Invisible Barriers To A Sale

Sitting with a nervous excitement and straining to hold my composure, I was all set to close my first deal as mortgage broker. My prospect looked at me with a sign of hesitation. I picked up on it but ignored it. He was a young guy, around twenty-five with a good job and ready to buy a condo. He paused for a minute before he signed the papers.

“I just finished lunch with my family. I told them I wouldn’t sign anything today and I was intent on shopping around to get the best deal. This is going to be hard to explain.”

Back and forth went the conversation which ultimately led to no deal. He never returned any follow up phone call or email.

Why I Failed To Close The Deal

Little did I realize, my prospect faced cognitive dissonance – discomfort you feel from acting in a way that violates your beliefs, values or image of yourself.  He probably boasted to his family about his deal-making skills. He bragged about how he’d grill every broker to eke out whatever advantage he could. Now, he prepared himself to sign a deal with me without shopping around or using those razor-like negotiating skills. He was about to act in a way that didn’t fit his vision of himself.

How did he deal with that discomfort? He walked away from the deal. By walking away he confirmed to himself that he was, in fact, a pitbull negotiator, unwilling to make a deal with the first broker who pitched him.

A wiser salesman would have helped him overcome his dissonance by finding a way to justify his behavior to himself and to those whom he boasted. In sales, you can pick up on these queues from your prospect’s responses, body language and tonality.

Since we lack this feedback in marketing and copywriting, we need to work around this limitation. Anticipating the discomfort our prospect faces at decision time reveals the objections they’ll never tell you. How will she justify this decision to herself, her friends, family and coworkers? How will she deal with the guilt or discomfort of firing her current service provider?

Digging Up Those Invisible Roadblocks

When you conduct your research and ask yourself the question:

How would buying cause them discomfort? Will they have to fire their current provider? Will they renege on a previous commitment? Do they need to act in a way that differs from their self-perception?

You may not realize it, but you probably do this all the time. When your friend stays with a job he hates and you tell him:
You’re doing the right thing, sticking it out and fighting to make things better”

Or, maybe your friend decides to take a vacation even though she has to put it on her credit card due to lack of funds:
“You need this. Your soul needs this. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out how to pay for it later.”

Just like social situations, selling situations doom your prospect to this same potential discomfort. Your prospect easily avoids the discomfort by NOT buying or putting it off indefinitely. However, If we can provide the right justification in our copy, we remove one of the invisible barriers to closing the deal.

The secret to making this work lies in getting to the decision. Clear the path of invisible barriers they dare not speak:

How do I explain this to my wife?
What will my friends think?
How do I justify it if I don’t get the results I expect?

Once they can justify the decision to themselves and others, your job gets much easier.

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Bonding And Rapport For The Quiet Type

I live in a smallish neighborhood and I know most of my neighbors but we don’t hang out a lot. Lucky for me, a wonderful American tradition visits our town twice a year. The Block Party. Cliche? Maybe, but they’re a lot of fun, especially for the kids.

I’m an introverted kind of guy and a below average conversationalist. I do much better when I have time to think about what I say. That may explain why I prefer writing.

There’s always this uncomfortable moment that comes up when you meet someone new at these block parties. You go through all of the usual introductory conversation topics (which house do you live, where do you work, take the train or drive, etc..). Once we get through the usual talking points, my perspiration level rises as I think “now what?”

The Rapport Building Secret For The Quiet Type

Fortunately, a few years ago a mentor taught me something that works like a charm. It not only works great at bonding during a conversation but also helps bonding with your audience in public speaking and written communication.

Used early on, it helps build trust and rapport. It sets the stage for putting your prospect in the right state of mind to accept what you say. You may scoff at this strategy or at least roll your eyes while you dismiss it for its corniness. Here’s why it works.

The simplest solutions often make the best solutions. This one is my bread and butter trust and rapport builder. Before I tell you about it, let me give you a warning:

It only works when you know something about your audience or prospect.

So what is this secret strategy? Nostalgia.

I told you it would sound corny. Let me show you an example.

Let’s pretend you’re selling something to a group of people between 55 and 65 years old, struggling to save for retirement. You’re a wealthy guy who’s 45 years old and you feel you have nothing in common with them. You make a statement: “Remember when we had those clunky cable boxes with the switches and knobs?” (If you lived through the 80’s you know what I’m talking about).

