What about everything that happens after those first four seconds? What
next? Every book I’ve ever read about persuasion, influence, and selling
neglected to put strategies and techniques into a usable sequence for at
least some presentations.
There are hundreds of ways to present information to clients, cus-
tomers, prospects, and buyers.The Delta Model of Influence is one of my
top 10 favorite models of selling. I call it the Delta Model because delta
means small or incremental. (Read that as “subtle.”) When you are making
your presentations and proposals to others in the sales process you should
note that the following key elements are occurring whether it is a one-on-
one lunch date or a speech before a group of 1,000.This model is effective
and I recommend you utilize it often in your business.This chapter out-
lines the model for you so you have an idea of how to present whatever it
is you want to communicate. It all begins with rapport.
The Seven Keys to Rapport
Before I delve into the subject of rapport with you, I want you to see the
seven keys to establishing and maintaining rapport. Everything else you
read in this chapter will then be filtered through these seven points.
1. A person of influence must synchronize with the customer using
modeling, mirroring, pacing, and matching.
2. A person of influence shows true, genuine, and sincere interest in
clients and customers.
3. As a person of influence, confirm you are in rapport with your
client or customer.
4. Find out what is most important to your client/customer (iden-
5. Ask questions to discover the rules that define your customer’s
6. Ask questions to identify needs.
7. Ask questions to discover the rules that define the customer’s
The Bridge to Their Heart: Rapport
Comfort. People want to be comfortable. Most people live in personal
or corporate environments that either are not conducive to loving com-
munication or are worse—often hostile and unkind.When people are in
our presence we want them to feel at ease. This sometimes means we
have to do those things we know will make people feel comfortable,
with that as our sole intention. Building rapport often entails doing and
saying things that seem awkward but are perceived by others as loving
Rapport is the perceived affinity between two or more people.
Most people enjoy talking about themselves and probably don’t get to
do this as often as they would like.This is one reason the values determina-
tion model is so important and effective.When you ask people about their
values, you are asking them about their most highly held feelings and
thoughts.This is an important element in understanding people and can
greatly assist in developing rapport.
Your ability to build and maintain rapport in communication is one of
the key skills of being a caring communicator.A great example of rapport
building in literature (and one of my all-time favorite stories) is found in
the New Testament.You may remember the story of the Apostle Paul trav-
eling to Greece.Athens at that time had a mostly pagan culture.The city
was filled with idols and temples to mythological gods.As a Jew, this was
repugnant to Paul.Some of the local philosophers challenged Paul to a de-
bate and brought him to the infamous Mars Hill.It is here that we pick up
Paul’s ability to create rapport and touch people.
“Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious.” (This
immediately breaks their skeptical pattern of thinking and creates an in-
stant bridge for Paul to metaphorically walk on.)
“. . . for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship,
I even found an altar with the inscription:To the Unknown God.Therefore, the
One whom you worship without knowing,Him I proclaim to you.” (Paul uses his
rapport-building skills masterfully.The altar is one of the Greeks’objects of
worship.The God Paul wants to discuss is one of the Greeks’ gods. He is
not going to talk about some new god!)
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven
and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” (God made the
world, Paul tells the Greeks. He is obviously much too big to live in a
Paul continues his discourse, explaining that God gives us life,
our breath, and a place to live. He explains that God needs nothing
“. . . for Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own
poets have said,‘For we are also his offspring.’”
“Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that
the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and
Paul once again maintains rapport by returning to and citing the
Greeks’ authorities. Building rapport is one step. Maintaining rapport and
bridging into the message you wish to tell is another.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men
everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which he will judge the
world in righteousness by the man he has ordained. He has given assurance of this
to all by raising him from the dead.”
Paul has reached the crux of his message and has held the attention of
his audience. The rapport that Paul built with the antagonistic philoso-
phers is the key to his successful communication here.
Rapport is much more than verbal compliments and praise, of course.
Nonverbal behavior is involved as well.
