Summary-Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact - Phil M Jones
Here is a summary of the key points:
The author has studied human relationships and interactions extensively. He has found that some people achieve dramatically better results than others even with the same resources and opportunities. The key difference is that successful people know exactly what to say and how to say it to get the outcomes they want.
In 2012, the author published a book called Magic Words that featured words and phrases that directly influence people’s subconscious minds. The book was very successful, and readers who applied the lessons got great results.
The subconscious mind is very powerful in making quick decisions. It sees things as either “yes” or “no” and avoids “maybes.” Using words that tap into the subconscious mind can give you an advantage in conversations and help you get what you want.
The subconscious mind handles many daily tasks like controlling breathing, navigating familiar routes, and noticing things that are personally relevant. We all rely on our subconscious minds to function without having to consciously process everything.
This book revisits some of the Magic Words from the author’s previous book, adds new words and phrases, and provides examples of how to use them in conversations. The goal is to help readers understand the power of word choice and make simple changes to become more persuasive and influential.
The advice can be applied in business and life in general. The author recommends readers take notes and come up with their own examples as they read.
In summary, choosing your words wisely and tapping into the power of the subconscious mind can lead to better outcomes in all of your interactions and conversations.
The author shares several "magic words" and phrases you can use to become a more effective communicator. The magic words allow you to introduce ideas or make requests in a non-threatening way, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.
The first magic phrase is "I'm not sure if it's for you, but..." This phrase makes the listener curious about what's being offered while also feeling no obligation or pressure. Their curiosity drives them to find out more.
The second is "How open-minded are you?" Asking this makes the listener want to appear open-minded, naturally attracting them to considering your idea or request. People want to see themselves as open-minded.
The third is "What do you know about...?" This questions the knowledge and opinions of the listener, causing them to realize their certainty may be unfounded. It moves them from a stance of certainty to one of doubt, making them more open to influence.
The fourth is "How would you feel if...?" This taps into the listener's emotions and motivations. Understanding motivation - why people act - is key to persuasion. Framing a scenario that helps the listener visualize how they would feel in a given situation makes them emotionally motivated to move in the direction you desire.
The techniques seem simple but require practice to master. The author encourages trying them and sharing your experiences. Communicating in this way can transform conversations and interactions.
People are more motivated to avoid potential losses than to achieve potential gains. Decisions are made based on feelings, not logic. By asking “How would you feel if...?”, you allow people to imagine future scenarios and the emotions associated with them. This helps motivate people toward positive outcomes or away from negative ones.
“Just imagine” prompts people to picture the scenario you describe. Their imagination can create a vivid picture that is more compelling than your words alone. Tell stories to create pictures in people’s minds. Describe appealing future scenarios to motivate people.
Asking “When would be a good time to...?” prompts people to assume there will be a good time to consider your request or idea. It prevents them from claiming they don’t have time and helps avoid that objection. Follow up at the agreed upon time to keep control of the conversation.
Start a conversation by saying “I’m guessing you haven’t got around to...” when you fear someone hasn’t done what they said they would. This prevents them from using excuses and forces them to either confirm they did it or commit to correcting their failure to act. It allows them to save face but still moves the conversation in the direction you want.
Turn an open-ended question into a closed-ended one to get a guaranteed outcome or answer. For example, rather than asking “Do you have any questions?”, ask “What questions do you have for me?”. This avoids suggesting the person should have questions and feeling stupid if they don’t. It encourages them to ask questions rather than leaving to think about it.
A simple change in wording from “Do you have any questions?” to “What questions do you have for me?” shifts the dynamic from being out of your control to being completely in your control. By assuming an outcome with “Do you have any questions?”, the easiest response is often “no questions”. In contrast, “What questions do you have for me?” typically results in receiving questions or getting closer to a decision, avoiding “I need time to think about it”.
Changing a few words can significantly impact the results of a conversation. Two examples:
“Can I have your phone number?” creates resistance as it requires a yes/no answer and can seem invasive. “What’s the best number to contact you at?” typically yields the information freely.
“As I see it, you have three options” helps guide someone through a decision by presenting limited, focused choices. State the options, with your preferred choice last, making it the path of least resistance. Finish with “What’s going to be easier for you?”, compelling them to choose from the options given.
There are two types of people: those who help others decide and drive action, and those who simply spark interest. As salespeople and entrepreneurs, we aim to be “decision catalysts” and “professional mind-maker-uppers”. Polarizing choices and an easy option aid the decision-making process.
The phrases “There are two types of people in this world” and “I bet you’re a bit like me” prompt people to instantly determine which category they fall into or agree with what you’re saying. Provide two choices, making one clearly preferable. Use these techniques to gather evidence to support your recommendations or avoid objections.
Our speech patterns and belief systems develop from childhood. The “if...then” statements we heard frequently as children created mental habits and systems that inform our decision making. We can leverage this by using similar conditional statements in our communication to compel people to action or agreement in a familiar, comfortable way.
Conditional statements that start with “if” and follow with “then” are very persuasive because people tend to believe the outcome that follows the “then.” For example, “If you give this a try, then I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
The phrases “don’t worry” and “most people” are very powerful in influencing people and putting them at ease. Saying “don’t worry” relieves people of their anxiety and tension. Saying “most people” appeals to people’s desire to follow the crowd and do what others are doing.
