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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. And today I have a question for you. Do you ever wish that you were more persuasive? Whether you wanna win over a customer service rep or maybe a new client or event a significant other, being able to influence another person, of course in an honest, ethical way, is a key to success and my guest today is gonna show us how.
Bob Burg is a best selling author and speaker on topics vital to the success of today’s businessperson. Burg is a co-author of “The Go-Giver,” “Go-Givers Sell More,” “It’s Not About You,” and “Endless Referrals.” Together his books have sold more than a million copies. Bob believes his new book, “Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion,” is by far his most important work yet.
Bob, thank you so much for being here on MarieTV. This is awesome.
Marie, I am honored. Thanks for having me.
So I have to say, you wrote one of my favorite books ever, “The Go-Giver.” And I just really wanted to thank you for that because it made a huge difference in my personal life and it so resonates with everything that I try and do for myself and everything that we try and teach on MarieTV, which is to focus on giving rather than getting. So that was just a little public acknowledgement and if you don’t have this book, “The Go-Giver,” you have to get yourself it now. But today we’re gonna focus on your other amazing book, and I know you have more than 2, but today we’re going to focus on “Adversaries into Allies.” This is awesome. “How to Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion.”
Now, one of the things that struck me was that you make a real distinction between persuasion and manipulation. Can you tell us what that is?
Yeah. And, you know, I made that point early because it’s a question that’s very natural. When you think of influence, which is really in a sense what the book is about, influence can be defined as simply the ability to move a person or persons to a desired action usually within the context of a specific goal. You can do that one of two ways. You could do it through manipulating another person or you can do it through persuading another person. And really manipulation and persuasion are cousins. Now, one’s the evil cousin. Manipulation’s the evil cousin.
The dark cousin.
Right. The dark cousin. And persuasion’s the good one. But, let’s face it, both the manipulator and the persuader, they both understand human interaction. They both understand human motivation. They understand what makes people tick and what makes people move to action. So… but there’s still a big difference and that’s the key. And obviously we don’t encourage people to manipulate, but rather to persuade. One of the best examples or explanations of the two, the difference in the two, is from a gentleman by the name of Dr. Paul W. Swets. He wrote a book back in 1986 entitled, “The Art of Talking So that People Will Listen,” though it was much more about listening than it was about talking. And I thought his explanation was great. According to Dr. Swets, manipulation aims at control, not cooperation. It does not consider the good of the other party, it results in a win-lose situation. In direct contrast to the manipulator, the persuader always seeks to enhance the self esteem of the other party. The result is that people respond better because they’re treated as responsible or response-able, self directing individuals. So it begins with intent but that’s not where it ends. See, both the manipulator and the persuader can elicit immediate action, but that’s where it ends because once you know you’ve been manipulated, Marie, you will avoid that person. You’ll do the best you can to resist that person. Even if you have to work with that person, you’ll do something to not have to be involved in some way. With a persuader though, that’s different. See, a persuader… see, a manipulator is win at all costs. They may not want to hurt the other person, but if they have to in order to get their way they will. They’re very I focused or me focused. Not the case with the persuader. For them to win the other person also has to win. So when you’ve been persuaded you feel good about that person and you’re more likely to buy into their ideas again.
Yeah and I love that distinction also that it taps into feelings. It’s like how do you feel when you’re persuaded? Is it a win-win for both of you?
And I thought that was… it’s really important because, you know, one of the things that we’ve discovered and what we do here on MarieTV and in our program B-School, so many people associate sales and marketing or getting your product or your idea out into the world with somehow being pushy or somehow being manipulative.
Just the opposite.
Exactly. And it’s just the opposite. And that’s why I was so excited to talk with you today because I think this reframing of how to add value in other people’s lives and whenever if we bump up against conflict, which we’re gonna talk about in a few minutes, how do you deal with that in a way that’s empathetic and compassionate and that leaves both people not only feeling great but it’s actually a true win win for both of them.
It is. And, Marie, so many people when they go into business and they do something they love, they have a product or service they feel so good about and they know they can add value to people’s lives. But they say, “Oh, but I don’t wanna sell.” Why? Because it’s how they’re defining selling. See, if you look at selling as something you do to someone, if you define selling as trying to convince somebody to buy something they don’t want or need, who wants to do that? We couldn’t feel good about something like that. Really all selling is at its very… at its basic is simply finding out what somebody does want or need and helping them to get it.