Nonverbal Rapport-Building Skills
Physical appearance. An individual’s dress and grooming can help
make someone feel comfortable or out of place. How we dress in
large part determines how much people will trust and like us. Each
situation has a proper manner of dress affiliated with it.It seems like
an inauthentic part of communication to dress in a certain manner
to set people at ease,but indeed it is very authentic.You are dressing
a certain way to help the people you communicate with feel com-
fortable.You have gone beyond your needs and desires regarding
dress to those of others.
Vocal cues. It is best to gain rapport by matching the same rate and
tone of voice that your fellow communicator is using. It is not nec-
essary to mimic the other person; simply alter your speech patterns
in the direction of the other person.
Posture and physiology. One of the most effective methods to gain
rapport is to match the posture and physiology of your partner. Sit-
ting or standing in a similar fashion is called, “pacing.” You can
check later in your communication to see if you are actually in rap-
port by “leading.” Leading means, for example, that if you are both
sitting with uncrossed legs, you cross your legs.The other person
will follow suit shortly, assuming you are in rapport. Once you have
effectively led the other person, you can share your ideas and
thoughts more constructively.
Breathing. Watch how and from where the other person is breath-
ing.You can pace the person’s breathing pattern as a powerful mode
to build rapport. People who breathe at the same rate are usually in
sync with each other. When you make love with someone your
breathing normally is matched breath for breath.
All of these rapport builders lead us to an important key involving au-
thentic communication: You must often be more like others than yourself if your
goal is to engage people in deep and intimate relationships.
Remember a time when you were in complete rapport with some-
one. This is a time that you both were almost thinking the same thing.
Were you sitting near each other? Was your physiology similar? Think of
another time and answer the same questions.
During these moments of rapport did you feel that you were on a roll
or experiencing enthusiasm or other intense emotion at the time?
On a piece of paper or in a personal journal record your memories of
a time when you felt very self-conscious about your body.
Write about a time when you felt very uncomfortable with another
person or a group.
Using some of the information you have learned in this chapter,
how might you have been more comfortable in these situations? Record
The 21-Point Delta Model
Having thoroughly tickled your conscious and unconscious mind, it’s
time to look at the Delta Model of Influence. Each point is numbered so
you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in this area as
1. Establishing and Maintaining Rapport
Rapport can be defined as being in sync with another person. Generally
people are more likely to be in rapport with someone else if they like that
person. How do you know if you are in rapport? Answer this question:
Are they responding to you in a positive manner?
If so, you are in rapport.
I remember what Zig Ziglar said at a seminar,“They don’t care how
much you know until they know how much you care.”Therefore,you will
want to begin to develop a sense of empathy and sincere curiosity about
others. Rapport occurs on different levels of communication.You can be
technically skilled at acting and appear to be in rapport, but if you don’t
sincerely care about your customer and the people you are working with,
what is the point? There are several methods of developing rapport.
2. Using Content to Build Rapport
Discover what people’s interests are,and if you are not already in tune with
a customer’s interest, learn about it. People like to talk about what they
love and what they know about! When I teach “Mind Access” seminars,
one of my favorite stories about building rapport is the “learning about
fishing” story. Living in Minnesota, I have many clients who are avid fish-
ermen.How would I connect with my clients knowing absolutely nothing
about fishing? I grew up a Chicago Cubs fan and child prodigy in mathe-
matics, and even though I lived very close to Lake Michigan, unlike most
kids I never enjoyed fishing.
In Minnesota, a big deal is made every year when it is time for the
“opener.”To my mind,“opener” means opening day at Wrigley Field.The
only Wrigley many of my customers know about, though, is the chewing
gum. It seemed I was doomed to never meeting many of my clients at
more than a superficial level . . . until one day I decided to learn about
fishing by asking all of my clients who love fishing to tell me their favorite
fishing stories.I began asking questions that to them must have seemed ab-
solutely ridiculous.Over the past few years,I have built an array of knowl-
edge and stories about fishing. I can direct you to all of the best lakes for
fishing and I can tell you what to fish for at these lakes . . . and I’ve never
been fishing in the state, not once.You can build a great deal of rapport
and long-term friendships by showing and experiencing sincere interest in
what is important to other people. Sharing the experiences of your client’s
hobbies, lifestyle, and interests is using content to build rapport.
