Trade Minds With People You Want to Influence

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Trading minds with the people you want to influence is a magic way to get others — friends, associates, customers, employees — to act the way you want them to act.

Jason worked as a television copywriter and director for a large advertising agency. When the agency obtained a new account, a children’s shoe manufacturer, Jason was assigned responsibility for developing several TV commercials.

A month or so after the campaign had been launched, it became clear that the advertising was doing little or nothing to increase “product movement” in retail outlets. Attention was focused on the TV commercials, because in most cities only television advertising was used.

Through research of television viewers, they found that about 4 percent of the people though it was simply a great commercial, “one of the best,” these 4 percent said.

The remaining 96 percent were either indifferent to the commercials or, in plain language, thought they “smelled”.

Hundreds of comments like these were volunteered: “It’s wacky. The rhythm sounds like a New Orleans band at 3 a.m.” “My kids like to watch most TV commercials, but when that shoe thing comes on, they go to the bathroom or refrigerator.” “I think it’s too uppity up.” “Seems to me someone’s trying to be too clever.”

Something especially interesting turned up when all the interviews were put together and analyzed. The 4 percent who liked the commercial were people pretty much like Jason in terms of income, education, sophistication, and interests. The remaining 96 percent were definitely in a different socioeconomic class.

Jason’s commercials, which cost a lot of money, flopped because Jason thought only of his own interests. He had prepared the commercials thinking of the way he buys shoes, not the way the great majority buys shoes. He developed commercials that pleased him personally, not commercials that pleased the great bulk of people.

The results would have been much different had Jason projected himself into the minds of the masses of ordinary people and asked himself two questions: “If I were a parent, what kind of a commercial would make me want to buy those shoes?” “If I were a child, what kind of a commercial would make me go tell my Mom or Dad that I want those shoes?”

Practice trading mind exercises.

- Giving someone work instructions.

“Looking at this from the viewpoint of someone who is new to this, have I made myself clear?”

- Writing an advertisement.

“If I were a typical prospective buyer, how would I react to this ad?”

- Telephone manners.

“If I were the other person, what would I think of my telephone voice and manners?”

- Gift.

“Is this gift something I would like, or is it something he will like?” (often there is an enormous difference).

- The way I give orders.

“Would I like to carry out orders if they were given to me the way I give them to others?”

- Preparing a speech.

“Considering the background and interest of the audience, what would I think of this remark?”

Put the trading minds principle to work for you.

1. Consider the other person’s situation. Put yourself in his shoes, so to speak. Remember, his interests, income, intelligence, and background may differ considerably from yours.

2. Now ask yourself, “If I were in his situation, how would I react to this?” (Whatever it is you want him to do.)

3. Then take the action that would move you if you were the other person.

Develop your power to trade minds with the people you want to influence.



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Marcos Brakenridge

Entrepreneur, Investor & Life-Enthusiast. COO @ TopicInsights Media Publisher. Here to write and inspire the world of business.