Words of Wisdom: Standards and expectations

When you set your leadership expectations high, winners stretch to the challenge; whiners stretch away from the challenge


Words of Wisdom: Take charge

Great Leaders know things will get better because they know they will make things better


Negotiating with Influence: Irrefutable Law Eight

What is the difference between Persuasion (Influence) and Manipulation? This is the question I ask at the start of each of my Influence and Persuasion Workshop –

A question which sits at the very crux of being a person who negotiates with influence.

A question worth serious consideration and contemplation for any individual who wants to have more influence over others.

The difference? Strangely enough my research and observation of countless interactions in business and life has found that it in fact has very little to do with the persuasion/influencing technique used and everything to do with the observation and perception of the person on the receiving end of your ‘persuasion’

Pause a moment and think back over the past to a time where you were on the receiving end of somebody asking something of you. A time where although you said yes, you still sat there after the fact with a sense that you had been hoodwinked/taken advantage of. There was nothing sinister about the request, it was all above board however you just knew that you had been ‘manipulated’

This is why Irrefutable Law Eight came into being.

Irrefutable Law Eight – You need to HAVE Influence

Over the past two weeks I have shared with you my first Seven Irrefutable Laws of Negotiating with Influence. Seven Laws which I know (from my own application as well as testimonials of others) when applied with focus and positive intention result in: More Yes’s; Better, stronger more committed relationships and ultimately improved outcomes for yourself and the important people in your life.

This is where I need to share a cautionary tale – As I started applying the first Seven Laws  I still wasn’t getting the results I really wanted. At first I couldn’t figure out where the problem lay until I came across a book (which I share in the tips section) and all became clear. Unfortunately I realised the fundamental problem was that because I didn’t have influence, the application of influence resulted more often than not came across as manipulation

I realise at this point (from watching audiences who I spoken to and shared this message with) that as you read this you are probably scratching your head in confusion thinking “He says I need to influence but because I don’t have influence my influence will risk coming across as manipulation?!”

Write the following down and commit yourself to understanding this

“Being Persuasive is good, but having Influence is magic!”

Whats the key difference? Lets take a look at dictionary definitions of the following words

Persuade/Influence: (verb) The act of causing a person/people to believe or do something

Influence: (Adjective) A power (especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort) which affects a person to do something

In other words to truly be able to negotiate with influence, you need to also have influence. You will be glad to know that we all are born with influence! Not only that but we all have the ability to develop our influence (refer to Irrefutable Law’s Three and Six for guidance on how this occurs)

Lets take a look at a few tips on how to become a person of influence

  • Tip One – Read the book ‘Becoming a person of influence‘ by John Maxwell and the late Jim Dornan. This is one of my core development tools which I read and continuously work on developing every year. In it you will find the blue print on how to truly become a person of influence
  • Tip Two – Start developing your ‘expert’ influence! ‘Expert’ influence is achieved through becoming an expert in your chosen field. This includes a journey and plan of continuous development (formal and/or informal) focusing on the advancement of learning and application of knowledge and skills help me develop my Expert Influence
  • Tip Three – Become a value adder! If you look back to Irrefutable Law Three – Add value you will come across a quote which read “You are not paid for your time, but for the value you bring” To truly be a person of influence do everything in your power to add value to the relationships you seek to build. This could include but is not limited to volunteering on projects and under promising/over delivering

With the application of these and may other tips I have slowly but surely started becoming a person of influence and along with the application of the first seven laws am continuously improving as a negotiator with influence

Tomorrow Negotiating with Influence – Irrefutable Law Nine



Words of Wisdom: Performance and Productivity

High productivity and performance is not achieved through compensation. Rather, it is achieved through identifying and and understanding the individuals needs and then helping them achieve these needs


Words of Wisdom: Listening is magic

Your people don’t commit to you when they understand. They only commit to you when they feel understood


Negotiate with Influence: Irrefutable Law Four


You read that right! You’ve picked up the courage to apply Irrefutable Law One – You have to communicate what you want, you’ve done it in such a way that sell’s it rather than tells it – Irrefutable Law Two and you’ve even managed to add value – Irrefutable Law Three  and the person says no!

