Professional Influence Law #12 - Take their identity and sell it back to them


Take their identity and sell it back



IDENTITY!  It is another overlooked area of influence.  All of us get caught up in selling our products and services in a way that is attractive to us.  Yet, so many times, we forget to sell what is important to the prospect.  A lot of things are important to our prospects, however nothing is more important to them than the "identity” they project to others.  NOTHING!

Our working definition of “identity” is as follows:

i·den·ti·ty The way that we want others to see us.

That is not to say that we are truly the "identity” that we project.  To the contrary, many times we are not.  Our identity is the way that we wish others to view us.  It is because of that desire that we are so strongly attached to things that do not make logical sense.  
Example;  Perhaps the identity we have of ourselves is that we are an adventurous outdoors person.  Even though we have not been camping, fishing or hiking in years, we still might drive a four wheel drive truck and wear a jacket from REI.  Why?  Because that is how we want to be seen.  Our actual behavior has little to do with it.  

How many times do we see men who wear Nike and Adidas sports wear yet they never played sports and rarely work out.  They want to be seen as an athlete because that is the "identity” they wish to project.  It can’t be overstated how emotionally attached we are to our 'identity.”  It moves us from our core.

Certainly there are those who live their identity as well.  In either case, the need to be seen that way is incredibly strong.  

Once you have begun to know the person you are wanting to persuade, ask yourself two vital questions.cocktail-party-courtesy-of-Art-Picurean1.  How would they like to be introduced at a cocktail party?  How would they like other to describe them?  This is tied in directly to their identity.  How do they want other to see them? This is especially helpful when selling to affluent prospects.  Regardless of how many letters come after their name (PHD, DDS and so on) they still want to stand out from the crowd.  A doctor will want to be seen as different from other doctors.  What kind of person is he/she?  
2.  What can you and your product add to the “cocktail party fodder?”  If you want to connect with their identity you have to give the prospect a story to tell.  If they purchase from you what will they now be able to project or add to their existing identity?

Seem shallow?  Like it or not, this is how we are wired.


PROFESSIONAL INFLUENCE LAW #12 - Take their identity and then sell it back to them.
Many years ago we were upgrading peoples vacation ownership packages.  The idea was to take someone with a small package and upgrade the amount of time they could go on vacation each year.  On this particular night a very large man walked in with his wife.  When I say large, I mean LARGE!  He was every bit of 6’6” and probably 400lbs.  His wife barely spoke, however he had a booming voice that was loud enough for the both of them.  He wore a jacket that had SCUBA patches all over it.  As a diver, I knew that his jacket was not something you could go out and purchase.  He would have to have it made.  The jacket gave the impression that the patches reflected different levels of accomplishment.  They didn’t.  He had to have bought the patches and had them sown on.    
The sales representative was having zero success in persuading the giant to upgrade his package.  The sales rep had made a fatal mistake.  He didn’t even try to uncover the “Identity” that the prospect was so desperately trying to project.  Furthermore had he asked himself about the prospects “Cocktail Party Fodder,” he would have discovered that this was the easiest sale he could have ever made.   

After the sales agent gave up, he called me over to meet the prospects.  After a brief introduction I simply asked:

Author:  “Bob, I couldn’t help but to notice your jacket, are you by chance a hard core diver?”

Prospect:  “Yes I am.”

Author:  “Well, I know you dive, but I guess what I am really asking is are you a HARD CORE diver?”

Prospect:  “Of course I am.  I have been a diver for 6 years now.”

Author:  “Hmm.  I am a diver too.  I guess I am just a little confused.”

Prospect:  “Confused?  About what?”

Author:  “Well, I was looking over your vacation history and noticed that you have not been to any of our dive resorts.  I noticed a trip to Palm Springs, one to Las Vegas and that is about it.  I thought you were a hard core diver?”

The Prospect actually looked lost.  He didn’t seem to know what to say.  

Prospect:  “Well, ah, I guess I haven’t really been going out as much as I would like.”

Author:  “It’s not a big deal.  We get people that dive in here all the time.  That is why I was asking if you were a HARD CORE diver or just a diver.”

