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Build Your Influence, Build Your Business

Lesson 22 of 27

Influence by Limiting Your Choices

Shari Alexander

Build Your Influence, Build Your Business

Shari Alexander

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Lesson Info

22. Influence by Limiting Your Choices

Lesson Info

Influence by Limiting Your Choices

The next one is limited choices. So, where some people go wrong in, especially business services or just any time you're really wanting to impress somebody, it's that they want to come across as I can give you what you want. I can customize things, I can be flexible, I can work with you, we could do this, we could do that, we could do this, we could do that. Look at me, I'm so resourceful. I can do all of these things. And that actually works against you, surprisingly enough. Is that when we are presented with many choices, and this is highlighted in the book the Paradox of Choice, when we are presented with many choices, our default choice is none of them. It's too much to handle, it's too much to process. I understand my status quo, I'm gonna stay in status quo. So when you give so many options, it's not that you're making them choose a choice between all of these, you're making them choose a choice of, let me phrase it this way, their percentage of choosing the wrong choice increase...

s when you give them too many choices. This is how, subconsciously, we process this information. So if you give me a hundred choices, then I have a one in 100 chance to make the right one that's for me. So if I choose one out of 100, I am saying no to 99. I got 99 problems. (audience laughing) Couldn't help it, couldn't help it. So, then the opposite of that is limit the choices. Ideal number tends to be around three to five, I like threes. Limit the choices because now, instead of having a one in 100th chance of making a wrong choice, because notice that's where we're coming from, we're coming from fear rather than moving towards. We're afraid of all the pain we're going to get if we choose wrong, so when we have three, instead of going from a one and 100th chance, we go from a one and one third, or one third chance. So it's increasing the chance that you're going to make the right choice, the right fit. Yes, question? The way I sometimes perceive it is, if I go to an ice cream trunk and there's like 50 different flavors, I get really caught up on, "Oh my God, I'm going to miss out on all these "other flavors if I just choose one, and there's so "many that I'll miss out on.", whereas if there's only chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, then I'm cool with missing out on two of them. And you get all three don't you? You get all three Yeah. (laughter) The Neapolitan? What is it called when there's all three of them? Yeah, yeah I think that's it. That's it. Yes? For me, if I have like a million ice cream flavors to choose from, I'll often just not get any of them because putting in the effort to try and figure out which one to choose, it's too much effort and I have other things that I would rather do. Exactly. So the choice, instead of becoming the choice of pumpkin ice cream or strawberry ice cream, it's do I want to spend 20 minutes figuring out which ice cream, or do I want to go enjoy the sunny day? Right. Exactly. Exactly. And so that same philosophy can be applied to your proposals that you present your clients with. I had a business, with a business partner a number of years ago, and I think we learned later on that that was one of the bigger mistakes that we had made. Is, we wanted to be the one stop shop for our clientele for all these different things, and so when we sat them down for our sales meeting, come to find out later on, it was too overwhelming for them. We were saying, "Look we can do this, and then we "can do this, and then we can do this. "And then if you choose this, then we have these options, and it could go this direction.", and our closing rate was a dismal. And it wasn't until we broke it down to five possible packages and then we only presented three to the client, to the prospect, then we had a higher closing rate. We thought that we were coming from the standpoint of "Look at how customizable we can be to your needs.", which sounds wonderful, even as a buyer that sounds great, oh my gosh, it'll be customized just for me, but when they see the full scope of all of that, exactly as you just said, it's now homework to try to figure it out. To have to sit and compare and contrast, comparing and contrasting 10 different options, verses comparing and contrasting three is completely different. It's a completely different experience. So I would take a look at your website, and the things that you offer, and see if it's too confusing, and too much effort and energy for your clients, and see if you can make those changes. And the beauty is even once you have the packages set, then you can still customize a few items that they ask for. Sometimes when I present three options, a client may say, "We love this, but there's three things over in package number two that we really kind of like.". Great, we'll add them in. That gets me more money. Fantastic! Wonderful. So you still can customize Most people think that limiting choices in the initial presentation limits them, and really, truly, it doesn't. It actually makes you look more like a rockstar because when you give them three options, and you have five total, if something isn't quite a fit, you go "Okay, I don't normally present "this to everybody,", exclusivity scarcity, "I don't "normally present this to everybody, but because "of what you said, here's option number four.". So you're keeping things in your arsenal, rather than the shotgun approach and now you've got nothing left in the barrel. Right? Any questions about that? Can you share a little bit of what we've talked about thus far, how you see this applying in your business or conversations? Yes? I could see in many businesses related to this service, I'm thinking of designing at the moment for some reason, when we offer endless choice or customizable whatever you want Endless choice. I love that. We are not actually solving the problem, we're creating another problem. Mhm. That's exactly right. So, if I'm looking for a designer who would do the branding for my side and for my business and stuff, I understand the concept that I have to provide a lot of information so it would be customizable, only unique to me, but at the same time, I am freaking out at the amount of work that I have to do, and I don't really want to do. (laughs) I just want to give me this, this, and that, and I will choose that, and then we will play around. Right. I'm not solving to problem, I am creating another problem, in order to solve the problem. Right. Exactly. Very well said. I think that's also a very important point for designers, and I'm sure this applies to many other industries, is you know that there are many steps in your process, your client does not know that. They