3. Using Processes to Build Rapport
There is more to building rapport than swapping fishing stories.Becoming
in sync with another person or a group can take a great deal of skill,in ad-
dition to the sincere interest that is necessary in building relationships.
Many customers will not feel comfortable discussing their families, hob-
bies,and lifestyles with you,a perfectly nice perfect stranger.How does the
ice get broken when stories are very uncomfortable for the customer?
Many of your customers were taught as children to not talk to strangers.
Many of your customers were taught to keep private matters private. How
do you help these customers become comfortable with you?
When in doubt, the most effective way to begin building rapport with
anyone is by pacing. Pacing is essentially synonymous with matching or
mirroring. In other words, be like your customer, because he likes people
who are like him.There are a number of techniques that can be used to ef-
fectively pace your client, to begin building rapport.
5. Use of Your Voice
Imagine that your customer is in an upset mood. He has a sharp edge to
his voice as you get to make your presentation. Many salespeople would
attempt to get him out of his mood with enthusiasm or a cheery story. In
fact, the rule of thumb is when in doubt, pace your client. If your client
has an edge in his voice,let your voice have an edge.If he sounds angry,let
yourself be angry—however, briefly with something that occurred today
as well.This vocal pacing will help put you in sync with your client.Even-
tually you will lead your client out of the negative frame of mind, if you
choose to. (There are many times when a negative frame of mind is neces-
sary to making a sale.)
There is more that you can do with your voice than match the tone
of your client.We all speak with a measurable average number of words
per minute. Many people drawn to the sales profession speak quickly.
Part of this experience is due to the nature of the business—we are ob-
ligated to be quick and to the point. Unfortunately, if your client speaks
slowly and you are speaking quickly to meet a time constraint, you
probably will lose the sale. People tend to speak at a rate that is consis-
tent with how they process their thoughts and internal representations.
If people tend to think in pictures (movies), they tend to speak very
quickly. People who tend to speak very slowly process information
through their feelings and emotions. In between are people we call the
radio announcers who speak with more rich and resonant voices and
normally think in words.
Your ideal is to speak in the same rate and pitch of voice as your client.
6. Why Pace Breathing?
Admittedly, one of the more difficult pacing techniques is that of pacing
your customer’s breathing. Breathing is one of the most unconscious of all
body functions, and pacing of breathing is one of the great rhythm gener-
ators of all time.Two people in the heat of sexual passion often are breath-
ing at the exact same pace. Two people sitting side by side in deep
meditation often experience the same exhale and inhale points. In group
hypnosis, hypnotherapists find that having the group breathe together ac-
tually creates a wonderful bonding rapport in the room.As you watch your
client breathe,begin to breathe in when she does.When she exhales,begin
to exhale at the same time. It is best to practice this pacing technique
when you are not in verbal communication with people. For example, if
you are waiting in line somewhere and someone is talking to someone
else, begin to pace their breathing.You can practice this at home by pacing
someone who is unaware that you are doing it. Our research shows that
pacing another person’s breathing results in the two people regarding each
other more favorably.
7. Physiology and Posture
Pacing someone’s posture and physiology is much easier than pacing
someone’s breathing. If you sit erect and stiff and your client is seated in a
comfortable,relaxed manner,you are not likely to develop the rapport you
hope for. Pacing physiology too closely can be a mistake, though. If every
move your client makes is mirrored immediately back at him, he will be-
gin to feel uncomfortable.The most effective manner of pacing physiology
is to match the posture and general body position of the other person.The
next few points on leading, describe how to appropriately test your pacing
skills with your client and be certain you have established rapport.
Developing a sincere interest in relationships and friendships with others is
the first step in the sales process. Pacing your customer is the second step.