Prospect:  “Well, I am going to be diving a lot more now.  Actually, my knee was hurting there for a while but I am definitely going to get out there more.”

Author:  “Oh, well if you want I can show you what our HARD CORE divers like for a package.  Hard core divers want to be able to vacation at our dive resorts in Caribbean and other great locations.  They want to know that they are vacationing where the staff understands real divers.”

Prospect:  “Exactly, thats me!  Show me that one.”

Author:  “Ok, lets see if you are ready for this package.”

He proceeded to triple the size of his ownership.

Because we took his identity away from him and let him buy it back.  Here is the simple (and somewhat controversial) truth about persuasion. 


IF YOUR PROSPECT IS UPITYgilligansislandhowell?

Make sure that you let him know that you are used to handling much bigger accounts than theirs.  With a VERY HUMBLE TONE mention that this account is one of your smallest.  After all, your clients with the most status always buy your A+ package.  More often than not, the snobby client will become sheepish.  You have taken their identity away from them.  Then as a master persuader you offer them a way to buy the A+ package and in effect buy back the right to become that snob that they so dearly want to be.  

IF YOUR PROSPECT IS A "FAMILY" PERSONstickman family portrait 800 clr
“If we spend our money on your product we would be taking money away from the family.  You see we are family people”
Ever hear anything like that?  In these scenarios, the Professional Influencer links his product to the “Family” benefits.  Then will re-ask the prospect.  "Are you really family people?”  
It is as if the prospect come in with an almost condescending tone to profess that they are family people.  This is their identity.  This is how they want you to see them.  
Generic sales people always fall for this.  They tuck their tail between their legs and almost apologize for suggesting that the prospect buy their offering.  After all, I don't want to hurt your family.  
On the other hand the professional will say, in effect, “ok, you say you are family people.  Prove it!”

INDIANA JONESindianajones
Some prospects want to be seen (identity) as an adventurous person.  They want those around them to think that they live a life of adventure.  They are a free spirit.  They vacation all over the world, they surf, sail, ski and hike.  They explore new worlds and see things that YOU DON’T.  
The student of Professional Influence will take the aspects of his/her products that give the client FREEDOM.  They will tell stories of people they know that have much more adventurous stories than they do.  They will reference these people as clients who, above everything else, value FREEDOM.  That is why they purchased the A+ package because it has the least LIMITATIONS!


When all is said and done, we wish that we were more like the identity that we attempt to project.  All of us want to be more than we are.  This is a valuable realization to the Professional Influencer. 

If someone wants you to see them as religious, then offer to let them purchase this product and notice that they can help the church with the money that you save them.  “No? Oh, I thought you were religious?”  
If someone wants you to see them as successful, then show them which package truly successful people purchase.  “No?  Oh, I am confused, I thought you were doing well.
If someone wants you to see them as smart, then show them the logical reasons they should move forward with your offering.  After all, that is what my intelligent clients do.  

So this week take an extra long look at your prospects.  Notice what they are wearing.  Be aware of things they say, phrases they use.  It will not be hard to discover their identity.  Then with a humble tone, take their precious identity away from them.  If only for a while.



We teach a more indepth version of this topic in our certified course "Professional Influence." You might have already heard that our trainers will actually show you how to formulate "contrast options" into your specific products and services.  You may already know, by now, that employers are attracted to people that are different, new and unique.  Today we have overwhelming scientific proof that sales people that differentiate themselves from the crowd are more successful.  They are more likely to close that sale, get that promotion and have longer lasting relationships. 

Show your employer that you are deadly serious about reaching the companies goals.  Increase your income and line yourself up for the next big promotion.  All of this can and will be achieved when you enroll in the "Professional Influence Certification Course." 

Upon successful completion of this course you will become CERTIFIED!  Your certification goes on the "BIO" page and is registered with the INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDIES OF PROFESSIONAL INFLUENCE (ISPI).  As you read through this you may begin to realize that a link to this bio page can also be a powerful part of your resume. 

Are you ready to take your game to the next level?  If so email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  For more information about this and other certification courses simply click here.

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