What books have been most influential in my development as a persuasive writer? I could produce a list of twenty books but I’m going to start with five to keep things simple. There’s two books on copywriting but I also include books on how people think and writing. There’s a few I’d like to include that will run you over $100. I left those out. I capped the price at $25. If you could only start with one I would suggest Great Leads.  

Tested Advertising Methods 4th Edition by John Caples

The basics of copywriting. This book is no longer in print. The 5th edition is currently in circulation. Don’t buy the 5th edition. It’s tainted with a lot of add on junk that ruins the essence of the original. You can buy the 4th edition used for about $20

Tools Of Critical Thinking by David Levy

This is really a book on thinking skills but it serves as a great primer to learning at how people think, the most important skill you can develop. Technically, this book is $42 but you can get a used copy for around $25.

Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Yes, it’s a pop psychology book but it also serves as a great primer into understanding human behavior. You can find this for about $10

Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message by Michael Masterson and John Forde

I’ve read this book countless times. If you asked me which book would give you the most bang for your book if you’re just starting out this would be it. I still reference it every few months. Best of all, you can get the Kindle version for $9

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark

If you’re gonna be a persuasive writer you need to learn how to write, right? I’ll assume you know the basics but this book gives you plenty of tips to add power to your writing. I keep this book handy and refer to it often. This currently sells for $13 on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version a bit cheaper but I suggest getting the paperback version so you can keep it handy.


The Persuasion Bullet Blueprint by Barry Davret

How could I not include something by myself? I’m worthy of a little love. Bullet writing is the most important skill you can develop as a copywriter or persuasive writer. You can get it free on my website. http://writtenpersuasion.com


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How To Bring Your Numbers To Life… And Put An End To Boring Presentations

Have you ever held a corporate job? If so, tell me if you’ve ever experienced this:

You’re sitting in a meeting around a big conference table. There’s a presentation on the screen in the front of the room. The presenter hurls facts, figures and charts faster than you can digest. Everyone else seems to be interested and engaged so you pretend you are too. In your mind you’re telling yourself:

“How much longer do I have to sit through this boring crap. I can’t take it anymore”

I’ve been through that experience many times. It reminds me of a line from one of my favorite 80’s comedies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. There’s a scene where the character Neal (played by Steve Martin) says:

“…I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, “How can you stand it?” I’d say, “‘Cause I’ve been with Del Griffith…”

I don’t have a Dell Griffith in my life so I had to learn to fake it all on my own.

Nobody Cares About Facts, Figures And Charts

Why are most presentations so boring? They focus on statistics, charts and numbers. Don’t get me wrong these are important in the right context. They’re just really boring. Even numbers geeks tire of it. 

Your audience can’t hold their interest in what you have to say unless they get emotional about your material. In most business contexts, we feel an obligation to show interest, even if it’s not there. Full disclosure, some of my presentations suck. A few more really suck. That usually happens when I don’t put in the time to prepare. The difference between the good ones and bad ones comes down to emotion. When your audience feels emotion you can engage with them. Once engaged, only then can you persuade.

How To Bring Your Numbers To Life

Here’s a quick primer to stir emotion in your audience.

First, reveal your charts and data in the context of a story. Stories capture our imagination and  bring our emotions to the surface. Even wound-up execs (and you know who you are) succumb to its powers.

Here’s what a lot of people don’t get about stories:

A crisis involving a single individual elicits more emotion than a story about large groups of people. For example, a news story about thousands of starving people will not draw the same emotion from your audience as a story about a single starving child. I’m going to prove it to you. Compare these two sentences and tell me which one gets you more emotional. Just a warning. These stories are disturbing (even writing them is disturbing) but it will prove the point.

Compare These Two Stories

Anytown, California. A massive flood is destroying the town. A thousand people are escaping to safer ground in canoes. At least 36 people are dead, including 11 children


Anytown, California. Just hours ago a massive flood ravaged the town. With waters flowing like waves in an ocean, a little girl, no more than six, tried desperately to cling to her mother. The force of the water was too strong and she was swept away. The mother distraught by the loss, let go in a fruitless attempt to rescue her. Rescue teams later found the girl and her mother. The mommy had found her daughter but it was too late.

