Yes, we are all unique and special but we are also predictable – particularly if we have been raised in the same or very similar culture.

Selling is about getting people to do what we want. Of course we want a win-win but we still want to win.

Understanding how people’s minds work can give us tremendous power over ourselves, over situations and other people. Look at the visual just below. Are you really seeing what you think you are seeing or is the visual taking advantage of the way your mind works?


Something to think about?

  1. To subtly control any meeting imagine that you’re the host at a party. You are positive, polite, and helpful but subtly in control. This will allow you to exert a subtle dominance without the risk of being pushy or rude. Also, the key to confidence is to assume that everyone in the room likes you and this strategy will deliver.
  2. When you first meet people make a point to look carefully and register the colour of their eyes. The extra instant that this takes slightly extends the attention you deliver making people feel special.
  3. Ask small favours. People are much more likely to agree to your requests if you they agree to something small in advance. Ask them for a glass of water or to sit in a different chair. Even asking if it is okay to take note during the meeting – ‘do, you mind of I take notes?’ Cognitive dissonance makes people feel they must like you because they have helped you.
  4. When speaking to a group of people – large or small – if we focus on a handful of people scattered throughout the audience the entire audience will feel more connected. As you speak, pick one person and speak directly to them for just a few seconds longer than feels comfortable then move to another person in a different part of the room and do the same. The entire audience will feel you were engaging with them – powerful!
  5. People will not remember what you said but how you made them feel so focus on making people feel good and you will be remembered more positively.
  6. People have a certain self-image of themselves and will fight to hang on to that image. Support that image and they will like you and think you are smart.
  7. False attribution. When meeting a client for a lunch or dinner select a location that supports how you want them to feel about you. They will tend to falsely associate the feeling they have for the venue with the feeling they have for you.
  8. Look at people’s feet. If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torso and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation. Similarly if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.
  9. Always be honest so when you have to lie, people will believe you.
  10. Hate to Cold Call? You are in control of your emotions, and thoughts. Try replacing some immediate responses. Tell yourself you’re happy about something, or you’re excited. Eventually your brain will end up believing it. That’s the same for being down, and that’s why you should never try to diagnose yourself. Saying you’re depressed, or have social anxiety would end up with you being more anxious, and more depressed. You won’t notice it at first, but over a few months it will have a pretty noticeable effect on your personality.
  11. People are never angry at what they think they are angry at – this is a fact. If clients are upset don’t argue back and take the bait, be super nice even when they get openly hostile. They will soon calm down, feel embarrassed by their excess emotion and then you will be in control.
  12. Stand up straight, no slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliché — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.
  13. Not always a must, but try to dress well for important occasions (including interviews). If you look good, you feel good; and if you feel good, you’ll do good.
  14. In a negotiation setting, always start by anchoring, meaning start on a more radical extreme end of what you expect to get. That way, you and the other side can work to that result, rather than you locking yourself out of it.
  15. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary. These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.
  16. When feeling anxious, clean up your desk/ office/house/apartment. You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.
  17. Refer to people you’ve just met by their name. People loving being referred to by their name, and it will establish a sense of trust and friendship right away. If you have just been introduced to Peter and after 5 minutes he decides to leave. Don’t just say, “bye”, but instead say “Bye Peter!”
  18. When pitching something, make your case, then don’t say anything else. People get uncomfortable with silence and many times will end up caving just to avoid the awkwardness of silence. Similarly, when someone has agreed to help you, don’t continue talking, because the more you say, the more chances they will get to renege on their agreement. This tip is helpful for negotiations and pitches.
  19. In a meeting, if you think someone is going to give you a hard time for something, sit next to them. First of all, it makes it awkward for them to have to turn and talk to you, which kind of takes the luster out of whatever power they were going to try to exercise over you.  Second, if they’re right next to you, it makes whatever they were going to say way more personal than they wanted it to be, thus the rest of the group can’t “defend” them.