Leading comes third. A lead is successful when the person follows you. If
you are sitting across from your client and you both have similar physiology
and you are both enjoying each other’s company, you have an opportunity
to now begin leading,which is the beginning of the active processes in sell-
ing.Will the client now follow you into the sales presentation? You have
been following him for minutes and minutes.You’ve matched his vocal pac-
ing and his physiology.You have shared mutual interests. Now it is time to
take a nonverbal break from pacing and start leading. If your client follows
your lead you have successfully built rapport at the unconscious level and
you can begin your sales presentation momentarily.The next two points
describe key methods of determining if you are in rapport with your client.
9. Leading with the Tone, Rate, or Pitch of Your Voice
If you have been successfully matching your client, you have an opportu-
nity to lead by altering one of your vocal qualities.You may, for example,
increase your speaking rate a little bit and induce a more enthusiastic at-
titude in the tone of your voice to help you bridge the conversation to
your product.The context of your discussion will help determine when
and if this is appropriate.When you notice that the client follows your
lead with a more enthusiastic voice, an increased rate of speech, a higher
or lower tone of voice, you can feel assured you have successfully devel-
10. Leading with Physiology, Posture, and Movement
The simplest movements that you make will often be mirrored identically
by a customer in rapport with you. Imagine that you have been sitting
with a hand to your chin for several minutes,as has your customer.You be-
lieve you are ready to test to be certain you are in rapport.If you are sitting
at a restaurant, you can move your hand to pick up a glass of water and
watch to see what your client does.If he follows you by also picking up his
glass of water, or even picking up a pen or a napkin, you have successfully
led your client to the next stage of the selling process.
You need to begin the rapport process again if your client does not
follow your lead.
11. Inducing Reciprocity
Building rapport begins within you.The entire process of building rapport
is built on the foundation of concern, caring, compassion, interest, and a
desire for the well-being of your customer. Pacing and leading comprise a
process that creates comfort for you and the client to know that you are
moving along at a pace that is appropriate for the client.The entire process
of building rapport, pacing, and leading could take as little time as one
minute and as much as an hour or more.After rapport has been established
you can enter into the body of your presentation.There are many ways to
begin the sales presentation, but my favorite is to give my client some-
thing. I regularly give a book that I wrote called The Gift: A Discovery of
Love, Happiness, and Fulfillment to my clients at this point.
You may not have a book to give, so here are some ideas to consider
when deciding how you will induce reciprocity. What you will give to
your customer to induce reciprocity will be in part based on the average
profit per sale and the significance of your gift. Gifts tend to be recipro-
cated with sales in direct correlation to the dollar value of the gift that is
given. Specialty items like pens, date books, and calendars are perceived as
advertising items and do not induce reciprocity.You must think of some-
thing appropriate that you can give to your customer that will be appreci-
ated. Inducing reciprocity is not just a sales technique; it is a way of life.
There is almost a metaphysical energy that seems to emanate from the giv-
ing of gifts. Expect nothing in return when you induce reciprocity.The
simple act of giving helps you develop a caring and compassionate person-
ality.That is what people are buying when they buy from you: you!
12. Sharing Part of You with Them
Show your confidence in your customers by helping them with one of
their potential clients. In other words, offer to help them in any way you
can. Can you make a phone call for them as a referral? Can you help them
bring more business to their store by taking 50 of their business cards?
What can you do to freely help them with their business that is above and
beyond the scope of your sales call? Offer to help. I’ve done this for years in
selling and marketing, and my kindness has been returned a thousand
times over.Would you be willing to write them a testimonial on your let-
terhead for them to show their customers? That is the kind of treatment
you would like from your customers, so why not offer it first?
13. The Common Enemy
Nothing binds two people, groups, or nations like a common enemy. Find
your customer’s enemy and align yourself with your customer’s viewpoint.
Do the same people try to hurt your mutual businesses? Resonate with
your customers. Once someone shares with you who his enemies are, you
have built a relationship for life. Does your customer hate the IRS? Taxes?
