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Article #26 - Oct. 2011


“Persuasion: A Skill Doctors Use, But Know
Alarmingly Little About”

Persuasion is an effective creator of influence and trust.

When you begin to recognize how many times a day you use persuasion to influence the actions of others, the revelation will convince you of the importance of improving your skill for your own professional benefits.  No one is born with a talent for persuasion, but we learn quickly the value of it to get what we want.

Ultimately, persuasion is the key to success, happiness, wealth, and a medical practice building essential.  Everything you want or find beneficial in your life, comes from persuasion,
self-motivation, and influence. 

This commonly hidden skill you use more often than you might think involves your subconscious mind to a great degree and is why rarely there is a conscious recognition that it's a skill.  Sharpening that skill offers you enormous benefits for obtaining what you desire in life—from reaching goals to setting up the steps for your success in medical practice.  You can imagine how difficult your interactions with patients would be if you couldn’t persuade them to trust you or your advice.

Persuasion is a skill that not only can be improved upon, but also one, which functions by proven principles of behavior, that are predictable. 

Facts about persuasion you need to know...

When you realize that less than 1% of the people in our world understand and can actually apply such laws with any degree of success, you have an overwhelming reason to intentionally learn and develop those skills. 

The power of persuasion goes well beyond convincing patients to trust you and follow your advice.  Persuasion is an element of your medical practice business and marketing that helps you to make money as well as save money.  It’s also the activating lifeblood of your everyday relationships and interactions with other people.  Since they can be used for good or for evil intentions, your use of these persuasion rules or laws becomes part of your character and beliefs.

Because our society has become more knowledgeable, patients have become more skeptical and critical of their health care and their providers, which pull doctors off their pedestals more than once every day. 

How you use your skill and power of persuasion is instrumental in every aspect of your medical practice... from how you manage your employees to get them to do what you want done, to how you manage patients who are skeptical of your competency, a daily challenge. 

The difficulty with applying your persuasive skills is that each patient’s beliefs, thoughts, motivations, and personality differs and requires a different approach to initiate compliance. 

Kurt Mortensen’s book, Maximum Influence, describes the power you have available, how to use it, and what makes it work so well.  Dave Lakhani, who was raised in a cult, describes in his book, Subliminal Persuasion, how persuasion is so effective among cults, which he saw in action personally.  Every person is susceptible to persuasive tactics primarily because a great deal of the process is subconscious.

Mortensen asserts that there is a correlation between your ability to persuade patients and others, and the level of your earnings.  As you improve your skills of persuasion, you establish a magnetism around you that attracts opportunities, financial and social status, and personal success. 

During this subtle process you will discover that you have become more confident than ever before and find moving out of your comfort zone becomes easier.

These magnetic persuasion techniques have evolved through centuries of studies about human behavior and are based on proven principles arrived at through extensive research on human nature and human behavior.  Learning to use these principles enables you to make people instinctively like and trust you.  For a medical doctor, that’s a remarkable advantage.

The 12 laws of persuasion improves both you and your practice...

Because we aren’t born with persuasion skills, they must be learned. 

Persuasion has been defined as a method of changing attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors with the use of reasoning and understanding, which permits voluntary compliance with your desires. It’s the art of getting what you want. 

The ability of a doctor to gain the trust of his or her patients and keep it over time is a critical skill that relates to credibility, confidence, competence, character, and enduring dependability... qualities of a great doctor.

The 12 Laws (also called Rules or Triggers) of persuasion...

(Will give you a starting point for whetting your skills, especially the ones you are weakest in demonstrating.)  

1. Law of Association

"It's not the situation. It's your reaction to the situation."—BOB CONKLIN

Our brains link objects, gestures, and symbols with our feelings, memories, and life experiences.  Mentally, we often associate ourselves with such things as endorsements, sights, sounds, colors, music, and symbols, among others. This association permits us to make judgment calls when we don't have the time for a complete research.  How many times do you find that you face a medical problem or symptom that’s not described in a medical text nor stuck in your memory banks? If the problem is urgent or worse, you rely on this principle to make your decisions concerning the best treatment.

[1]A. Pratkanis and E. Aronson, Age of Propaganda (New York: W. H. Freeman
and Company, 1992), p. 93.

[2]G. E. Belch and M. A. Belch, Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated
Marketing Communications Perspective (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998).

2. Law of Balance

"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity."  

Your approach to patients should focus on emotions, but equally on a balance between logic and feelings.  Either of the two can work separately, but the best effects result from using both together.  Logic and emotion fuel the effectiveness of persuasion and influence.  Those who use persuasion for maximal effect understand that every patient has a unique balance between logic and emotion —analytical patients use more logic, and congenial patients use more emotion. 

Mr. Spock, the character in the Stargate series on TV is the complete example of 100% logical reasoning on the scale of measurements. Most physicians are sensitive to the side of the scale their patients weigh heavily on.  A patient who is tipped to responding to logic will demand reasons and explanations from you before they will agree to your advice.  A patient tipped to the emotional side will usually be comfortable with your advice if it strokes their emotions and feels like what you say is the best thing for them... mentally comfortable to them.  

