When is the best time to influence others? This is a popular question I get asked a lot. Choosing the correct moment to make your influence attempt can increase your chance of success significantly. Whilst there never is the ‘perfect’ moment to influence others, there are certain times that can increase your success rate.
This won’t be the longest blog post but it can certainly have the biggest impact on your ability to influence others.
If you read my book Effective Influence or in fact study any form of behavioural psychology with a leaning towards influence and effectiveness you will find that reciprocation is one of the most power principles of persuasion. If you are given something, you usually feel indebted to that person and wish to reciprocate their kind action, kind gift or kind service. It is this principle that helps define the optimal time to make your influence attempt and it’s simpler than you may think.
Here it is. The big secret.
Whenever you hear someone, or an organisation say the words ‘congratulations‘, ‘thank you‘, ‘we’d love to book you again‘, ‘we’ll definitely be coming back‘, ‘that was amazing‘, ‘I really enjoyed that‘ or any positive parting comment to your delivery of a service or product, that is the time.
With those words or any words of thanks it is the perfect time to ask for something in return (or a reciprocal action).
What would be the best way to follow this up?
Using the following phrase:
“Could you do me a quick favour?” or “Would you mind helping me out with something for a second?“
Both of these replies imply the request for help or assistance. Humans are hard wired to be compassionate and empathetic and help one another. If you support that with a time restriction implying it will only take a short time, you have already built a strong foundation to make an ask.
We exploit that verbal loophole in the English language of ‘it will only take a second / minute’. Rarely does anything ever take a second but it implies that what we are asking is a small thing supported with the word ‘favour‘ or ‘help‘.
If they have genuinely appreciated the work you have done for them, service you have provided or product you have sold them, then they are in a position to reciprocate your action.
So then, how to instigate that initial word of thanks or appreciation. You could simply bring them a piece of cake from the bakers, buy them lunch, find something that they have been searching for for a long time or even promote their services independently. Any action of this kind should not be contrived. It should come from a place of authenticity where you genuinely want to help, support, care, connect or build a relationship with the other person or company.
Anything less than this and you actions will come across as disingenuous. Equally so buying a CEO a piece of cake and then transitioning into asking him to sell you a stake in the company may not be an appropriate jump. However, if you asked him for a day off the chances you will be able to influence him or her into saying yes become proportionately higher.
Influencing others into making changes, choices, or varying their behaviours will sometimes require a more finessed approached to influence which may develop over several days or months.
However, keep in mind, when you are considering when is the best time to influence someone, it is when you have heard positive feedback from your actions behaviour, service or product.
He helps companies and individuals around the world optimise their influence and effectiveness. this leads to high returns on investment as they are able to get the edge over their competitors by close more sales, retaining more customers and converting more sales leads.