It’s not a magic bullet; it is very powerful.
For years I’ve shared with individuals and audiences a phrase that – when used appropriately, correctly, and at the right time – might just be one of the most persuasive phrases possible.
Yes, even with those people who can otherwise just be difficult to deal with.
It’s a life-transforming phrase but, again, it’s not a magic bullet. Like all aspects of influence and positive persuasion we discuss in these videos, it actually makes very logical and rational sense…when realizing we’re often dealing with people who are not acting logically and rationally and instead are driven by their emotions and their egos.
So no, it’s not magic, however, the results will often seem as though it is.
Comprised of just eight words, it’ll move practically anyone to take the action best for all concerned.
We all face the following situation at one time or another; we need help from an unhelpful customer service representative, or a frustrating bureaucrat, perhaps an inharmonious person in another division of the company, or similar-type person; we need them to help us with something they don’t have to help us with.
It’s either easier for them to do as little as possible, they don’t feel equipped or empowered to help, or it’s simply their style.
So, what do we do? How do we handle the situation so that we attain the results we want, while, of course, helping them to feel genuinely good about themselves and helping them learn how to be more helpful to others in the future?
We begin by letting them have their say. While they tell us why “it can’t be done” we simply listen with a polite countenance, without interrupting. If we interrupt, we make them angry and strengthen their resolve to be unaccommodating.
Next, agree with them. “Yes, I see why that does make sense.” Or, “Yes, it makes sense that would be an issue.” Or, “Yes, the reasoning behind that is very valid.”
“What!?” you may ask. “Why would you do that!?”
Because it gently disarms them. You’re not disagreeing with them so there is, in fact, no argument. You’re re-setting the frame from an argument; you versus them to simple fact-finding and cooperation.
Now, help them to move into the “solution” by suggesting a way they can do what you need them to do while they still feel in control.
What you say, of course, will depend upon your unique circumstances. It typically isn’t very difficult since doing what’s needed usually isn’t that difficult.
Thus far you’ve been polite, patient, and persistent. While they understand your determination to get the desired results, you’ve been so pleasant to deal with, not only can they not be angry with you, they actually want to help you. That is key!
Of course, they can’t “lose face” in front of you, so you need to help them along. Now you say the “Eight Key Words”, or what I call, “The Phrase that Persuades.”
Here it is:
“If you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand.” If you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand.
Here you’ve done two important things: first, you’ve given them an “out” — a “backdoor.” You haven’t painted them into a corner from which he or she cannot escape but, instead you made them feel very comfortable, not pressured.
You’ve also “gently challenged” them to use their power for good, being part of the solution instead of the problem. They now want to do for you, that which they wouldn’t do for most others.
If appropriate, after the “Eight Key Words” you can say, “If you could, I’d certainly appreciate it.” Then, while they’re in the process of searching for the information or just making up their mind, you can add what I call the “coup de grace”, which is “Of course, don’t get yourself in any hot water over it.”
So…If you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand…..
If you could, I’d certainly appreciate it…..
“Of course, don’t get yourself in any hot water over it.”
Wow — talk about moving a person over to your side of the issue!
What you’ve really accomplished is to reposition the conflict from “you against them” to “you and them”…as a team. You’ve also shown faith in them that you believe they can come through while assuring them that if they really can’t that you value them more than you value the result.
You’ve completely taken the pressure off, while causing them to want to help you.
Utilize this consistently, in any situation in which you’re dealing with an unhelpful person. You’ll both come away winners, which is really what Genuine Influence is all about.