Psychological Power is the ability people have to disguise what they really want from you when they are attempting to persuade or influence you. Psychological Power is based on the ability to alter an individual’s perception of reality. This power (like most power) can obviously be used dishonestly. However, it is important to understand the various psychological tactics so that you will have a greater ability to detect people who are being dishonest or devious with you. You will be able to tell the difference between the Psychological Power of the salesman and the Legitimate Power of the Master Persuader.
People are typically slow at making decisions because they’re afraid of making mistakes. The longer someone waits, however, the more likely it becomes that they won’t follow through. The faster you can persuade and influence a person to make their decision, the more likely you will achieve your goals. This is where we get promotions like “one-day sale,” and “This offer won’t last long” (The Law of Scarcity). On the flip side, be sure your aren’t ever pressured into an impulse decision that you’ll regret. I remember once negotiating a contract for the marketing department of a big corporation. I knew the Laws of Persuasion and I knew what I wanted. I had a million other things to get done, and I felt rushed to hammer out the details of the contract that morning. The person I was negotiating with, on the other hand, was in no hurry and had nowhere to go. We bantered back and forth for six hours and still had not reached a resolution on a contract we were both happy with. My urgency to leave affected the terms I was finally able to get.
When we’re in a hurry, we’ll usually pay more to get what we need. When we need something right now, and someone has it, we will pay or do anything to get it. Think of all the convenience services that cost more. The all-night convenience store charges twice as much for a gallon of milk as the grocery store down the street. The 24-hour copy mart charges more than the traditional print service. Think about how much you paid for that book or magazine at the airport before you rushed to catch your plane. Being in a hurry definitely costs money.
Acting with boldness will not only give the perception of confidence, but it will actually help you feel more confident. What’s more, you’ll come across as brave and bold, and people will rally behind you. Their lack of esteem or confidence will naturally attract them to someone like you, who is bold and assertive. Boldness can lead to the accomplishment of unimaginable things. Assertive and bold behavior creates confidence and hides our deficiencies. When you assert yourself, people automatically assume you know what you are doing. Boldness and assertiveness create authority and often fear. This sends a clear message on how people should treat us. Assertiveness creates power and the ability to persuade. Shy, timid, weak people cannot persuade others or change their minds.
A great example of being bold and assertive happened in 1925 in Paris, France. The French scrap metal owners were summoned and taken to the nicest hotel in Paris. They were wined and dined and told an incredible story about the Eiffel Tower. They found out the tower was considered an eyesore and that the cost to maintain it was astounding. The tower was only supposed to be a temporary fixture and the City or Paris now wanted it removed. For the next three days, city council would be taking bids for the scrap metal. A bold and assertive salesman flashed a badge at security and took metal owners for a tour. He was so bold and convincing that one company paid over one million U.S. dollars for the tower. Obviously, it was a scam and the sorry bid winner resold the tower to someone else six months later.
Be unpredictable. Nothing confuses a target more than unpredictability. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes are probably the most frightening events to live through because of their sheer unpredictability. These phenomena don’t fit comfortably in our routines and so they are unnerving to us. Humans are creatures of habit; we love the familiar and predictable. We love a routine and a predictable outcome. When you are predictable, people feel a sense of control over you. Unpredictable and inconsistent behavior keeps people guessing and off balance. We have all had a boss or parent who was unpredictable. You did not know if they were going to yell, reward, or thank you for what you were doing. They spent calculated time trying to understand your next move. This type of power is very intimidating and uncontrollable.
People who are taken off guard or who are surprised by a request become unsure and will often comply with it. This insecurity and imbalance makes them more persuadable. A study by Milgram and Sabini demonstrated that people riding the New York subway were twice as likely to give up their seats to people who surprised them with the request, “May I have your seat?” as they were when they were told ahead of time of the person’s intention to ask for their seat. Fifty-six percent of surprised passengers gave up their seats compared to 28% of those who had been warned in advance.
Distraction also is a form of Psychological Power. Your prospects minds are elsewhere, so you give them something to think about. This is an unethical form of power you need to be aware of. Sometimes this tactic could end up putting you on the defensive, sidetracking you, or getting you angry. The distraction could be dropping something, screaming, throwing insults to get you off track, or distracting you from their real purpose.
Every year, Jerry Lewis hosts the muscular dystrophy telethon. Critics hate how he uses pity to raise funds, calling it demeaning and stigmatizing. Others argue, however, that the results outweigh anything that could possibly be bad about it: Reaching more than 100 million viewers through 200 different channels, the telethon raises over one hundred million dollars each year.
There is a crosswalk in my town where no one likes to stop for pedestrians. I’m always intrigued by what makes people stop at a crosswalk. I’ve noticed at this particular crosswalk that people normally just drive right through, without even noticing the pedestrians waiting to cross. One day, I suddenly noticed all of the cars stopping. I wondered what was happening until I saw an attractive college student with crutches waiting to cross the street. The power of pity pulled at the heartstrings of usually stoic drivers and influenced them to act in her favor.
Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income. Beware of the common mistakes presenters and persuaders commit that cause them to lose the deal. Get your free report 10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands and explode your income today.