Episode 293: The Secrets to Real Influence

BNI Podcast Album Art 300 px


New podcast intro by BNI member Tony Wolfe.

Special guest Mark Goulston joins Dr. Misner on the podcast today to talk about his new book, Real Influence: Persuade without Pushing. Lasting influence

  1. Go for great outcomes
  2. Listen past your blind spots
  3. Engage them in their “there”
  4. When you’ve done enough, do more

If you can do these four things and listen without desire people will remember you for a lifetime.

Find out more at www.getrealinfluence.com.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 293 –

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you and where are you?

Hi Priscilla. I am in New Hampshire this week doing a presentation on a book that I did a few years ago, Masters of Success, for an organization in that area. I am out and about and will be meeting with fellow BNI members while I am out here.

Today, I have a guest that I will introduce in a moment, but some of you will notice that I have a new introduction to the BNI podcast. We have used the same intro for many years and we have a BNI member who has been with the organization for a long time, Tony Wolfe, who does voiceovers. The new recording for podcasts was done by Tony. Tony, thank you so much for that opening. It is always great to use BNI members.

I have as my guest today a really good friend, Dr. Mark Goulston, who I met a few years back at a storytelling symposium. He has written six books, including an international best selling book, Just Listen, Discover the Secrets to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. I love that book. It was featured here previously on BNI podcast. If you do a search on Mark Goulston, you’ll find some of the other podcasts that he has done with me.

Dr. Goulston has been an executive coach for sales and leadership trainers. He speaks around the world. He is also a former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer. He is a cofounder of the recently launched global community, Heartfelt Leadership. His mission is daring to care.

Mark is not too far from me in the Los Angeles area. Mark, welcome back to the podcast.

I am so pleased to be back. But you should have spelled my last name when they search. That is the tough one. Goulston. That’s the name.

Mark Goulston. Mark is really good at what he does. He is also a great human. I really enjoy talking to Mark. He and I have a friendship which has lasted for a number of years now, ever since the symposium that we went to. Mark is a real genuine guy, great networker and it is always great to have him on.

Today we are going to talk about a new book of his, Real Influence: Persuade without Pushing. It think a great place to start with that, Mark, is how did your previous book, Just Listen, lead to this book that would make my BNI members who are networking want to pick this up? I know that they will, but you can tell them why this would be valuable to them.

Thank you, Ivan. In Just Listen, the subtitle is Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. It really is a book teaching you how to listen deeply into people and genuinely. That causes people open up to you, especially when they feel that you are there and that you are not going to hurt them.

What happened is that although people loved Just Listen, people said when people feel open up to you, you do need to get them to do things. It’s fine that they open up but you do need to get things done. My co-author, Dr. John Alman teaches at the Anderson School in UCLA. We interviewed over a hundred influencers, including you, Ivan, who persuaded them to do something important in their lives. A number of them arched their backs and said nobody persuaded them to do anything and they were entrepreneurs.

Then when we asked who positively influenced them, a number of them leaned back, put their arms behind their head and said, “Ah… That’s a different story.” What we have discovered is that positive influence can last a lifetime, whereas pushing persuasion sometimes doesn’t last to the end of the conversation.

Did you ever read the material by Frederick Fritzberg on how to motivate people?

Say a little bit about that.

He was a published in the Harvard Business Review back in the ’30s. He talks about this in a slightly different context. He says that you can’t motivate people long term. You can provide an environment for them to motivate themselves, but what I thought was interesting with what you are saying. You can motivate people in the short term. He called it kita, which stands for kick in the anatomy. You can motivate people to do something in the short term about as long as the conversation, but being aggressing with them gets them pushing back and will often undermine you when you turn your back and walk out.

Absolutely. In fact, of all the people that we interviewed, including you, I would imagine people would attribute- were all influencers. Many of them told us about people who influenced them.

What we actually discovered is that there seems to be four steps. I will mention them quickly. The first one is go for great outcomes. Two is listen past your blind spots. Three is engage them in their there. Four is when you have done enough, do more.

What we discovered is when you go for a great outcome and you are in a conversation talking, if you ask them what their goals are, you are like everyone else, but if you can listen into where they could be, where their company could be and who they could be, what will happen is people will look up at the ceiling, think about it, and get clear. When they come back and look at you, they will smile and it won’t be a transaction conversation anymore.

One of the examples of the best outcomes is Jim Cyniko, the former CEO of Costco. He calls himself a former juvenile delinquent who was a bagger at Fedmart in San Diego when legendary retail warehouse father, Saul Price, plucked him out and said he could do a lot more. What happened is Saul Price saw an amazingly great outcome of who Jim Cynico could be and the rest is history.