don't have the experience to know what's coming up, and so you need to, this isn't in the slides but this is still a very important lesson, is you need to prep your client for what is to come, because once it all comes like a sandstorm, and it hits them, that's when all that freaking out energy and disconnect and a lot of communication issues come into play. So I highly recommend that you break down your process into phases. Phase one is this, phase two is this. And I have found that that creates a whole new communication dynamic between me and the client, between the client and me, there we go, because what I have noticed in my own processes, is the client will say, "Oh okay. Yeah, we're doing this. "And now, when are we moving to phase two?". We have our language that we share, verses if they are completely blind about what's coming up, they'll say, "So okay, we did this, "now what's coming up next?". Instead, it's "When do we start phase two?". They feel like they are part of the process, they get it. So, that's perhaps a variation of the limited choices, but I do recommend that you break your process down into phases, and feel free to add your own branding to that. In mine, as I have in the year of covert missions, which is one of the bonuses that you get when you upgrade to the on demand version of this, is you have the sleuth, you have the agent, and the mastermind, and that's similar to the processes I walk through with my clients one on one as well. So it's a branded version, and they'll say, "Oh, I'm so excited about the "mastermind stuff coming up.", so we're speaking this branded language. Yes? So, for my custom wedding dresses that I design, I usually have a long conversation at the beginning, and I don't even start to think of ideas for that particular person until after I've learned as much about them as I can. Mhm. So how do I... And then maybe I'll make them two or three sketches that they can choose from Mhm. But I think right now, my website makes it sound like there's infinite choices, when there won't be. How could I fix that? Do you have a thought to that Chris? It actually ties into something I was going to say. Okay. I realized that I just had a great experience with limited choices, but they didn't make a connection until just now. I was at an even in New York and we went to Milner to have hats done, right? Custom hats. Funny enough. But it was like, here's a wall of hats, and choose any hat, we'll customize it, we'll make it any way you want, right? And I'm like, "I have no idea what's going to look "good on me.". I'm not a hat expert. Exactly. I'm not a hat expert, I don't know. But then what happened is the person who's making hats came out and said, "Well here. "I'm going to choose two or three, and here, "do it on this one or this one.". So they took, and it was not just that they gave me limited choices which made it easier for me, but then it also felt like it was personal service because they took this amazing variety of choices that was going to weigh me down, and they took all of that away. So they relieved the pain of mine, a fear of mine, in the same time as giving me limited choices, allowing me to move forward. I don't know if that helps you or not, but I see a tie in. So maybe I should mention there are an overwhelming number of dress options out there, and that I connect with you to figure out what your one perfect dress would be. We walk through a very specific process, if you want to brand it in some way, because all of these dress options are overwhelming, I ease that sense of overwhelm by walking you through these stages. Stage one, we sit down, we sip champagne and you tell me, (laughter) very influential, drinking, very influential. But you want to Yeah. make sure it's a nice experience, just so they know that they can open up and chat, and open up to you. And then phase two, I present you with three options based off of our discussions. Phase three, we figure things out. And phase four, and it's very similar. So what you would do, you can do one on one and in via email. What you experienced with the hats, and I love that example, is they saw all the possibilities, but then they narrowed Yes. it down for you, and they walked you through the process. Yeah. And I love how that experience also exemplifies basically the core of the problem of too many choices, is you are expecting your client to be an expert in your field. They don't have the experience to choose what they need to, so you have to hold their hand and walk them to step one, walk them to step two, and for some of you that may not sound fun, but that's what you're getting paid for. This is part of your job, is walking them through that. So I don't know if you would have to... Maybe there's a change in your sales copy, but I don't think it's about talking about the many choices, I think it's clarifying your process. Okay. And making that process sound like an awesome experience Okay. I think that's what's going to sell it. I do have a step by step, this is my process, Yes. but I don't know, there's like five parts to it. And one little shift I would make is instead of this is my process is, these are the steps we will go through together, or this is the process we will walk through, because that way it's them imagining themselves with you on the process, rather than you just taking ownership of the process. Right. So, little subtle shift. Yes? I think this may depend on sort of your personality profile, but for me this is the experience is a little more powerful than this is the process. Like when you were saying, make it this like really fun, not only am I getting a custom wedding dress, but I get to do this fun, well this fun process, but experience it. Yes. Some people like process better than experience and so you just need to understand your avatar. Yes. You need to understand your clientele. Can I just tell you just how happy what just happened makes me? (laughter). Because that exemplifies how you guys are seeing how all of these start to connect the dots of how one simple turn of the phrase is more influential for one personality type, and taking the time to figure out that personality type to know what types of phrases you want to use. I'll say that when I created my own customer avatar, it was very difficult for me, honestly. It took me years to try to figure out how do I create this avatar, so I understand it's a difficult process for you guys out there as well, but once I went through my version, which turned out to be the field guide, asking myself what they valued was huge insight into what I started incorporating into my sales copy. And one of those values was control. Not that they were control freaks, but that they valued the sense of control in situations. That they didn't like the unknown of things. These are people who are leaders, who are wanting to create something, who are wanting to lead people, who create a movement. And so those are generally people who like to have a bit of control, and so I started incorporating some of