Suggested Reading: Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In

By Steven E. Sacks, CPA, CGMA, ABC

Today’s rapid-fire communication dynamic expects quick responses to emails, texts and even the old-fashioned telephone call. An information or idea exchange requires quick analysis and quick decision making. If something requires drawn-out deliberation, which takes us away from task-driven activities, it screws up our mojo — the stars and moon are no longer in alignment.

I am not talking about business proposals that require significant sums of capital or a change in an organizational structure or something else that has enormous transformative implications. There are, however, so many less important matters we encounter that are superseded by our daily “to do” checklist.

And because of the Internet and the plethora of distribution channels reaching many different audiences instantaneously, there are unrelenting demands on our attention to buy, react, analyze or ignore. The results? We have become less trusting of those who really have good intentions. We assume that information conveyed should not be trusted; we could become victims of manipulation because the messenger, as well as the message seem sketchy at best.

We live in a post-selling world. Any attempt to influence others is no longer thought of as something you do to get what you want. You now have to be empathetic. It is about creating a stronger connection by focusing on others’ views and opinions and—believe it or not—giving something first before asking for something in return. I mentioned the concept of a win-win in an earlier post. Though it was in a different context, this situation calls for a similar approach.

In the book, Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, explains how important it is to make a real connection. The authors, Mark Goulston, a business psychiatrist and John Ullmen, a leading international executive coach, prove why creating a strong connection yields not only short-term gains but also results in a long-term benefit. The book offers a roadmap for obtaining buy-in first, which leads to agreement. This is followed by developing loyalty from anyone who is authentic in their communication, deploys empathy and exhibits engagement in the relationship.

There are anecdotes from people in government, sports, entertainment and business, and shows how powerful real influence can be by tapping into it.

Business is transactional in nature and the seller is at the apex of influence during the course of negotiation. If things work out as planned the deal is consummated. The seller no longer needs to be engaged because he or she is moving on to the next situation Real influence, however, requires the seller to prove a long-term commitment — the buyer supports your effort because you need to support the buyer’s outcome. While as the seller, this approach may not suit your purpose in the short-term, it shows you will stand up for the buyer.

Some of the insights you will glean from this book:

  • One of the biggest factors in becoming a power influencer is gratitude.
  • Listening with a real motive to learn and understand will change a relationship instantly.
  • When you understand where other people are coming from, you need to connect with them in a way that makes them want to support you.
  • Real influence means going so far beyond people’s expectations that you make yourself unforgettable.
  • When you practice connected influence in challenging times you can transform vulnerability into triumph and repair even the most damaged relationships.
  • To practice connected influence, you need to break down the barriers that keep you from knowing what other people think.

Whether you are a CEO, a professional services provider, or a salesperson, Real Influence contains insight to achieve the three great Rs: Results, Reputation and Relationship.

About Steve

Steven Sacks is the CEO of Solutions to Results, LLC, a consultancy that specializes in helping individuals, firms and organizations meet the challenges of communicating with clarity and purpose. Visit his website at