Relationship Mastery

Influence – HBR’s article on puersasion


Hot on the heels of my recent couple of posts on the importance of influence, HBR has posted a great article on persuasion.

The article talks about four essential steps that an ‘effective persuader’ takes:

  • First establish credibility
  • Second, they frame their goals in a way that identifies common ground with those they intend to persuade
  • Third, they reinforce their positions using vivid language and compelling evidence
  • Fourth, they connect emotionally with their audience

I think it is very important and the article is well worth reading. The hyperlink to HBR’s blog is below


Cialdini’s 6 Universal Truths of Influence


Yesterday I published ‘The minute you use it you lose it’ which was talking about the need to use influence rather to get an employee to do something rather than order them to do it.

Robert Cialdini proposed that there are ‘six universal principles of influence’


People give back to you the kind of treatment that they’ve received from yo


People will feel a desire to comply with a request if they see that it’s consistent with what they’ve publicly committed themselves to in your presence.

A great study was how a restaurant owner was able to reduce the number of no-shows at his restaurant by just having his receptionist change two words that she used when she took a booking. Previously she said, “Thank you for calling Gordon’s Restaurant. If you have to change or cancel your reservation, please call.” That was the standard approach and it was producing about 30 percent no-shows. When she changed to saying instead of “Please call if you have to change or cancel your reservation,” if she said, “Will you please call if you have to change or cancel your reservation?” and waited for people to say yes, as they all did, then no-shows dropped to 10 percent because people were going to be consistent with what they had said publicly they would do.


People will be likely to say yes to your request if you give them evidence that people just like them have been saying yes to it, too.


No surprise that people prefer to say yes to a request to the degree that they know and like the requester.


Authority refers to the tendency of people to be persuaded in your direction when they see you as having knowledge and credibility on the topic.

A crucial point here with regard to authority is not about being in authority and using that lever to move people but someone who is perceived as a credible source of information that people can use to make good choices.


People will try to seize those opportunities that you offer them that are rare or scarce, dwindling in availability.

Sales conversation changes you should make


Here’s 3 changes that may turn your sales conversation into a winning one:

  1. Clever to Clear – the way you introduce yourself sets up the conversation. It’s not about coming up with a clever spin – it’s about being very clear about what you do. A good formula is “I do what for whom in this area”. E.g. I provide financial risk advice to treasurers of financial services organisations.
  2. Descriptions to discoveries –  clients value more what they discover than what we tell them. Clients have ‘experts’ telling them on a continual basis about their talents, skills and projects. The key to getting a client to buy is to help them discover what they can do with your expertise to fix their affliction or achieve their aspiration. Your job is to help them create a mental picture of what it would be like to work with you and the benefits they will receive.
  3. Scripts to talking Shop – be prepared, but don’t take in a script and rattle of a range of key points. To be successful you need to create a conversation about the client’s situation.

Networking – no need for SMOOTH


Developing a strong network is a foundation for career success – yet so many people have fears or misconceptions about building a network.

Networking is not:

– something you do to someone

– going to conferences and cocktail parties and collecting business cards

– manipulating people to get them to give you work

– something that can only done by extroverts or smooth ‘salesmen’

Networking is no different to building friendships – it’s about building genuine relationships based on authentic and consistent interactions over time.

Networking is:

– building relationships before you need them

– building relationships with people who you can help and can help you

– trusting that if you put energy in, you will receive something in return over time

– something you have to do consistently – daily is best and weekly at a minimum

A Winning Value Proposition


There are 3 rules to create a winning value proposition:

  1. Your product or service has to meet the client’s need – it has to resonate with them.
  2. Clients have to see why you stand out from the other available options – it has to be differentiated.
  3. Clients have to believe that you can deliver on your promises – your service and claims have to be substantiated

If you don’t have all of these 3 it will be difficult to achieve a sale:

  • Remove resonance, and people just won’t buy what you’re selling.
  • Remove differentiation and they’ll pressure you on price.
  • Remove the substantiation of your claims, then the risk of working with you may be too great.

1 of the 3 great lies in sales and relationships


One of the three great lies you hear people say in sales and relationship building is “I called but the client hasn’t called me back.” What this is usually code for is “I’ve been meaning to call but I haven’t worked up the courage.”

In the odd case where you have called and the client hasn’t returned the call, what went wrong?

Two scenarios:

  1. You didn’t leave a message – and with today’s technology it doesn’t make sense not to as caller ID on their system is likely to have notified the client that you have called
  2. Your message was not outcome focused and hasn’t given them a compelling reason to call back.

Assuming you did leave a message, maybe it’s time to rethink the message you are leaving.

The major problem with vmail messages that people leave is that they are usually all about the caller and the caller’s services or agenda and don’t have a hook for the recipient. Next time you are about to leave a message, ask yourself the question “what is it that will make this person give up time to speak to me or agree to have a meeting?”  Make sure you let the recipient know what benefit they will get by calling you back or agreeing to meet.

Smell – the key to relationships?


Social recognition depends on our sense of smell. It’s been known for some time that a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb (OB) plays a part in social recognition—our ability to recognize people we know. In this we are the same as almost all mammals. However the exact mechanism of this wasn’t known. Now a study, published in the latest edition of the journalBiological Psychiatry gives some clarity to this and some interesting titbits on depression and neurochemicals: oxytocin. Apparently what happens is that when we meet someone their scent is decoded by the OB and sent to the amygdala—the fear and protection hub of the brain. The amygdala decides whether the scent is of someone we like or dislike. If we like the person we get a shot of oxytocin—the bonding chemical—triggering recognition and all is well. If there is something faulty with the OB or the oxytocin system we get stressed and we don’t make the connection. If this goes on for any length of time we become depressed. I can’t help wondering if the burgeoning use of perfumes and deodorants (in both men and women) might be responsible in part for our increasing social isolation and the rise in the depression rate. It also explains, to some extent, why emails are linked to both stress and depression. Genetically we are geared for face-to-face communication where all the senses can be used to judge safety, trust and the like. Take that sensory experience away and things begin to go wrong.

Rules of Networking Part 3 (of 4) : I’m “not really” going to get a drink

People often get locked into standing with one or two others at a cocktail party or networking event and feel uncomfortable about moving on to another group. The “I’m going to get another drink” or “I’m going to the bathroom” excuses are often used, but all parties know they are generally poorly hidden exit excuses. Here’s 3 tips that should help.

  1. Understand when your time is up and leave them interested in more – don’t be frightened of moving on
  2. Practice some exits beyond “I’m going to get a drink”. The best way is to be honest and just say “I’d better move on and talk to some others” or say “why don’t we go over and join that group” or “is there someone else I can introduce you to”
  3. Give before you get – you may be desperate to build a relationship with someone that can be good for business or your career but you need to give them value before asking for value. In this way you are demonstrating a ‘2-way’ relationship and that ‘it’s not all about you’.

Rules of Networking Part 2 (of 4) : Woe is Me


  1. Don’t be “woe is me” – no matter how tough it’s been, paint a positive picture when you’re making new connections. It doesn’t have to be “the world is great” but people like to meet someone who has a positive outlook and who sees options for the future. Do you like doing business with someone who has a downbeat attitude?
  2. You have heard it before but the two ears, one mouth rule is important. Understanding what drives the other person will give you a huge advantage as an adviser. Call it the introvert’s advantage – extroverts find it hard to be the listener
  3. Avoid uncomfortable topics – being friendly is key, but try to avoid topics that may make the person you have just met feel uncomfortable.
  4. Adopt normal social behaviour – where you direct your eyes, how closely you stand to someone, how often you might touch their arm etc are things to consider.