Welcome back to Negotiating with Influence – The Ten Irrefutable Laws Day Four :0)

I wish I could sit here and write that if you applied the first three Laws that you would be guaranteed a Yes; unfortunately this would be a lie. The reason – Have you heard the saying that people will say No on average seven times before they are willing to listen/say Yes? Apart from googling The Rule of Seven it is hard to find academic research on this (I have to admit that I did come across a piece and neglectfully didn’t right down the source – will share as soon as I find it) however it is easy to imagine this being the case and here are some pretty valid reasons why

  1. When you make your first approach you don’t follow The Square of Communication
  2. You get one of the pieces of the square wrong
  3. Repeat
  4. You get all elements of the square right but the person is having a bad day
  5. Got 4. right and the persons having a good day but you didn’t sell it and they don’t see the value
  6. Got 4. and 5. right but the person still says no because of factors influence by Irrefutable Laws Five and Six
  7. You get 4. ad 5. and 6. right and the person says yes

Of course this is purely an example. The main point is If the person says no “Don’t be surprised, accept it as a given – In fact Prof Steve Peters, Author of the Chimp Paradox – The Science and Mind Management for Success in Business and in Life, has this to say about the answer No (Pg 94 – The Guiding Moon (part 2))

“Saying ‘no’ is the appropriate response of an adult who is respecting his or her own exhaustibility or boundaries.”

“Saying ‘no’ is a powerful thing to do by a balanced person.”

“People who are realistic will accept being turned down and appreciate that you have the right to say ‘no’.”

“People respect those who can say ‘no’



Remember I shared the first time I formally asked for a raise? and the response was a resounding No! Well the challenge I had (and still struggle with – something to do with fear of failure) was that I accepted that as the final word and kept stumm after that.

Which brings us onto why Irrefutable Law Four is so critical to apply

Irrefutable Law Four – Handle the Objection!

That’s right. I don’t think there is any other rule that I have to dedicate myself to applying in every situation (apart from Irrefutable Law One) as Irrefutable Law Four. No matter what it is imperative that I (and any of you wishing to Negotiate with Influence) handle the no!

Why is this such a critical Law to apply? Because for 1), this is where true negotiation starts and 2) If I don’t ‘handle’ the objection the conversation comes to an end and I miss out on the chance to work the magic 3) Handling the objection shows assertiveness which demonstrates self belief and confidence which in turn generates respect!

Here are a few tips on handling the objections

  • Tip 1 – See the objection for what it really is!
    • An objection is simply a communication by the receiver that they either: are in disagreement with; disapprove of; refuse to accept; or oppose something they have heard/not heard. Let me repeat that last part ‘THEY HAVE HEARD/NOT HEARD” Note that I have not stated ‘what you said’ although when you reflect back on The Communication Model, your communication has contributed to ‘WHAT THEY HEARD’.
    • An objection is simply a focal signal that their needs have not been met
    • An objection is not a sign of failure or that the person does not like you (although the reality is that this may well be the case) it is simply that they have not understood what you are communicating
  • Tip 2 – Seek to understand which part of the communication they are objecting to. Two advantages to this
    1. The conversation continues
    2. You can uncover the needs which allows you the opportunity to sell again

Here’s how to handle the objection

Ask “WHY?” ….

Wait! Come back!

This is really the key question which uncovers everything. Obviously I wouldn’t ask it quite like that (although I have to admit that is what I am developing towards) as I have very limiting belief that the question in this form is far too confrontational and  that this question would damage the relationship. I know this worries more than 50% of people facing this situation, so here is an outline of how to ask why in a more ‘non-confrontational’ manner

Pause for 10 seconds (shows you are considerate of their response – silence is power)

Thank them for the the opportunity to communicate (This shows respect)

Ask “why?” (if you are not comfortable with this word you could ask something along the lines of “what is the reason for this?” or “what is the primary barrier to you saying Yes?”) you could also using a bridging technique as in “No…. because!?” or “No….meaning!?”

Once they give you the first answer, ask “what else is stopping you/in the way/preventing you?” keep asking this until they say “nothing else” Note – This may feel very uncomfortable but it is essential that you keep digging up the barriers. Failure to get all of them will bight you in the proverbial behind later down the track

Once all barriers have been identified ask “if all these barriers were not a consideration, then it would have been a Yes?” This question has two purposes a) It tests whether there are any more barriers b) it is an influencing technique

If the answer is “Yes” start to establish the needs

Once needs have been established ask ” if these solutions were in place would you be willing to move forward?”

