Get People to Act


The Art of Persuasion


Lesson Info

Get People to Act

We're gonna get into now what I call the lure and the ramp. Again, this is an image from my book "How To Argue With a Cat." This image perfectly illustrates an Aristotelian theory that has to do with how do you get people actually to do things. So you've changed their mood, you've changed maybe their minds, so they're already agreeing with you. Actually getting them to do something is really hard. And I spent a lot of time in this book talk about how to do it with cats, but really I'm talking about humans, and that's what I'll do right here. So you got two things here that you gotta do. You gotta create a desire, a lure, and then you've gotta somehow make the steps gradual leading up to it. That's what we're gonna talk about. Let's talk lure first. One of the things you need to do, and Luis, during one of our breaks, you brought this up earlier, is how can you tell what your audience is like? If you don't know them personally, and what is it that characterizes that audience and disting...

uishes them from other audiences? So one of the things you wanna look at, and I think of this kind of scientifically, look at data points. I mentioned this before. So data points when it comes to audiences can be actual data, if you're talking about social media. But what if it's like a group of people you're gonna speak to and create in Creative Live and you don't know them? Like, you don't really have much data. What are ya gonna do? Or, what if you're dealing with one person? You're coming in cold call to a potential client, and you're giving a pitch. You don't really know enough about them. You may know their company, and getting all the information you can, that's great, but what about them personally? What is it that they really desire personally? How do you determine that? So you wanna look for a number of data points. And this is again, we're getting into some ethically tricky territory here. You look at their dress, how they dress I should say, not whether they're wearing one. You're looking at their car, if you see their car in the lot. You're looking at their manners, how they behave. You're looking at their grooming. And when you do that, if you're talking about one person, you're then going to generalize. The more data points you have, the more accurate your generalization is going to be. But, probably, you're gonna have to be very careful, because you may not have enough data points. So let's describe a person, and I'm not gonna pick on any of you, 'cause I'm not gonna make generalizations about you. So let's do it with me. Let's collect data points about me and try to make some assumptions about me, all right? So look at the way I'm dressed, but look at the occasion I'm dressed for. So you have to think, "Does he dress like this all the time?" And I can tell you, absolutely not. I work out of a cabin in the middle of New Hampshire, middle of nowhere, and I do not wear this shirt, or these jeans, or any of this, actually, so okay. You're looking at how I am treating this situation. I came in wearing this jacket. Now all this is telling you things, right? What's it tell you? You grab the mic, so you guys should be fighting for the mic right now. (laughter) That you have some professionalism, that you want to show up looking nice and presenting yourself in a good way, instead of just showing up in sweat pants and being super casual. This says "consultant" of a certain age, doesn't it? Like just the dress alone, so the shirt is starched. My wife actually did this. Isn't she good? 'Cause we're not near a dry cleaner. But never mind that, I come in with a starched white shirt that conveys all kinds of information for you. Is it sufficient information for you to know everything about me and what I desire? Not enough data points, and here's the problem that people often do, and it leads to all kinds of things, like racial bias, sexism, all kinds of stuff. And we talk about bias and generalization and all this sort of thing. Really, I think it's great to think of us as a scientist a little bit. Like, I don't have enough data to draw conclusions about this person. The color of their skin, the way they're dressed, I may be wrong, and usually, if you only have one or two data points, you almost certainly are wrong. Okay, so let's collect some more. Let's think about car. Well, you didn't see me in a car, 'cause I am thousands of miles away from my pickup truck. So okay, on the other hand, I once worked in this job where I was a manager at a fairly high level. I'd worked long enough to get to that point. The CEO of the company came to me and he said, "You need a new car." And I thought he was like Oprah. He was gonna give me a car. Awesome! No, he was criticizing my car. I was driving a used Ford Fairmont, 'cause I'm not that kinda guy who drives a car just because it looks good, I'm what in advertising they call low self-monitored, like I don't really care how I project, unless in front of an audience, I wanna look like a consultant, which is what I'm trying to do, successfully or otherwise. So my car was, he said, "Your car is the worst car "in the entire company's lot. "Like admins right out of high school "are driving better cars than you, "and this is hurting the entire company's reputation." So what he was saying was you're projecting the wrong data point and people are reaching conclusions that apply to the entire company. So, he told me what kind of car I should be driving and told me to go buy it. I didn't, but honestly I did buy another car. I