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Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion

Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion

by Kurt W. Mortensen

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Salespeople, consultants, managers, executives, entrepreneurs. . . Influence is a crucial tool for absolutely anyone seeking success and prosperity. But how can everyday people actually become more influential? Maximum Influence unlocks the secrets of the master influencers. Now in an all-new edition, the book combines


Salespeople, consultants, managers, executives, entrepreneurs. . . Influence is a crucial tool for absolutely anyone seeking success and prosperity. But how can everyday people actually become more influential? Maximum Influence unlocks the secrets of the master influencers. Now in an all-new edition, the book combines scientific research with real-world studies, presenting the most authoritative and effective arsenal of persuasion techniques ever.

Author and renowned expert Kurt Mortensen reveals the 12 Laws of Persuasion, explaining why each law works, how to use it, and what to avoid. You will learn about the law of dissonance, the law of contrast, the law of expectation—and nine other proven principles that consciously and unconsciously propel people to act. You willalso discover how to:

• Read anyone instantly

• Get people to trust you instinctively

• Change minds easily

• And convince anyone to give you almost anything

With new case studies and cutting-edge influencing techniques, this is the ultimate guide to the art and science of getting exactly what you want—when you want.

Editorial Reviews

The Roanoke Times
" a powerful tool for those in sales, for those wishing to influence a boss or for those wanting others to "do different. "
Black Men magazine
"...this book has applications in all areas of your life... Convince anyone to give you anything----anywhere, anytime!"
From the Publisher
"The Roanoke Times: "A powerful tool for those in sales, for those wishing to influence a boss or for those wanting others to do different."

Black Men magazine: "This book has applications in all areas of your life...Convince anyone to give you anything, anywhere, anytime!"

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Maximum Influence

The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion

By Kurt W. Mortensen

American Management Association

Copyright © 2013 Kurt W. Mortensen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3209-9



The Power of Persuasion Key to Success

Study the art of persuasion. Practice it. Develop an understanding of its profound value across all aspects of life. —DONALD TRUMP

Has this happened to you? You are talking to a potential client, a prospect, or a manager of another department. In your mind what you are proposing is a no-brainer, and it will take only a few minutes to influence the other person to do what you want done. It is a perfect fit and will solve the problem. The more you talk, the more they resist. What happened? Why weren't you able to persuade them?

Or even worse, have you even met someone who did not seem very smart but was making ten times more money than you? Someone who didn't seem very sharp but got your promotion. Didn't seem that sharp, but got all the business. Didn't seem that bright, but could persuade anyone to do anything? What do they have that you don't have? They have mastered the power of persuasion.

Do you realize that the best way to double your income is to double your persuasion skills? Think about it: Twice as many people will call you back and say yes. This vital success skill will permeate every aspect of your life. Have you ever wondered why two people with the same education, the same contacts, the same IQ, and the same experience get dramatically different results? Have you ever noticed how some people can persuade without effort? Have you seen people always get what they want because everyone around them wants to give it to them? This is the power of persuasion.

Have you ever tried to persuade to someone who wanted, needed, liked, and could afford your product or proposal? Yet they still said no. What if you had a special app on your phone that, when activated, would instantly influence them to your point of view? What would that app be worth to you? Persuasion is not as easy as having an app, but it is a skill that can easily be mastered.

Understanding the laws of persuasion, motivation, and influence will put you in life's driver's seat. Everything you want—or will want—in life comes from the power of influence. I am going to reveal the secrets of influence and the science of persuasion. You will be able to persuade and influence with complete accuracy. You will gain instant influence over people and inspire others to take action, all while getting exactly what you want from life. You will win people to your way of thinking and will empower yourself with an unshakable confidence. You will triple sales, become a power negotiator, improve as a manager, and increase your results in marketing. The bottom line is that, when you need to persuade someone, it is too late to learn.

As you develop what I call Maximum Influence, you will become magnetic; others will be drawn to you like metal filings, to a powerful magnet. You won't have to force them to do anything. Others are drawn to you and want you to persuade them. Financial, social, and personal success will come to you. Closed doors will swing wide open, and the world of opportunity will open up to you. The life-changing skills and techniques described in this book are based on proven scientific principles. These laws have been developed from countless hours of persuasion research, intercepts, and exhaustive studies of human nature. Now the complete list of persuasion tools will be revealed to you.

It is a common misconception that only individuals involved in sales, marketing, or leadership positions need to learn the laws of persuasion. This is simply not true! Sales professionals, business managers, parents, negotiators, lawyers, leaders, speakers, and advertisers all use these skills. Everyone needs persuasion skills, no matter their occupation. We all persuade for a living. What people don't realize is that everyone uses the techniques and tactics of persuasion every day. Mastering communication and understanding human nature are essential life lessons if you want to effectively persuade and influence people. You can't get anywhere in life unless you are able to work with other human beings. It is through your dealing with and influencing others that you achieve success.