The Secret That Makes It Work

You’ve now met the audience in the past, a place in time they treasure (we only remember the best parts of our past). They now feel a sense of bonding with you because you’ve brought them back to a place where they have fond memories. Plus, they now associate you with those memories.

Yeah, it sounds silly but it works. In a sales pitch or marketing piece, this strategy arouses maximum feel good emotions when they feel anxiety about the future and a desire to hold onto the past. It serves as a nice little opening, a way to get your foot in the door.

Here’s the risk. If it appears forced or unnatural, then it comes off like a cheap parlor trick. The key to making it work lies in making it relevant. Find a way to tie it into your story so it feels like it belongs.

Note: After I wrote this article I found a perfect example of this in Social Media. I may even try to model it myself. I’ll write about it an article next week.

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Persuasion Lessons From Door To Door Christmas Carollers

So here is my crime. You can decide for yourself if I’m evil. At about 8:30 last night a package from Amazon arrived. I leaned out the door to get it. I heard some singing as I opened my door. When I looked over to the left at my neighbor’s house I saw some Christmas Carollers singing. My immediate reaction?

“Oh, shit. I don’t want to deal with this right now. I just want some alone time. Are they going to be expecting money? I don’t have anything less than a $20.”

What Would A Reasonable Person Do?

I turned off all the lights on the first floor and went upstairs to give the impression that nobody was home. A few minutes later I heard the doorbell ring. I ignored it. When they finally disappeared I went back downstairs and resumed my evening.

Wow, I went through a lot of effort to avoid the thoughtful and joyous experience of listening to a bunch of high school or college kids singing to me. Now, I’ll add a little context to my quirky behavior.

It snowed the night before and I spent an hour and a half clearing the driveway earlier in the day. As soon as I was done my wife left for the day while I watched the kids. My kids were in bed about fifteen minutes before that peak outside my door revealed the Carollers. Listening to them would have interrupted my downtime, so I avoided it.

A Bevy Of Persuasion Lessons To Unpack

Look at the amount of effort I went through just to avoid what I perceived as an inconvenience. Had my situational circumstances differed maybe I would have been more welcoming. The old marketing quote prospects buy when they’re ready not when you’re ready holds true here. The timing of their visit failed to match my readiness to hear them.

Despite the joyous nature of a group of people singing uplifting songs, it’s still an intrusion on someone’s time. That intrusion may be welcomed, but it’s still an intrusion. When you intrude on someone’s time, and all direct response marketing is an intrusion, you better knock their socks off.

Awkwardness. The thought that there might be an expectation of me to give money proved the final nail in the coffin. I wasn’t about to give twenty dollars. Simply by avoiding them altogether meant avoiding the awkward situation of saying “I don’t have any cash on me.”  In the world of sales and marketing, if your prospect senses the feeling of an awkward position, they’ll avoid you too.

Finally, a real life example of what psychologists call The Fundamental Attribution Error. Simply stated, we fail to take into consideration the situational factors that drive an individual’s behavior. In my case, the timing of their visit and my experiences earlier that day drove my decision to avoid them… so don’t think I’m just a bad person.

All three of these reasons may explain the epidemic of Prospect Ghosting. The baffling experience of prospects who express interest and then suddenly disappear.

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I’ve taken countless Management training courses during my days in the corporate world. Much of the talk focused on motivating employees or motivating ourselves to take the actions we deemed desirable.

Finally, after years accepting this like religion, a mentor set me straight. At least he tried to set me straight. I sat in his office for some guidance. I was a struggling mortgage broker at the time making what would amount to minimum wage.

“I’m struggling with motivating my prospects to fill out an application. Without that I can’t get them a final quote.” 

“Bullshit. They’re buying a house. They’re already motivated to get a mortgage. Don’t let them off the phone until you have all the information you need. Sending them a form to fill out means instant death.” he said

“They’re in the early stages of buying. There’s nothing to motivate them yet. No compelling need.” I replied 

If you wait until then, you’ve already lost”

The Theory That Came Together 12 Years Too Late

I refused to take his advice. Rather, I knew I should follow his advice but my stubbornness got in the way. Perhaps that serves as a good excuse why I never succeeded in that career. He was right. By the time my prospects decided on a house they already had their broker. They were done shopping around.

About a year ago, after studying the psychology theory behind this, it all clicked together. Lack of motivation rarely prevents prospects from turning into clients. We get into trouble when we think their motivation falls short and it needs to amplified, turned up a notch.