Disturbing? Yes. Don’t worry. It’s pure fiction. That’s the power of focusing on a single individual. I create a vivid picture of one young child succumbing to flood waters while trying to hang on to mommy. It’s more concrete and visceral than picturing a town full of people displaced and killed.  This is especially true when dealing with numbers and charts. They lack the built in emotion. Cloak your data in a story about a single individual. It elicits more emotion. More emotion means more engagement. Once you capture engagement, you really do have a chance to persuade.


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A Persuasion Lesson From My Cat. Yes, Really

I sat down for my morning writing session. A hot cup of coffee rested on the end table, still untouched. The kids played quietly while wife did her thing. All of the sudden I let out a primal roar.

Duck….What The Hell’s Wrong With You!!” 

Duck is our cat. 

He just knocked over a cup of orange juice sitting on our dining room table. It spilled all over a dining room chair and onto the floor. If you have a cat you can probably identify with my experience. Frustration got the better of me. The insanity of yelling at a cat and asking it a question escaped me while I seethed in anger. Once I realized the absurdity of my over-reaction, l regained my composure. I grabbed a rag and cleaned up the mess. By the time I finished cleaning, my coffee needed to be reheated. That triggered another bout of frustration.

With my nerves and anger still on edge I decided to forego my planned writing activity. I’m in the midst of working on a sales letter. To do that effectively you need the right mindset. You need focus and clarity. The focus and clarity I felt when I sat down with my coffee and laptop evaporated when my cat knocked over the juice.

Getting My Head Straight

Once upon a time I would just power through and finish. Not finishing meant failure. I don’t know why I ever believed that. I’m sure it was something I picked up from a bullshit self-help book twenty years ago.  

Copywriting or any kind of persuasive writing implies that you seek a certain outcome as the result of your writing. You could be seeking a lead, sale or just inciting some kind of response. You rely less on creativity and more on mechanical or formulaic acumen. Even a small hiccup in your mindset can upset that balance in your writing.

That pent up feeling of anger or frustration makes its way to the page. Sure, I go back and edit later but why make my life harder.

Instead of plowing through my sales letter, which would have been tainted by my mindset, I put my plan aside. Instead, I decided to write about my experience in the hopes that it would soothe my nerves and get me back in a place where I can write an effective sales letter.

I think I’m there now. My cat now sits in the corner of our living room curled up in a ball while he sleeps. I feel silly for allowing him to dictate my morning. Time to go write.

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How To Excel At Persuasive Writing… Even If You Lack Experience

Staring at a blank screen without the foggiest idea of what to write. If you write often, you know what I’m talking about. When you’re a copywriter or persuasive writer it’s a sign. It’s a sign that you’re cutting corners. Writing to persuade is more than just pulling a few tricks out of a hat. It’s more than just “wordsmithing” a bland message into an irresistible argument. The heavy lifting is done before you ever pick up a pen.

Researching your audience is where the real power lies. Whether your audience is a single individual or ten thousand people does not matter.

I call this the discovery phase. Learn what makes them feel angry, sad or motivated. Discover what they fear most, what they aspire to and what they think they deserve.

Master your product knowledge. Whether it’s a physical product, info product or just an idea does not matter. Know it inside and out. Know all the strengths and weaknesses.

Zero In On Your Audience

A smaller audience allows for a more personalized message. When you write to people interested in fitness you cover a wide range of demographics, beliefs and desires. You risk creating a generic message that fails to connect with anyone.

Don’t just target people in fitness. Drill down a bit further. How about working dads looking to get fit? Better, but still too broad. Try targeting working dads with toddlers, in white collar jobs, who travel often and are under forty years old. By zeroing with that specificity you change your message from generic to targeted. That allows you to build a connection. Do it right and he feels like you’re really talking to him and only him. It makes your message much more effective.

I go through a list of about seventy questions to guide me through the discovery process. I won’t list them all here. Not all of them are relevant in all situations but here are twelve that will fit almost any situation:

The Twelve Discovery Questions:

  1. What are their top three pains?
  2. How did they get to where they are?
  3. What possible anxieties do your prospects face when considering whether or not they will buy your product or service?
  4. Why should they do business with you instead of your competition or doing nothing at all?
  5. Will it teach them something they didn’t know before?
  6. If it’s something they need, do they already know they need it or must you sell it to them on the idea first?
  7. What are best case scenario results and what are likely results?
  8. How painful will the loss be if it doesn’t work out?
  9. How do their desires compare to what they really need?
  10. What does he need to hear from me to feel good about buying?
  11. Are they aware of my product or products in general for this need?
  12. What is the social component? Are they comparing themselves to a neighbor, friends, someone else?

Once you digest all that information, you can match your product or idea to what your audience desires. From there, the writing becomes easier. It becomes more about assembling your pieces into a cohesive story. You edit out the weak parts instead of plugging gaps with fluff.

Nobody enjoys the research or discovery process. People avoid it because of that. That’s where your opportunity lies. Research is where you win or lose the game. Commit to doing the leg work before you write. You’ll enjoy an advantage over the seasoned, but lazy writers.

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How To Sell When You’re A Hypocrite

Back and forth we went over several emails. Trying to persuade a customer, I touted the power of sales bullets. He lives and dies by the dreaded “corporate” bullet. You know what a corporate bullet is, right? One of those drab compilations of words that sucks the life out of you. A great sales bullet knocks you off your seat, spills your coffee on your lap while you yell: “Holy shit. I need this.”

He wouldn’t budge. I even slipped in a few of the awesome tools I write about.  He remained unconvinced. I checked off all the boxes yet I was getting nowhere.

Why Was I Failing?

When you’re emotionally involved in an exchange, it’s easy to ignore your own rules. That’s exactly what I did. I kept trying to convince him. I preach that you can’t convince anyone of anything. You can only show them a path to come to a conclusion on their own. I realized I was a hypocrite. I failed to follow my own advice.

After spending an hour beating myself up I regained my composure. If I was advising someone else how to move forward, what advice would I give?

Then it came to me, as it should have before the whole exchange began. I had ignored the most effective sales strategy ever devised. A strategy that I preach, completely slipped my mind because I was too involved. The strategy can be summed up in just one word.

A demonstration

OK, that’s really two words. I get it. So, instead of coming up with another argument, proof or some other technique, I responded like this

“Here is the power of a bullet:”

“How to vanquish dark circles from under your eyes without creams, potions or doctor visits”

It’s an example I use in my bullet writing guide. Then I closed with:

If you can guess the answer, then you’re right. Bullets really have no power”

I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist. He came back with a few crazy answers. Then I responded

Studies show eight hours of sleep a night reduce dark circles”

The Big Mistake I Avoided

I thought about including some snappy closing line to really drive home the point. Then I remembered my own rule. Lead them down a path to conclude on their own. The demonstration was already there. Either he saw the power or he didn’t. I left it up to him to draw his own conclusion.

He responded with an expletive. That demonstration served as proof to him that there are no boring products and no boring facts. All facts, no matter how boring, contain a seed of life waiting to burst onto the scene. My demonstration proved that. He sold himself. The element of surprise had done its job. How will all this play out? We shall see.

It reminds me that sometimes our biggest impediment to winning a lead, sale or even an argument is ourselves. It helps to step outside yourself and look the situation as an observer. What would you advise someone else to do in the same situation? If I did that from the beginning I wouldn’t have felt like such a hypocrite.


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Predict The Future… Get It Wrong… Get Away With It


Barely ten minutes goes by where I don’t predict some future outcome. It could be the outcome of an action I’m taking, planning on taking or wishing I would take. You do it too. We all do even if we fail to notice. Even little kids do it.

Two of the most important days of the year are my kids birthdays. Recently, my younger son celebrated his 4th birthday. My wife and I do whatever we can to make it a special day for them. For his birthday this year he wanted “PJ Masks” decorations, “Miles From Tomorrowland” wrapping paper and “Lion Guard” streamers. Plus, he wanted his cake to feature a spaceship design. Somehow, my wife made all of that happen.

My older son celebrated his birthday a few months ago. It was a blast. The attention, happiness and gifts  must have been seductive to his younger brother. Not more than two minutes after it ended my younger one began planning his birthday. We were still three months away.

This is a classic example of basing future predictions on previous outcomes. My younger son saw the outcome of his older brother’s birthday and predicted that his birthday would turn out equally well. This addiction to prediction plays a role in crafting our marketing messages too.

