“Hey Steve, I saw this video on YouTube and it reminded me of your collection of antique license plates. Thought you would enjoy. “
Can you identify the persuasion tactic hidden in that short sentence? It’s another one of my “secondary” tools I use on a selective basis. It only works when you communicate in a one-on-one situation. It takes some effort on your part to do this right. If you misuse it, you may come across as scheming. Use appropriately, your recipients appreciate the kind gesture.
It takes some preparation on your part to make it work, but it wins you tons of goodwill points. Most important, the recipient benefits from it.
Here’s how it works:
- Find out the most trivial or quirky things about your friends, acquaintances and associates.
- Keep track of these somewhere so you don’t forget
- Show them (at a future date) that you remember these trivial or quirky things. Better yet, show them that your remember these things but also provide some additional value (like the YouTube video example above)
By remembering seemingly mundane facts about people, you show how important they are to you. It’s the difference between telling someone they are important to you and showing them how important they are to you. A gesture that takes effort always yields superior results.
“Wow, I can’t believe he remembered I had a Barbie doll birthday party when I was 9 … or…
“Wow, she actually remembered my mother wouldn’t let me eat blueberries because she thought they were poison”
The recipient of these comments feels flattered that they were important enough for you to remember these insignificant facts.
Providing a small piece of additional value amplifies the power:
“Hey Susie, I remember you telling me that you had this amazing Barbie doll party when you were 9. I saw this story about a new trend of Barbie Doll parties. Isn’t your daughter 9 years old now.”
“Holy crap, Jane, I can’t believe you remembered that and thanks for sharing. Didn’t realize it was a “thing” again. Maybe I can convince my daughter…”
Don’t Fall For The “Gotcha”
Finally, we get to the obvious warning. Don’t do this and then ask for a favor. It comes across as disingenuous and scheming. Just use it as part of normal communication and don’t ask for anything in return. When the day comes that you do need to ask something of them (if ever) they’ll be more likely and eager to help you.
Remember, when it comes to persuasion, play the long game. It’s not always about getting an immediate sale. Lay the groundwork and build relationships and establish trust. It’ll make your job that much easier later.
Putting It Into Action
Want a quick way to get started?
Make a list of ten people in your life (not including family). Put their names in a spreadsheet. In the next column, list an insignificant or quirky fact about them. Something they wouldn’t expect anyone to remember. If you don’t know any, find something out. Keep your ears open. It’s often more about paying attention and listening for these facts to present themselves rather than asking directly.
And remember the most important piece. Ask for nothing in return when you do this. Position yourself as the giver. There should be no pay it back mentality.