Of course, if your prospect lacks motivation, then you need to motivate them before they become legit prospects, but here’s why that’s likely just a smokescreen. Do investors lack motivation to make money? Do the unhealthy lack motivation to improve their health? How many times have you failed to achieve a goal, despite tons of motivation?

What Inspires The Motivated To Take Action

If igniting the motivation of someone already motivated fails to produce results, what do we do? Here’s the secret.

Barriers. It’s the barriers that keep us from taking action.

“I’m motivated to lose weight but it’s just too hard”
“I want to invest my money but there are so many options. I’ll get to it later”
“I want to learn a new skill, but I need to find the time first. I’ll get to it later”

If you’ve been in sales or direct-response marketing for more than five minutes, you know that later really means never.

Once motivated to take action, we need to make it easy to take action or at least give the perception that taking action is easy. For the investor unable to choose between the multitude of options it may be as simple as only offering one option, one proven to work for investors of his or her profile. For the employee that desires a new skill, it could be as simple as 30 minutes a day or “learn a new skill while you’re on the can… in as little as 32 days”

We humans like to conserve our energy. Removing barriers satisfies that need and allows our motivation to take control.

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An Old Persuasion Craze Making A Social Media Comeback

An old craze blazes the comeback trail on social media. Rants! Every time I open Facebook I see a big name personality (with some sort of following) going off on a rant about some topic. The topics often deviate from their area of expertise. It might be a sales trainer going off on people who buy $5 latte’s and then complain about not having enough money. Or, it could be fitness trainer going off on Donald Trump followers.

Polarize And Energize Your Core Supporters

Rant’s create a common enemy. They polarize people which make them a great tool for energizing your core supporters while creating an enemy for them to rally around and let loose with all sorts of tongue lashings. The sales trainer who rants about the latte buyers appeals to the go-getter, aggressive crowd that bangs on doors, hustles and generates sales. At the same time he frames the latte huggers as lazy, needy complainers who want the world to give them something for nothing. It works astonishingly well. Does it go too far? Like any other tactic, it can cross the line of good taste or even downright criminal if you exploit it to the point of violence or oppression of another group. Used responsibly, it attracts your ideal customer while repelling the unqualified.

The Origins Of The Rant

The core technique dates back to early human evil doers. It goes something like this. Make outrageous claims. A few support you. Some Most show indifference. A few criticize you. The ones who criticize become the enemy. The supporters lash out against the ones who criticize as the cause of all their woes. The supporters also rally around their leader and do his bidding. Conflict ensues and the disorganized resistance doesn’t stand a chance. Oh, and the indifferent majority? They just fall in line as reluctant supporters of whomever gains power.

In today’s world marketers and celebrities borrow on this theme. They use rants to accomplish the in-group, out-group dynamic on a smaller, more benign scale.

How Rants Work

Open up Facebook and you are sure to find someone ranting about something. I look for the ones (the personalities with big followings) who use it with purpose. They construct their rants to get under the skin of the out-group, egging them on to challenge their assertions. Done right, these rants follow a typical pattern.

First, a few core supporters post comments like “couldn’t agree with you more, thanks for telling it like it is, maybe those losers will finally take notice”

Eventually, the out-group can’t resist and go on the offensive and that’s where the fun starts. Without the enemy (out-group) the rant dies quickly. It’s the enemy that keeps the energy alive and encourages the core supporters to put them in their place and defend their hero.

The Best Rant Training

I encourage you to seek these out yourself. Look at it from the point of view of an observer, not a participant. Notice which ones successfully generate opposition feedback.  This keeps the energy going. The ones without opposition die out fast. Also take note how or when some of these cross the line of your own ethical standards.

If you struggle with finding any of these examples just look at any political group, either left wing or right wing. They both use this tactic all the time and with great success.

Creating a common enemy is an old sales tool used by Copywriters for over a century. Evil doers used it for their own purposes as far back as recorded history. On social media it’s making a new comeback..

I hope this didn’t come across as a rant.

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Aging Persuasion

As a sixteen year old I would often wonder:

Why can’t I be like everyone else?”

As I got older, my perception shifted towards:

What’s wrong with everyone else? Why can’t they be more like me?

When I started exploring persuasion, influence and copywriting I made a conscious effort to counter that aging mindset. I call it the aging mindset because this represents the typical shift in perception we experience as we get older.

