When I travel to Warsaw, I ask my sponsor to get me a room at the Shera-
ton Hotel there.They treat me like a king. I don’t think about it anymore,
I just instantly know that I want to stay there (stimulus/response rein-
forced over time). I have the same experience at the “W” Hotel in Seattle
and The Venetian in Las Vegas.There is zero time spent on decision mak-
ing. It’s all done unconsciously, and because these are based on repeatedly
positive experiences,they are typically good decisions.Now,if you were to
ask me if I seriously compare hotel travel plans to increase my enjoyment
factor or get a better price or a better room somewhere else I’d probably
say “yes,” and I’d probably be wrong!
Nine out of 10 consumers leaving the checkout line at a grocery store
remember handling the brand they bought and the competing brand to
compare it with the one they bought.Hidden cameras reveal that most in-
dividuals’memories were completely wrong.In fact,less than 1 in 10 actu-
ally handled competing brands. People regularly remember behaviors and
actions that don’t happen in real life, and this is critical to the influence
process, sales, and marketing.
People anticipate purchasing their brand prior to arriving at the store
and then they do indeed purchase it. (Just like I am staying at The Venet-
ian in Las Vegas.) They believe they spend time weighing their decisions
in the stores, but this isn’t true. Where brands are involved, consumers
spend only five seconds on average in that category of the store. Five sec-
onds.There is no thought, no decision making.The conscious mind does
not engage. Consumer remember comparing products but they don’t.
They go the category and purchase their brand choice almost instantly.
They made their decision at home at an unconscious level.They never
gave it a conscious thought.
The consumer had a good experience in the past with product X.Per-
haps it was advertised and the advertising clicked in the consumer’s mind.
Either way, the purchase happened with little or no attention (conscious
thought).At kevinhogan.com we have a simple rule.Put out programs that
no one can match in quality and application.In other words,almost every-
thing is new—cutting-edge new.Ahead of the market.Way ahead.And we
have loyal customers who know they will win with every program. It’s
part of branding. More about that later.
Key: People make many buying decisions in large part because of trust.
It’s well known in marketing that individuals will buy the generic
painkiller for themselves but only Children’s Tylenol for their kids even
though the two products are identical. People trust the brand when the
chips are down.
Question: Are you branded for trust? Do people look to you/your
company and immediately trust it over all the competing generics?
Case in Point: Each month I put out two or three new CD programs. I
love doing it! Each program contains truly cutting-edge material that indi-
viduals can immediately use, and there is never a question as to whether it
will be good, be delivered quickly, and be just as magical (if not more so) as
the promotion was for the program.Trust is branded into the name.If it isn’t
the best,I won’t make the program.
My Goal for You: I want you to start branding trust into you/your com-
pany name so you become the instant obvious solution to some group’s
problems. Trust breeds loyalty. It’s very hard to switch from someone or
something you completely trust. In fact, it’s almost impossible to change
true loyalty, because the stress of change would be enormous.
There is a lot more to making an indelible positive impression in every
human being you meet.Trust is a great starting point. Loyalty is a perfect
goal; but what about influence?
Just because you are worthy of trust and loyalty does not mean that
you have the ability to initially influence someone; nor does it mean you
will be able to influence people to “buy you.”You must have something,
some set of solutions that meet needs and wants of other people.And you
must be able to influence people to take a chance on you.
Why Most People Fail at Being Persuasive:
Why Focus Groups Don’t Work
The focus group is nearly the biggest waste of money a company can
make. Focus groups and job interviews in human resources. They don’t
work.They predict nothing.“But Kevin, the focus group said they would
buy my product or use my services.” For some reason some companies
(and small businesses) still use focus groups.Why? (There is an alternative:
if you need to know, contact me.)
All the research shows that focus groups don’t work. In fact, almost all
products that focus group research suggests to launch eventually fail.
Why? Because very little of people’s behavior is driven by their con-
scious minds. Most people cannot explain why they do what they do, or
predict what they will buy (or do) in the future.The unconscious mind
(aka implicit thought or implicit memory) is not accessible by verbal
means. Words can only give an approximation of what the unconscious
does, and to analyze why a person does something or what they might do
is only a guess on the conscious mind’s part.