Unemployment compensation insurance? Lawsuits? Government? Crimi-
nals? Drugs? Gangs? What are the common threats to business and society
that you both dislike and you both know hurt your businesses? You won’t
find a common enemy in every sales interview, but if you are thinking of
the theme, the opportunity to put both of you on the same side of the
table will occur during about half your interviews. Once you have a com-
mon enemy you have a sale and a lifetime relationship.
14. A Short Story about Someone like Them
If you can build a reservoir of stories (short stories) about people who have
become your customers, you can utilize this selling tool.Tell today’s cus-
tomer about another customer who recently bought from you.This cus-
tomer should be someone they remind you of. You can build an
entrancing sales presentation around such stories, and they make great
lead-ins to the core of your presentation.
Sincerely show respect for the person via a compliment.Always be looking
for things to like about other people.A little respect goes a long way, and
you cannot underestimate the value of a sincere compliment of respect in
the selling environment.
16. Knocking Their Socks Off
The shortest amount of time we spend with any client is normally that of
the actual sales presentation. When you begin the process, the very first
thing you do is this: Blow them away with an astonishing claim, an amaz-
ing fact, something that few would know. Show them something astound-
ing that no one else has shown them. Make the biggest claim that you can
substantiate.The client will always remember and consider this introduc-
tion.Start strong,finish strong.Your claim for your product or your service
should be colossal and it must be true. Knock their socks off.
17. Always Giving More Than You Promised
Napoleon Hill always made sure his audiences knew the principle of going
the extra mile. Follow the examples of those who sell who become mil-
lionaires. If you promise something, make sure that your customer gets ex-
actly what you promise and then some. Remember that phrase: . . . and
18. The Power of Understatement
After making your big,fat claim,you can quickly work your way into your
sales presentation.This is the time to make sure you don’t overinflate your
product or service.You made your big, fat claim; now support it with the
power of understatement. In other words, if your mutual fund portfolio
has a track record of 12 percent return per year over the past 10 years,then
understate that by saying, “Now, if you average 10 percent per year . . .”
For 10 years you have earned a 12 percent return, but you are being con-
servative for your client and he knows it and appreciates it.
19. Be Precise:Then Beat Your Precision
If you know that this automobile is going to get your customer 19 miles
per gallon, tell him that.Then tell him a secret.“But if you use Mobil One
oil you can literally add an extra three miles per gallon of gas, and that
translates to an extra $100 of gasoline savings per year.” Be precise, then be
better than being precise.
20. Get It Done Faster, Easier, Better
You live in an age when your customer wants everything to be better,
cheaper, faster, quicker, smarter, easier, more luxurious. So promise what
you can, and then deliver . . . and then some. If they tell you that your com-
petitor will get them X,then if you can really do it,you tell your customer
that you are going to get them X + 2.Never be beaten because of the lack
of going the extra mile.What can you do for your customer that no other
agent will do for them? What can you do for them that no one else in the
business does? Answer these questions, then do it.
21. Be on the Edge of Your Seat
Pay attention with bated breath to every word your customer has to say. It
should be clear that what your customer has to say is the most important
thing in either of your worlds at that moment . . . and it is. If these were
the last words you would hear while you were alive you would want to
know what your customer has to say. Live your sales presentation as if the
significance of each word will change your very life. Relationships are ce-
mented when you do this. With the attitude of respect, going the extra
mile, and intense excitement about your customer and his life, you won’t
need to use a multiplicity of closing tactics on your customer. He will de-
mand that you sell him your product—now!
Fifteen Never-Before-Revealed Secrets
to Optimize Persuasive Messages
Revelation is exciting! Over the next few pages you will discover some of
the most powerful secrets of influence.
Primacy and Listing Order
Knowing what order to present information in makes all the difference in
the world, literally.
I think most people would agree that in elections when the voter is
not familiar with the names on the ballot, it is simplest to choose the
first option. What’s interesting is that research clearly shows that order
makes a difference even in large-scale elections with recognizable names
As reported by Jon Krosnick, in the 2000 presidential race, George W.