The shift occurs gradually over time. The optimist would say as we get older, we get wiser and no longer concern ourselves with conformity and acting like mindless crowd followers. The cynic would say we become more self-centered and close minded as we get older. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, though I have zero scientific or anecdotal evidence to support that.

Age Targeting Your Message

How does all this play into our marketing, persuasion and influence approach? You probably made your own conclusion from reading the first paragraph. My message to a sixty something differs as compared to my message to a twenty something, even if they share the same worldview, political beliefs and cultural beliefs.

My message to the sixty something communicates that their worldview represents the real reality. Why can’t the rest of the world get on board already?

My message to the twenty something focuses on their uniqueness and shows what their peers believe and how they behave.

The twenty something desires to fit in, conform to his peers. The sixty-something desires his peers to conform to his worldview.

Targeting In-Between Age Groups

Exceptions exist. The twenty-something that purposely stands out from the crowd and the sixty-something who just wants to fit in. The rare exceptions are easy to spot. When your market falls in that “in-between” age range or if crossover exists, this technique becomes unreliable. If you want a safe play, a strategy to deal with everyone else, keep this law in mind

We all believe our perception of reality, our worldview is the right one and everyone else who disagrees with us is dead wrong.

We tolerate alternate viewpoints but inside we’re dying to convince them that they’re misguided. Even the twenty-something that feels the need to conform believes his worldview represents the “right” one.  Why? Because if he thought he was too far left or right, too supportive of this or too intolerant of that, he would have already changed.

This goes back to something I frequently preach:

The most successful persuasion and influence occurs when your prospect comes to a conclusion by themselves… without you telling them what they should believe.

Effective persuasive writing leads them down the path, shows them the way and says:

Okay, I’ve shown you the way, now it’s up to you to draw the conclusion”

How Do You Know You’ve Won

If you’ve done your job right, the only reasonable conclusion left is the one you want them to makes. And if you really want to tip the odds in your favor, provide a legit reason, an excuse or someone or something to blame for changing their belief so that they can keep their ego intact.

Side note: If you want to read more about the social psychology theories behind this I highly suggest “The Wisest One In The Room” by Lee Ross and Thomas Gilovich. I usually don’t give reading recommendations in my articles but this one is too important to avoid mentioning

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Marketing Lessons You’ll Want To Ignore

For those of us in Copywriting or Marketing there’s an irresistible urge to share our two cents about the lessons from the 2016 presidential election. Everywhere I turn, there’s someone eager to reveal the cause behind Trump’s win. Consider these examples:

       7 Marketing Lessons Gleaned From Donald Trumps Win

       Why Trump Won

       Donald Trump’s Persuasion Secrets

       How Trump Controlled The Masses

I hereby decline to do one of those obligatory posts about the election. Why? Because the conclusions prove unreliable, my own included. Sure, I have my guesses as to why Trump won. A quick gander at the highlights provides insight that might aid me in my own work. Any insight, however, can be boiled down to guesswork.

Let’s Play Connect-The-Dots

As humans we have a tendency to play connect-the-dots. For example, Google did these three things and became worth 500 billion. So, if I start a company and do those three things, I’ll be worth at least 100 million. It’s a nice, neat story we tell ourselves.  Ironically, the lack of information make it sound all the more reasonable. Adding in more information that doesn’t quite fit can spoil that neat story in our minds.

The same goes for the election. Trump did these three things better than Hillary and won the election. We get a nice, neat present wrapped up in a bow. As in the Google example, the reasoning always makes sense. After all, there’s no way to disprove it.

In an earlier article I wrote about how creating connect-the-dots logic makes it easy for your prospect to come to a desired conclusion. Like any useful tool, there’s a downside. The nearly infinite number of variables that produce an outcome, clouds the analysis.

Filtering Out 99.9% Of The Data

With the presidential election we had the uniqueness of the candidates, Russian involvement, Hillary’s emails, the Congress makeup, fake news, overall economic picture, globalization, automation, the primary process, other primary candidates, money, celebrity status of Trump, Clinton being a woman, the social views of the population at this moment in history, weather and how it affects voter turnout, third party candidates, behind the scenes power plays we are not privy to and an infinite number of other considerations.

All of those variables had some impact on the ultimate voting results. Would you trust analysis that ignores 99.9% of the variables and uses the remaining one or two to draw a definite conclusion?

I will go out on a limb and guarantee that the 2020 election will encompass its own unique variables that all play a part in determining the outcome.

Should We Ignore The Lessons

It’s our nature (and a bit of fun) to boil down who won to a few sound bites. Donald Trump won because he did A, B and C. If a few thousand votes had switched to Clinton’s favor in Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania we’d get the opposite analysis. And those reasons would make just as much sense as the reasons Trump won.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from history. We can look at the past election and determine which strategies seemed to help each candidate and which strategies hurt each candidate. Politics can be tricky. People often ignore the candidate and vote the party (yet another variable to consider).

Enjoy the debate and the lessons learned about why Trump won and Clinton lost. Just don’t change your strategies because of the findings.

Side Note: I wrote this article around 8AM. I edited it around 4PM. Just before my editing session a new podcast popped into my feed. It read: How Facebook Determined The Election

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How To Write Something Obnoxious… And Get Away With It

Can you really get away with saying anything you want to a prospect, even if it’s insulting? Let’s pretend for a minute that I called you a jerk. Would you feel insulted? Would tell me I’m obnoxious? Of course you would.

But…you can get away with it. There’s a way, actually two of them.

Before you attack your keyboard, ready to insult the world keep this in mind. You can use each one only once in a communication. That means you have two opportunities to use this piece of magic in every communication (either face to face, written, video or audio).

Stack The Deck In Your Favor

I suggest you use it only when necessary. Think of it as an ace up your sleeve. Pull out it only when you need it and only when it will add value to your persuasion or influence.

Unlike keeping an extra card up your sleeve in a poker game, you face no risk in pulling this card. It’s not cheating and you can’t get caught. Even if your prospect notices they are unlikely to take offense.

I first learned of this technique in 2004, under the tutelage of my sales mentor. I used it shortly after to score an interview for a high paying job (which I eventually got).

Imagine saying this to your prospect: If you’re a stupid businessman who doesn’t know the first thing about the investment business then you’re unlikely to find value in this.

Ouch! Pretty harsh, right? It comes across even harsher, especially in written communication where body language and tonality can’t be modulated.

The Two Magic Words

Let’s change it up a bit by adding a few words:

Let’s pretend for a minute that you’re a crappy businessman who doesn’t know the first thing about the investment business…

Two powerful words to add to your arsenal, Let’s pretend.  This two word phrase allows you to get away with saying things that would otherwise get in you in hot water.  

Let’s fix the example a bit further.  

Let’s pretend for a minute that you were a crappy businessman who doesn’t know the first thing about the investment business. Putting yourself in that mindset, where would you expect to find value in this?

In verbal, face to face communication I don’t need to be so careful in the way I phrase things because I can stress the word pretend when I speak to a prospect or audience. In written communication we need to be more careful. That’s why I added putting yourself in that mindset. I’m again reminding him that we’re just pretending and I’m not really talking about him. I then ended with a question instead of a statement which is good practice in any form of communication.

A close cousin of Let’s Pretend is Let’s Suppose. Not as powerful but still works in less aggressive maneuvers. In the above example I wouldn’t dare use suppose. It’s just not strong enough to offset the aggressive nature of the remaining phrase. I tend to use it more when referring to myself.

Let’s suppose I was foolish enough to ….

Let’s suppose I offered this for a lower price …

But… A Warning

I’ve seen examples of using the word Imagine for the same purpose. Imagine works well for putting your prospect into an ideal or pleasurable scenario but remember this:

When I tell you imagine, I am giving you a command. When we imagine we like to imagine the ideal, the pleasurable. You may be able to get away with it in face to face communication with the help of body language and tonality. When your words convey your entire message you cannot risk the unpredictable nature of interpretation.

Pretend is a world of make believe. In a world of make believe we can say anything. Just remember the golden rule.


Use it just once per communication and use it wisely.

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Thomas Jefferson’s 240 Year Old Persuasion Insight

Does it ever frustrate you when a prospect won’t take action even when you’re sure it will solve her problem? I find it frustrating that it still surprises marketers, business owners and salespeople when this happens. It’s old news. In fact, two-hundred-forty years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote about this very concept. Long before we had armies of psychologists and academics study the problem, his simple observation of history and life provides us keen insight.

In the Declaration of Independence he writes:

“…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed…”

In modern words, we suffer with our problems or challenges as long as they are tolerable rather than make uncomfortable changes that might benefit us.

He goes on to write (and I’m paraphrasing here) that when injustice grows beyond the tolerable point, it is the right of the people to enact change.

Why We Prefer To Deal With Pain

We’re willing to suffer problems, challenges and even pain as long as we perceive it less painful than making a change. At some point that pain might pass a threshold where we feel compelled to take action.

You see, humans haven’t changed much since 1776. We still suffer through tolerable pain. We conserve our energy until the pain, anger, discomfort becomes intolerable.

Many of our prospects are in the tolerable pain continuum. They know they have a problem. It pains them. They may even know they should do something about it. Predictably, they don’t take action because they believe the pain of taking action and changing exceeds the pain they currently feel.

As you design your sales and marketing solutions, ponder this question:

How do I present my solution in a way that my prospect perceives it less painful than the pain he currently feels?

Of course, each prospect has his or her own threshold of pain. One of the things we like to do in Copywriting is show our prospects that their problem causes them more pain than they may actually recognize. For example, let’s pretend you market a “quit smoking” product. Your market lacks the awareness that smoking kills. Silly, I know. It’s just an example. Educate your market about all the evils of smoking and then they start thinking “oh my god. I better do something about this before it kills me.”

The Sales Prediction Formula

If I had to boil this down to a simple formula it would be this:

If the pain of taking action < pain enduring their problem or pain = Likely Sale

The pain of taking action includes:

  • Cost of change (financial)
  • Cost of change (emotional)
  • What they will have to give up (loss aversion)
  • How they will explain it to family, friends and coworkers
  • Fear of the unknown/What if it doesn’t work?

I’ve addressed some of these in other articles but most are self-explanatory. As you go through your marketing and address these gaps, be sure to give a nod to Thomas Jefferson. His wisdom from long ago still holds true today.

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Why Politico’s Fail To Persuade

Why does it seem like political operatives, with their impressive command of policy zingers, fail to persuade their opponents. In fact, they often drive a deeper wedge between their side and those they try to influence.

My cluttered news feeds on social media feature tweets, posts and whatever about the CIA report linking Russia to election tampering. I didn’t read the report. I’ve only seen the soundbites. I’m guessing that’s the same for about 99% of the public.

As expected, left leaning pundits responded with comments like “See, we finally have proof. Do you bobbleheads finally get it?”

Right leaning pundits respond by bashing the organization who delivered the report.

The messages from both sides appeal to their followers but only further drive a wedge between them and the other side. That’s obvious to anyone who follows politics. Most of the commenters respond from a place of emotion, particularly anger. They’re looking to catch the other side in a contradiction, seeking to land that left uppercut to knock them into their senses.

I’ve never seen this work in marketing. My hunch tells me it doesn’t work in politics either. Proof matters but only when it’s delivered in a context agreeable to the side you are trying to persuade or influence. It must be delivered in way that allows them to come to your desired conclusion on their own. The minute you try and force it you’ve lost.

The Popular Strategy That Never Works

The “smother them in proof” approach does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that some of it comes from people who should know better. For example, David Axelrod tweeted: “Russia’s brazen raid on U.S. campaign was stunning. @realDonaldTrump team’s blithe dismissal only deepens concern.”

You see, he’s throwing proof at the right and criticizing their leader. Maybe he’s trying to influence the right so that they share his concern about Russia. If that’s his goal he failed. What would have worked better?

There’s a few directions you could go. Most important, refrain from attacking your opposition directly or indirectly and re-frame it from their worldview.

An Alternate Way To Persuade

For example: “Russian interference did not win the election but it’s a black eye on our electoral process… and they’ll get better at it next time. How will we respond?”

That’s just an example off the top of my head. I don’t know if that would have worked better, but it would have a better chance of succeeding. A tweet like my revised example won’t rile up your followers but it has a better chance of appealing to your opposition than brazen attacks or even subtle jabs.

Because we’re emotional, predictable creatures, the oppositions responses follow the same narrative. Most of the responses exploit confirmation bias and assimilation bias. They refute the accusation to reclaim their sense of certainty. Here’s a few examples I grabbed.

“The left throwing baseless accusations to make excuses for HRC’s loss”
“This is the same organization that claimed WMD in Iraq”

 The successful influencer puts his or her own feelings aside. They ask themselves: How can I convince my opponent to come to my desired conclusion on their own. How do I do it without ever asserting what they should believe or criticizing their existing belief.

Like I wrote in an earlier article, the key to influence and persuasion lies in attacking your campaign from the perspective of an observer, not a participant. You can read that article here.

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