When you are with people, try to push them to thinking about what would be an amazing result at the end of this next year. Get them to think about it and be really clear about it and try to help them make that happen.

The second thing is listen past your blind spots. A lot of times when we have been that generous to someone else, we have a tendency to try to upsell them, which they are going to interpret as a bait and switch. If you have someone talking about this dream outcome and you try to upsell them, it is worse than if you never brought to their attention a great outcome. So be aware of those blind spots. Also be aware that all of us can have very wrong perceptions. We can see things and think it is very clear, but it’s like driving on the highway when you check your mirrors and swerve to miss a motorcyclist.

We all have blind spots like that. Try to be aware of them and what they might be. Even ask people what do you think are my blind spots?

The third is engage people in their “there”. Most of us are stuck in what we call your “here”, which means you are stuck in your agenda. You can have something that we call agenda blindness. One of my favorite quotes of all times comes from a psychoanalyst, Wilford Beauch, who said, “The purest form of communication in listening is to listen without memory or desire.” When you listen with memory, you listen with an old agenda. If you listen with desire, you listen with a new agenda. In neither case are you actually listening to the other person.

One of the best examples of this is tied to one of the most famous stories in record history, when Glen Barrof, CEO of Concord Records approached Ray Charles to do a duet album. He couldn’t get through because of who Ray’s handlers got through to Ray. What was clear was that Ray had been taken advantage of. Even though he was famous, he was not wealthy. What Glen did was give Ray control of the whole process and a great deal of control over the finances. The rest is history. And Genius Loves Company went on win the Grammy Awards and many more awards for that year.

After that, after you engage someone in their there, the final step is after you have done enough, do more. This is probably the most important thing for your BNI members. What that means is before you meet someone, be prepared. Read up on them. Read up on their company. Read up on their industry. Spend a little time trying to get where they are coming from and do that prep work.

The second thing is when you are there listening, do more. Try to get them to go deeper. When people talk to you and you sense there is an emotional spin on what they are saying, say, “Say more on that.” They will open up more. Then when they open up more say, “Really?” And they will say, “Oh yeah, it is just like this…” and they will open up even more. Then if you say to them, “What is the most important thing that I should get from what you are saying?” people will feel really heard.

Then, finally, do more after you meet them. I make an introduction everyday including Saturday and Sunday. They are getting scarily good because I am not only introducing people who are aligned in terms of business and their values, but I go the extra because I nag them a week and a half later. I ask if they met and say, “I have a little bit of ADD and I am just nagging. I wouldn’t put you people together unless there was something in it for you, so please connect.”

I think if you can do those four steps, I think you will have real influence and people will not only thank you, but they may remember you for a lifetime.

Mark, that is really good advice. An additional point: you talked about the importance of listening. I try to train members that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and should be using them proportionately. You have to pay attention.

I love your idea of listen without desire. I see over and over again people who are out there networking and listening with an ear of selling. They are listening and thinking this is a good opportunity here and they are ready to make a sale- instead of really hearing what that person has to say and being there to support them in some way. By support, I mean not trying to sell them something.

Those are great bits of advice. We are out of time, but I want to make sure that people know about your website for the material. It’s at www.getrealinfluence.com.

Mark, any closing comments before I wrap up here?

Offline, I am going to send you a power thank you. You can never use a power thank you to excess. A power thank you is you thank someone for what they did. The second thing is you acknowledge the effort that it took for them to do it. The third thing is you tell the other person what that personally meant to you. Before I start to get choked up, I am going to do that one offline, Ivan.

Thank you, Mark. You absolutely walk the talk. We have known each other now for five or six years and you do the things that you are talking about here. I recognize them. You definitely walk the talk, and that is always the kind of person that you want to get advice from on how to improve your skill set. Thank you so much. I appreciate you being on our podcast again.

Priscilla, back to you.

Okay. That’s great. Thank you so much to both of you.I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you very much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.


  1. Robyn says

    Thanks for the wonderful interview – I found the audio version of the book. Looking forward to hearing more.

  2. Carole DiMaggio says

    I wrote it down: “listen without memory or desire.” What is the most important thing I should really get from what you are saying.” I will now look at those thoughts when I am negotiating in my job, and just talking to my family.

  3. says

    Great podcast. I will add Mark Goulston book to my library. Just from the podcast it seems like I have been and am on the right track. A young lady just introduced me to someone on Friday as one of the best listener she has ever known. Very cool.

Solutions-focused comments are welcome