How to get people to say yes to what you want Master Influencer MagazineLeadership & Influence

The Truth About What Actually Makes People Say Yes To You

Much of what you think is effective when influencing people and getting them to say yes to you actually doesn’t work as well as you’d expect. It’s not your fault because that’s all we know and have been taught to influence others with.

However, if we are honest with ourselves, we might realize the futility of such persuasion techniques. We need to stop using our gut instincts in persuasion – reasoning, logic, and aggressive selling. Luckily for us, new theories in the field of behavioral sciences show us why the old ways don’t convince anyone to our point of view and how to finally get someone to say yes to you all the time.

Understanding how people actually make decisions will guide us in finally becoming successful persuaders.

As humans, we still make our core decisions in our primitive, subconscious minds. A part of our mind that evolved before we fully became human and developed the ability to reason. Since we have essentially no control over our subconscious mind, persuaders who realize this have significant power over us. They get us to do things and we are oblivious to their methods.

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However, our conscious, rational mind still needs to justify our choices. So it literally makes up reasons, which sound so convincing, that they fool us into thinking that our conscious mind has made the choice.

However, we now know that the opposite is true. The subconscious and our emotional state rules when it comes to decisions. This is why when we try to get others to listen to us by appealing to their rational minds we often end up with frustrating results.

The key is to convince people on a subconscious level first. Get their subconscious mind aligned to saying yes to you and being more receptive with your ideas. Here are the best approaches for you to achieve this:

To get them to say yes, first make them and their needs the focus

Others are not impressed by your accomplishments and education to use as justification for being influenced by you. Make it all about you and you are essentially looking past the very person you expect to influence. Instead, people will light up if you ask them about themselves – their dreams and aspirations, who and what they are afraid of, and who is to blame for what they lack. The best persuaders know this and always start here.

Let others know you are genuinely willing to carry their load and walk all the miles with them before you even bring up your request. Now watch and see how eager they are to say YES to you!

For more on this read The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding By Blair Warren, eBook 2012.

Use the mental shortcuts people use for saying yes to us

Our world is too information-rich and our choices appear too complex to us. Ego plays a role in this and we are too proud to fathom that we lack basic decision-making abilities. Thus, we often rely on shortcuts for decision making instead of making rational choices.

These include following the lead of others (social proof), feeling the need to repay back those who have given us something first (reciprocity), and viewing a diminishing resource as more valuable (scarcity).

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The rational part gets invented in our brains after these take effect. Also, notice that all of these shortcuts work only at the subconscious level.

You can read more on how these principles work here- The Right Way To Get People Saying “Yes” To You More Often – 7 Shortcuts of Influence

Or get it directly from the source book — Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert Cialdini.

How this influences people and why they say yes to you

Once their subconscious mind is primed in your favor, people will put up less resistance to your ideas when you present them and make your request. Attempting to influence people directly with reasoning only makes them argue with you and push back. At this point you are foolishly engaging their conscious mind to make a decision. Research has shown that this only makes people argumentative and unyielding. You can read more on why this happens here-

Why Reasoning With People Is A Waste Of Time: What You Should Do Instead

Final Thoughts on getting people to say yes to you

This simple change in how you approach your subjects – convincing their subconscious, primitive mind first and then allowing their rational mind to come up with and justify reasons for saying yes to you – will yield surprising results. You will immediately notice a substantial improvement in your persuasion powers.

As a suggestion, you could think back on the past few years and identify some important projects or people you tried to influence and failed. Try again, but with this modified approach. You will see that even though your reasons and expertise remain the same, your subjects will now be more willing to agree with you if you have convinced their primitive brain correctly. Good luck!



Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs.


Keywords: #LeadershipTips #Persuasion #Influence #DecisionMaking #OpinionChange #CognitiveSciences #BehavioralSciences

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