The information in this post is the result of over 15 years of research and hard testing.
It’s the same strategy that I used to go from being a dead broke, C level high school graduate – who by all accounts should have wound up working an 80 hour a week job that I hated – to a financially free entrepreneur who does what I want when I want.
It’s the same strategy that I’ve taught to over 20,000 customers and over 60,000 newsletter subscribers.
It’s the same strategy that I used to make my clients rich when I was a professional copywriter.
And it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
How do I know this?
Because I created this unique 5 step process for persuading others from scratch. It’s not something I borrowed or stole from someone else.
And today it’s yours.
So let’s get started.
This post isn’t about me. It’s about how you can improve your life by gaining the cooperation of others.
But I do think it’s important that you understand who I am and how I discovered this unique strategy. And don’t worry I’ll make it quick.
I graduated from high school in 1997. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life, but I knew I wanted to make a contribution. I just didn’t know what that contribution would turn out to be.
I took a job out of high school in sales, and I was pretty good at it. It was actually my fascination with the sales process that led me to where I am today. It amazed me that you could get people to agree with you (in some cases people who had never spoken to you) simply through your actions and your words.
My first job was as a cold caller on Wall Street. I was given a script—a formula to make a successful cold call—and within that formula were different steps, each with a different objective.
Objective No. 1 was to get the person’s attention so they wouldn’t hang up the phone.
Objective No. 2 was to create a rapport with the prospect and keep their attention.
Objective No. 3 was to give your presentation in an engaging way so they would buy.
I became fascinated with the art of selling, and that sparked my interest in influence and persuasion—getting other people to do what you want them to do.
Then I moved into copywriting, using the tools I had learned in sales. I helped online entrepreneurs sell millions of dollars worth of products and services by creating the right sales messages.
Suddenly I realized I wanted to take the next step—to coach people on influence and persuasion. I read everything I could get my hands on related to influence, persuasion, sales, psychology, and the human psyche—and I started developing training programs.
But here’s the interesting thing. My focus had always been on street psychology—taking everything I had learned and applying it to real life settings here in New York City.
I realized that a lot of what I learned about influence and persuasion—while fascinating and intriguing—lacked practicality. The techniques and strategies were either too difficult to remember or too complicated to learn.
At that point I went back to the drawing board. I put aside everything I had studied. I wanted to go beyond the tangible and figure out just what had made me so successful in sales, in copywriting, and in my personal relationships.
That’s how this “maverick influence” of sorts came to be. I created a more effective system for influencing people. And the reason I call it “maverick influence” is because it’s a little bit different than other programs that teach persuasion and influence. This blueprint is based on the ability to execute persuasion and influence in your everyday life. It’s a street-smart approach to the human psyche.
You see, most of the available information on influence and persuasion is redundant and boring. Most of it is based on the work of fans—not players. A lot of the people that publish information on influence and persuasion are psychologists or neuroscientists or highly-educated people. They certainly contribute much to the field through their research.
But there’s very little published about applying influence and persuasion in real life situations. Certain things have been proven in case studies—but how do you take that information from the sterile environment of research into a real life situation? You can’t. And if it can’t be executed in a real-life situation then what good is it?
So, I decided to throw myself into shark-infested waters and really put this stuff to the test. And if something didn’t work (no matter how groundbreaking, intriguing or fascinating) I eliminated it from my repertoire. I didn’t want to waste everyone’s time trying to execute something just because it sounded cool. Either it worked or it didn’t work. I now have the results to prove it.
Now, The Influence Blueprint is specifically designed to underwhelm you. It’s designed to be simple and easy to understand in a way that makes it applicable to everyday life. I want you to be able to apply it.
If I wrote you a note telling you there was a million dollars under your bed, but I wrote it in a language you didn’t understand, you would never find that money. There would be a barrier in the communication we had with one another.
I find it ironic that so many people who teach others how to communicate have a disconnect in the way they communicate that very message. I want everyone who’s interested in this topic to be able to understand the concepts, strategies and techniques of influence and persuasion in order to be able to apply them better.
That being said, let’s start with an introduction to the practice of The Influence Blueprint. My goal today is to give you just enough so you can wrap your brain around the core concepts.
The GRIPS Method
These five elements, called the GRIPS method, are the foundation of The Influence Blueprint:
G — Gather intelligence
R — Reduce resistance
I — Initiate control
P — Position
S — Sustain
I want you to associate influence and persuasion with a game, because in my opinion life is a game. I know that might sound weird to some of you—but listen. I can tell you how the movie ends for all of us. None of us make it out alive. No one is going to live forever. Every single one of us has an expiration date.
