I'm enjoying Dr. Robert Cialdini's latest book, Pre-Suasion. Similar to his first book, Influence, this book is full of stories, anecdotes, and science experiments supporting the main point of the book. The point of the book is: "Trust is one of those qualities that leads to compliance with requests, provided that it has been planted before the request is made." The book supports the premise that you can influence people to do what you want to a high degree that you do something before you ask them to do the thing you want them to do. And, it is even more effective, if the first pre-suasive trigger you use to build trust is associated with the request you make immediately after. If the premise of this book is true, this could be fascinating to experiment with before team meetings, before sales meetings with potential new clients, or before you ask your kids to clean the kitchen.
One particularly fascinating story Dr. Cialdini recounts in the book involved him accompanying a high achieving sales associate of a burglar alarm company to the home of a customer. Dr. Cialdini wanted to see how he could always out-sell anyone in the company. These sales visits always took place in the safe, warm environment of the customer's home. After each visit, Dr. Cialdini observed that the sales associate "left his contract notebook" in the truck at each and every home they called on. The sales associate would then ask the customer if he could "go get his contract notebook in the car, and just let myself back in? I won't be long." The customer always complied without question.
Cialdini didn't notice that this sales associate was particularly forgetful about anything else, so he asked him why this happened each and every time. The sales associate said that if he could get the customer to let him come into their home unattended, that was the strongest form of trust that could be given to a stranger. It worked! Each customer that allowed this sales associate to enter their home unattended purchased a burglar alarm system.
Dr. Cialdini's book is a deep, long read, but it is full of stories like this proving the effect of pre-suasive work in building trust with people before making your request. What new things could you do before each sales encounter with potential leads that would enhance the trust that the customer or client has in you?