How you can influence somebody with a simple phrase


Now, I came across this study and this study is quite eyeopening and it shows you how you can influence somebody with a simple phrase that is negative. Yeah. Here it comes. They did a study and what they were looking to do is that they had a person who needed money for a parking meter, right, person needs money for a parking meter, and the study would say, just approach any random pedestrian and asked them if they would be willing to give you money for the meter. So in other words, you would approach somebody and you say, “Excuse me, would you be willing to give me some money for the meter?”

Now, what do you think the yes rate was on that one? What do you think it was? 10%, 20%? Yay. If you said 0%, you’re probably from the East coast. That was a joke. If you’re from Midwest, especially Minnesota, you probably said 80% would say yes. Again, that was a joke too. But the study revealed that 50% of the people agreed to give the person some money for the meter. Wow. 50% decided to give them money for the meter. So then they wanted to find out, is there a way to increase that number? And what they decided to do was to use a phrase that would acknowledge the resistance to giving somebody money, acknowledge their hesitancy, and then make the request. So instead of just say, “Would you be willing to give me money for the meter?” They edit this phrase at the beginning, a preamble goes, “Look, excuse me, sir. I know you might not want to, I know you might not want to, but would you be willing to give me money for the meter?”

What do you think happened? That’s right. There was a spike in the number of yeses. Why? Why did that work? Why did that work in the majority of cases? Let’s analyze this. By acknowledging the resistance, I know you might not want to, but, and by the way, you realize that but negates the previous statement, but the interesting part here is that you’re acknowledging that they might not want to do it. I know you might not want to, but is there any way you’d be willing to give me money for the meter? And so I think this is a simple, powerful way to kind of lower the buyer’s resistance. I know you may not want to, for example, but would you be willing to start next week? Let’s say I want to ask somebody to start a project, right? And I know they’re busy, but I said, “I know you might not want to, but would you be willing to start next week?”

Or how about this one? Let’s say you’re trying to set up a meeting and you say something like this, “I know you might not want to, but can we get together next Monday for 30 minutes or so?” And again, you’ll feel the difference because again, you’re acknowledging that they’re busy, that there may be some resistance, but by doing that, you lower that resistance. How about this one? “I know you might be busy or you may not want to, but buying this now will save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run.” That’s a nice way to do an upsell right there. I know you may not want to, but buying this now or adding this feature will save you a lot of headaches and a lot of money in the long run.

So there are so many ways, and by the way, you don’t have to use the I know you may not want to, but. You can come up with your own variations, maybe say something like this, “Maybe now isn’t a good time, but, maybe now isn’t a good time, but can we get together on Monday for 30 minutes or so?” Or how about this one? You’ve heard this one. “Look, I know you’re really busy, but would you be willing to get together for five to 10 minutes next week so we can discuss this?” That’s if you’re trying to get a meeting. So there are so many ways that you can use this, but again, the request is always going to be there. But by putting this preamble, acknowledging the resistance that, in other words, they’re busy, they’ve got other things to do and they may not want to do it. For some reason, psychologically, that kind of takes us away from this reactance mode.

Remember, when people push you into a corner, you react, right? When people force you to do something, like you have to attend that meeting, you’re like, “No, I don’t.” And so that causes that reactance. But by saying you may not want to, you may not have the time, phrases like that remove the person out of the quarter and give them options. Because isn’t that, as human beings, what we want? We don’t like people to restrict our freedom. Would you agree with that? We don’t like anybody to restrict our movement, our freedom, our ability to do anything, but we appreciate when somebody acknowledges that we might be busy, that we may not have the time, that I know it’d be a great sacrifice to them if they were to do me a favor. By acknowledging that, you’re more likely to get a yes than a no.

Leave me some feedback. I love to hear your opinion or how you would use this strategy in your business. Let me know what you think, I’d greatly appreciate it.