How Marketers and Pundits Exploit Predictions

In sales and marketing we boast about past successes that lead our prospect to conclude they’ll get the same result. Political pundits are famous for taking a past result and drawing a conclusion about a future prediction. They’re usually wrong but we continue to fall for it. 

Ironically, predicting the future usually fails. We rarely consider the infinite number of variables that go into each outcome. They’re never exactly the same. So, why do we still do it? Why do we still listen to others who do it? Because it gives us a sense of certainty and control. The feeling of certainty and control matters most in that moment. It matters more than being right in the future.

Could It Really Pay To Be Wrong

Does it matter if our predictions turn out to be wrong? Consider:

Political pundits never die out even though they’re often wrong
Expert stock pickers thrive even though they fail to beat the market.
Sales people show us success stories and we get all giddy with excitement

We keep falling for the same bit because that feeling of certainty becomes irresistible. What sucks is we often make these predictions ourselves. Smart marketers let us draw our own conclusions. They simply lay out the facts and let our natural intuition take over. For example,  a salesperson tells a story about customers who used a system to get rich and the prospect thinks:
“Wow. The last three people made a fortune. I’ll do the same” 

He doesn’t need to say anything. The customer sells himself. See how it works?

Here’s how to ethically use this yourself:

Option 1: Your audience/prospects take comfort in your predictions. Just don’t make promises you can’t keep
Option 2: You rarely need to make your own predictions. Your prospect or customer predicts on his own. My younger son concluded his party would be amazing all on his own. Why? Because after experiencing his older brothers party he made the leap that his would be great.

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My Two Year Writing Experiment

Two years ago I embarked on a journey to become a better writer. Unlike most writers I wasn’t concerned with finishing a novel, making a name for myself or even getting published. See, I was a copywriter. All I wanted to do was improve my ability to sell products and services through my writing.

I was lucky to have some great mentors when I first got started. A great mentor can shortcut the process to competence and even greatness. What a mentor cannot do is actually make you better at writing. I imagine that is true of any kind of writing. To reach competence, excellence and even greatness requires one thing. You MUST write!

With that in mind I began a daily writing ritual. It’s one hour of writing every morning. Before I do any paid work or projects I complete my one hour writing ritual. That ritual evolved over time but the guts of it remain the same.

The first thing I do is write bullets. I’m not talking about the kind of bullets you seen in a bland corporate presentation. I mean sales bullets. The kind you see in a kick-ass direct response message. They knock you out of your seat while you say to yourself:

“Holy crap! I want this”

My First Challenge

For my first year, all I did was write bullets every morning. I spent an hour just writing bullets. My skills improved. I felt it. The feedback I received further validated my feeling. Then, I ran into a brick wall. I felt my progress slow to a crawl. A mentor confirmed this when he offered me some feedback on my work.

I figured out the problem. I got good at writing bullets but I was poor at editing. Like writing, editing is a skill. It requires practice. I realized my edited work wasn’t much better than my initial work. Often, my edits hurt the overall quality.

I created an editing checklist and changed up my routine. One day I would write bullets. The next day I would edit them. After that modification in my routine I felt the quality inch up again. I had no concrete proof but I felt it. You know the feeling, right? You can just feel that you made a breakthrough.

Feedback and testing provided marginal proof that my skills were on the rise again. The better you get at a skill, the harder it seems to judge your improvement.

Then it happened again. A few months ago I felt like I was plateauing. I knew it was time to change things up. I felt my work lacked the conciseness and clarity I desired.

“How can I say this in fewer words with crystal clear clarity and no loss in meaning?”

Another Brick Wall

A great sales bullet packs a lot of benefit in as few words as possible. The reader should get the meaning instantly. There should be no thinking required. My work was good enough at this point but I wanted better. How could I make my writing more clear and more concise without losing any power?

I changed my routine. Instead of doing one hour of bullets, I now do forty-five minutes of bullets and then fifteen minutes of metaphors. Each day I’ll pick a phrase, adjective or feeling and think of five metaphors to describe it. It’s been three months since I started this exercise. I’m just now seeing the smallest of benefits.

At some point I expect to plateau again. When that happens I’ll change up my routine. What change will I make next? Who knows. I do know with certainty the day will come. If I desire never-ending improvement, I’ll need to change up my routine to make my next leap.