that language in my sales copy. Somebody who might be a competitor of mine, who has a completely different avatar, could use different language, and that's totally fine, there's plenty to go around, it's an abundant world, and so that person can serve that type of avatar and I can best serve my type of avatar. So I love that once we figure these things out, and make those adjustments in our language, then it creates the positive response that you just got from Erika of "Oh, an experience! (laughter) "I'm totally down for that! Let's do that! "Champagne? Strawberries? Let's go!" So absolutely great. Chris how are things over in the chatroom? Anything for me there? Chats going really well. We have some questions that are coming up. A little bit off topic from the limited choices, but maybe we can get into this in a little bit, but people are still looking for some more tips on taking this principle and applying it to different written communications. So for instance, we have a question here from K Raunchy, and they say that, "How can I use some of these priming techniques "in email?", because they say that "I feel like "Shari would really hit the ball out of the park "taking these and putting them into clever "email strategies to try to get that in person "communication coming through an email correspondence." Right. Any way we can touch on a little bit more of that? Sure. Without any more specifics around it, I would say in regards to the priming, things that you incorporate if they are finding you in the online space is, as we just talked about a second ago, is what is the copy on your website. So if you are trying elicit a certain emotion, if your website is focused solely on this is what I do and going to the meat of the presentation without incorporating some of those priming, feeling words, than you might be missing out on an opportunity. And then similar to an email marketing, then you can use that. I've seen plenty of people, [Inaudible] does this and Ryan Deiss and quite a few other email marketers, is they tell a story within the first paragraph, two or three, of something and then how that relates to this new product or offering that their putting together. So 100% you absolutely can apply that technique in emails and copywriting in general. And Frank Schwartz just follows up on that and wants to know specifically, maybe you could share, "How much do you personal depend on email for your communication when trying to connect "with new clients?". If I could get rid of it, I would. (laughter). Sadly, I cannot. So I rely on email because it's a necessary evil by my perspective. Personally, I like to have emails be the funnel through which I schedule Skype meetings. Clearly, in my field of expertise, it only makes sense that I get people on a video conference because then that means I can get all the information that I need in that interaction. My next favorite mode of communication is phone calls. Surprisingly, my next favorite is texting just because I like the speed of it, and then next is emails. So I try to keep my emails as a way to create either in person meetings, or video conference meetings. So yeah. Interesting question. Yes? With the video conferencing, it's sort of the first meeting and you're learning about the person, are there guidelines? Like I take a lot of notes, so would that put some people off that I'm taking notes and they don't know what I'm writing? Yeah. So are there guidelines around that? Yeah. It does a little bit. I'm potentially going to give you an answer you're might not going to like. So a few tips on the video conferencing, I mention this I believe in session one, of people seeing your hands, and that is true in video conferences, is try to keep your hands within that screenshot when you can, because it creates that sense of trustworthiness. So make sure that the shot is in a natural place for you. And then, with the note taking, I do the same thing, I take a lot of notes as well. I have developed the skill set of taking notes without looking at my writing, so I'll just glance to make sure I'm on the write line but I have been able to just jot away, while still maintaining the eye contact in the chat. The other trick to video conferencing is knowing that eye contact is important to people. It's tricky, and it takes a little practice, but look into the camera, not their eyes on the screen. You can go back and forth, but when you are speaking, you'll kind of have to find your own balance 'cause you still want to see their face, so it's kind of like a little bit of a back and forth that you'll have to do. Whenever I do my online webinars and the trainings that I do within Influence HQ, the monthly membership program, in the first one that I did, one of the HQ influencers said, "Oh my gosh, "you're the first instructor I've ever seen "that actually looks into the camera and it makes "such a big difference.". And I told her that's a conscious decision that I'm having to make. Now if after a while you have the strong rapport with somebody, you may not need to do it as much, but in those initial ones it makes a big difference, it absolutely does. Chris, you had a question. I agree. I think you answered it in that you also want to see their face and get their body language. It's more about balancing your eye contact verses making sure that you're not missing out on their cues. Right. And that's the difficulty I have, I guess. Exactly. Yeah. And it just takes practice. And there's no science to it. I think that just by making the conscious choice is already a vast improvement rather than them seeing half of your eyelids down. Any other questions about that? Okay. Well we talked about the Paradox of Choice already a bit so I'm going to skip past that slide. I do recommend the book, it is very interesting. The book Paradox of Choice. I'm glad you mentioned that because we had someone in the chat who was like "Oh could Shari recommend any books that could help to shine some light on some of these subjects as well?". Oh sure! So there you go. You got that in there. (laughter) Reading their minds again. So these are not the droids you are looking for. (laughter) Book recommendations off the top of my head, Paradox of Choice is phenomenal, Brain Games is really great, love it. It's written by a neuroscientist. Forgive me that I can't remember all these authors names off the top of head, so I feel bad about that. Methods of Persuasion is very interesting as well, really well researched. And of course kind of the Bible of influence is the book Influence by Robert Cialdini and that should get you going. Yeah. That'll keep people busy. Yeah. Oh and another one of my favorites is the What Every BODY is Saying and that's by Joe Navarro, I do remember that. He's a former FBI interrogator and it's one of my favorite body language books. And then of course, after a period of time my favorite book recommendation will be my book, (laughter) Undercover Influence: Bringing the 'Dark Arts' of Influence into the Light, so stay tuned for that.

