Accelerating Business Growth

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

“How effective are you at leveraging the Principle of Authority?”

Today I want to share with you a fascinating principle of influence called Authority.

This is another concept taken from a book called Influence Science and Practice by Professor Robert Cialdini. As always I’ve added my personalisation to it on how you can apply it for yourself in your business.

This is how it works!

Who were Authority figures when you were a child?

Your parents, teachers, friends’ parents, grandparents, policeman -perhaps just a few which spring to mind!

And when you enter adult life – again the same question: Who are Authority figures?

Your boss, still your parents, police, professionals: solicitors, lawyers, doctors, people in uniforms? One person on one of my seminars recently said their partner!

Well – within Authority figures there are 3 factors which can help influence the levels with which people perceive your authority.

Those factors are:

+ Title
+ Trappings and…
+ Clothing

Let’s look at each of these in turn and how you can use this principle for yourself and also in your business.


I’ve never been a great fan of titles as I think you earn respect – no one has a god given right to it. That aside however, your title does make a difference in terms of how you are perceived at the first interaction with a person.

For example when I’m speaking at conferences I’ve tested just saying “Good morning my names Royston Guest from Pti International” and I’ve also tested “Good morning my names Royston Guest, Sales & Marketing Director of Pti International”

Which do you think has greater impact in creating Authority? The second one and you can feel the different atmosphere and how effective my opening is just by using these two different approaches.

Another example: I have a contact who is an Area Manager for a bank. He was in one of his branches a few months ago and a prospective customer walked in. He just happened to be walking across the banking hall and the customer stopped him and said:

“Excuse me can you please help me. I’m looking to change banks for my business. I’m not happy with my current bank and I’ve just been into one of your competitors up the road and I did not like the person I spoke with. Can you help?”

My contact had been on one of my workshops and decided to do something different this time. Instead of just introducing himself by his name he said “My name is John Smith (yes a made up name) and I’m Area Manager for this region looking after 14 Local Business Managers”

He called me that very afternoon saying it was amazing how just by using his full name and title how it increased the perceived authority in that initial interaction with the customer.

So perhaps the first question today and subsequent action is this. Do you and your team have the appropriate titles in order to build your position of authority in the minds of your customers, suppliers and contacts and… do you use your full name and title and even the name of your business (particularly if it is a well known and respected brand) in order to build your authority?


We live in a visual and status driven world and whether we like it or not we are judged on the trappings we have. So what do I mean by trappings? Well, your car, briefcase, day timer, quality of your business card, the thickness of the card, your business stationary and marketing literature. People form snap shot judgments about you based upon these trappings.

I always use this example. Imagine a sales person going into sign up the biggest deal they’ve ever done. They arrive at the point of completing the paperwork and go to their briefcase and pull out the contract. Passing it over to the prospective new client they’re wiping off the jam and bread crumbs from the breakfast table this morning and peeling back one of the corners which has turned over in their full briefcase. They then go to their pocket and pull out their half chewed bic pen and hand it across to the client to sign.

Creating the right impression?

I think not! I’m sure you have the point?

This is not about being flash – it’s about having the appropriate trappings to position your personal brand correctly in the minds of your customers. So perhaps the second action today is to answer the focused question for yourself and your team:

Do you have the appropriate trappings?

And finally…


Well dressed is appropriately dressed! Today it’s not essential to be fully suited and booted all the time. It’s about toning your clothing up or down depending on the person with who you’re meeting and also the environment in which the meeting is taking place.

You can look smart and professional without having to wear a tie!

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You have to be heard to be believed!”

Well I actually think that is the wrong way around. “You have to be believed to be heard!”

The believability comes first. And your clothing is a key factor in guaranteeing you personally create believability in that first interaction.

So, perhaps the third key action driven from this focused question.

Do you and your team have the believability factor? Driven by your clothing – well dressed is appropriately dressed!


There you have it – another fascinating principle of influence which you can instantly apply and use for yourself and with your team.

Post written by Royston Guest -

Saturday, August 12, 2006

“We all have a desire to be consistent as human beings!”