If people knew what their behavior would be in the future, then focus
groups would produce product after product of winners. But they don’t
and they never will.They are inherently and seriously flawed.“If we put
this product on the market, would you buy it?”The answer is failure.
Why do most people fail to influence others? Because they attempt to
communicate with the sole intention of having the other person make a
logical decision. If they can “just talk some sense into him,” they will get
him to see things their way.
Of course people don’t decide on the answer to most problems in a
logical fashion.Their reactive portion of their brain, the oldest and emo-
tionally driven part of the brain, decides. The conscious mind, mostly
composed of the cortex, then justifies the behavior/emotional decision to
make that decision make sense.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you do something and then
someone asks you why you did it? You make something up and then feel
guilty because you aren’t sure if you are telling the truth. It’s completely
normal and to be expected because people typically don’t think about
what they are going to do.They simply do it and then communicate a rea-
son that best fits the circumstances.
Have you ever seen a news story where someone performed a certain
behavior, then later realized how foolish it was? They couldn’t believe
what they had done. Had President Clinton been discreet, his affair never
would have been made public and his family would not have been hurt.
His mistake (beyond the moral choice of his affair) was to have his meet-
ings with the intern in the White House.There are no secrets in the White
House.No one knows that better than a president.Cameras,audio,surveil-
lance, Secret Service everywhere! And this is the place a president selects
for an affair? But because of the Inner Dummy, as one author likes to call
it, the nation was scandalized for an entire year.
What Causes This Problem?
People live lives where patterns of experience are repeated over and over.
(We go to the same job, drive the same highways, do the same things,
every day.) The unconscious mind learns all of this and executes the
body’s behavior all day long. Rarely does the conscious mind come into
play in decision making. It is the client’s unconscious mind that is saying
“yes” and “no.”
Your goal as a professional is to ingratiate the conscious mind of your
client/customer and focus most of your attention on the unconscious
mind.What on earth does this mean? It means that you need to persuade
the unconscious mind.The conscious mind is only the justifier of uncon-
scious reactions.The unconscious reacts and the conscious tries to explain
why you did what you did! And because of this, you want to have a true
understanding of the nature of the mind and discharge what you were
taught in the past as antiquated and dated.Then realize that people are in-
fluenced or buy mostly on their gut reaction, their instincts.These largely
flawed responses and reactions to the environment are the triggers to say-
ing “yes” and buying.
Question: What does your client use you or your product for? What
would your client use your service for?
First Answer:This question can only be answered after you get past this
fact:Whether you sell yourself, a product, or a service, people are buying,
saying “yes,” to you. They are buying you and because of you, if they trust
you. If they don’t, nothing has a chance to happen.Trust begins and is en-
gendered when reliability is established.Are you always there? Do you re-
spond quickly? Are you helpful? Do you respond to needs beyond making
the sale? Do you produce results? Is every client/customer you have as
precious to you as a family member? Is this felt by the client?
Second Answer: Secondarily (sometimes primarily), people are buying
an experience. Diet Coke refreshes.The trip to the beach will relax the
person.The trip to Las Vegas will stimulate and excite the person.The new
car will make the person feel good, comfortable, hot, safe, secure, admired,
or any of a host of other feelings that are associated with vehicles. A
woman buys lingerie from Victoria’s Secret to feel sexy. She buys Dannon
yogurt because it is wholesome. People want to have experiences. They
want to have the feelings that these experiences foster.
My Goal for You: Determine what experience you want to give your
clients and customers. Determine what experiences your product or ser-
vice gives to your customer.The two things could be completely different.
If you sell medical supplies, you’d probably like your experience with your
customer to be different than their experience with the medical supplies.
You should have yourself experientially defined and you should have your
product experientially defined.This is part of branding yourself and work-
ing with your products at a brand level.
