Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why Persuade When You Can Influence?


Guest post by Dr. Mark Goulston and Dr. John Ullmen:

Do you like being pushed? Being sold? Being maneuvered? Being manipulated?

If you are like most people, your answer is probably not.

Do you like being pushy? Selling hard? Maneuvering? Being manipulative?

Unless you love the challenge of dominating others and winning at all costs, you probably don’t like those either.

You’re not alone.  We live in a “post selling, post pushing” world and yet if that’s all you know, whether you like it or not, that’s what you do.

When we set out to interview more than 100 influential people and asked them, “Who persuaded you to do something major in your life?’ a significant number of them retorted, “Nobody persuaded me to do anything important!”

Then when we asked those people, “Who influenced you most to become who you are and the way you are?” they paused, took a deep breath and said, “Aah… now that’s a different story.”  People went on to tell us who were a real influence on them and then they also shined a light on people who they know and admire who are great influencers.

After reviewing these interviews we made a distinction between disconnected influence, where your focus is “What’s In It For You?” and connected influence where your focus is on “What’s In It For Them?”   Disconnected influence is about finding buttons to press that will manipulate people to do what you want that’s in your best interest; connected influence is about finding a way to be of service in working towards a common and great goal.

We identified four steps that positive and highly influential people consistently followed in what we call The Connected Influence Model:

Step 1 - Go for great outcomes.
This isn’t just a once-a-year exercise in setting ambitious goals. It’s about going beyond where people want to be and showing them where and even who they could be.  You’ve reached that outcome when they pause, smile and say, “Do you think we could really do that?” When we have asked such people, “Do you like that?” and they responded, “I love it!” we smiled back and say, “That’s a good start.”
Step 2 -Listen past your blind spot.
After you’ve identified a “great outcome” for and with another person, there is a human tendency to push your agenda.  That can feel like a “bait and switch” and if you do that after they have lowered their guard enough to engage in the “great outcome” conversation they are likely to not be just disappointed, but feel snookered.  Being aware of this and not giving into it greatly increases positive influence especially if down deep they were expecting you to try to sell them on something.
Step 3 -  Engage them in their there.

“You’re here” is your agenda; “their there” is their great outcome, but in addition it’s arriving at their three gets: a) “You get it” - our situation; b) “You get me” - where I am in our situation; c) “You get my future” – how to get from where I am to where I want to be and could be.
Stage 4 - When you’ve done enough . . . do more.
Doing more is exceeding people’s expectations by:
a) being very prepared before you meet someone or your people (which triggers – “Whoa! You really get where I’m/we’re at!”)
b) being present, clear, relevant, concise, positive and confident when you’re meeting with someone or your people (which triggers – “Wow! You have a solution that makes sense, feels right and is doable and that makes me/us feel safe and confident and enthused”)
c) doing more after you meet with someone or your people (which triggers – “Amazing! You followed through and actually took steps to set me/us up to succeed”)
Influence can last for a lifetime; persuasion can last for an hour.  Which would you rather try?

Dr. Mark Goulston and Dr. John Ullmen are the co-authors of REAL INFLUENCE; Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In (Amacom, $24.95).  Dr. Goulston is Co-Founder of Heartfelt Leadership at: http://heartfeltleadership.com; Dr. Ullmen is Managing Director of Motivation Rules at: http://motivationrules.com.  Contact: Dr. Goulston at: mgoulston@markgoulston.com and Dr. Ullmen at: john@motivationrules.com

1 comment:

DiSC Trainer said...

Excellent points, Mark and John. People resent being persuaded or otherwise manipulated, and are very good at detecting even the most subtle attempts to do this. Effective influencing requires more preparation -- but has a stronger and longer lasting effect, because the person you influence translates the requirements to their own frame of mind and takes ownership of the task to be performed.