bought a Forester, which was halfway between the car he wanted me to buy and what I was buying. It was a great car, by the way. All right, so now, what other data points about me? How about grooming? You're collecting more data points here. I kind of shaved, I hope I did. My hair is sort of not wild anyway. My wife cuts my hair, by the way, so it's not all that well-styled. This does say something, too, doesn't it, that my hair is not fashionable? It's not, what do you call, high and tight (chuckles), I'm not looking like a millennial, I don't have a beard. So you're gonna call some data points. You can kind of tell my age a little bit, I hope not too much. You can look at the way my hair is done and how I've taken care of it. I have a shirt that has starch in it. I'm wearing jeans that are kind of close-fitting but not too tight, so I'm not kind of conveying anything but the fact I'm sort of trying to look younger than I am, and I'm wearing nice shoes that somebody polished. Okay, that's a lot of data points. You're gonna say something, Luis, you need a mic for that. There's more though, you're married. Wedding ring, Apple watch, tech savvy, you're connected but -- Savvy would be an overstatement, but okay. Well, okay, not savvy, but you know, tech. Tech. There's some things you can get from that, too. Okay, this is really good. We're now collecting enough data points that we can draw certain conclusions, right? So, okay, what would be my income level in terms of percentages based on what you've seen of me? There are other data points even without looking at me. You know that I flew here. Okay. That's gonna tell you some things. The average person flying in an airplane in economy is making an income of $80 to $120 thousand dollars a year. I'm probably in that range or maybe above, okay? I'm of a certain age, so my income is probably gonna be notched higher than that, as long as I seem to be through my dress and demeanor at a professional level, okay? So okay, raise my income level a little bit higher than that. All right, I am white and I am male and I speak with what kind of accent? Slightly northeast, okay, so that's telling you something, too. I come from the northeast. You have all kinds of information about me, don't you? Right? Okay, so what are the odds that TSA would assume I'm a terrorist? Pretty low, okay. Now what are the odds that I have less than a high school education? Pretty low. All right, you're assembling all kinds of things about me. So you're now going to try to sell me a new car. What are you going to try to sell me, and what are you doing to sell it to me, knowing what you know about me, based on all the data points you have of me. And by the way, all the data points you've collected during the day from the conversations we've been having, you know enough about me now to sell me a car. What's that car going to be? Use a mic. I would sell you a car that would express like a youthful persona, because you bring up age quite a bit, your age quite a bit, so tells me that's kind of something in your mind that you consider when you're in a group of people. I'm so insecure heh heh (laughter). So yeah, like maybe a sports car or something. Yeah, you're happily married, so you don't need the younger woman, but you need the youth. There's one data point you're missing here. I said my wife cuts my hair. So, that and I also told you I'm a low self monitor, so the brand's not gonna do it, sports car's not gonna do it. Matt, pass the mic, instead of Mic, pass the Matt. You mentioned that you live in the woods, so maybe something a little more sporty. You can get up those mountains or those dirt-trail roads. So maybe not a Corvette, maybe something a little more SUV-like, or kind of hybrid, something like that. Yeah, what's gonna haul stuff (laughter) Out in the country, it's like... I didn't tell you, we heat with wood, that's another data point, but yeah. I would need something to haul stuff. I drive a pickup, 'cause I don't care what people think. And that actually makes me fit in better with other people. Not that anybody thinks I fit in in that town. It's a small town. All right, so what, this isn't about me, this is about your collecting data points, and it's interesting, you can have a ton of data and still kind of reach the, if you tried to sell me a sports car, no offense or anything, Corinne, but I would actually get offended. (audience laughter) I'm that guy? Come on! So yes, I do talk about my age, and I do it in a way that I hope is instructive and not saying to remind you how old I am and how bad I feel about it. It's really about I want you to be thinking in terms of audience and decorum and whether or not I fit in which we're gonna get to in a little bit. All right, so what is the hook? To sell me a car, you have to think what is missing from my life and that's what you are trying to get at, right? You are trying to get what is it I desire that maybe is missing from my life? And here's the problem: maybe nothing is missing that a car can solve (chuckles) in my life, right? So, maybe nothing's missing in my life. Maybe it's like as far as you know, it's perfect. It's pretty great right actually. So, I mean just standing here talking to you. Nothing's missing, except maybe more caffeine. So all right, let's talk about a different kind of person and collecting data points and let's describe this. Because you know the things, as you know, marketers who collect enough data can make all kinds of bizarre assumptions that turn out to be true, like one of the things you can tell is, and it's in