The Big Takeaway

There is one secret to getting better whether you are a coypwriter, novelist, poet or whatever.

  1. Create a ritual that supports your writing
  2. Do it everyday
  3. Get feedback. Put your work out there
  4. If you sense a plateau in your skills change things up. Make it harder on yourself
  5. Make your ritual the most important work in your life. Your morning ritual should be the first thing you do everyday. Client deadlines, personal projects and your job play second fiddle to your ritual. Commit to your writing ritual as your highest priority.  Demonstrate to yourself that getting better beats getting paid. Stick with your commitment and eventually you’ll get paid too.
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Persuasion 101 – The “Yes” Commandment

The Power of Yes. How cliché, right? Sales and marketing guru’s praise the word “Yes” for its persuasive power. It’s like it was the 11th commandment in the bible: Ye Shall Get Your Prospect To Say Yes.

A crude search on Amazon turned up about three hundred sales and marketing books with “Yes” in the title. Somehow the word “Yes” triggers a magical chain reaction that leads us to buy.

NLP enthusiasts perfected the “Yes” strategy it into a Yes Trilogy. In a nutshell, they say you should ask three questions where the obvious answer is yes. Then they lay on the big question: are you ready to buy (or some variation). Say “No” and they’ll hit you with a contradiction. For example:

Are you committed to improving your finances? Yes
Ready to wipe out your debt? Yes
Do you crave financial freedom? Yes
Are you ready to invest in [insert product]? No
You just said you were committed to improving your finances, wiping out your debt and achieving  financial freedom? Was that a lie?

The prospect feels trapped, caught in a contradiction. You might think any fool would see right through this ploy. It seems like such a clear attempt to manipulate.

The Genius Of “Yes”

Here’s the truth. It works. It works really well. Many marketers use this in print and online. With today’s technology it adapts well to video sales letters too.

A lot of people fall for this. I’ve fallen for it myself.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Does this trickery leave you with an inbox full of refund requests? Not so. After buying, they find reasons to justify their decision. Have you ever felt tricked into buying something? It creates internal discomfort. The vast majority of us refuse to face that discomfort. Instead, we’ll invent reasons to justify our purchase.

I needed this anyway
Even if I don’t use it, the knowledge will help me in the future
I need to learn this just to keep up. 
It adds value to … 

Do The Ends Justify The Means

The business makes the sale and the customer doesn’t complain. Does that make it OK?

Most persuasion tactics are neither good or bad. It’s the intent behind them that determines their virtue. With this one, intent and tactic seem intertwined.  When you make a sale, you are starting or enhancing a relationship. How you win the sale matters. Did  they feel  pressured or backed into a corner? How do you grow the relationship from there?

Even if that justification mechanism kicks in it still leaves your customer with an uneasy feeling. They’ll keep a sharp eye out for anything they can blame on you. Can we use the Yes Trilogy ethically? Sure, it goes back to one of my golden rules.

Lead your prospect down a path so they conclude (on their own) that they desire what you sell. 

In other words, you want them to raise their hand and ask where do I sign up.  So, ask your three questions but avoid the contradiction trap. If putting your prospect in a position where he feels pressured or trapped is the only way he’ll sign up, then maybe he’s just not a good fit for you.  Or, maybe just didn’t do a good enough job selling.

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Stop Em In Their Tracks Persuasion

Fourteen years ago a mentor taught me an usual lesson on persuasion. I never understood it or believed in it during my brief tenure in sales. In fact, I thought it was complete bullshit. Since becoming a writer I’ve embraced it. Now, I notice it everywhere.  It’s one of the least understood phenomena in persuasion and life. Some argue it doesn’t even exist. There may not be any scientific proof of this thing. It may not be observable but we all feel it. I’m talking about momentum.

Did you feel it in the presidential election? The Trump machine grew and became emboldened throughout the campaign. It didn’t matter what he said or what he did. The momentum kept growing and eventually pushed him into office. Along the way, those who despised him jumped on board to avoid getting left behind.

The Knee-Jerk Reaction To Momentum

What did the opposition do to stifle that momentum? Attack, ridicule and discredit with facts were the knee-jerk strategies. Those strategies  failed. In fact, I would argue they actually fed into his momentum. Just like a fire without oxygen dies, pumping it with oxygen fuels it to grow stronger.