This book reveals the 12 Laws of Persuasion and instructs you on how to use these cutting-edge persuasion strategies so that you can gain the influence you need now. You'll discover how to make people instinctively like and trust you, an ability that might otherwise take you years to acquire. No longer will you face the unexpected with fear or intimidation. Rather, you will confront it head-on with credibility, control, and confidence.

Central to understanding persuasion is the concept of neutrality. The Laws of Persuasion are neither good nor evil. They simply exist. Just as nuclear energy can be used to create electricity or an atomic bomb, persuasion can be used to create unity or to force compliance. Whether the outcome is good or bad depends on the person using the laws and on how that person applies the techniques of persuasion. Some people want to win at any cost, using any available tactics, including misusing the Laws of Persuasion. These individuals are willing to use guilt, violence, intimidation, bribery, or blackmail to get the desired result.

However, when used properly, persuasion is our best friend. Through persuasion, we create peace agreements, promote fund-raising efforts, and convince motorists to buckle up. Persuasion is the means by which the coach of an underdog team inspires players to win, how managers increase employee performance and morale, or how someone is convinced to purchase your product or service.


Jay Conger wrote in the Harvard Business Review, "If there ever was a time for businesspeople to learn the fine art of persuasion, it is now. Gone are the command-and-control days of executives managing by decree." The power of persuasion is of extraordinary and critical importance in today's business world. Nearly every human encounter includes an attempt to gain influence or to persuade others to our way of thinking. We all want to be able to persuade and influence so that others will listen to us and trust us. You don't see large corporations downsizing their sales forces. Sales professionals are assets to the company, not liabilities. Power Persuaders will always find employment, even in the slowest of economies. Great persuaders are always employed. Persuasive entrepreneurs will always get the business. Influential marketers are always in demand. In fact, did you know that more CEOs of major U.S. corporations come from sales and marketing backgrounds than from any other discipline?

Some people define persuasion as being forceful, manipulative, or pushy. Such an assumption is dead wrong. Tactics like these might get instant results and maintain influence for the short term, but Maximum Influence is about getting short-term compliance while maintaining the long-term relationship. Lasting influence isn't derived from calculated maneuvers, deliberate tactics, or intimidation. Rather, proper implementation of the latest persuasion strategies will allow you to influence with integrity. People will naturally and automatically trust you, have confidence in you, and want to be persuaded by you. In short, they will want to do what you want them to do (and will like doing it).


Maximum Influence supplies a complete toolbox of effective persuasion techniques. Most people use the same limited persuasion tools over and over, achieving only temporary or even undesired results. We need to open our eyes to the whole toolbox of persuasion and influence. We have all heard the saying: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." But not every problem is a nail. You can do only so many things with a hammer, right? The art of persuasion must be customized to every group or individual, to every situation or event. It is time to get more persuasion tools. I am sure you could chop down a tree with a hammer, or you might even be able to change a tire with a pair of pliers. Why take ten hours with the wrong tool (the incorrect persuasive technique) when you can do it in two minutes with the right tool.

Modern-day Power Persuaders run into three major factors that make persuasion a greater challenge than it was in the past. First, people have access to more information than they did in any other time in history. With the explosion of the Internet, information is instantly available. We can now find out the cost of a car before we even enter the dealership. The second roadblock to persuasion is that today's consumers are increasingly doubtful and skeptical. Trust is at an all-time low. The number of persuasive arguments we see and hear every day is growing at an alarming rate, and it takes more and more effort to sort out the valid offers from the scams. The third barrier to persuasion is choice. Now, via the Internet, the consumer has access to the world market. In the past, if you had the only bookstore in town, that is where people had to shop. Now, a bookstore owner has to compete with hundreds of bookstores around the globe and with Amazon.com for the same business.


Are you still using the same old tools over and over again without seeing the desired results? Or, worse, are you making the same old mistakes over and over again? What are the top persuasion and influence blunders? Do you want to know what your prospects are complaining about? One of the fun things I get to do with my research is to interview your prospects after they have said no (or lied to you). I get to ask them why they resisted you. I gain access to the truth about why your prospects resisted your solution. Here are the top five blunders.

1. Constant Vomit

We can verbally vomit all the facts, figures, studies, and statistics in the world, but doing so will not convince your prospect or client. Our decisions are comprised of part emotion and part logic. The skill lies in knowing what percentage of each to use. A long list of features and benefits will actually overpersuade your prospects and give them a reason not be persuaded by you. Learn to ask questions instead of vomiting information. My studies show that great persuaders ask three times more questions than the average persuader, so that they can consult instead of vomiting a list of features and benefits. When you ask the right questions, you become the consultant.

2. Your Default Setting

Your default setting as a human is to persuade others in the way that you like to be persuaded. This approach works when you are persuading people who have your same style and personality, but it repels the rest of the human race. This tendency reduces your ability to persuade and influence. You must learn how to adapt and read other people and personalities. Great persuaders know how to persuade prospects in the way they want to be persuaded. This also involves learning how to help others persuade themselves. Which approach do you think will have better long-term results: you persuading them or you helping them to persuade themselves?

