Six Keys To Influence Almost Anyone [Part 2 Commitment & Consistency]

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Start small and write down client profile preferences!

Today is part 2 in our multi-part series on influence – or how to persuade anybody to do almost anything. 

Principle #2 / Commitment and Consistency

This one is perhaps the most interesting of the six.

This weapon of influence is deeply rooted in all of us and can shape our direction and the actions we take. Sometimes in very surprising ways. 

To illustrate let’s begin with a study conducted by psychologists in Canada.  

The researchers studied people at a racetrack and their confidence levels immediately before and after placing a bet on a horse. 

Wanna guess what they discovered? 

The subjects were much more confident of their horse’s chances of winning after they placed their bets versus before they placed their bets.

Hmmmm.

Remember,  nothing changed between the few seconds before the bet versus after. The only change – was the act of placing the bet

In other words, committing to a decision. 

Once they made their bet (their commitment to the horse) they changed their attitude moving from a level of uncertainty to completely certain. 

And this, according to Cialdini, is the key. Once a person takes a stand, there is a strong tendency to stay with that opinion. 

Let me share with you another example. 

This study involved phoning residents around Bloomington, Indiana asking them what they would say if someone asked them if they would volunteer to spend three hours collecting money for the American Cancer Society. 

In the survey, many agreed that, indeed they would volunteer. 

Not too long after that survey was taken, the American Cancer Society called back asking for volunteers. And what they found surprised them – they had a 700% increase in the number of volunteers!!

That’s not a small number. The mere act of agreeing to something (in this case volunteering) set into motion a force. And when the American Cancer Society called back at a later date, they were able to get all the volunteers they needed and then some!

Think about that next time someone approaches you and wants you to sign a petition. You may be signing something such as making your neighborhood clean. But who knows where that may lead? 

To this day, Cialdini refuses to sign any kind of petition because of the potential impact. 

Start small and build. 

If commitment is the key…then it begs the question how do you get commitment? As you will see in just a minute it involves starting with a small ask and building from there. 

To illustrate, we are going to look at U.S. POWs during the Korean War. 

In that conflict, the Chinese used commitment and consistency to chilling effects. 

And the process they used would involve contests. 

American POWs were asked to write a short political essay. The prize for the winning essay would be small but valuable items – especially to a prisoner of war: a few extra cigarettes, a small piece of fruit, a piece of candy. 

Winning essays would praise the U.S. but also give a couple of nods to the Chinese point of view. The next time the men would enter the contest there might be a few more favorable mentions. And these essays would become the winners. 

Slowly and over time, they would begin to turn the soldiers away from the U.S. Step by step!

Sorry for going all Manchurian Candidate on you, but the Chinese knew what they were doing here. They used two techniques that have been around for centuries. 

The first – starting small is a practice that has proven most effective, but don’t take my word but take a minute to hear from best-selling author James Clear. 

In his book Atomic Habits, Clear talks extensively about starting with ridiculously small steps. An example he uses is getting in shape – something many of us want to do.  To build up muscle someone desires might call for 100 pushups several times a week. For anyone that has done pushups you know 100 is a lot. So how do you get from 0 to 100? 

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Clear suggests starting small. Start with two pushups. 

  • Two pushups are doable. 
  • Two pushups are a no-brainer. 

And that is exactly the point. At first, completing the small goal helps to build motivation to do even more. The more motivation…the more likely you are to keep going. And so on. And so on. 

A second technique involves the act of writing something down. 

Time and time again, it has been proven that the mere act of writing things down creates magic inside of us. 

Consider the study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The study found that writing down goals increased the likelihood of achieving those goals by 42%. 

Researchers also found that writing down goals was more effective than simply thinking about them or verbally expressing them to others. 

Yeah, the Chinese were good – but they were simply using techniques that have proven to be successful in persuading and influencing others for centuries. 

So, now let’s look at how you can use consistency and commitment in your world. 

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How Can You Use Consistency and Commitment

Maybe the best and most obvious place to start is by getting your clients to write down what they are looking for in a vacation. 

In addition to getting some of the basics down like, 

  • Where do you want to go?
  • How long do you want to stay?
  • How many will be in your party? 
  • Do you have an idea of your budget?

Get them to tell you why they are coming to you in the first place. Consider the question: Why do you want to work with my agency? 

This will provide you with some great insights. And it can be used in the future to help confirm their commitment to you. 

For example, after you get the deal signed, you can follow up with your client with an email. In it, you can restate the reason your client picked you. 

Here’s an example: 

Hey Lisa, I want to tell you again, how much I appreciate your business. I know when we started you said you were looking for an advisor that could pull together a vacation for all the members of my family. 

I’m glad I was able to do that for you…and I know you are going to have a wonderful vacation. 

I’ll speak to you when you get back!

Your email uses her words to cement the commitment. 

Additionally, it reinforces the fact that she decided to work with you. And that will help reinforce and make her feel good about her decision. Remember the people at the horse track see above. 

Another way to use this principle involves the marketing messages you use. 

If you are talking to a prospect don’t just refer to them as someone that likes to travel. They are a traveler. They don’t want to explore. Instead, they are explorers

Just adding a simple er at the end of the word can make a profound difference in how a prospect views himself or herself. 

And once they make that shift – as we have seen that can open up all sorts of possibilities. 

Finally, start small. 

Win small commitments and build from there. In other words, get a prospect to check out your website. Or have them watch a video. Something small and build from there. Each little step is one more commitment to you and to your business. 

That’s all for this week. Next time I dive into the principle Liking. 

Stay amazing!   If you liked the post please share it around with like the like-minded.

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