That’s what it is. And when you look at it that way you can feel great about it because you know you’re providing a service to that person.
Absolutely. So let’s shift into the five principles that are really the core of the book. So let’s start off with principle number one, which is all about being able to be the master of our own emotions.
It’s control your own emotions. The sages of long ago asked who was a mighty person and they answered, “That person who can control their own emotions and make of an enemy or a potential enemy a friend.” It all begins with that because, see, until you can… it’s only when you can control your own emotions that you’re able to take a potentially negative situation or person and turn it into a win for everyone involved. But why is that so difficult? Well, because we’re human beings.
And as human beings we’re emotional creatures. I would like to think we’re logical, and to a certain extent we are, but really we are emotion driven. We make major decisions based on emotion and we back up those emotional decisions with logic. We rationalize. And if you take that word it means we tell ourselves rational lies and we do that in order to justify that emotional decision. Well, there’s also… emotion also comes into play when you just feel lousy about something. Now, we know nobody can make us feel bad or angry or sad or mad, but what they can do is they can either intentionally or usually unintentionally do things that push our buttons and cause ourselves to become mad or angry or sad or what have you. And when we allow ourself to be controlled by that we can’t be part of the solution by the very nature of the thing. We become part of the problem and things don’t work out. This is not to say that we should forego our emotions. Emotions are a great part of life. They make life joyous and worthwhile. But as one of my great mentors, Dandi Schumachi, says, “By all means, take your emotions along for the ride but make sure you are driving the car.”
I loved that when I read it in the book. It was so great. And I think it’s so important to remember because in those situations where our buttons do get pressed it’s very easy, especially in this world where we can text in a moment, we can reply on social media, you can reply in email, and those things can’t be taken back. I mean, words can’t be taken back. But I think it’s vital for this idea of turning adversaries or any kind of conflict, someone that we have conflict with, into an ally, of being able to chill out for a minute and not be driven by your emotions. So one of… an action strategy would be to just…
Well, if you know that you’re susceptible to this then what you wanna do is rehearse. You know, imagine situations that you know that have happened in the past that could happen again where your buttons could be pressed and see both results. I mean, see what it would be like if you did what you usually do and that that’s probably not the result you want and then imagine yourself just, as Zig Ziglar used to say, responding instead of reacting. Really being in control of yourself, being calm, listening to that person first, taking a moment to decide what to do and seeing it turn out beautifully. And it’s sort of like a, and I use this analogy in the book, like an astronaut who’s going up into space. Before they do he or she is going to do a lot of simulations, maybe hundreds of them, so by the time they get up into space and something happens they’ve already been there and done that. And while it’s a little bit different certainly than actually doing it, it’s not that much different. We know the mind can’t tell the… the subconscious can’t tell the difference between what’s actually happened and what’s been suggested to it. So if you see yourself doing it, if you’re rehearsing this, if you’re picturing those wonderful results in your mind’s eye, then when the situation comes up you’re much more likely to do it. And when you do and you handle it beautifully, take pleasure in that. Congratulate yourself. Know that if you’ve done it once you can do it every time. But there’s one more thing though, and that’s to understand you probably won’t do it right every time. At least I know I don’t.
Oh, I don’t either.
Yet in those times when we don’t because we’re human and it’s gonna happen, we can feel a little bad about it, but not too bad. Don’t go into… don’t go into a guilt trip about it. Understand that you’re human and you’ll have many chances to practice.
Yeah. I love that. I love the rehearsing bit. I know one thing that always works for me, we’ve talked a lot about it on the show, is like taking a time out. Like, if you feel yourself emotionally charged by something that’s come in and you don’t have to respond right away…
…to give yourself a little bit of a cooling off period so you can clear out and then, you know, think…
Yeah. A little more empathetically. So let’s move on. What’s principle number two?
That is to understand the clash of belief systems, and this is so very key. What is a belief? Well, a belief really is a subjective truth. It’s the truth as we understand the truth to be, which doesn’t mean it’s the truth. That means it’s our truth.