You Can’t Get to “Yes” If You Can’t Get Their Attention
Branding is different for you (an individual) versus enormous monster
companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, or any other large
franchise.When the big franchises put a big storefront out there, it’s dif-
ferent.They can do an enormous amount of evaluation to determine ex-
actly what the customer wants. They can find out exactly what the
consumer needs. The idea is to keep adapting and adjusting as people
evolve and grow.
Advertising makes sense for those franchisees that already depend on
their big brand.Do you need a web site? Yes,your web site address is just as
important as your actual location.A web site is so important in today’s mar-
ket.Study kevinhogan.com and kevinhogan.net to determine how we have
built the brand “Kevin Hogan.”And how are the two web sites different?
One is designed to sell influence and body language and the real Kevin
Hogan to the public in general (www.kevinhogan.com).The other is de-
signed to sell our services to corporate America (www.kevinhogan.net).
How do you really convince someone that you are the answer to
their problems, especially when you are at point zero? What is point zero?
It’s when you’ve just started a product line or service.You are brand-new
in an industry.
What is it about you that will encourage someone to listen to you in
the first place? If you can’t get someone’s attention you have no opportu-
nity to influence that person in any way. And why should someone pick
you or buy you or buy from you when they have been with someone else
for years? This is a critical question.
There must be a process; and there is:
You must get their attention.
You must hold their attention.
You must have a bold promise.
You must detach any previous commitment.
You must overdeliver on the promise.
They need to be excited to tell lots and lots of people whose atten-
tion you will eventually want (create a mind virus).
Lots of people have skills in their field and lots of people can get peo-
ple’s attention.The big challenge is to ultimately have what it takes to be
skilled and to get the attention of those you want to connect with. It isn’t
going to be easy, is it? But you know what? You can do it.You can become
the answer.You can be seen as the obvious go-to guy (gal). Can you guess
what happens when you hit critical mass and everyone knows you are the
Whether you are trying to win the girl, sell real estate, or heal the
world, there must be a very specific brand image that you must have and
that you must be able to live up to.
“Wait a minute! You said win the girl? Sell real estate? Heal the world?
“I’m not a company or cup of soup; I’m a person!”
And that is why you need to be a powerful brand, easily distinguished
from and a far superior option to those you compete with.You eventually
want to be seen as the obvious choice. If you want to be influential you
want to be the credible, obvious, excellent choice. Period.
Wouldn’t it make life so much easier in every respect if you were
known as the ___________? (You fill in the blank.)
Are you a salesperson?
An entrepreneur? (If you are one you are really all of them when you
think about it, and I’m not kidding!)
There is an enormous amount of competition out there and yet the
arena is even bigger.Not only do you need to be able to promote yourself,
but you also must have the character and skills to be among the best in
What makes a brand is far more than promotion and marketing. It is
the repeated behaviors of individuals over a long period of time. It is the
ingredients in the product. It’s the taste (McDonald’s french fries). It’s the
feel. It’s the look. It’s the sound. If the product is you, it is your character,
attitudes, beliefs, and who you are as a person.
Still don’t get it? Try this:What is it that makes you special and differ-
ent from the rest?
It is your ability to self-promote effectively, efficiently, and at a very
How do you “brand yourself”?
How do you get people to see “brand you”?
How do you get people to switch to “you as a brand”?
How do you develop a long-term relationship with your new
I like to think of salespeople,entrepreneurs,and therapists all as real es-
tate agents.The reason is that the real estate agent can’t sell for long by ac-
cident. That means that the agent can’t earn money without making
contacts and using effort.That is true for all salespeople. It is true for all
successful entrepreneurs and it is true for all successful therapists. In addi-
tion, the real estate agent must keep a crystal-clear middle and long-term
perspective at all times.The agent realizes that all effort done today will
not pay off for 3 to 12 months.Then it is up to the agent to constantly
keep up with every contact and their home needs.
The real estate agent is a metaphor for almost all businesses. Breaking
into real estate, just like starting a therapy practice or your own business or
any sales position, puts you at position zero.You are starting with no con-
tacts where everyone else seems to be and some cases is selling the same
thing you are. Point zero can also mean that you have been in the profes-
sion for 20 years but haven’t been active.