If “No” re-start the process; If “yes” ask to work together on creating the plan to accomplish this

  • Tip 3 – Make sure you endeavor in each interaction to gain agreement on some kind of follow up action/contact/communication which brings you closer to your goal and keeps the conversation alive

There you have it, Irrefutable Law Four of Negotiating with Influence – Handle the Objection

Have a fantastic Weekend, see you Monday


Negotiating with Influence: Irrefutable Law Two

I was on the receiving end of one of the best introductions to a sales call I have had in while this morning. Typically telesales calls are shocking! Why? Because when I answer the phone the introduction goes like this

Hi, can I speak to Mr Weber please?

What really grabs my goat about this start to a call is that I know it’s a sales call and immediately I am on the defensive with my automatic internal response being “Who are you? What company are you representing? What are you trying to convince me into buying?” with an immediate block to any message from there on out. What comes out of my mouth “Who is this please?” and typically ends one short minute later

What made this morning’s call special? The caller started with who they were, where they were calling from and why before they asked to speak to Mr Weber, and the clincher – it was an organisation I had recently interacted with and was interested in. My response “It is Mr Weber with a warmth to my voice” conversation continues

The reason that I share this little story is that yesterday in my post Negotiating with Influence – The Ten Irrefutable Laws, I shared Irrefutable Law One – You have to communicate what you want. A quick recap being

a) If you want anything you need to ask

b) There can be no negotiation without setting out your stall

c) People don’t ask/communicate with one major fear being they are scared of damaging the relationship (other fears being: coming across as incompetent; not getting what you want)

Which leads us beautifully into Irrefutable Law Two and the reason for my opening gambit.

Irrefutable Law Two: Sell it, Don’t tell it

That’s right! As important as it is to communicate what you want, it is equally as important to ensure that you communicate it in the right way and this means selling it, not telling it.

Let me put this into context. I have never been very good at communicating what I want mainly because I had an unhealthy and unrealistic fear of damaging the relationship and a host of other things I am working on. Thankfully I am working on this and proud to say that I’m getting better ;0) My first memorable ask was my first attempt at negotiating a raise in my first sales job. Picture this – End of a long day, my boss and I are having a few post work beers and out of the blue I blurt out “I feel I deserve a raise!

Firstly koodos to me! I asked, which was a personal best for me, unfortunately courage to ask isn’t quite enough and the answer was a resounding “No!”. I unfortunately was not very good at applying Irrefutable Law Four  at this point so that ended that conversation.

What I subsequently learned over the years was that in order to get a Yes, it is not enough to tell people what you want – although if you do only this consistently utilising the tips shared the odds are you will and do ultimately get more yes’s (at its base its all about the numbers) – what is needed to increase the chance of yes to an even greater level is to put it in such a way that shows value for what you are asking. I.E. You have to sell it.

Here are a few very valid rationals for this

  1. In every communication there are four messages being conveyed and received! In my leadership and sales training I have long delivered the message that “You cannot NOT communicate”. I always knew this to be true due to the impact of our mind on our actions/behaviours but had never seen any specific research science on this until yesterday (surprees!!) In my daily development I came across a piece called The Communication Model by Schultz Von Thun Psychologist and expert in interpersonal and intrapersonal communication – Click on the link and go check him and his communication model out – its fascinating. The essence being that everything being said is being judged and validated and therefore if what you are communicating doesn’t mesh with what the person is using to validate and judge what you are saying your communication will not be received in the way you wished (and breathe…)
  2. Whenever you are asking somebody for something they are always (consciously or subconsciously evaluating “Whats in it for me?”
  3. They are also thinking “What will it cost me?” as well as “What have you done to deserve this”

Hence the need to sell and not just tell.

  • Tip 1. Seek to understand before putting together your pitch – There is often a misconception that selling is all about the giving of information when in fact it only plays a small part of the whole ‘sell’ the key to ‘selling’ is to gather as many facts as possible both  about the ‘person on the receiving end’ as well as what you are offering before you make your pitch. The reason for this is that facts properly lead to needs which in turn are what you are putting your request towards.
  • Tip 2 – Make sure you prepare for your pitch using The Communication Square I shared in the previous post
  • Tip 3 – Communicate using the format Simon Sinek shares in his phenomenal Ted Talk ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ click on the picture below.


I cant remember how long sales training taught the framework What – Why – How. Simon put this on its head and shows why it is crucial when selling any idea that you start with WHY? then WHAT then HOW

In summary then in order to hope to Negotiate with Influence it is essential that Not only must you apply Irrefutable Law One – You need to ask/communicate what you want but that when you do so as set out in Irrefutable Law Two – Sell it, Don’t tell

Tomorrow Irrefutable Law Three

Have an amazing end of day.