Bush received 9 percent more votes among Californians in districts where he
was listed first on the ballot than where he was listed later. Even in high-
profile elections such as the presidential race, name order in balloting does
make a big difference.
In general, we know there is a huge advantage to being listed first. In
multiple-choice questions, people often choose “A” simply because it is
listed first. But knowing that the world can change due to list order is
amazing! In all three states where name order was studied (California,
North Dakota, and Ohio), Bush got more votes when listed first on the
ballot. Other candidates studied also received more votes when listed first.
Name recognition and other factors may make a difference,but the impact
of name order is clear.
Peripheral Cues and Central Cues
Being listed first on the ballot is what’s called a peripheral cue.A peripheral
cue is a factor that is not relevant to the main factor. It is a factor not cen-
tral to the decision in question.Central cues are the main factors involved in
making a decision.
Do not underestimate the value of the information in this piece of re-
search. Bush received 9 percent more votes when he was listed first.That is
upwards of 100,000 votes or more! You will need to utilize this informa-
tion when you are positioning yourself in your sales and speaking and per-
In a three-choice list, you should be first or last. In a list of more
choices, most people won’t get to the end of the list.When presenting in-
formation to others, you want people to select “your choice.”That means
describing and detailing it first (or last).
Today we take the process of persuasion and help you tailor your mes-
sage with some pretty shocking tactics. A tactic differs from a strategy in
that a strategy is more of a plan.A tactic is one element, a smaller piece of
I confess that there is some knowledge in the arena of influence that
even I simply don’t like to part with.The value is so great that it’s worth
keeping quiet about.Yet, when I started the Science of Influence series of
CDs (the foundation for this book), I was compelled to put (almost)
everything on the table for the program.This is one of the dozen or so in a
collection of secrets that I didn’t plan on bringing out because the material
is so profound that it will soon be replicated by others and will bring the
cumulative value of the information down in five years. Nevertheless, I
want you to have it. This collection of secrets is about optimizing your
After producing the first 28 CDs in the Science of Influence series,
one thing is now clear to me. A plethora of variables, useful tactics,
powerful strategies, and precision models in the process of gaining com-
pliance exist and now can easily be made operational.There are also nu-
merous models of persuasion and influence that can help you gain
Did you know that for a significant number of sales calls, persuasive
presentations, and proposals you should not mention the benefits of you,
your product, service, or idea? Heresy, you say? Heretical, yes; and ab-
solutely proven factual.
Did you know that different people need different amounts of infor-
mation and if you guess wrong as to how much and what you say you lose
the client, the sale, the date, and the deal? True.
And that’s just the beginning.
Knowing When Enough Is Enough: Before You Begin
“Too much information!”
You hear that sometimes when you tell someone something that they
really didn’t need to know. Maybe it was about an operation or some bad
food or changing the baby’s diaper. Just about anything about these sub-
jects will draw the response “too much information!” from some people.
What about in selling? In the process of persuasion? How about ask-
ing for the date? Closing the deal?
Is it possible to give too much information and lose the sale?
Yes, it happens all the time.
Is it possible to not give enough information and screw up the sale?
Yes, it happens all the time.
Can you predict when to give what amount of information?
In fact,this one factor is so important that if you guess wrong you will
definitely lose the sale. Period.
How much information to give someone is just one crucial piece of
information you must know to optimize every persuasive presentation.
How you determine this is based on whether the person you are commu-
nicating with is likely to mentally process your information peripherally or
centrally. (Now, don’t freak out!)
That means, are they actually considering, pondering, analyzing, and
thinking about your message? Or are they relying on other cues like
positive images or positive values for the answer? (Your appearance,
your expertise, your status, your company reputation, and so on are all
examples of peripheral cues that have nothing to do with your actual
message: your presentation.)
The more information your clients consider and the more they
evaluate, the more information you need to give them. The less in-
formation they want, the more likely they will say “no” if you go into
There are other things that are crucial to success as well. Message
repetition, prior knowledge, self-referencing, and other factors will determine
whether you will be successful in persuading someone to your way of
How much information to give someone is just one crucial piece of
information you must know to optimize every persuasive
Remember the old Budweiser commercial where there were three frogs
sitting on their logs and they repeated the words,“Bud,”“Weis,”“Er.”—
over and over and over until it was ingrained in your mind. So, the next
time you were presented with a choice to order a beer, what did you
say? “Bud-Weis-Er.” Repetition (a peripheral cue) makes a difference in
When making a presentation, the simple repetition of key thoughts,
ideas, and concepts can pay off big time. In a presentation about how to
give a speech, this is what speakers bureau owner Dottie Walters said:
“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what
you told them.”That was it.There is a lot to be said for the ancient tactic
What is memorable about you and your product? What is the dramatic dif-
ference between you and your competition? If your customers don’t re-
member what it is, they will say “no.” Stress the dramatic difference
between you and the person next to you. Show the quality difference, and
repeat it over and over.They may not hire you today,but in the future they
may.When they think of you, they will think of the dramatic difference,
and it will make a difference in the outcome of their decision.
“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them
what you told them.”
I can’t stress enough the importance of a repeatable message. Find a way to
put your message in a form that is easily repeatable.When I have made
mistakes in the past in influence, it is when I failed to create a meme, or a
message that can be easily replicated. Memes are ideas that pass from per-
son to person to person.These are the ideas that spread like wildfire—and
result in lots of sales!
Remember the beer commercial that showed the Bud Bowl? As the
Super Bowl progressed, the beer bottles played football just like the real
players in the game. Budweiser is expert at using peripheral cues to sell its
beer. Bud Bowl/Super Bowl.Who always wins? Bud. Bud. Bud.
Miller Lite also used the concept in its “Tastes Great/Less Filling”
campaign. Remember this? An interesting sidebar on this campaign is that
after the Miller Lite commercials, the concept of light beer hit big, and
every brand came out with a light beer.“Light beer” became so generic
that Miller had to let go of the concept.
How much do your clients know about your product beforehand? When
they already know about your product, you should not share the benefits
with them.When they already are experts and have that knowledge, you
must speak to that prior knowledge in great detail.When your customer is
not an expert, in contrast, you must share the benefits with them.
Surprising research reveals that your physical attractiveness makes a differ-
ence when communicating with an expert. When you’re talking about
the numbers, statistics, and details, physical appearance does not seem to
matter. But when you are simply verbally communicating with an expert,
you should always look your best.
How Much Is Too Much?
With regard to how much information to give someone, here is a good rule
of thumb:The more expert a person is in a given area, the more features
(not benefits) that person needs information about to make a decision.
Knowledgeable people are going to match your message to what they al-
ready have stored in their memory and mind. If you come across as not
knowing the actual working details of whatever your idea or proposal is,
you lose. If you have quality information, you engage the client and opti-
mize your chances of making the sale.
When a person is not an expert in a certain area, less information is
generally more likely to be processed more quickly and favorably.And be-
cause in this case less is better, you want that message to be very different.
You want to share benefits and not features with this client. When the
client is not an expert, peripheral cues become crucial.
When you are communicating with your clients/customers, be absolutely
certain to “paint them in the picture of your presentation.” Research
clearly shows that your clients will give far more consideration to your
proposal and will remember it in greater detail if your presentation en-
courages them to see themselves using your product or service. Remem-
ber that self-referencing is a peripheral cue. If you are the expert or your
sources are and the client has marginal knowledge, then self-referencing is
a powerful peripheral cue to use. However, if your clients have tons of
product/service/idea knowledge and you spend time on getting them in
the picture, you are wasting your time and blowing the presentation!
The more people self-reference the more likely they are to buy, and
the more likely they are to remember you and your services.
This is true for almost all advertising where the customer/client has
some motivation to use your services. (If the client has no motivation to
make use of you,all the self-referencing in the world won’t make the sale!)