Answer this:Why go with the new guy on the block when there is a
realtor who has sold 150 houses this year and you are looking at his full-
page ad in the yellow pages?
That is a critical question not only for the agent but for every person
who has a service/product and is at point zero or close to it on the map.
The first answer is that by being at point zero, you have time.You
aren’t seeing many clients/customers, so you have time to completely and
fully help anyone and everyone who comes your way. Not only do you
have time to help but you have time to build a true relationship with each
client/customer. You have time to do everything you possibly can for
each person you work with while you are at or near point zero.That is a
Being new in a field (or near point zero) also means that you will
work harder for your client than the guy who had 150 clients last year.
You’ll probably let your buyer see twice as many houses or give your client
an extra half hour per visit when you are new.You are selling service when
you are new.You are selling yourself.
You care. (You wouldn’t have chosen the profession/business if you
You work hard for your clients.
You find out answers that others won’t/don’t have time to.
You have time to differentiate yourself from everyone else in
your field, and whatever your field is, there are a lot of them out
You have time to create a game plan for life and business.
Capturing attention is simple, but it isn’t easy.That means that process
is very doable but it takes effort.Thousands and thousands of commercial
messages compete for your pocketbook.There seems to be more TV sta-
tions available now than there are stars in the sky.These stations all have
thousands of commercials.Then there are radio stations, magazines, news-
papers, and—well, there is a lot of competition for attention.
In a certain sort of backward way, the lack of money to compete with
those with huge advertising budgets can be advantageous. Now, don’t
think I have lost my mind. Ever hear of Chicken Soup for the Soul? No one
made that book a multimillion seller except the two authors. Every day
authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen did radio, book signings,
presentations, and classes; they appeared on television.They put the world
on hold and the result of branding themselves well is publishing history.
They started with very little money but had a strong concept of what they
wanted to do.They spent no money on advertising their first book.They
put in time and differentiated themselves from every other feel-good book
title out there. It worked.
It doesn’t take money to build success. It does take tenacity.
In fact, most people who have money fall into traps that eventually
suck their money away like a Hoover. Those who actually earn their
money by offering a great product/service/self tend to treat their reward
with respect and tend to achieve long-term success.Money can actually be
an impediment to successfully differentiating yourself.People often believe
they can buy differentiation.They can’t. It takes character and qualities. It
takes true differences. It takes true superiority in some way or ways. (Then
money can be a big help!)
The best way to get attention is to model Canfield and Hansen.
Whether you are a tax accountant,a therapist,or a salesperson,you need to
be out there all the time. That might mean something slightly different
from field to field and profession to profession, but you need to be in front
of your potential client as much as possible.
That is the beginning of accessing the attention you need.
That is the first step.Then you have to keep their attention and make a
The Attention Model
Produce or represent a product that meets the needs of a niche market.
There should be a reason that you are different from everyone else. Dif-
ferentiate yourself, or you are the same as every other salesperson out
there. If you sell real estate, specialize in exceptional homes or lakeshore
property. Make your niche specialized so that you can be the go-to per-
son for your market.
Begin to brand yourself—get your face out there.Teach and speak at
book signings, community (adult) education facilities, technical colleges,
and so on.The process of building the brand snowballs.The more people
you are in front of, the more opportunities you have to network and
meet people’s needs, and the more people want you to provide a service
Public relations means free advertising. Don’t pay for advertising.
There are so many ways out there to get your name before the public for
free—or even get paid to do it. Radio stations are always looking for
guests. Continuing education centers are always looking for experts to
teach on niche topics.Talk before clubs like the Kiwanis,the Optimists,the
Eagles.Don’t promote yourself,but offer an informational flyer for follow-
up with interested parties. Offer real, important information to help peo-
ple, along with your contact information so it’s easy to find you.
Most people’s brands fail.They focus on the marketing and promo-
tion, but fail on the critical factor.You must distinguish yourself from the
rest of the crowd. Remember that you are selling yourself as the brand.
You are the best. Be seen that way!