Right. Now, our truth might be the truth, but it’s not necessarily and it’s probably so far less than what we think.
Well, you know, we have our truths, our truths are a result of our belief systems. I call it an operating system. And it’s an unconscious operating system. We’re not even aware of it. Our beliefs are a combination of upbringing, environments, schooling, news media, television shows, movies, popular culture, cultural mores, every… all the associations we have. And it’s pretty much… the interesting thing about it, it’s pretty much set in place by the time we’re little more than toddlers. And at that point everything new that comes into that belief system tends to build on that foundation or that premise. So people grow up with a particular belief system not even realizing it. Thinking, saying, doing things based on those beliefs and they live their entire life doing that. Well, we have to also understand that this other person with whom we’re about to have a potentially difficult personal… interpersonal transaction, they’re a victim of their, and when I say victim I don’t mean victim mentality, I mean…
No, of course.
…it’s… it’s just unconscious and it’s just how most of us are. That they also live according to their belief systems and they’re unconscious about it and that’s where a clash can really occur. And as human beings we tend to think that everybody else sees the world as we see the world. How could it be anything else? That’s how we see the world, which is why you hear people say things like, “Oh, everybody feels that way.” Or, “Oh, nobody likes that.” Or if you’ve ever said, I know I have certainly, “Oh, I would never say that to someone.” Right?
Because that’s our belief. No we wouldn’t, but they would. They come from a different belief system. So what we need to do, Marie, is not necessarily understand that person’s belief system. They probably don’t understand their own belief system. What we need to do is simply understand that the two of us, that we see the world from two different models or paradigms or viewpoints, belief systems. And as long as we understand that and we respect that, now we can create the context for a mutual win win.
That’s awesome and it’s just really that awareness that can, I know for me…
…disable that immediate maybe reaction or fight that wants to come up and like, “What are they thinking? Why don’t they get it?” And I loved that about your book that it just starts to set that frame for more empathetic, compassionate, kind interaction.
Yeah. And it allows us to not take things personally and to personalize things. One of the best books ever written on that topic was by Don Miguel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements.”
And when he talked about the agreements of the world, which I call belief systems, he also showed why we really don’t have to take things personally. It isn’t about us. It all has to do with that unconscious way that that person sees the world and so forth. And so, you know, whenever I find myself taking things personally, I still go to that chapter in the book.
Me too. For sure. Ok, so moving on to principle number three, acknowledging their ego.
Yeah. And, you know, I say acknowledge their ego not ours because we don’t have one.
No, we obviously, we have to acknowledge ours too. We have to be aware of it. And what’s interesting is the ego itself, and we tend to especially in the personal development…
…community if you will, we tend to say, “Oh, everything about the ego is bad.” Not necessarily. The ego just is. The ego is the I. Literally that’s what the ego is. It’s that sense of self that realizes we are a distinct human being separate from other human beings. And, you know, that’s a little politically incorrect… incorrect to say. You know, separate from other…? What? Well, we are.
Now, don’t get… we’re part of the whole universal consciousness and we learned that back from Napoleon Hill and certainly quantum physics and the vibrations and they’re in tune… of course. We’re part… but you know what? In our earthly human existence…
…we operate as individuals. We seek our own sense of happiness and we have our own individual values and so forth. And so we do operate that way. And the ego, when channeled and controlled, can help us accomplish great things for ourselves and for the community as a whole. But when it gets away from us and we’re not in control, that’s… now, that’s a different thing. So when I say acknowledge their ego, it’s because we need to understand that if that person is acting in any way that’s counterproductive, unhelpful, even if it’s not benefitting them, but there’s a… you can tell there’s a real emotional thing there, there’s a good chance their ego has taken over.
And what do you suggest about acknowledging it? Like, is it just really letting that person feel heard, feel seen?
Yeah. I mean, when I say acknowledge it I wouldn’t say, “Hey, pal. Your ego.” You know. “It’s getting away from you.” No. Don’t do that. That would be… that would have the opposite effect.
No, I just mean acknowledge it to yourself, but that’s probably happening. And then when we go into, you know… first, of course, we have to respond as opposed to react, being in control of ourselves. We have to understand that ego is part of their belief system that’s being run. We’re also gonna talk about, when we talk about setting the frame intact. That all has to do with that person’s ego because, you know, their ego will come into play. And when we talk about being able to influence or gently persuade someone, a lot of that comes down to how you make that person feel. If you can help them to feel genuinely good about themselves and about you and about the situation, you have a lot better chance of that win win taking place.
Yeah. And I think we’re getting onto principle 4, which is one of my favorites, about setting the frame. What does that phrase mean?
Well, a frame itself is simply the foundation from which everything else takes place. In the book I tell a story about a little boy in a Dunkin Donuts store and he was walking around the store and he started to walk towards his parents when all of a sudden he took a spill on the floor. He fell to the floor. Now, he didn’t hurt himself and you could tell, but you could tell by his… the look on his face he was kinda shocked. I mean, he intuitively knew that was not supposed to happen and he right away, of course, looked at his mom and dad to get their response. See, he was looking for their interpretation of the event. What happened happened. He wanted to know, ok mom and dad, what’s next?
Ok. And I really believe, Marie, that had the parents kinda panicked or gotten alarmed or, you know, “Oh, no. Are you alright my poor…?” I think he would’ve started to cry. But they handled it beautifully. And they, you know, they smiled and they applauded and they said, “Oh, that was such a good trick. That looks like so much fun,” and all of a sudden he broke out into this big grin and he’s laughing. And what the parents did is they set a very productive frame from which he could operate. And it’s the same thing when we meet someone and whether it’s by the smile or the way we say hello or by our body language, making them feel welcome or by the words we say, it’s really helping them to see that they’re in a… not in an adversarial relationship but one in which the two of you together in which they’re welcome and so forth. You know what’s important though also? To be able to reset someone else’s already negative frame. Because it’s one thing to set the frame when no frame has been set, but what if that person has, you know, come into the situation already angry or, you know, sort of win lose in nature and so forth. And that’s where we’ve got to be able to… it’s sort of like you try to check into a hotel early and the person’s quoting the rules and, “There’s no check in before this and that.” And you’re not gonna get anywhere there so maybe you very politely ask to speak to the supervisor, he goes back there and says, “Oh, there’s a customer out there who wants to check in early.” Well, this supervisor has been in the business 10 years, hates his job, has to deal with people 10 times a day who do that or are gonna argue it. So he kinda has his game face on and he knows he has to be polite but he’s ready to quote the rulebook. And he comes out with that look on his face. Now, most people, that’s a frame of confrontation.
And most people would react to that and they’d say, “Well, I wanna get in early. I travel this… I stay at this hotel all the time.” And then you may get in, may not. They may be sabotaging your entire stay, you’re giving yourself an ulcer, and so… but what if instead what you do is you reset the frame? You have a smile on your face, you… you have your hand out, you take a couple of steps. “Hi, Mr. Davis. Bob Burg. Thank you so much for taking time to come out and see me. I know you’re very busy.” Well, boom. You’ve just now reset the frame from a problem customer, problem guest, to one that this person will go out of his way to please because you’re the type of guest they want to have with them.
Yeah. So principle number five, and this is obviously where all of it comes together. Communicating with empathy and tact. How do we do that?
You know? Marie, that is… that is so key. You know, with tact I’m reminded of Les Giblin who wrote the great book “How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People,” and he wrote what counts is attaining satisfaction without trampling upon the egos of those we deal with. And so we see that tact is really connected to ego, which is connected to feelings or controlling emotions and so forth. And my dad has always defined tact as the language of strength. And, you know, I see tact as… I really look at tact as a way to be able to… to teach someone, to be able to correct someone, to critique someone, dare I say constructively criticize someone. Not that we ever want to do any of those. Of course we don’t. But there are times we have to. We’re talking about the real world, not a fantasy world.
And there are times people do things that we’ve got to be able to teach but we need to do it in a way that not only is that person not defensive and resistant to that, but they’re open, they’re accepting of both us and the idea, and that’s really what tact allows us to do. It’s thinking before saying something. It’s saying to yourself, “Hey, you know, how is this person? How is this gonna make this person feel?”
