Welcome to Influence, Psychology and Persuasion
This is session number 008 of Influence Psychology and Persuasion. And in typical “Mike fashion” I’ve given you a strange title that seems oxymoronic. Agree even when you don’t! Really.
Why I suggest you always agree! Initially.
Okay, I have given a bit more away now that I’ve added the “initially” part at the end of the title. But bear with me here because there are some very important factors to consider. And why I have made this statement about an agreement. Agreeing with a person first and foremost allows for rapport to be built and for the interaction to continue to flow. And in any interaction, we are always looking for a good level of rapport and to ensure that we feel comfortable enough at the conversation stays in flow and moves along nicely in the direction we choose to enable the right outcome for us. Agreement is the very best way to do this! Agreed? lol
Examples of agreement
You are selling gas and electricity for a small not very known distribution company. You do have very competitive rates and the switch over to existing large supplier over to you, can be seamless and will involve very little of a persons time.
But, right at the end of the interaction before the person is about to sign their new agreement, they say that they have some concerns. That may go something like this. “As you are only a small company, how do I know you will stay in business, and be able to provide me with the service I want, I feel a little uneasy”. The untrained person here would try to explain to that person that they needn’t feel uneasy and they would try to reassure in any way that they could, simply saying that they’re not that small and they do have 3% of the entire market. In basic terms, they would attempt to sell a person. This is a great example of not agreeing, trying to dissuade a person’s opinion by telling.
Having the ability to create an agreement though allows a person to feel as if you understand their situation, and also lets them know that it’s fine for them to feel that way, as others have to. In this case, you’d use something called the feel, felt, found method, and it goes a little something like this. ” Well Mrs Jackson I completely understand how you feel about switching to a smaller company for your gas and electricity services, even though we are cheaper than your current supplier, in fact, every day I hear similar thoughts and concerns from people like you who felt the same way, however, once the switch has happened almost seamlessly, those people found that they were pleased that they trusted in smaller company to provide them with the similar great service, at a much-reduced cost. This agreement twists the angle and makes a disagreement, agreeable. Think, how you can agree even when you don’t.
A sales example of agreement
“I have just received your quotation for the replacement bathroom suite and it all looks good, but you are quite expensive. Actually, you’re far more expensive than the other 2 quotes.” Let’s use Mrs Jackson again. “Well Mrs Jackson I do hear that we are expensive most weeks, and you’re absolutely right, we aren’t cheap. We do offer a full turnkey service and after 10 years in business and being recommended by all of our clients, people come to us only when they decide that they want the absolute best possible workmanship available.” This again started with an agreement. When you have an agreement with a person it lets them know you’re on the same page, and people hate being wrong or entering into any level of disagreement. Another word for disagreement. Conflict!
What else can be learned by agreeing?
Another example. You may be out for a few drinks with some friends and somebody claims that the moon is made out of blue cheese! okay, stay with me on this one, as you know it’s extremely difficult to agree with a slightly inebriated person suggesting that the shining white rock in the sky is actually stilton! However, there is something very important in this. You only know what you know. Put another way, there is a chance here for you to learn something by agreeing. You may simply learn that what you know is correct, however, it is possible that you do find out that you were wrong and there is something to be learnt.
So when Jeff at the pub claims that the moon is made of blue cheese, rather than dismissing, and disagreeing immediately. (And in this instance I wouldn’t blame you if you did). Simply ask, “how do you know this Jeff?” you may find that Jeff gives you some elaborate explanation which leads you to question your own beliefs and initial knowledge. Perhaps you don’t agree totally with Jeff’s answer and that the moon may be made out of blue cheese, but there may be something to be learnt. And knowledge is power after all.
Why it’s not worth disagreeing – Initially
Ultimately, the first reason why it’s not worth disagreeing should be the only reason that you need, to avoid conflict. It brings a very little to the table. Asking questions about a person’s beliefs or opinions that you don’t agree with may unlock a similarity that you can find common ground on. This then gives you the upper hand to take control, whilst having the agreement and the understanding with the person/s that you are working with shows them that you are trying to see things from their point of view. This is ultimately influence and persuasion at its very best.
By asking a person questions about their beliefs you’re able to repeat back and say something like “so it’s a bit like X ?” and turn the X into a metaphor to allow you to find common ground. Not disagreeing and leaving it open allows the metaphorical ball to remain in play. You know the saying, “with hindsight I would have…..”. Avoiding a flat-out disagreement allows you to have the foresight and to perhaps re-engage at a later date, once you’ve given it a bit more thought. Disagreement, on the other hand, shuts down all interactions and creates a level of conflict.
An agreement frame is an NLP term and this is covered extensively in the NLP Practitioner Training