Teddy Roosevelt’s Influencing Secrets

It’s irritating. Ask most people how they feel about being sold to and this is the answer you’ll probably get. Today, more than ever, people don’t like being told what to do. That’s why sales tactics of a decade ago simply aren’t working today. And that’s also why sales people and copywriters today are approaching the sales process in a different way.

When Theodore Roosevelt was New York Governor he achieved what many people believed to be the impossible. He managed to develop a great relationship with political heavyweights, yet at the same time manage to get these same political heavyweights to vote for a number of sweeping reforms that they were often bitterly opposed to.

What was his copywriting secret?

When Roosevelt needed to fill an important vacancy, he always asked these political heavyweights to recommend people who they felt would be ideal for the position.

On many occasions they would propose someone who was a “has-been”, someone who has to be taken care of.  Mr Roosevelt then told them that appointing that type of man wouldn’t be good politics because the public would disapprove of the appointment.

The political big-boys then approached Roosevelt with another candidate. This time the person they put forward was slightly more appropriate than the first but was still very unsuitable for the position.  Roosevelt then told them that this candidate wouldn’t measure up to the public’s expectations and asked if they could locate a person who was a great fit for the position.

Off they went and soon came back proposing a third person who was better suited than the first two but still not quite on the money. Roosevelt then thanked them and asked them to try one last time.

More often than not, the person they recommended the fourth time was the perfect person for the job – someone Roosevelt would have selected himself.   Roosevelt heartily thanked the political heavyweights for their assistance. He appointed the candidate and gave them the credit for the appointment. Roosevelt was very generous in his praise for their selection and made them feel as if the decision was theirs when in reality it was his all along.

Roosevelt then mentioned to these “big boys” that he had appointed this candidate as a favour to them and it was now their turn to repay the favour. And they soon did. Against all odds, they supported a number of controversial and sweeping reforms that they wouldn’t ordinarily have supported otherwise.

See the brilliance in that?

Roosevelt cleverly flipped around a recruitment situation to ensure that:

a. his political counterparts felt they had made all the decisions;

b. got the candidate he wanted for the job, and;

c. created an implied need for reciprocation.

On the other hand, if Roosevelt had directly selected the candidate for the position, or directed others who to employ, it would have given him no political mileage.

Or – if he had tried to “sell” the political heavyweights on his reforms (that they didn’t agree with) they probably would have dug their heels in.

But this way everyone appeared to have won.

Master salespeople and master copywriters do the same thing.They help customers come to their own decision about buying without directly selling to them. At my copywriting workshops I show copywriters and business owners how to do that using story-telling, case studies, demonstrations among other techniques. There’s an art to it but once mastered it often produces results which are far-and-away greater than what occurs when using a traditional sales approach.

About Kristina Mills:
Kristina Mills is a highly regarded direct response copywriter, marketing strategist, entrepreneur and success strategist having worked with and produced great results for some of Australia's most inspirational entrepreneurs, speakers, event companies, professional services firms, property companies, and internet entrepreneurs. She is the author of Invisible Genius Vol1 and 2, Freelance Copywriting Fast Track Course, Direct Mail Mastery, Web Copy Mastery, Invisible Genius Vol.1 and 2, Mortgage Broker Letters that Sell, Real Estate Letters that Sell, How to Create a Sales Explosion With Every Ad and Letter Your Write. To find out more about how Kristina can help you live your potential, arrange a free 15 minute phone chat.

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