[1]Arthur Lefford, "The Influence of Emotional Subject Matter on Logical Reading,"
Journal of General Psychology 34 (1946): 127–151.

[2]Randall Reuchelle, "An Experimental Study of Audience Recognition
of Emotional and Intellectual Appeals in Persuasion,"
Speech Monographs 25, 1 (1958): 49–57.

3. Law of Connectivity (Contagious Cooperation)

"The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing
how to get along with people."      —
Theodore Roosevelt

In one way or another, we all know the feeling, an instant affinity with someone, after being few short seconds in their presence... that’s connectivity, a cousin of “first impressions.”  The more we feel bonded to them, the more persuasive they become.

Patients feel comfortable around you and you around them.  It requires sincerity and practice on your part.  The four main factors behind connectivity are attraction, similarity, people skills, and rapport. Never take relationships with patients for granted.  Your ability to use this principle to influence skeptical patients to do as you ask is founded on this principle. You can shift a patients negative reactions to positive responses to your advice by introducing examples of what most other patients who face the same decisions did.  

Additionally, by telling patients how skilled you are at treating their problem, by your respect for their decisions, by presenting good alternatives, and by presenting the outcomes of the treatment that will change their lives for the better.

[1]A. H. Eagley, R. D. Ashmore, M. G. Makhijani, and L. C. Longo,
"What Is Beautiful Is Good, But . . . : A Meta-Analytical Review of
Research on the Physical Attractiveness Stereotype,"
Psychological Bulletin (1990): 109–128.

[2]J. Rich, "Effects of Children's Physical Attractiveness on Teachers'
Evaluations," Journal of Educational Psychology (1975): 599–609.

[3]M. L. Knapp and J. A. Hall, Nonverbal Communication in Human
Interaction, 3rd edition (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1992).

4. Law of Contrast

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore they had better aim
at something high."
--Henry D. Thoreau     

This rule explains how we react to two quite different alternatives in succession. Like you were told that the repairs of your plumbing would cost $500, but after closer examination, it cost only $50. Your perception of this would be quite different if the costs were reversed.  We continually make comparisons in our minds about everything.

With a patient, you compound a patients perception about their upcoming surgery, for example, in a positive direction by presenting them two contrasting results. For example, if you in rapid succession tell the patient about the great results they will have from the surgery you will be doing, while immediately telling the patient the dire consequences of what happens if they don’t have the
surgery performed.  

[1]David E. Kanouse and Hanson L. Reid, Jr., " Negativity in Evaluations,"
in Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behavior, E. E. Jones et al.,
editors (Morristown, N.J.: General Learning Press, 1972

5. Law of Dissonance (Internal pressure)

"There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything.
And that is by making the other person want to do it."

Consistency and congruency in a person’s life exhibits personal and intellectual integrity. One’s personal beliefs, words, and deeds all match-up. Leon Festinger, at Stanford University in 1957 formulated the theory, "When attitudes conflict with actions, attitudes or beliefs, we are uncomfortable and motivated to try to change." It became the foundation of the Law of Dissonance, which states that people will naturally act in a manner that is consistent with their attitudes, beliefs, and values.

In medical practice, patients by nature will tend to follow the doctor’s advice because doing so reduces their stress about being in a non-harmonious relationship with their doctor.

[1]R. E. Knox and J. A. Inkster, "Post-decision Dissonance at Post-time,"
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 18 (1968): 319–323.

[2]J. C. Younger, L. Walker, and A. S. Arrowood, "Post-decision
Dissonance at the Fair," Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin 3 (1977): 284–287.

[3]David Mitchie, Invisible Persuaders (New York:
Bantam Books, 1988), p. 95.

6. Law of Esteem (Praise releases energy)

"I can live for two months on a good compliment." —MARK TWAIN

All people have a natural need and desire for praise, recognition, and acceptance. When these three elements are put into practice, patients will, almost unconsciously, act in a certain way to validate your compliments, and usually do so eagerly. It becomes an intuitive obligation to respond positively to any medical advice you give.  Compliments have the power to change behavior because they want to maintain their feeling of being needed and valued.  Self-esteem implies self-confidence, which in turn impacts on one’s income levels (studies have shown), academic achievement (study by National Institute for Student Motivation), and relationships.

[1]J. Maxwell and J. Dornan, Becoming a Person of Influence (Nashville:
Thomas Nelson, 1997), p. 50.

[2]Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics (Los Angeles: Wilshire
Book Company, 1960).

[3]E. Walster Hatfield, "The Effect of Self-Esteem on Romantic Liking,"
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (1965): 1.

7. Law of Expectations (Impact of suggestion)

"If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you
as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that." 

Expectations are used by the human mind to influence reality and even create results.  We have an innate responsibility to try and satisfy the expectations others have of us to gain respect and acceptance.  Creating expectations changes people’s behavior.  Author John Spalding said, “Those who believe in our ability do more than stimulate us.  They create for us an atmosphere in which it becomes easier to succeed.” 

Doctors who communicate their expectations of a patient to the patient by any means of communication, can bring the patient into compliance much more often and consistently.

