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The Second New Law of Persuasion
The Law of The Synapse
By Kevin Hogan
I was talking with the #1 HVAC sales trainer, Scott Bell.
Scott trains people I only run into when the furnace or air conditioner fail.
I asked Scott what a little talked about challenges the guys he trains face.
Kevin, a lot of them do not know how to have a conversation. They learned what to say in a sales process but no one has ever taught them how to have a conversation.
Scott is in a unique position because he goes out on calls with the guys he trains. He knows that the common problems of objections, impression management, presentation, closing all matter. They matter a lot. What he has discovered is that the real reasons sales do not happen are deeper and more complex than what can be solved with traditional sales training.
Having a Conversation that Matters
Most people have a number of friends or family who they can talk at. I mean, talk too. I mean talk with. Well you know what I mean.
Precisely how you listen is going to determine a significant portion of your success with others. Real listening begins before anyone speaks.
Ultimately, listening allows you to capture what matters most to the person who is speaking.
I suggest you begin to ask a lot of questions. I have a big bias toward making good decisions. And I desperately want others to make good decisions. That means I have to do a lot less work to fix the problems that result from crummy decision making processes.
Asking questions allows you to get some semblance of answers.
These two factors play into having a real, sincere, vulnerable conversation.
Conversations make sales, generate change, bring people together. Conversations influence.
Usually people reserve their most important conversations for friends and family. Usually.
But quite often you engage in intensely personal conversations with people you have never met before. Quite often you tell or hear people tell you secrets that no one else knows about.
What happens on the plane, the train, the bus?
QUESTION: Why do people tell the strange person in the seat next to them, everything?
And I really do mean everything. What is it about that person?
Just in case it has been awhile since you have experienced this, here is what happened the last time I did.
A woman sat next to me on my flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas in March. The flight was late in leaving after boarding.
I have a track record of saying zero words to people I sit next to on airplanes. Exceptions do occur and they can be exhausting.
I stood so she could slide into the window seat in First Class.
Then I became the lucky person who would get to listen to her chat about her ex-husband, his life challenges, her life challenges, the department she works in, the catty co-workers she has to deal with. I mean everything.
Meanwhile, I tell people nothing about me that is not found on the website. She talked for 2 hours and 45 minutes out of the nearly three and a half hours I was stuck next to her. The first five minutes were fine. She was attractive but that was only helpful for the first five minutes. After that, I was ready to close my eyes until we hit 10,000 feet, and then do last minute prep for Boot Camp.
The conversation ended with her telling me she was staying at Planet Hollywood and I was welcome to join her team of people for drinks. If you know me, you know I do not do drinks with anyone. The last time I was in a bar in Las Vegas was probably 2003. This woman did not even like the people she was inviting me to go out with. She placed her business card in my hand as the plane pulled up to the D gate at McCarren. I told her to have a great time in Vegas and suggested she take her friends to see Love at The Mirage.
Ken picked me up in the airport parking ramp and I quickly realized how drained I was from the girl on the plane.
And then he and I went to work on Boot Camp.
Why did that woman tell me EVERYTHING about her business, life, past and present?
I must have been partially responsible. I could have told her to be quiet and go sit on the wing, but I didn't. So what happened. How did she gain COMPLIANCE from me? Compliance to listen.
I had my iPhone out. I was hunched over the phone and texting home.
I imagine that was all it took for her to feel that thread of connection and I realized it minutes later. She had a new iPhone. The iPhone 5. I have a 4S. She asked me if mine was a 5. I had to think about it. I have a rule about my cell phone. If I turn it on, I will probably end up talking with someone so I like to keep it off. I told her that and she probably thought I was kidding.
I was not.
I am not anti-social. I only wish I were. I have sat there in 4C with my eyes closed only to have people ask me questions and try to start that same 3 hour monologue.
One thing is for certain.
I really don't know specifically what triggered her to go on and on but I was reminded just how much she told me that her minister, therapist, ex-husband and co-workers would have all been very upset to hear.
She felt connected to me. And that is all fine. But I wanted to work.
Talking when someone does NOT want to listen is a mess and will end up in failure almost every single time.
Yes, the woman captured a listener and that is worth something to her. She certainly needed to vent. Three hours is three thousand dollars but I delivered no bill.
She was talking without a MUTUALLY PERCEIVED connection.
Talking without a TWO WAY connection is like one brain cell trying to talk with another brain cell without a synapse. And it is not going to happen. Victoria Station in London is like a synapse. You exit one train and hop on another that takes you somewhere else. Victoria Station is the synapse. It's the point of connection but you don't stay there long. The synapse is a GAP between the wires on which those neurotransmitters are propelled through. You are the neurotransmitter that is taking information from where you began to where you are going to end up. One message. Two trains. One place where you move through to change trains.
The metaphors work well for today.
Imagine this hypothetical conversation byte between two Londoners who had sat next to each other on a train to Victoria Station.
Joe: Hey (to the person sitting next to them on the train) here we are at Victoria Station in London.
Jane: No kidding Sherlock.
End of conversation is here. But Joe tries anyway as they head to another train they will be boarding.
Joe: Would you like to take in a movie Friday night?
Jane: Thanks but my boyfriend (who does not exist in real life) would be upset if I did.
Stating the obvious in a way that indicates no sense of awareness is a virtually guaranteed way to get a door slammed in the face.
It could have gone much better had Joe ignored mentioning the arrival at the synapse and simply been aware that they both had arrived together. That is a shared experience that is not to be mentioned. Simply ask her to the Friday night show.
His chances of going on that date would have doubled. Yes doubled. But he mentioned the shared experience.
There are a few important elements in the 13th law of persuasion (The Second New Law). The first is a subtle awareness on the part of the person to be influenced of something the two people share. It could be a person, place or thing or an experience.
The second element is that the thing that is shared not be highlighted by the influencer. If it is highlighted the probability of agreement or compliance is knocked in half.
Scott was right.
People really donít know how to have a conversation. At the office, people are taught to speak the language of their building but not how to have a conversation.
Those who learn to have meaningful conversations have a big advantage in persuasive communication. The same is true in their personal relationships. Most people were never taught how to have a conversation that binds people together. Real conversations allow for an easy exchange of mutually respected ideas.
This was profound and sparked a further discussion that carried on for quite some time. You and I will revisit some of what Scott and I talked about over the next few weeks. Today, I want to shed light on one important element of the discussion Scott and I had.
Itís the subject of a complete course to be sure. The experience or element of resonance is one that can be quickly understood by you and I. This resonance has only recently been seriously studied and now known to be absolutely critical to influence across a broad spectrum of contexts.
The Shared Experience, Person, Place or Thing
How does one generate this so called resonance?
It happens in all kinds of different ways. Sometimes on purpose. Other times, not.
You want to ask someone for a favor. You want to ask someone on a date. You want to ask for the sale.
The person who gets right to business vs. having almost any shared experience with the other first, is in for a rude awakening.
Again, the first element in this new law of persuasion is the notion of the shared experience.
But that is only the beginning. All by itself, as we discovered, that is not enough.
The next step? Turn the page.:
Photos appear under license with Stockexpert.