Our ability to be able to influence and persuade others is critical in all areas of our lives – so today I want to share with you a fascinating principle of influence called Consistency.

This concept is taken from a book called Influence Science and Practice by Professor Robert Cialdini. I urge you to read it – it’s probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of influencing and persuasion.

As always I’ve added my personalisation to it on how you can apply it for yourself in your business.

This is how it works!

We have the desire to be consistent and appear as consistent human beings – this can work against us and for us.

“As human beings we take actions that are consistent with previous actions”

And… perhaps most importantly:

“We take action based on previously expressed beliefs!”

Everyone uses shortcut decision-making processes in so many different areas of their lives.

For Example…

Let me share with you some fascinating information from Cialdini's book.

Some researchers, in America, went to people's houses and asked them to agree to put a large billboard in their front gardens regarding road safety.

The billboard was ugly and badly designed.

As you might expect 83% refused and only 17% agreed.

Though from the way in which Cialdini describes the billboard I'm surprised that even 17% agreed.

So the researchers tested a different strategy.

They went to another set of houses and asked the owners if they would be prepared to put in their front windows a 3-inch square sign, which said:

‘Be a safe driver!’ As you can imagine most said:


Then, a couple of weeks later, the researchers went back and asked the people who had previously agreed to the three inch sign, if they would be prepared to have the ugly billboard in their front gardens and amazingly or perhaps not so – 76% said:


Not only, is this fascinating information the fact that 76% said yes, but you and I can use this idea, with integrity, to increase sales conversion rates and thereby increase turnover and profits.

The key lies in this expression:

"People will never consistently do who they aren't”

Or in other words:

Who we are is our beliefs and values, and what we do is invariably consistent with those beliefs and values.

Now, if we reverse the expression we get:

“People will consistently do who they are.”

And so linking back to the billboard and the increase in compliance rates: people will consistently do whom they have publicly expressed they are!

“People will consistently do who they have
publicly expressed they are.”

So when you and I or for that matter anyone else publicly announces - often accompanied by action, a set of beliefs and values and are asked to take further actions, that are totally in alignment, with those previously expressed beliefs, we will use shortcut decision-making processes and take congruent action.

So how do you and I use this knowledge?

Well, during the fact finding or information gathering with both current and prospect customers and clients, we need to find out their beliefs and values regarding the product or service we are selling.

Then…provided that we are asking our customers or clients to take action or actions that are in alignment with those beliefs and values - their publicly expressed beliefs and values, they are far more likely to say:


What questions, can you ask that will have the customer telling you – who they are?

Let me give you an example of how I use this in my business:

Example 1 - Selling training services:

When talking with prospect clients and understanding in detail their business – current position and future goals one of the key pieces of information I want to discover is their beliefs and values centered on training.

So here’s some of the questions I would use:

Have you done any training with your people before? (if they answer ‘Yes’ then I know fundamentally they believe in the concept of training)
So you do believe in an ongoing programme of training and development then? (Note the words ongoing programme)
And how important are your people in delivering your overall vision for the business? Most Leaders have their people in the top 2 success factors
So arming them with key skills to raise their personal bars and most importantly build the new skills into their daily activity is high on your personal agenda then

The ‘Yes’ answer to this final question leads me into ‘demonstrating’ phase of WHY they should choose Pti and why we are different.

Example 2 - Life insurance:

“Do you have any life insurance?”

The ‘yes’ – indicates that the customer already believes in the concept.

The next question could be:

“Why?” - a simple ‘Why?’ would probably be too blunt – but, the answer to this ‘why’ type question – would have the customer telling you their, beliefs and values about the idea of life insurance – then you can capitalise on that statement about, who they are!

I'm certain that you have the idea.

This is one of the most powerful ideas I can share with you... I urge you to take this thought, work with it and create a series of questions that will enable you to find out the beliefs and values of your potential customers -so you can correctly align any actions you wish the customer to take with their stated position.

It’s far easier for a customer to make a series of small decisions, rather than one BIG decision at the end of a conversation, as each question, confirms their beliefs and values, both generally and specifically to the ideas you’re putting forward.


website hosting count: