February, 2008

Going Above and Beyond for an Affluent Clientele

By Persuading the Affluent No Comments

Hi Persuader,

I read a story about the Ritz Carlton Hotel recently that has me thinking about what it means to truly court and cater to an affluent clientele in a way that will keep them interested and involved with your product or service.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel has a policy that any employee (and I mean, any employee from the housekeeping staff to the desk clerks) can spend up to $2,000 a day (without prior authorization from management) to solve the problems or needs of any of their clients.

A business man was staying at the Atlanta Ritz Carlton and headed out to Hawaii for a very important meeting and presentation. He realized he had forgotten his laptop in Atlanta. Without his laptop, he had no presentation. He called the hotel and his call was routed to housekeeping who had informed him that they had found his computer.

The client asked them to send the computer by Federal Express. He explained that he had to have it the next day for his presentation.

Early the next morning, a woman from Atlanta Ritz Carlton’s housekeeping department showed up in Hawaii and handed him his computer. She said, ‘This was too important.’

Will this man ever stay anywhere else when he’s in Atlanta? Doubt it. Will he tell this story to all of his friends? You bet he will. And his friends will tell their friends who will tell their friends. And the publicity and good will that was created by this one interaction will further ingratiate an already well respected organization in the mind of the clientele they cater to: the affluent.

Going above and beyond doesn’t mean we have to spend $2,000 a day. Sometimes it means an effortless consideration. Sometimes it can be as simple as a note, a birthday card even.

One of my coaching students, a financial advisor, recently told me a story about sending a birthday card to one of her EX clients. This was an EX client only because she was prevented from courting her due to a non-compete clause which was about to expire. My student followed up the birthday card with a phone call a few weeks later and the ex client (soon to be reinstated client) said to her, ‘You know, my husband’s financial advisor sent out a birthday card as well. But instead of sending me the birthday card, he sent it to my husband, whose birthday isn’t for seven months.’

Mistakes happen. But this was totally avoidable and costly for that other financial advisor.

Attention to detail, going above and beyond, simple pleasantries, even a kind word. . . all of these things not only make other people feel compelled to do business with you, but they make the recipient feel good. Funny thing is, they also have the added bonus of making the person giving them feel good.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

The Power of Persuasion – Obama vs. Clinton

By Framing, Persuasion in Politics 3 Comments

Hi Persuaders,

I’m sitting in a hotel room doing some research when I happened upon an article on politics. And while I typically am not all that interested in the Democratic party, this race has been different.

As I read it, I began to think of some things that I believe to be true (whether I like it or not). Here they are in no particular order.

The people in the United States are rather fed up with Republicans and with the way they are running things. (In my opinion this is too bad as I’ve always leaned toward that side – Libertarian actually.).

Whom ever wins the Democratic nomination will most likely become the next President of the United States.

Persuasion matters! Whom ever uses it the best will easily catapult above the other.

And in terms of persuasion, Obama wins hands down over Clinton.

If you want to watch powerful persuasion positioning, just watch what Obama is doing.

So do I believe he’ll be the next President? If I had to make my answer based on persuasion skill, it would be yes, overwhelmingly. I believe he will defeat Hillary and between Obama and McCain, Obama should handily win.

The “tax and spend” policies of the far left my haunt us for many years to come, but they can’t be worse than we’ve had with Bush at the helm. LOL

Of course, the real deal is also available. A politician with honor and integrity (believe it or not) and his name is Ron Paul. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen, he believes that simply asserting the right position will make him win. He could benefit from some persuasion coaching but his message is amazing. But without real persuasion skills, I fear it is lost on the world. Not to mention that when millions of people have their collective hands out, they may well opt for the tax and spend left.

Ok, if you’d like to see what I read that started all this in my mind, here you go.

Let me know your thoughts.


Getting Touchy Feely

By Advanced Persuasion, Nonverbal Persuasion 2 Comments

Hi Persuader,

In a previous blog post, I gave an overview of VAK (Unraveling VAK) and it’s use in persuasion and gaining rapport. I also went into more detail about the ‘V’ in VAK in ‘Seeing the Light‘. Obviously, with a title like ‘Getting Touchy Feely, I’ve moved on to the ‘K’.

To gain rapport we have to learn how people construct and make their reality. And we have to learn how they interact with that reality. For kinesthetic oriented people, that interaction is through touch and feel.

The way you know that you’re interacting with a kinesthetic or feeling oriented person is that they tend to grasp for the way in which things are going to come across. They’ll want to bend with you and walk, step by step. They’ll often want to stick with things and grasp a hold of the kinds of things you’re going over with them. Sometimes they’ll even strain and work hard to tackle the task at hand. This is what kinesthetic oriented people do and sometimes they’ll even touch their arm or their leg and rub it while they talk. They’re kind of getting in touch with the way they feel about what’s going on. They also sometimes talk about balance and merging together and catching up.

Bill Clinton is a perfect example of a kinesthetic person. One pretty famous quote of his, which was turned into parody by his notorious predilections, was ‘I feel your pain.’ That’s the epitome of kinesthesia.

If a visual person speaks pretty quick and they’re zipping right along and an auditory person speaks a little slower and sometimes in a very sing-songy voice or in a flat monotone that you can easily detect they’re doing, then a kinesthetic person, in contrast, often speaks much slower and they struggle for the next thought.

Kinesthetic people obviously use kinesthetic words. These cover the tactile sense of feeling-hot, cold, firm, a firm touch, vibration-as well as the emotional sense of feeling-love, happiness, joy, anger.

Another thing kinesthetic oriented people do is they love to stand close so that they can reach out and touch. You can touch them on the shoulder, you can give them a hug, all within the realm of being respectful of course, but you can be right in their face. They love it. They’re not using their pictures like the visually oriented person is (at least consciously) so they don’t need to be able to see them.

That’s another major difference between the three groups that will help you to identify them. One of the biggest ways though, for me, is that they, struggle . . . for their words. . .

In contrast to visual people who look up, and auditory people look side-to-side or level, kinesthetic oriented people will look down, in general.

Along these lines, but as sort of a side note, a few weeks ago I read a story online about a junior high school student in Virginia who had been cited for two infractions by his school for hugging a friend. Why? His school has a ‘no physical contact’ policy. This includes no handshakes, no high fives, no pats on the back, no hand holding-no touching of any sort.

My initial thought was, wow, that’s really strange. Then I thought of the kinesthetic kids who might be going to that school and what a disservice is being done to them. I mean, I understand the need for clear boundaries, but no physical contact whatsoever between friends? Seems like a dangerous road to travel down.

Coming soon: Auditory Adventures.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Seeing the Light

By Advanced Persuasion, Language Patterns No Comments

Hi Persuader,

In a previous article, I discussed the basics of the VAK (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) representational system and it’s value in gaining rapport with an affluent clientel . In this article, I’m going to go more in depth with visual language.

What happens when a person is using visual words (bright, vibrant, shining, ‘I see what you’re saying’)? They’re remembering and processing information visually in their mind. If you hear them do it a lot, it may be their dominant sensory system and the one they’re most conscious of.

What kind of behaviors might we expect from someone who’s using predominantly visual words? People who are visual tend to speak a lot with their hands. They generally talk faster as if they’re trying to tell you all of the thousand words that a picture is worth.

Put a picture in your mind and you’re trying to describe it to me you may really get off on a roll here with your words, you’re trying like crazy to describe it and you’re talking, like sometimes people they talk really fast, even talking a little higher. The pictures are flipping through their mind at high speed and they’re trying to give you all the information that they’re seeing and they can’t quite keep up with it even.

Read that last paragraph out loud really fast and you’ve got an idea of how a visually oriented person may describe this to you.

There are a few other things that you’ll notice. They may often breathe higher in their chest. You may also notice that they need distance between you as they speak. They don’t like to stand real close to people, not too close, because what happens is you will be in their picture if you stand too close.

Try this: if you think someone is very visually oriented when you’re talking to them, just move so you’re standing really close to them and see if they don’t get uncomfortable.

You can also do some other interesting things. If you notice them looking off into space at particular areas while they talk, you could point to that space and slide it around. In other words, point to the space and then move it to some other space and watch them get confused.

Just play around a little bit with it. You’re not going to hurt anybody doing that. It’s not like you’re going to cause trauma, or anything, contrary to what others might lead you to believe. But it will start to help you understand what happens when someone is highly visually oriented.

These kinds of people can be very powerfully persuaded. When you find them, you’ll learn to love what you can do with them.

When gaining rapport it is valuable to understand the representational system that the prospect is using, but as we will discover in future articles, there’s a shortcut. For now, just see if you can identify five visually oriented people this week and notice how they speak and gesticulate.

This is only the tiniest fraction of powerful persuasion basics. To get really deep, contact Kim and ask her to tell you all about the Persuasion Factor.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Appealing to Emotions in Business

By Building Rapport, Eliciting Criteria, Nonverbal Persuasion 2 Comments

Hi Persuader,

You know what’s overrated? Rationality. I know, I know, it’s important to have your feet firmly planted on the ground in order to grow roots, in order to have a foundation, a base from which to work. But in business the idea of rationality has become supreme and I think we’ve lost something in the transition from ‘mom and pop’ business to faceless corporations that is an integral part of selling our products or services, especially when dealing with an affluent clientele.

Our viability as people who sell, is intrinsically linked to our client’s and prospect’s emotions and their other-than-conscious minds. In past posts/articles, I’ve gotten very detailed about ‘how’ to access these emotions (i.e. eliciting their criteria, creating rapport), and I’d like to discuss here more the ‘why’ of the process.

Our emotions drive us. Core emotions and our DNA are what make us take action. We are primitive beings ruled by the same things our ancient ancestors were ruled by. They didn’t have to contend with a bombardment of products or services vying for their business. They worried about the very basics: food, shelter, sex, fight or flight and had no concept of choice, luxury or affluence.

When we interact with a prospect, this should be a thought we hold foremost in our minds: appeal to the core. Gut instincts are far more powerful than the rational mind. Making the rational and the core emotions mesh, is our job.

Gut reactions happen instantly. In his book ‘Blink’, Malcolm Gladwell discusses rapid cognition, that which happens in the blink of an eye. He writes about thinking without thinking. Our emotional processes take only 1/5th of the time our rational brain takes to assimilate.

Think of this in terms of how sales used to be and how they are now. Despite the fact that at our cores we’re like cavemen, we are incredibly sophisticated. If you consider even back to the fifties, sixties and seventies, the ‘features and benefits’ style of sales, the Dale Carnegie method, these were passable at the time, but as our choices have grown in the marketplace, so have our BS detectors. We know when someone’s being slick with us and it doesn’t feel good.

Now think of how good it feels to be understood, and at ease, and the fact that this response is absolutely duplicatable with the right training. Accessing our prospect’s values, eliciting their criteria, and with sincerity, honesty and integrity, combining it with what our products or our services, all make for an emotional alchemy that is easy to feel good about.

In our advanced state of civilization (depending on your perspective) we are given amazing choices and opportunities. There are products and services available to us that even a generation ago, wouldn’t have been dreamed up. In this ever expanding atmosphere it seems likely that those of us who know how to access the core and our prospect’s emotions are going to be the ones capable of rising to the top in our given fields. By elevating emotions and partially bypassing rationality, we find ourselves with incredible persuasion power.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

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