My point is not to depress you, but to remind you that you only have one life to live, and at some point that life is going to end. So, because life is a game, you might as well try to win. There are different games one can play. You should try to win as many games in the giant game of life as possible so you can enrich your life physically, financially, spiritually and emotionally.
Some games are played for money. Some games are played for love. Some games are played for control. Start thinking of life in terms of a game.
Before we get into this I want you to understand something very important.
Most of what you think persuades people is probably wrong.
Unless you’ve been studying salesmanship, persuasion strategies and psychology then chances are you have no idea how persuasion really works so let me give you a quick primer.
So the first thing I’m going to do is de-myth some of the stuff you may be thinking or have heard:
MYTH #1 – People use logic to make decisions most of the time.
Human beings are anything BUT logical.
Rather, we are emotional creatures making decisions based primarily using mental shortcuts based on previous information and then using logic to justify what we do.
The scientific term for these shortcuts is “heuristics.” To keep things simple, our brains do not like excessive work. In fact, Professor George Miller of Princeton University concluded from his research that the average person can’t process more than 7 bits of
information at one time.
So to reserve our cognitive resources, we need a “filing system” for processing information. This means that the majority of the time, we’re actually working on autopilot making decisions unconsciously by cross-referencing the information that comes our way with previous information that we’ve come across in the past.
The scientific terms for this are:
Central Processing Route – Here the person is carefully analyzing the information. This usually only happens in extreme life altering cases.
Peripheral Route – Here the person is working on autopilot like I mentioned before.
Once you understand that since people are using the peripheral route most of the time, if you simply learn how to present information in away that is congruent to the peripheral route you instantly gain an advantage.
There is a caveat though – and this again is what makes my approach different.
A lot of so called “persuasion gurus” will tell you how to leverage the peripheral route to persuade people. And I will to.
But the peripheral route is only part of the equation. There are going to be times when you need to change your approach.
That being said. Let’s into the GRIPS Method.
STEP 1: Gather Intelligence
Every game involves some sort of intelligence gathering. Consider professional fighters, who always watch video footage of their opponents before they fight them. Why do they do that? They want to gather intelligence. They want to learn as much as they possibly can about their opponent so they can strategically fight them. So they can strategically defend themselves. So they can strategically disarm their opponent and win.
The same is true whenever you want to intelligently win. The best thing you can do is gather as much intelligence as possible before you go into a situation so you’re prepared to conduct yourself accordingly. The same is true even in personal circumstances. You want to know something about a person before you go on your first date. The game of influencing someone or persuading someone is no different. Step No. 1 is to gather intelligence.
There are two forms of intelligence that you can gather. The first type is pre-acquired intelligence. Pre-acquired intelligence is the best kind of intelligence you can gather. Pre-acquired intelligence arms you with knowledge about a person before you ever meet them.
How do you acquire this knowledge? Well, this is the age of information and the age of social media. The odds of you finding information about someone are 100,000 times greater than ten or twenty years ago. Start with social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Google their name. Nearly one-third of the world’s population has a Facebook account.
Now, there are specific things you should be looking for. Look at where they work. Look at what their hobbies and interests are. Look at their family life and where they live. These types of things will help you get inside of this person’s mind so you know the type of person you’re dealing with.
Once you meet this person (armed with preconceived knowledge) you want to do two things. You want to highlight the similarities between you and avoid any differences. Now, if this person can’t be found online, try to gather intelligence through a third party. Try to get information from someone else who knows this person.
What’s most important is to get in the habit of creating a level of awareness about anyone you’re going have an interaction with and to gather some pre-acquired intelligence. Once you begin to train your mind to do that, you will begin to automatically look for information. You’ll never find something if you’re not looking for it. Start to create that awareness.
Real Time Intelligence
The second type of intelligence, real time intelligence, should be gathered when there is no opportunity to gather pre-acquired intelligence. This is necessary in situations where you have an unplanned meeting with someone.
The first way to do this is to observe the person’s appearance. Take a look at their clothing, their hair style, their makeup and their jewelry. If you want to become a master of influence, it’s important to keep up with popular trends. This will help you get into the minds of as many people as possible and allow you to cross-reference what’s unique about your subject versus what might be an imitation of a popular trend. Also take a good look at the environment. Take a look at the furniture and pictures. Look for sports memorabilia. Start to zone in on who this person really is.
The next thing you want pay attention to is their body language.
There are three main channels of communication: verbal communication, nonverbal communication and vocal communication. Although we usually communicate verbally, the nonverbal language is of the utmost importance. Why? Because nonverbal communication is uncontrollable, while verbal communication can be controlled. I can say one thing to you and be thinking something completely different. Nonverbal communication is uncontrollable because it’s very hard for my body to react in a way that is incongruent with what I’m thinking. Begin to pay very close attention to someone’s body language.