It’s, you know, and so there’s a lot of power. Now, with that, now empathy really is a… is a very legitimate part of that because when we’re empathetic… empathy by definition is simply the identification with or vicarious experiencing of another person’s feelings. Which sounds like a fancy way of saying, well, you know, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. And it would be except most of us have different size feet. In other words, we have different belief systems. We come from different ways of seeing the world and we don’t always know what that person’s feeling. Now, when we do, when we have enough of a closeness and experience that we can understand, great. Communicate you understand how… but, you know, sometimes empathy isn’t so much understanding how… communicating that you understand how they feel as much as communicating that you understand they’re feeling something. And that this something is distressful to them and that you’re there to help them the best way you can.
Yeah. That’s brilliant. And I know you have… well, one of the challenge all of us can come up against is when people request something of our time or they want us to participate in something and it’s really not our truth that we want to do it. And we’ve talked about this many times on MarieTV is different ways to say no, and I think you have one of the most brilliant. Do you want to share that with us?
Thank you. I… I really feel strongly about this because we… we all get asked to do things that, like you said, we… you know, sometimes just don’t wanna do it.
And, you know, Adversaries and Allies is not about being self sacrificial, it’s not about being a doormat, it’s not about… it’s being able to, well, to attain satisfaction, to be able to get the results you want while helping everyone feel good about themselves. And we need to be able to say no sometimes but we need to do it in a way that’s respectful, kind, tactful. You know, when we talk about saying no there’s all sorts of advice around and I certainly don’t want to disrespect anyone’s advice and everyone is entitled to that, but I think that there are certain things that are more productive than other things.
I often hear the kind of… the advice that’s going around a lot now is, “No is a complete sentence.” You know, just, you know, to just tell people no and that’s it. And I’ve seen that teaching at seminars and I’ve seen people nodding their heads and empowered, you know, agreement. “Yeah. Ok, from now on that’s just what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna tell people no.” Is that really what you’re gonna do? Are you really gonna rudely say to somebody, “No,” or, “No, I don’t want to.” Well, first of all, it’s just not a nice thing to do. Secondly, you’re turning an ally into a potential adversary. You’re also closing any potential partnerships or ventures or anything with that person. But the biggest reason for not saying no like that, Marie, is because it’s not congruent with your values of treating people with respect. So I think there’s a better way. Now, we also hear people say, “Well, just kinda make up an excuse so that you don’t hurt the person’s feelings.” So the person asks you to serve on a committee that you just don’t wanna serve on. So you say, “Well, you know, I would but I just don’t have time right now.” Well, there’s a couple of problems with that. One, it’s sort of a fib because it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s that you don’t have the desire to do it. You don’t value doing the thing as much as you value not doing the thing. Ok, so really it’s not that you don’t have time. The other challenge is that this person’s probably heard others say, “I don’t have time,” so they have a response to it. So when they very compellingly explain why time is not an issue now you either have to come clean and say, “Well, it’s not that I don’t really have time it’s that I really just don’t wanna do it.” So you’ve had to admit that you fibbed, they don’t respect you, you feel kind of, technical term here, yucky and so forth. But then… or the other thing, the other option is in order to save face, what do you do? You take the give, you do the thing you don’t wanna do, and there’s really nothing good about that either. So there’s a way we can say no that respects the other person and honors our own boundaries and so forth, and it’s simply like this. Again, let’s take the example of a committee that you’re asked to serve on. And, again, it’s not an outlandish question, it’s just not something you wanna do. So you simply say to that person, “Thank you so much for asking. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.”
That’s really all it is. So you’re thanking that person, you’re letting them know it’s an honor, so you’re respecting them, but you’re not making an excuse they can grab onto. It’s simply, “Thank you so much for asking. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.”
That whole, “While it’s not something I’d like to do,” that’s a nice turn of phrase there, Bob.”
And, you know, there’s always that situation where that person might still kinda try to compel you to do it.
Especially if you’ve set yourself up as someone who can be…
Right. And so they say, “Oh, but we really, you know, really need you to do it. Please.” And you just simply without defensiveness, without emotion other than kindness, you… but with no defensiveness type of emotion, you simply say, “I’d rather not. But thank you so much for asking. I’m really honored to be asked.”
