In which we discover whether our subject
is being persuaded to make a major or
suppose you could call the more elementary persuasion
techniques ‘Pounce and Sign’ and they work extremely
well if the decision is not a major one nor has the threat of
serious consequences. However, we can come up against real
resistance when the decision is a huge one. It’s not about
whether the other party likes or even dislikes us, it is when
they can see that their decisions could have life-changing
ramifications. If we are going to use our map analogy here,
our subjects are a very long way from the destination that
we have got planned for them, but I believe that anyone can
be persuaded to do anything. After all, the only thing that is
preventing them is the processes that are going on in their
If you watch the current batch of superstar illusionists
they seem to be able to alter the audience’s entire perception
of the world. The difference is that after they’ve convinced
us that we have lost the use of our legs, or they can talk
to the dead or read our minds, they give a little chuckle
and put the world back to rights. We, on the other hand,
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are looking for permanent changes, changes that we have
to bear responsibility for, so before we turn up the gas too
much we have to consider the consequences. Should this
person have married you? Should this company change
their supplier of fifty years and put their faith in you? Can
you really look after this person’s life savings?
When I was a lot younger my persuasion skills were
raw but natural. I persuaded as a sort of reflex to any chal-
lenge or situation, and as a result I got myself and everyone
around me into very regrettable scrapes. First step, then, is
to ask yourself, “Do I really want this and can I manage the
responsibility and consequences?”
I Know Where I am Going
That being dealt with, let’s go for it! Seeing the overview of
the whole journey is the first key step.
Who are you going to persuade?
What is it you are going to persuade them to do?
Where exactly are they now?
Where exactly do you want them to be?
What obstacles stand between these two clearly de ned
If you are in a business, choose someone out of your head
who you would dearly like to do business with. OK, you’ve
chosen Mr Perkins of Perkins International Transport. That
is a very ambitious choice: Perkins would be bigger than
any other client you have ever had, you have dealt with
Mr Perkins before and he hates you, he is quite happy with
his current supplier, and you are going to struggle on price.
Grim as this sounds, it is actually worse than this because
in the real world you don’t even know all the facts stated –
but now we do know them, and if that is the complete list,
once these obstacles have been removed Perkins is ours.
This in commercial circles is known as ‘Targeted Selling’. If
handled correctly, the outcome should be inevitable even if
the process takes years.
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