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Online Training on Autopilot Series: Persuasion Through Influence, Part 1 of 4


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Is there a difference between Influence and Persuasion? Yes there is.

Influence is the process of changing someone’s behavior.

To persuade is to alter someone’s attitude or beliefs.

Are the two similar in nature? Sure. But they are not the same and often times many people confuse the two.

While persuasion can be a tool to create influence, as an employee – influence is far more important. Having less customer complaints and higher sales can only come from a positive change in the customer’s behavior.

Here’s something interesting – there is an old wives tale that the ability to influence is a character attribute some possess and others do not. It’s true for some people; the power to influence comes naturally. However there is good news for everyone else. There’s been research conducted over the past 30 years that indicates virtually anyone can apply the principles of influence to change the outcome of any personal interaction. This research is based upon extensive observation of leading salespeople inside a wide variety of industries. By studying individuals in sales situations, scientists have been able to identify certain patterns of behavior and speech that increase the likelihood of someone saying yes to a request.

How Understanding the Principles of Influence Can Lead to Employee Loyalty.

According to Robert B. Cialdini PhD, there are 6 universal principles of influence. Today, in this field, Dr. Cialdini is the most-cited living Social Psychologist in the world. Additionally, he has a reputation as the seminal expert in the science of influence. Dr. Cialdini’s bestseller, INFLUENCE, has been published in 20 different languages and in 23 different countries. It has been consistently ranked in the top one percent on AMAZON.com.

The Principles of Influence.

First, reciprocation. People give back to you the kind of treatment that they have received from you.

Second is scarcity. People will try to seize the opportunities that you offer them that are rare or dwindling in availability.

Third, authority. People will be most persuaded by you when they see you as having knowledge and credibility on the topic.

Fourth, commitment. People will feel a need to comply with your request if it is consistent with what they have publicly committed themselves to in your presence.

Fifth, liking. People prefer to say yes to your request to the degree that they know and like you.

And finally is consensus. People will be likely to say yes to your request if you give them evidence that people just like them have been saying yes to it.

Now before we jump into each of them and explain how each one can transform the way you currently train and communicate – it’s important to understand that not everyone uses them optimally. In his own research, Dr. Cialdini was able to detect three kinds of influence practitioners. There are bunglers of influence, there are smugglers of influence, and then there are sleuths or detectives of influence.

Bunglers are the people who fumble away their chances to use the principles in a beneficial way, either because they don’t know what the principles are or because they don’t know how to engage them properly. These people are always dropping the ball when it comes to the influence process.

Smugglers, on the other hand, do know, quite well, what the principles are and how they work. But they import these principles into situations where they don’t naturally exist. An example would be a salesperson who pretended to be an authority on a particular computer system in order to get a customer to buy it. Although the smuggler’s approach often works in the short run, it’s deadly in the long run. Because only one person (the smuggler wins). The customer, who gets fooled into buying the wrong system, will be unhappy with it and will be unlikely to ever return to that salesperson or dealer for future business.

As a trainer – the smuggler would be the trainer who “passes the buck” of knowledge – never taking the time to understand the true goal of what it is they are trying to teach. Whether it is in understanding the company’s goals, or keying in on how the information they are teaching will be used in the workplace or at a customer’s office… the smuggler is usually clueless to both.

Finally, there are the sleuths of influence, who are more knowledgeable than bunglers, more ethical than smugglers, and overall more successful than either. They approach each influence opportunity as a detective, looking to uncover and use only those principles that are truly part of the situation, and that, therefore, will steer people correctly when to say yes.

So, for instance, if our computer salesperson genuinely was an expert on a particular type of system that a customer was interested in, it would be foolish not to share this information with the customer right at the outset.

The training sleuth, on the other hand approaches each opportunity with a cadet or trainee as a detective – looking to uncover hidden motivations and hot buttons that are specific to the individual. It is in understanding these items and relating to them – where the true engagement process begins.

To learn more about the power of engagement and how it can instantly change the performance and motivation of your employees, go to: www.cruisecontroltraining.com

When people are engaged, they learn easier and remember much clearer. And if the salesperson, in the above example had been good enough as a detective to find out that one particular system had a unique feature that no other system had, he or she would be a bungler not to say so and make use of this scarcity principle that was a natural part of that situation.

All in all – it’s not sufficient to know what the most powerful principles of influence are. We have to train ourselves to search every influence situation for the principles that reside there naturally, and to use only those principles. That way, both parties can benefit.

Our system, OmniTrackPlus is an online training and development system that allows you to put your entire training program, on autopilot. Online training has never been so simple and yet, so effective. With the system’s proven, robust automation tools, you have the ability to systematically engage, interact with and influence your trainees… while you sleep.

In Part 2 of this article, we’ll begin to dissect the first three principles and what they mean to you as the educator, motivator and cultivator of employees.

Copyright © 2006 George Ritacco (All Rights Reserved)

About the Author:

George Ritacco has had an 18 year career that spans training and sales & marketing for the financial, mortgage banking and most recently technology and software industries. Currently, he is the Director of Client Services for Global Vision Technologies, Inc (GVT)., a premiere software developer specializing in providing cost-effective, easy-to-use Internet systems for training and development, e-learning, sales and marketing intelligence, pharmaceutical sales ops, client management, and case management. GVT’s primary goal is to provide business owners, trainers, sales & marketing executives and child welfare organizations with tools for improving productivity, profitability, employee morale and turnover, by allowing organizations to automate many, “time-intensive” administrative functions of their working lives.

Visit http://www.cruisecontroltraining.com for more information about putting your corporate training, on AutoPilot.

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  • Posted On December 1, 2006
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