I’d rather not…
And you just do that and do it with calmness and be ready to… and what you’ll do is you’ll sort of retrain or reteach that person that they can always ask you, there’s nothing wrong with asking you, but when you say no, you say no and that’s it.
Yeah, that’s a good one. That’s a really, really good one and I think for many of us when you feel put on the spot about something and you don’t have a go to phrase that feels good from the inside out and that really respects the other person, that’s where we can get into trouble, so that’s awesome.
And also, remember, rehearse that. So don’t wait until it happens. You know, rehearse it, see yourself doing that. And your words might be a bit different than mine.
You might say something like, “Choose to do,” instead of… or what have you.
But rehearse how you’re gonna do it so when it happens, you’re ready.
Yeah. It’s ready to roll off the tongue. So the last thing I wanna ask you before we wrap up is you said there’s a question that you can ask that pretty much guarantees you can keep potential misunderstandings from ever actually taking place. What’s that question?
Yeah. It’s actually, it’s very simple and it has to do, again, with belief systems that people… that we might use a term or say a word and words have different meanings anyway, never mind the way we look at certain words or… are different. And so what we’re gonna do is just ask the person to clarify. For example, let’s say the project manager comes in to the team and says, you know, “The client says there’s been a change and we need to have this done as soon as possible.” Ok? Now, one person on the team, what does as soon as possible really mean?
Exactly. To one person it means you pull an all nighter, you don’t go to your daughter’s soccer game, you sacrifice that and you… the other person, they come from a company where as soon as possible means, “Oh, when you get around to it.” The other one, as soon as possible means as soon as this project’s done. Right? And so one person does this and the other person does… so instead in order to make sure this misunderstanding doesn’t happen, you very tactfully say to the project manager, you know, “Pat, just for my own clarification, when you say, ‘As soon as possible,’ is there a specific day or what time you’re thinking of?” Boom.
And so now when we say, “Just for my own clarification,” that’s what I call a lead in phrase that sort of softens it a little bit so we’re a little more tactful about it. You know, “What do you mean…?” You know? Instead it’s, you know, “Just for my own clarification, you know, when you say, ‘As soon as possible,’ is there a specific day or time?” “Oh, yeah. Well, it’s end of day Wednesday by 5 o’clock,” and now we know. So it’s the same as asking somebody just to define that term when they say, you know, “When you say, you know, X…”
What do you mean?
“…what, yeah, what exactly do you mean? Or what do you mean?” Or just anything like that. And it’s the same when we’re the one communicating. So when we say, “It needs to be done as soon as possible,” and really that means end of day Wednesday by 5 o’clock we need to have it done. That way it’s clarified and so there’s no… no misunderstanding that takes place.
Yeah. I actually have to train myself to do that a lot and as our team grows internally and we work with more people we do it all the time. Because you get so comfortable with people that you like and…
…and then you’re like, oh, you get so excited about a project. But even when it comes down to things like design, you know, “Oh, I want this to be more edgy. I want this to be more clean.” It’s like what the hell does that mean? Unless you can have some clear parameters or examples to show people. It really does. I love that. That’s so genius.
Bob, you’re fantastic. I really appreciate you coming on today.
Thank you, my pleasure.
This book is wonderful. One of the other things that I love about this book is that especially as you get through the principles and things start to come to life it’s like you give so many great tips in very short form. And really things that you can apply to everyday life and I just felt more empowered. Because for me, a lot of this stuff comes naturally but there’s always problem points in my life where I feel like, “Gosh, I know I could have handled that better. I would’ve loved to be able to handle that better and now I feel equipped to do so.”
Wow, well I take that as a great compliment. I love the work you do and MarieTV is just wonderful and certainly your B-School is making such a huge, huge difference in the world, so thank you for all you’re doing.
Thank you. Now Bob and I have a challenge for you. So we would love to know which of the five influence principles do you need to focus on most in your own life? Now, as always, the best conversations happen after the episode over at MarieForleo.com, so go there and leave a comment now. Did you like this video? If so, subscribe to our channel and, of course, share it with all of your friends. And if you want even more resources to create a business and life that you love, plus some personal insights from me that I only share in email, come on over to MarieForleo.com and sign up for email updates. Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.