terms of odds, and as you know, if you collect a large enough population, the odds turn out to be truth, kind of. You flip a coin enough, and those odds will turn out to be 50/50, heads and tails, right? You flip a coin enough and the data points will collect enough so you know absolutely there's a 50 percent chance over those number of flips that it'll be heads and a 50 percent chance it'll be tails, so if you're collecting enough data about any person, you can tell all kind of things about them. So one of the things you can tell is that if somebody who drives a Subaru Forester is gonna be a low self-monitor. They're not driving that Forester for the brand, right? They're driving that for different reasons. Okay, let's talk about other things. Somebody has an Apple watch. You can conclude that they're kind of into tech, well it's tech, right? Could be a gift, somebody could have given me that watch, 'cause the fact that I wear it either means I'm deeply in love with somebody that loves tech, or I don't really care what I look like, so I'm not wearing a fancy band to go with the watch. You know? Okay. We shouldn't be talking about me. I keep trying to steer it over away from me. Alright, so you're getting the point here. It's like you collect enough data, you then try to figure out what might be the gap in their life. And if you're talking about an audience of more than just me, it gets easier and easier to do, okay? You know what's missing from people's lives if you're collecting enough people. So let's talk about a group of, let's say women ages 21 to 32. And you're trying to sell them a car. What's missing from their lives that would allow you to sell team the car? It depends, oh this is so good. Yeah, I mean you don't know, really. Like, what is relational between the car and what's missing from their lives? But you do know some things if you have, say the entire population of American women ages 21 to 35. There's some things you know is missing from their lives: income, power, housing, and not just income but how much in debt they are. What's missing is their ability to pay off that debt. Relationships, Matt, you grab the mic if you wanna. Sorry to make you do this all the time. This is for the online audience. Lifestyles, hobbies, stuff like that, whether they have kids or not is important. Yeah, so those are data points, what's missing from their lives? Income, like you said. Income, yeah, and a lot of it, you know, if you're talking about emotional stuff, relationships can kind of be a problem. Granted, it's a hookup culture, so being able to have a monogamous relationship can be kind of difficult, and so on, right? And so what you can do, that is all kinds of things you can use, maybe to sell them a car. Okay, so what kind of car would you sell people who are paying off a whole lot of loans? It's not gonna be an expensive car, is it? You have to be able to make a sale. Go for it. Something cheap and efficient, something that runs, something that's not expensive to fix or maintain, something probably small, definitely not a pickup truck, because of gas prices and maintenance fees and registering the car is crazy expensive in the state of Washington, too. Yeah, you know in a way, maybe you oughta sell them the kind of car that's not an owned car, right? Maybe you can lease a car and convince them that this will help them pay off their loans. Okay, what are we talking about here? That is the lure, or the hook. This is, "I have something you need. "I'm gonna fill a gap in your desire." Remember we were talking about hooks in the beginning? Every lure has a hook on it if you fish. That's what we're talking about here. So you collect enough data points to know what is it that they're gonna be attracted to like they're trout or bass, and then what is it that's gonna make them stick to it? That's the hook. The lure has to be attractive, it has to work off a particular desire or a gap in people's lives, all right? So that is the lure. Look for data points, find the hook. It comes off their values and expectations. And while we kind of got to that, and I didn't wanna talk too much about values, 'cause that can get you a little bit too far into the weeds. So, what do I value and what don't I value when you look at me? It's like I value looking like a professional because it's useful to me. On the other hand, my wife cuts my hair, so I'm really not into high fashion, exactly. I'm not wearing anything that's really all that fashionable. See, and plus I wear an Apple watch. So obviously, I value some things that don't have to do with walking on the runway. Those are things that you know about me. So you know what I don't value, but you also can tell I do value things like looking like a professional. There's a certain ambition level there. You can see that I'm a little concerned about getting older and still relating to audiences, so okay, that's something you can use, all right? These are values that then become ways that you can lure me into doing things, all right? But you're not really gonna make me do things just with the lure. You can create the lure, which has to do with, "You're gonna seem younger. You're gonna pay off your loans. "You're gonna find a young woman or a young man, "and life will be good after that. "We're gonna fill this gap in your life." That's the lure. Let's talk about the ramp. Remember I was talking about this mountain of youth, Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire, and I ran up it, what I did was I chunked the mountain. So when you think about in terms of chunking, when