Real time intelligence is gathered through observation. Observe someone’s appearance, verbal communication and body communication.
Ask Implicit Questions
The next thing you can do to gather intelligence is to use implicit questions—ask a question indirectly. I’ll give you an example.
I was interested in starting a business once and was having a conversation with a potential competitor. I needed access to information he had.
I couldn’t just come out and start asking questions about how he ran his business because he might get defensive and hostile. He might lie to me. He might give me the wrong type of information, and that wouldn’t help me. What I really needed to know was how much he was paying in rent per square foot. I couldn’t just come out and ask him. That might raise some red flags.
It just so happened that when I walked into his place, it was a little hot. He turned on the air conditioner and the place cooled down very quickly. When I mentioned that to him, he told me that the A/C system cooled down his office within five minutes. I said, “Wow. This is a big space to cool down. How big is it?” He gave me the answer I needed without even knowing that I was really looking for information. I was then able to visit other buildings in the area with a ballpark figure of the amount of rent I wanted to pay.
When I worked in Manhattan, I used to see carts that sold fruit smoothies. One day my buddy and I were curious to know how much money someone made selling smoothies. Rather than ask the vendor directly, I suggested we ask him how many shakes he makes per day. When we walked up to the booth, he was sitting with his head in his hands and looked really tired. I said, “Hey buddy, you look tired. How many shakes did you make today?” He told us about 500 shakes. Once we found out the average cost to make a shake, we knew how much money he was making.
When you want to gather intelligence that’s personal, most people will be on guard. The key to getting around that is to ask implicit questions. You often can find out what you need to know without them realizing it.
STEP 2: Reduce Resistance
There are many ways to reduce resistance, but today we’re only going to talk about three.
The first way to develop a connection with someone is to highlight similarities. Any similarity with a person you find through intelligence gathering should be highlighted because that will bring them closer to you. You want to avoid differences. The third thing is to spend more time performing actions with this person.
Psychological studies have shown that people who perform an action in each other’s company develop a much higher level of rapport than those who don’t. When two people perform an action together, their level of rapport is ignited and gets taken to the next level.
There’s a dating method I learned once in an Internet marketing course I was taking. When you meet someone you really like, you should try to do as many physical activities with them as possible (like bowling or jogging) to strengthen your connection with them.
When you meet someone for the first time, chances are they subconsciously have their defense mechanisms up. Humans are survivors by nature, and anytime we meet someone we haven’t met before we subliminally view them as a threat. Our mind wants to know if that person will be going after our “resources.”
When you try to influence or persuade someone to give you something or do something, they subconsciously think that you’re depleting them of a resource (whether that resource is time, money, or energy). They instinctively want to protect what they feel is rightfully theirs. That’s why Step No. 2 is essential. You have to reduce resistance.
STEP 3: Initiate Control
The next step is to initiate control, and there are countless ways to do this. I suggest you check out my program Instant Triggers where I show ten proven triggers for influencing the minds of others. For now, let’s just stick with the four easiest and most popular triggers to use.
When you do something nice for someone, they will feel naturally inclined to do something good for you—to reciprocate the favor. That is the reciprocity trigger.
How does this relate to persuasion and influence? It’s the process that helps you initiate control. First, do something good for a person. The size of the favor depends on the type of relationship you have with that person. Be conscious of social norms that are governing the interaction between you and then induce reciprocity
People always want what they can’t have, and when something is less available they want it more. For example, diamonds are very popular because there is a belief that they are rare (thus, the expense). I have yet to hear about a diamond shortage. This example shows the power of the scarcity trigger. Setting a deadline for buying a product on sale is also a scarcity trigger. Marketers use the scarcity trigger when running promotions by setting a deadline. Why? Because as something becomes less available, people want more of it.
There are many different ways to use scarcity. You can put a time limit on the availability of something. You can use time as a scarcity. You want to place a limitation on whatever it is that you’re offering. That will, in turn, make it appear to be more attractive.
This trigger tells us that when people are unsure of what to do in a certain situation, they often look to see what the majority of other people do. This is even true in cases where people are actually sure what to do. The bigger the number of people who are acting in a particular way—the more acceptable that behavior becomes to you.
In order to induce social proof, show your target how a majority of people have widely accepted either your idea or an idea that governs what you’re offering, and then also utilize comparison (and there are many different ways to do that).
The last trigger is the comparison trigger. This tells us that the perception of something always changes the moment it’s compared to something else.
