the countryside. Pretending not to notice, Liang continued to strum.

Soon the army stood at the town gates. At its head was Sima Yi, who instantly recognized the man on the wall.

As his soldiers itched to enter the unguarded city, Sima hesitated, held his men back and eventually retreated.


Chuko Lian was commonly known as the “Sleeping Dragon.” His exploits were legendary. His reputation proceeded him. And Sima figured it was a trap.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the real estate marketing Blog.

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Boy in the Bubble: How to Entice Even the Most Preoccupied Person

Breaking news: You have to break through more than just clutter.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

Attention is the new economy. That means the barrier is preoccupation.

Yet, it’s hot stuff to rattle off how many ads CEO’s see a day, the average person sees a day, the left bank bookseller sees a day.

This is commonly known as clutter.

But it doesn’t explain anything about what’s inside a person’s head. That is the real obstacle.

But if you learn how to split through someone’s preoccupation, it doesn’t matter if the he’s barraged with 1 million messages.

You will strike him dead. But it’s not that easy.

Combating Tangible and Intangible Preoccupations

Think of preoccupation as a boy in a bubble. Inside that bubble?

His iPhone. His laptop. His email inbox. His magazines. His television. His notepads, pencils, drafting compass.

Those are the tangibles.

Intangibles include dreams, lusts, fears, worries. All things that keep his vision very short-sighted. In a nutshell, he sees, rarely, no farther than the inner edge of his bubble.

Unless he’s interrupted. Or enticed.

You, my friend, have to entice him. Interrupting him will only piss him off. Piss him off and he hunkers more.

Enticing him involves waiting for him to ask a question.

Why would he do that? He has a problem.

Enter the sales process.

That Irresistible Scent

The first thing you need to have is a clear understanding of is how your prospect arrives at a buying decision.

Here’s a very simplified flow of a buying decision:

  • Recognition of need or problem
  • Search for information
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Decide what to purchase
  • Purchase
  • Evaluate the purchase again

With that in mind, let’s now consider how you sell to your prospect.

Keep in mind: Sales is not a push-method. It’s a pull method, where you entice your prospect to follow you by an attractive scent you are offering.

This scent has to appeal to him. It has to satisfy a craving he has. That craving he got before he decided to crawl out of the bubble.

And the overall decision has to be a win-win scenario: both you AND your prospect feel good about the outcome. He must feel it is delicious and think it divine and you must think it fulfilling and feel like you didn’t feed him your arm and leg.

So let’s look at the sales process with a clear goal in mind: matching the what you have to offer to what they want or need.

Defining That Complex Relationship with Clients

A complex relationship, like the one you want to develop with your prospects, goes through stages, like this [with each bullet followed by a little narrative]:

  • Suspects–the entire universe of potential buyers for your product or service.

The boy in the bubble runs across your blog posts because he’s decided he wants a new home. You have an article called “11 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Bubble Home.”

  • Prospects–those suspects who have expressed an active interest in your service.

He’s decided to follow you at this point. The 11 Mistakes article was good. So was the article called “How to Sell Your Bubble for the Most Money in Less Time and Hassle.” But he really liked the story you told about another boy in a bubble who you helped successfully and safely buy a new bubble.

  • Leads–those prospects who are actively engaged in the buying process your service.

At this point, he likes you. He joined your email list. You have his permission. Eventually he wants you to help him find that dream bubble. In a matter of days, he’s calling you on the phone.

  • Buyers–those leads negotiating with you and who have made a commitment to buy in principle, but have not yet bitten the bullet.

Your relationship gets a little rocky at this point. He doesn’t feel like you understand what he means by “leg room.” Nor does he feel like you are listening when you show him a bubble with fist holes in the door. You listen, re-engage, probe deeper with questions, find out what he really is thinking. You are negotiating.

  • Customers–those who have paid for your product or service.

You did it. The dream bubble. You found him the dream bubble. He’s happy, you’re happy. So you buy him a wreath to hang on his bubble. He gives you a sketch of his foot. And then you follow up with him regularly through out the year. Why?

Post mortem, you still want him to love you.

Your advertising–not just your blog, because your blog simply can’t do it alone, neither can your email–must compel potential customers through these five phases.

To do so, they must not communicate not just information–but benefits. Benefits cinch the deal. It’s that attractive scent that snaps him out of his preoccupation to look at you.

Benefits are cream.

3 Questions to Find Out What They Desperately Want or Need

Benefits will provide the momentum to move potential customers along. This needs to happen, by the way, at every stage, both in an individual blog post or email through text ad or postcard through negotiations and post mortem discussions.

Now consider these three questions to determine your objectives every time you communicate with a prospective customer, whether via your website, phone or blog:

1. What actions do prospective customers need to take that will lead to a buying decision?

2. Who do I have to persuade to take action? The wife? The father in law?

3. How do I persuade them to take action?

The running theme here is “taking action.” Keep that in mind.

Truly powerful communication always addresses the recipient’s needs: What’s In It for Me?

If not, then you will never break through their mental preoccupations and get their attention. [They are thinking about dinner now, last week’s Lost episode, not about you or what you have to offer.]

Always anticipate and ask the question, “Why should he buy from me?”

But be sure that you are addressing people at their level of interest and in the language that best suit their dominant personality styles. You want to give them information that convinces them to write a check, not write you off.


There is a huge difference between information and persuading. Persuasion is designed to move readers to action, to get results–whether it’s subscribing to your blog or pulling the trigger on a $800,000 home.

To persuade effectively you must take their point of view. You must answer questions correctly and fully. You must ask questions. And you must answer objections. Before they say them, if you can.

Breakthrough their preoccupation, maintain momentum, and actively lead your prospect through the decision process and you will survive.

Related Articles

Unforgettable Negotiation Advice: Discover His Thumbscrew

Pleasure and Pain: The Seemingly Dark Art of Manipulation

Cooking Up Persuasive Copywriting with These 2 Crucial Ingredients

When Being a Narrow-Minded Fundamentalist Works

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add.
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Images Are Powerful Symbols but Not Communicators

At the Visual Ideology site, you can take a visual political test that suggests which images portray political ideas the strongest.

Be prepared to be confused.

The “test” is rather frustrating, and I gave up, clicking through images without thinking because I did not know what I was supposed to do [possibly this is part of the test] just so I could get through the end.

What was most confusing is that there were no instructions. In my mind, this was a good example of something crucial we have to understand about images:

Images are powerful symbols that work on our souls, but images alone are incapable of communicating what we want people to do.

With a simple task we need at least a little coaxing. On the other hand, on a more complex task we need more coaxing. Otherwise we are asking people to interpret images on their own, which can be dangerous [read: they leave the website].

And whether visitors read all of the copy or not is not the point–it’s there if they get confused and need instruction.

Now, an elegant combination of copy and images was done well at the Interface Research survey.

Simple tasks with simple instructions.

Way back when David Olgivy proved repeatedly that long copy always outsold short copy with photo…but–and here’s why we need both copy and design–the right amount of compelling copy with the right photo doubled the previous results.

Political consultant Frank Lutz has made a fortune on a simple idea: it doesn’t matter what you want to tell the public–it’s about what they want to hear.

For a case in point, watch the video “Give Us What We Want” to see how one word increased public opinion from 50% to over 75%…

“Estate tax” versus “death tax.”

This simple change brought a bland, background issue screaming to the front of politics.

Just one word. By itself.

Just curious: Can you think of any images that have revolutionized an issue on its own merit?

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