you're trying to get somebody to do something, don't ask them to do it, ask them to take the first step. So don't say, "Buy this product." It's not gonna work, generally. Say, "Try this product," right? What you're doing is you're chunking the action you want into steps, and you're leading them to the first step. That's your job. That's a triumph, if you lead somebody to take the very first step to do something, okay? So you don't say, "Go to this website." You say, "Test yourself on this website. "Find out if you are a Virgo. "Find out if you're a positive person or a negative person," I mean whatever, like people love those kinds of quizzes. Do something that's fun, not "go to this website," but "see this thing on this website, "you've gotta see it," okay? That's chunking. So what you really want, obviously, is not just to go on the website, but give me your email, or at least let me collect a pixel, you know, or some kind of cookie that allows me to maintain a relationship with you. So we're back to the consumer journey that is just nothing but chunking. What's the consumer journey? You start by having somebody become aware of your brand, that's all you're doing, that's the first easy step. "Hey, have you heard about this? "We're gonna tell you, we're gonna give you some funny, "interesting, fun thing that throws a gap "in your life in some very small way "so at least you're interested in my brand." The next part of the consumer journey is to get you to try the brand, not necessarily buy it, but at least test it, hold it, look at pictures, look at reviews, or whatever. Third step, they buy. They're on their way. They've bought the product, but you're not done, that's not the end of the consumer journey. You want them to review it, that's why everything, everything, I can't get on an airplane without three companies asking me to review this stupid airplane flight, right? Everything asks you to review it. Why? Because they want more information about you, and they want you to evaluate the product, so you're thinking about it, having a relationship with it, the final step of the consumer journey is you absolutely love the product and you recommending it to other people, now you're championing the brand. Now there are other steps that we will talk about in the consumer journey, but what is this but a mountain chunked into steps up that mountain, leading you to become the champion of whatever you want, and that is the ultimate action is for people to repeat the action to get other people to do that action. Does it make sense to you? That's chunking, that's the ramp. So, you want anybody to do something, you have a lure at the end, there's something really desirous that makes them just take one step and then another step and then another step and keep going. Sometimes that lure has to get closer and more attractive as you go. In other words, you get people who go to the website and look at something, now you've gotta get them to evaluate something, and maybe that means making it attractive to them because other people are evaluating it, too. That's a different kind of lure, and then you go up this ramp until finally you find yourself compulsively buying this product you don't need, and then falling in love with it and championing it. Those are chunks. If I said to you, "You've never heard of this amazing new kind of Bluetooth speaker, and you already have ten of them in your household if you're like me, and half of them people have given it to you with brand names on them and they don't even work properly, "Here! "You wanna not only buy this, "but you wanna recommend it to your friends." Ultimately, that's what you want them to do. You want them not just to buy the product, but to champion it. And you think about your own work, too, you don't want people just to buy your pastries. You want people to tell everybody how wonderful your pastries are. And this is the same for all the work you do. You ultimately, your ultimate goal is have people championing you or your work or whatever it is you're trying to sell. So, that's the ultimate action you want from people. Suppose you have a particular cause you trying to promote, you want people to champion that cause, not just to go out and vote or support your proposition locally or whatever you're trying to do. You want people to be volunteers knocking on doors, not just voting. So, to do that though, you can't ask them to do that. You chunk into steps along the way, with a lure that fills a gap in their lives, or appeals to some deeply held value they have. That's your lure, that's your ramp, okay? The ramp has to do with chunking the action, dividing it into steps. First step should be easy, fun, system one Homer Simpson, one plus one equals two. Like, easy. It's like a stupid action, it's so great. Like, I just can't resist going to this cat video online. And ultimately, becoming a champion of your product in the long run. Let's play a game. We're gonna do some sales here, and this is, by the way, this is something that, if you go into argulab,, you're gonna find some exercises, and one of the things is a dice game. And if you're really nerdy, and you wanna be as rhetorical as possible, you roll the dice, and one die will tell you what you're selling, and the other die will tell you who you're selling to, okay? So we can do this without the dice exactly, and can I pick it, just 'cause I know it's the most fun, like stupid thing of all? Let's sell a baby goat to an angry teenager. Can I be the angry, I've already played a five-year-old. Can I play the angry teenager? Unless somebody really wants to play an angry teenager. You're gonna let me do it? Thank you. All right, but somebody's gotta sell that baby goat to me. And by the way, I'm not just an angry teenager. I'm an angry teenager who's like a really urban angry teenager, like all I wanna do's spray graffiti in inappropriate places and make my parents mad. And why am I angry? 