Momentum works in a similar manner. First, it gathers steam and pushes forward.  It can’t go on forever. It needs fuel to survive and a lot more to grow. That fuel often comes in the form of resistance from the opposing side. Remember the last time you were in a heated argument? The anger heats up as you attack each other with verbal assaults. Finally, one of you says “let’s stop for a second. I let my emotions get the best of me. Maybe we both did”

What Really Breaks Momentum

Suddenly, the momentum fades until it disappears. That never happened with the Trump train. The fuel just seemed to flow endlessly allowing the momentum to continue. If counter attacks, ridicule and facts fail, then what tools can we exploit? My sales mentor taught me this a long time ago. It works equally well in written persuasion as it does in face to face sales.

First, agree with your opponent on something relevant. It doesn’t matter how small of an agreement. It just needs to be relevant to the discussion.

“Yes, I agree factory workers are losing jobs at an alarming pace.”

Second, avoid counter arguments that challenge their beliefs. Translation, avoid any counter arguments. Instead, poke tiny holes in their position. How questions accomplish this task well. Frame your question as a search for an answer rather than a probing manner. In other words, don’t frame it in a way that makes it look like you’re trying to catch them in a contradiction.

Finally, end things in a light-hearted manner and a minor compliment. Position it like you are equals, not like you feel a sense of superiority. End it with the understanding that your question remains unsolved for now. “… the answer remains elusive. We need people like us. People with opposing but respectful views, to press on. There’s too much riding on this…”

This approach deprives your opponent of that needed fuel to keep the momentum train going. Of course, in politics you contend with countless numbers of people battling each other all following their own emotions. Coordinating that approach among so many seems impractical.

Ah, but I am not a political writer. I focus on sales and marketing.

Breaking Momentum In Marketing

As a marketer, copywriter or business owner you won’t face the same challenges as a political writer. In a sales letter, ad or article we stay 100% focused on our reader or audience. It’s just you talking to the reader. In this setting, with their full attention, we can break momentum. . It won’t immediately change minds. Rather, it plants a seed. It allows that momentum pendulum to slowly shift back down to neutral. With patience and skill, we can move it from neutral to our advantage.

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Fashionably Late Persuasion

Finally, a chance to party. We rarely go out these days. Dressed and ready to go, we headed out the door. Just as we were about to get in the car I froze. I noticed we were early.

Let’s wait ten minutes. I don’t want to be the first one there.”

I know the host of the party, but we’re not best buds or anything like that. Being early sometimes creates an awkward feeling.

Should I force a conversation with the few people already there… even if I don’t want to?
Should I offer my help in setting up? Seems weird when you don’t know them that well.

By arriving just a little bit late I can avoid that awkward feeling of forced conversations. I avoid that uncertainty of what should I do until everyone gets here. Once there’s a decent size crowd I could blend in and pick and choose exactly who to hang out with.

That’s my reason for arriving late. Maybe I’m just an introvert or maybe just a little weird. Some people arrive late to look cool. I would guess even the cool crowd prefers fashionably late to  avoid the awkwardness.

Here’s the crazy thing.

There are times when I prefer to arrive early. Sometimes I know the hosts well. In that situation I prefer to catch up with them before the party kicks into high gear. I feel more of a comfort level in that dynamic.

So, what does all this have to do with persuasion? The comfort level your prospect feels with you plays into how likely they are to buy into your products, services or ideas. If you’re an unknown (or little known) commodity, don’t expect him to jump on board first. Just like at a party, he avoids that awkward feeling of showing up first and thinking now what.

The ones you already know and engage with are more likely to raise their hand and yell me first. They’ll want that extra attention from you before the masses jump on board and eat up your time.

Fashionably Late or Anxiously Early?

It’s a simplistic but helpful way to look at your prospects before you pitch them. Will they arrive early because they’re anxious to get more of you? Or, would they rather arrive fashionably late? The fashionably late still want to join the party, but they fear that awkward feeling of just me so far?

Think about this in other areas of your marketing or branding. Would you ever join a Facebook group set up by a stranger? We’ve all done it. Right? Here’s the million dollar question. Would you join a Facebook group set up by a stranger… even if you were the first person to join? I bet you would hesitate on that one. What do you think?

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