Class Description

Learn the art and science of influence from Sharí Alexander. In Build Your Influence, Build Your Business, you’ll learn observation and communication techniques that will make you more persuasive and influential, in work and in life.

Influence is not coercion or manipulation – it is skillful communication that conveys ideas and elicits action in the most effective way possible. In this class, you’ll learn conversational persuasive techniques that forge strong business connections that are essential for persuasive communication. Sharí will help you develop effective ways to assert your authority and ensure you are heard and understood without losing the admiration and respect of your listeners. You’ll learn eye opening observational techniques that will help you decode influential signals that you have missed in the past. Then, she will walk you through the essential influential process that will help you close more deals, motivate groups, and build stronger relationships. Sharí will also help you hone your observation skills and more accurately read and assess others.

Watch Build Your Influence, Build Your Business and forever change the way you communicate.


Stephanie Platero

The course is really great! Shari does an excellent job expressing some of the complexities by providing examples. Super knowledgeable, articulate and her presentation is very interesting. If you are using the Creative live "live, on air" while watching this, the ads for creative live are really distracting. I used to watch a lot of the courses by RSVPing and investing my time to watch the presenters in its entirety (the benefit of RSVP'ing and being a user) but the ads have gotten worse and actually skip to various parts of the presentation and you lose out on some of the content. I assume this is to encourage buying the course but makes it so difficult to follow and be engaged.

a Creativelive Student

I was not prepared for all the wonderful information that was taught. It has helped me in business and then a surprise... helped me with family as well. Fantastic class. Love Shari! Roxanne

Mahna Mahna

Excellent excellent course. Highly recommend Shari and the content she presents. I’ve gone from influence Newbie to Ninja-ish. Lots of practical information that you can use in professional situations, personal situations, and everything in between. In the workplace - develop more effective relationships and influence people up & down the org chart. As a business owner – generate more revenue per sale and develop closer relationships with customers. On a personal level - iron out the bumps in the road (or the outright disasters) with your family and friends. Shari makes the topic of ‘Influence’ appealing, approachable, and easy to understand. And the workshopped ‘hands-on’ examples are PRICELESS – they go a long way towards getting you to implement these concepts for yourself. Spend the time and do the Influence Profile - you will see/feel/experience immediate results. And I do mean IMMEDIATE.