'Cause life is so unfair! Nobody understands me. You're gonna sell me a baby goat, okay? Who's gonna do it? Who's gonna sell it so that I just want a baby goat? Okay. Go for it! Amanda's gonna do it. (chuckles) I like goats, so I have an advantage, right? Okay. Who doesn't like goats? I know, exactly, especially baby goats. Okay, do I just go into it, or...? Yeah, now here's the thing. You wanna be thinking in terms of what's the lure, so you're gonna be collecting data points on me, and generalize all you want about this angry teenager and I will give you clues if I can, which an angry teenager will do. The other thing is, once you figure this out, find out what's missing in my life, create that as a lure, and then think about how to ramp it. You're gonna chunk it into smaller actions, okay? You ready to do it? Okay, hold on, I need to process all that. Okay, okay. I'm ready. Okay, you have to start because I'm an angry teenager and I am not gonna talk to you first. (laughter) I'm like text, text, text. Okay. Life's unfair, I hate people. Okay. Are you feeling angry? Duh, or is that a girl? Am I an angry girl now? Do you want something? Do I want something? I want to be left alone by the likes of you. I'm not gonna be easy here. What do need in your life right now? I want people to leave me alone. How clear do I have to make it? I want, I'll tell you what. Everybody is constantly telling me what I wanna do, and they keep saying, like, "You're the problem," and like, "Where are your good grades," and like, "Why aren't you staying home, because we love you," blah blah blah. And all I want is just for people to leave me alone, let me go out and live my life, okay? So you want to feel some independence in your life. That's the way you wanna put it. What's going on here? So you're collecting data points here by asking these questions, and you are getting a response from me, which is good. It's not easy from a teenager who's angry. How can I help you feel more independent in your life? Why would I need help from you? (laughs) Because I'm here to support you. How? Do you got... Because I love you. (laughter) Because I'm your parent and I love you. Oh, you're my parent, okay. Now you know where I'm coming from. There's a data point that was missing. Okay, all right, yeah, whatever, I mean that's gonna be my answer, 'cause you embarrassed me now. You said you love me, and that's great. You have disarmed me a little bit. I was trying to do that. That's pretty good, you're shifting the mood a little bit. That's good. Remember, we're talking about mood, mind, and action. It still counts here, okay? So you're selling me a baby goat though, it's kind of interesting, Mom. (laughter) So I was thinking... You're collecting money from me, I love this. So I was thinking that you hate doing yard work, and I was thinking of a way to make easier for you by maybe getting a baby goat (laughter) to help out in the yard. Mow the lawn with a goat? Yeah, to help mow the lawn with a goat that'll start out as a baby so you get to hang out with it. It's very adorable. Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. You're selling me something? No, I'm offering something that might help you. You're offering me not to more the lawn any more? I'm listening now. Yes, to make your life a little easier to that you can focus on other things. Okay, you got the lure going on, that's pretty good. Like I wanna be left alone and not mow the lawn. Good luck getting me to do it in the first place, but we won't go there. So okay, now you're talking about, they're on the way up the ramp, right? So you're chunking it, so you introduced the baby goat. We haven't talked about selling it to me. What are you gonna do to get me on that first step on that consumer journey? I'm gonna show you a picture of how the goat is. No. That'd work with me. That's so lame. If you're trying to show me cat videos and goat yoga, I'm not gonna do that. I don't know. Yeah, this is hard, isn't it? So remember I said, don't buy this, try this. Have an experience. So, one of the best things you could do in this situation maybe is simply to let the goat into the house. 'Cause one of the things this kid would absolutely love probably is chaos, right? Have that goat boinging all over the house, and climbing on top of everything including the kid, and it would, you know, that could be a way to do it, and say, then withdraw the goat. Like, "Okay, that's enough. "I just wanted to show you this goat. "I'm gonna take it away now." Baa! (laughs) "Oh, it really loves you." "Oh, that's just too bad. "I'm taking the goat away anyway." "Guess what we're having for dinner." (laughter) Okay, so you've got the lure and you've got the first step on this consumer journey. So here's the thing, and I'll let you off the hook here. (laughs) Okay, thanks. But you know, it does show you, you gotta really thing about this. You've found the lure really well, you got a little bit of a hook going on, 'cause you know that the goat's gonna be kind of attractive. Now you have to think, how do you get the first step? Try it. Try this. Don't try to buy the product, just have the experience, and make sure that experience matches the desire of the person.