Remember the controversial commercial that came out about a year
ago where the two beautiful and scantily clad girls were wrestling in the
mud? It aired a lot in 2003 but:What was the product? If you guessed beer
you got that right. But what brand? Right, most other people don’t know,
either. It was Miller, but you get the point.Viewers may have a great feel-
ing toward mud in the future but they are unlikely to find a particular
brand of beer interesting because of the ad.
Why? There was no viewer involvement with the product. Had the
catfight girls sipped on the beer during their bout or had they used the
beer cans as defensive weapons, then the product could be referenced by
the viewer. But there is no linkage between the commercial and use and
therefore the commercial ultimately fails.
So what did the Miller folks do when they finally figured this out?
They pulled the plug on the catfight girls last month and added Pamela
Anderson in lingerie in a bedroom scene, which is enough to get any-
one’s attention, but, does she hold a Miller Lite? Does she drink any
Miller Lite? Does she have a tattoo of a Miller Lite? Does she in any way
talk with you the viewer about buying her a Miller Lite (self-referenc-
ing!) No. She holds a pillow and throws it at another beautiful woman,
making for an enjoyable 30 seconds, a controversial TV spot, and of
course ultimately another 1 to 2 percent market share lost. No self-refer-
encing—no money made!
Remember the controversial and sexy Calvin Klein commercial
where the models all appeared to be under 18? The press went nuts. Even-
tually Calvin Klein got what they wanted.They had 18-year-olds posing as
14-year-olds in hot jeans that teens could identify with (self-referencing)
and they had all the free advertising from the controversy.The commercials
became news and thus were running for free (genius)! However, the key
difference was the self-referencing for the target audience.The teens could
see themselves wearing the jeans and ultimately did indeed buy them,
making for a brilliant campaign.
In a presentation, a person who is considered a credible source, an author-
ity,is more likely to make the sale.In the next chapter I share with you this
research on credibility.
When talking with your clients, you must make it known that you are
the source, the expert. (But you should also be aware that source credibil-
ity does not convince those who also are experts.) The fact that you are an
expert can tend to create competition in the mind of your buyer. Short-
term, anyone can be an expert. Long-term, if you can show that you are
the expert, you can make the sale.
With this group of people it is not the message that matters, it is the
fact that you are the source, the expert.With nonexperts, you focus on
Arousal decreases central processing in the brain and increases peripheral
processing. If you want your clients to be persuaded by central cues,
you will need to keep arousal to a minimum. If you want them to be
persuaded by peripheral cues, you should utilize covert tactics to in-
crease arousal and make them open to the peripheral cues you are opti-
mizing. It is to be noted that arousal can be excitation, happiness, and/
You want to be able to direct your client’s thinking in the persuasive process.
You would like to be able to get across the idea of finding the difference
between you and the norm of the category. Once you have them thinking
about that, you’ve locked in a piece of the sales puzzle.
For example, what is the difference between Kevin Hogan and other
speakers? I do not have a prepared presentation. Mine is a stream-of-con-
sciousness presentation,and one speech is never the same as another.Other
presenters try to make you believe their speeches are not prepared, and
they may get lost in their presentations. How is my speech a little different
from theirs? I don’t want to be totally different from the rest. Show that
you have made alterations, improvements, and adjustments from others.
Now we return to the concept of the dramatic difference.This is a great
place to share what that is with your client.
When trying to hook the client, you can use the tactic of unusual claims.
Examples would be:
“I’ll show you seven things no one has ever shown you before.”
“Here are three new ways to clean your shower without putting on
“Pay your bills without ever writing another check.”
If you look at a successful hotel ad or credit card brochure, you will see a
list of benefits you will get with this product.Then next to that list will be
the competitor and its list of benefits—which always comes up short.
The competition has fewer items checked off.The comparison is pre-
sented clearly.We have more benefits! Checklisting is one of the most pow-
erful tactics you can use in your advertising and promotion.