Here is a really simple exercise. Go get three buckets of water. Fill one up with hot water, one with cold water and one with warm water. Put your left foot in the bucket with hot water; put your right foot in the bucket with cold water and then take both feet and put them in the bucket with warm water. When you do that, the foot that was in the cold water will now feel hotter, and the foot that was in the hot water will now feel cooler. You’re standing in the same bucket of water. What’s causing this reaction are neurotransmitters communicating through your nerve endings and sending back the message that you’re comparing something and it feels different.
Our minds instinctively operate by comparison. That’s how we make sense of the world. We take one piece of information, compare it against another piece of information and then consciously or subconsciously make a decision as to how we perceive something.
People in real estate sales use the comparison trigger by taking a client to a house that is a complete disaster first, and then showing them the house that they really want to sell to the client. Showing someone a home they would want to buy with the memory of an undesirable home still fresh in their mind makes the second home look like an amazing buy.
STEP 4: Position Yourself
The next thing you want to do is position yourself as the only logical choice in a person’s mind. The reason this works is because people will allow themselves to be influenced and persuaded by you for one or all of the following reasons:
The first reason is because they need a solution.
The second reason is because they believe you will provide an advantage.
The third reason is entertainment.
Psychological studies have shown that the end goal of everything we do in life (every decision we make and every action we take) is ultimately to avoid pain or gain pleasure. We’re either doing something to avoid feeling bad, or we’re moving forward to something that we believe will provide us happiness.
People will often come to you and allow themselves to be persuaded by you because they believe you will resolve their pain somehow. You will provide a solution. That solution could be money. It could be resources. It could solve a problem. You need to figure out where you stand in the context of your interaction with this person. You need to step out of the equation, look at it as an outsider and think, “When I persuade this person to do whatever it is that I need them to do, what can I provide them in return? Am I providing a solution? Am I providing an advantage?”
One advantage could be money, and money is a funny thing. People desire money for either reasons of pain or pleasure. People that don’t have money want to resolve the pain of being poor. People that already have money want the advantages and the power that comes with having more money. That’s just one example, and there are many different advantages you can provide to people. It all depends on the timing and the circumstance governing the situation. The question you should be thinking about is, “Am I providing a solution or an advantage?”
The third way to position yourself is through entertainment. This usually happens during the advanced stages of a relationship. Someone just enjoys being around you. They either find you entertaining or they just feel a connection with you. There’s an intangible feeling of enjoyment you give them and an exchange of positive energy. Make no mistake. Those three reasons are the only reasons people will allow themselves to be persuaded by you— so begin to figure out what your position is.
Finally, you need to sustain that position. You do that by keeping your lines of communication with this person open. I don’t care if you have to write it down or use Post-it notes or your Iphone. When it comes to anyone you have already persuaded to do something or plan to persuade, make a note to communicate with that person at least one time per month.
You want to share valuable knowledge with the person you’re positioning from time to time. Sharing information that they’re not interested in is completely useless. Based on all of the predetermined work that you’ve already done and what you know about this person, you want to share knowledge with them that they will find valuable.
Remember that the number one rule when it comes to persuading and influencing anyone is that it’s not about you. You have to create the perception that everything is about them. Don’t spend your time talking about things that interest you unless that person is interested in the same things and finds the information valuable.
STEP 5: Sustain Your Position
As I said before, your goal in the positioning stage is to be the only logical choice. In the sustain phase, it’s all about remaining the only logical choice. You do that by providing constant value in the form of time, money, resources, information and education. Based on the social interaction and social context of your relationship, figure out how you can provide constant value for this person. When you do that, one of two things will happen. When they decide that it’s time to make a decision to be influenced, they’re going to come to you. Or if they’ve already done that, they will continue to be open to allowing you to influence them and persuade them.
I’m a very big fan of unpredictability—remaining unpredictable. Being unpredictable in many facets of life will get you the attention and the engagement that you need to influence people. Try to think of ways to be unpredictable. To me, unpredictability is grossly underrated, especially in marketing and sales. The more unpredictable your message is, the more open the subject or the target is to being influenced by you.
For now, take the transcript and read through it and start to absorb everything that we’re talking about here.
This is the GRIPS method.
Step 1: Gather intelligence
Step 2: Reduce resistance
Step 3: Initiate control
Step 4: Position yourself
Step 5: Sustain your position
Everything else that you’re going to learn from me is going to be governed by the GRIPS method. Make sure you study it, make sure you understand it because it serves as the building blocks for everything you’re about to discover.
As I mentioned in the “Initiate Control” section, there are countless ways to gain control.
What I want to share with you are the ten most effective and easiest to implement.