3. Everyone Trusts Me

Wrong. The reality is that most people do not trust you. Even though you are a good, trustworthy person, people do not necessarily trust you. You may think and feel that you have developed trust, but there is no trust on their end. Here's the deal when it comes to trust: In the past, people were more trusting. At one time the attitude was: "I trust you. Give me a reason not to." Now, it is the opposite: "I don't trust you. Give me a reason to trust you."

4. I Am a People Person

Of course, some stereotypical persuaders are friendly, outgoing, and extroverted. Research reveals, however, that some of the best persuaders are actually introverts. How can you persuade if you are always talking? Great persuaders listen more than they talk. In fact, great persuaders use their listening and people skills to get prospects/customers to tell them everything they need to know to persuade them.

5. I Need More Closing Skills

Sure, it's nice to have closing skills in your persuasion toolbox. But shouldn't you spend more time opening up your prospects before you even think about closing a deal with them? In fact, great persuaders don't even need closing techniques because their customers are ready to purchase even before the end of the conversation. The only time you really need a closing skill is when you have blown your presentation by not following the proper persuasion process. Using closing skills when your prospect does not like or trust you is like trying to get a kiss after a bad date.


Have you ever tried an approach that has worked in the past, and it bombed miserably? Maybe you tried a technique that works for your colleague, but it backfired on you. Becoming a Power Persuader requires more than mimicking other persuaders. In fact, most great persuaders usually aren't good teachers. Persuasion has become second nature to them. They tell you to read a script that works for them every time, but it doesn't work for you. Not only must you fully understand the wide variety of available persuasive techniques, but you must also be ready to use the techniques that are best suited for the situation. Acquiring this level of skill demands a commitment to watch, analyze, study, and apply the concepts of Maximum Influence.

Human nature varies from person to person. Human actions and thoughts keep us on our toes because each of us has different emotions, attitudes, beliefs, personalities, and traits. A beginner's tendency is to find one persuasive technique that works and to stick with it. Then you become a one-hit wonder. Unfortunately, you cannot use the same persuasion tool on everyone. Depending on the situation and your techniques, people will either agree with you, refuse to listen, or be indifferent to your efforts. The Power Persuader has many tools that you can adapt and customize to suit any situation or personality. In Chapter 15, I will spend more time on how to analyze, adapt to, and read your audience.


Do you want short-term temporary results or permanent long-term results? Effective persuasion has lasting impact, but it requires dedicated study and long-term commitment on the part of the persuader. The Hierarchy of Persuasion (Figure 1-1) sheds light on how the world uses different levels of persuasion, ranging from the short-term to the long-term levels.

The qualities listed at the base of the illustration are the easiest to use. However, they achieve only temporary results because they do not address a person's genuine wants or desires. Persuasion based on the qualities listed at the top of the illustration is effective whether pressure is perceived or not. Such a method creates lasting results because it taps into and involves a person's true interests. Determining whether you want short- or long-term results dictates which area on the illustration should be the focus of your efforts.

Imagine the CEO of a large corporation calling one of his vice presidents to a meeting. At the meeting, the vice president is informed that he must raise $20,000 in employee contributions for a charity the company is going to sponsor. The CEO is not concerned with the means the vice president uses as long as they result in a check for $20,000. Raising such a sum requires getting around $100 from each employee—a daunting challenge!

The vice president considers the various ways he could accomplish this task. Using control to approach the employees would be both quick and easy. He could use fear or threats to obtain the money. This do-it-or-else mentality would get immediate results. The long-term impact, however, would likely involve rebellion, revenge, or resentment. What about coercion? Surely the employees would provide the requested donation if they felt it would negatively affect their next job evaluation or raise. Would this tactic get immediate results? Sure. Again, however, the long-term effects would be resentment, rebellion, and revenge. The vice president decides control and coercion do not provide the best outcomes. He could command them to donate—use his authority or position in the company to make them donate. But he decides that command is too much like coercion.

Next he considers compliance. If he offered incentives, benefits, or rewards, it would be a win-win situation, right? Suppose each employee who donates $100 gets an extra couple of days of paid vacation. The problem is that, once the incentive is gone, compliance also disappears. The vice president might get the $100 this time, but what about the next time he asks for a donation? This method is still only a temporary fix because the employees will be conditioned to expect a reward for their compliance.

The vice president then considers cooperation. He could spend time with the employees explaining why this charity is so important and how it would be a great honor for them to participate. He could convince, encourage, or "sell" with logic, emotion, and information to get the employees to donate to this worthy cause. Now, armed with the tools of effective persuasion, he's onto an approach that will have lasting, positive results. As long as the employees feel he is telling the truth and acting in their best interest, they will be open to his proposal.

Excerpted from Maximum Influence by Kurt W. Mortensen. Copyright © 2013 by Kurt W. Mortensen. Excerpted by permission of American Management Association.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

KURT W. MORTENSEN is a leading authority on persuasion, negotiation, and influence. He offers his speaking, training, and consulting programs nationwide, helping thousands achieve unprecedented success in business and personal endeavors. He is the author of Persuasion IQ and The Laws of Charisma.

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