Class Description

Each day, in every aspect of our lives, we’re confronted with situations where we need to persuade. How do we persuade our kids to clean up their room? How do we persuade a coworker to complete a project? How do we persuade a Facebook friend that their position is misguided?

Some of us choose not to persuade and instead resort to inpatient quips or angry rants. Many of us choose silence, then leave the room frustrated and brooding about what we should have said to win the argument.

Best-selling author and consultant Jay Heinrichs will teach you the basic tools of persuasion so you can avoid bitter confrontations and instead come to satisfying agreements. You’ll discover how being more articulate, using logic and controlling your emotions can create better, stronger, happier relationships.

In this course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Set goals for yourself when it comes to arguments.
  • Parent your children better through persuasion techniques.
  • Bring people together and build more cohesive teams.
  • Get people to like you with caring, craft and cause.
  • Avoid being manipulated.
  • Know what to say in awkward situations.
  • Be more articulate in the heat of the moment.



I read Jay's book, Thank You For Arguing, a couple years ago, and it was life-changing! The course is terrific too and absolutely worth taking to learn how to communicate more effectively with other people, particularly anyone who may not understand or agree with your perspective or whose support you may need for something but don't know how to ask for or get it. Like in his book, the advice, ideas, and strategies Jay shares in this course will help you become a more confident communicator and also have more successful and happier interactions and relationships as a result. Highly recommend!

Malgorzata Syta

Excellent course for those who want to learn how to argue efficiently and respectfully. I've read Jay Heinrich's two books and was thrilled to see he had a course on here. It helped me consolidate the extensive knowledge I gained from his "Thank you for Arguing" (great book!). Unlike some, I loved his quirky presentation style! But then, as a huge fan, I'm biased!

Kc Mace

I really enjoyed this class. It was chock full of information that I will be chewing on for awhile. I love hearing the examples after learning the process. It helped with the understanding of what we had just gone over. I would recommend this class for everyone, whether it be for your job or your life in general. We all need these skills in our arsenal. Jay Heinrichs does a terrific job in his instruction of these rhetoric concepts.