Written over 30 years ago, this book was probably the biggest contribution from anyone to understanding how people are persuaded.
How do you utilize the liking trigger during a job interview?
How do you utilize scarcity during a negotiation?
How do you utilize social proof in your marketing?
These were the questions I needed the answers to when I found myself in the shark infested waters of New York City in the early 2000’s.
You see I graduated high school and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
I knew everything I didn’t wanna do like continuing to go to school, making minimum wage, working long hours, fighting with people over who gets to take holiday vacations.
All that stuff seemed crazy to me.
But with no real skills I took the only job that anyone would give me..a sales job.
And truth be told selling was a “double-edged sword” for me.
From the time I got my first sales job on Wall street (and virtually every sales job after that) I was given sales training material.
Books, videos, cd’s, seminars...all loaded with techniques to close the sale.
And while I learned some valuable lessons about the sales process (like the fact that you should never jump into a presentation without first performing something called a “needs analysis”) much of the stuff that I learned didn’t work for me when I needed it to.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying the techniques were in effective.
I’m saying that they didn’t feel natural to me and so anytime I tried to use of them things got weird and I lost the customer.
But contrarily when I would avoid the “sales tactics” and just be myself things would go smoothly and I would close the sale.
The problem was that I was still wasn’t closing as many sales as I could.
And as the old saying goes when it comes to sales “nice guys finish last”.
In needed to figure out a way to combine what felt natural to me with what has been proven to work by sales experts.
I started by making a slight pivot from studying sales to studying communication and psychology
I really wanted to understand why people think and behave the way they do and how that affect the communication process.
I began to immerse myself in anything I could get my hands that related to influence, persuasion, human psychology and communication.
I even read books written by former FBI and CIA agents on mind control, detecting deception, hostage negotiation and interrogation.
I read the biographies of great speakers ranging from JFK and Winston Chruchill to Steve Jobs.
I studied the techniques of people like Dr. Milton Erickson who’s known as the “father of modern hypnotherapy” and how he could indirectly influence people by lowering their natural resistance.
Then I started “testing driving” the techniques and strategies that I learned.
Through years of trial and error I began to figure out what I can only describe as “what works when and where”.
In other words I began to to identify which methods worked best in certain environments and situations.
That’s when I began to shatter sales records.
That’s when my commission checks started tripling and when my paychecks become much higher and more predictable.
But it wasn’t just my ability to close sales that got better. My whole life improved.
I began to understand the mechanics of communication both with others and with myself.
I learned how powerful language really is and how I can use it to create emotions and behaviors in others and in myself.
I learned the value of non-verbal communication and how I could virtually “mind read” people and know what they are thinking before they even say a word.
I gained a huge amount of confidence when interacting with others in both business and social situations.
I finally understood and realized that the ability to communicate effectively with others is the most valuable skill-set that I could develop for myself if I wanted to become successful.
I began documenting everything I learned so that I could revisit it whenever I needed.
Without realizing it I was creating a blueprint of sorts.