The phrase “the good news is” helps turn a negative conversation into a positive one. By labeling something as “good news,” it becomes hard for the other person to see it differently. This helps redirect conversations in a more optimistic direction. Responding to excuses with “that’s great” has a similar effect.
The phrase “what happens next is” is useful in business discussions to lead the conversation and prompt a decision or action. After presenting information, saying “what happens next is” and explaining the logical next steps helps move the discussion forward. Without this prompt, many discussions stall without a clear decision or outcome.
In summary, these types of phrases are very persuasive and help positively influence people through psychological principles like believing in conditional outcomes, following the crowd, optimistic reframing, and prompting logical next steps. Using language in this strategic way can be very effective in all types of communications and relationships.
Here is a summary of the key points:
• It is your responsibility to lead the conversation and move it toward a close. Asking an easy question to answer at the end helps gain a quick, positive response. For example, “In terms of registering your details, what is the best address for you?”
• The easier the question is to answer, the easier it is to gain a decision. Having a concise, constructive conversation means successfully closing more conversations in the first meeting.
• Objections are a shift in control of the conversation. Treat objections as questions and ask a question in return to regain control, e.g. “What makes you say that?” This makes the other person explain themselves and puts you in a better position to understand their perspective.
• Move someone from “no” to “maybe” first. Saying “Before you make your mind up...” and then giving reasons to reconsider the decision keeps the conversation going. It provides a different perspective and allows you to give more information to influence them.
• Use “If I can, will you?” to remove barriers to agreement. Isolate the condition preventing the decision and ask if meeting that condition would enable them to move forward. You are then in control but not obligated. You may get more honesty about other issues, or you may gain their agreement.
• Influence the quantity of a purchase by asking “Would [higher amount] be enough?” This makes it easy for the other person to choose a greater amount. In retail, ensuring customers buy enough to make a habit of the product is key. The specific example is asking if 3 bottles of a product would be enough instead of 2.
• In every interaction, you have the power to influence others’ decisions. Consumers like to be guided to the right choice. Helping others decide is a key skill for success.
When you are involved in decision making, you have the ability to influence others. Asking direct questions and giving limited options can elicit a desired response.
Offering a choice between two options will likely result in a 50/50 split. Asking a direct question with only one option, using the word "enough", will sway the odds in your favor. Integrating this into business conversations can increase results. For example, achieving one extra unit per transaction.
Employing "downsells" - achieving a lesser objective if unable to meet the primary one - can be useful. The phrase "just one more thing" is a technique to keep a conversation going and avoid leaving empty-handed. It can be used to make a final attempt to gain a small commitment.
Asking for "a small favor" gains agreement before the request is known, making people more inclined to help. This can be used when asking for referrals. Wait for the "thank you", indicating they feel indebted, then ask for the favor. Provide specifics on how they would benefit. Give them space to think of someone, then ask who came to mind. Get details on when they'll next meet, and ask them to share their experience and see if the person is open to contact. Follow up to check the outcome.
Slowing down the referral process but speeding up the outcome results in speaking to qualified prospects who expect your call and are grateful. This is preferable to just getting a name and number.
Look for opportunities to ask for favors and gain commitment before people know what is being asked. But do so ethically and avoid manipulation.
Here's a summary:
The author is frustrated with vague responses like "let me think about it" from prospects after presenting recommendations. He feels it's unfair and unhelpful. He wants to get a real, honest answer from people about their objections or concerns without seeming rude.
The author discovered that using "magic words" like "just out of curiosity" before asking direct questions helps make them seem softer and less obnoxious. For example:
Just out of curiosity, what is it specifically you need some time to think about?
Just out of curiosity, what needs to happen for you to make a decision about this?
Just out of curiosity, what is it that’s stopping you from moving forward with this right now?
After asking the question, remain silent. This forces the prospect to provide a real answer. Two things may happen:
After a long pause, they provide an honest answer. You can then work with that transparency.
After an even longer pause, they realize they don't have a good excuse. They then say something like "you're right, there isn't anything to think about."
Asking these types of brave questions helps move you from average to exceptional.
The author also shares that you don't always need to provide a complex, technical answer to a prospect's question. For example, if asked how a new technology works, a simple answer like "it works great" is often enough. Give a positive, uplifting answer and it can help the prospect make a positive decision.
The techniques in the book are simple but effective. They may not work with everyone all the time, but try them consistently and they can have a big impact. Tiny changes and the right words at the right time can help turn conversations into opportunities.
The author thanks the many people who have influenced and supported him, especially mentors, audiences, colleagues, his assistant, and his wife.
The author acknowledges that while he has had an accomplished career and achieved a lot of success, he is just a normal person trying to understand the world. His passions are health, people, and the belief that individuals can change the world. He is on a mission to change perceptions about sales and help people see that sales does not have to be a dirty word.
He invites readers to connect with him on social media to continue the conversation about his message of "teaching the world to sell" and the "magic words." He provides links to his profiles on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and his website.
At the end, the author makes a "shameless plug" asking readers who enjoyed the book to leave an Amazon review to help him win a bet. He also offers customized and bulk versions of the book for speaking clients and others interested in the topic. Readers can contact his team to discuss options.
The summary covers the key highlights from the author's biographical information, social media links, request for reviews, and offer of customized resources. The assistant identifies the overall flow and main takeaways to provide a high-level snapshot for readers.
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