[1]John Maxwell and Jim Dornan, Becoming a Person of Influence
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997), p. 64.

8. Law of Involvement (Create or awaken curiosity)

"Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it,
circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment." 

Involvement suggests that the more you engage someone's five senses, involve them mentally and physically, and create the right atmosphere for persuasion, the more effective and persuasive you'll be.  The objective is to bring your patient closer to taking action on your advice.  If you can get the patient started in a certain direction, the involvement in the process causes a patient to follow through on your advice.  Involvement can be created by generating competition, building suspense, repeating and repackaging, using the art of questioning, maintaining attention, creating an atmosphere, increasing participation, ask for opinions and advice, visualization, among others.  Ask questions that requires a “yes” answer.

[1]W. L. Gregory, R. B. Cialdini, and K. M. Carpenter, "Mediators of
Likelihood Estimates and Compliance: Does Imagining Make It So?"
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1982): 89–99

9. Law of Obligation (How to get anyone to do you a favor)

"Nothing is more costly than something given free of charge."--JAPANESE SAYING

Obligation is also called reciprocity.  When anyone receives a free gift, it automatically instills in one’s mind the need to reciprocate in like fashion.  Returning a favor eliminates the feeling of obligation. Indebtedness creates an aura of psychological distress in your mind.  Therefore, we are intimidated into a repayment.  Accepting gifts or favors without attempting to return them is universally viewed as selfish, greedy, and heartless. 

This process can easily be created by doctors and other professional medical providers by such tactics as giving out free drug samples to patients to save them money, providing handouts to patients (not commercial ones) written by yourself on medical topics to educate your patients, and calling a patient at home to see if they are doing better after your treatment.

[1]Dennis Regan, "Effects of a Favor on Liking and Compliance,"
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (1971): 627–639.

10. Law of Scarcity

"Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value." —JIM ROHN

When anything is in short supply, hard to find, and restrictions are made on availability, that item becomes more precious to those who want it. This comes into play in medical practice when you restrict your medical practice or services to procedures only a few doctors can do.  People are willing to go to extreme ends to find that doctor and pay his increased fees because the doctor is perceived to be more valuable than others in that one area.  Hence, specialty doctors are paid higher fees.  Scarcity is a strategy used by all businesses and professions to sell products, increase income, and get more clients to buy into those services.

[1]A. Pratkanis and E. Aronson, Age of Propaganda
(New York: W. H. Freeman, 1991), p. 188.

11. Law of Social Validation

"The greatest difficulty is that men do not think enough of themselves,
do not consider what it is that they are sacrificing when they follow a herd."

The sense of belonging is so highly valued that the more other people find an idea, trend, or position appealing or correct, the more acceptable that idea becomes in our own minds.  We use the “herd” behavior as a guide in establishing the standard for the choices and decisions we make (example—men now having face lifts done).  Social Validation becomes a way to save time and energy in trying to figure out what is the right behavior and action.  A doctor implements this rule of persuasion by pointing out to patients what other patients accept and do in their healthcare pursuits.

[1]Sharon Brehm, Saul Kassin, and Steven Fein, Social Psychology
(New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), p. 213.

12. Law of Verbal Packaging:

"Real persuasion comes from putting more of you into everything you say.
Words have an effect. Words loaded with emotion have a powerful effect."

Over 60 percent of your day is spent in oral communication persuading, explaining, influencing, motivating, counseling, or instructing. Excitement, movement, visions can be created using the power of words and language.  Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." Words attract and repel. Verbal Packaging states that the more skillful a person is in the use of language, the more persuasive
they will be.  

Doctors with greater verbal skills come across as more credible, more competent, and more convincing—meaning they select powerful words to convince a patient to trust them and their advice.

[1]H. H. Kelley, "The Warm-Cold Variable in First Impressions
of Persons," Journal of Personality 18 (1950): 431–439.

[2]E. Loftus, "Reconstructing Memory: The Incredible Eyewitness,"
Psychology Today 8, 1 (1974): 116.

[3]Gerry Spence, How to Argue and Win Every Time
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), pp. 130–131.

[4]E. Langer, A. Blank, and B. Chanowitz, " The Mindlessness
of Ostensibly Thoughtful Action: The Role of 'Placebic' Information in
Interpersonal Interaction," Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology (1978): 635–642.

[5]R. N. Bostrom, J. R. Baseheart, and C. M. Rossiter, "The Effects
of Three Types of Profane Language in Persuasive Messages,"
Journal of Communication (1973): 461–475.

Word Packaging Examples...

Double-Speak-- Tame the Sting (an example = food for thought)

Double-speak means replacing an offensive word with a less offensive word to
create less sting. Here are some examples of how double-speak has made its way
into our culture.




Let go



Used car

Pre-owned vehicle

Sex change surgery

Gender reassignment

Kentucky Fried Chicken

KFC (the word "fried" is taken out)

Garbage man

Sanitation engineer


Domestic engineer






Not passing



Fatty (beef)

Marbled (beef)

Final exam

Celebration of knowledge

Successful persuaders know how to use the right words to create the desired response in their audiences. Doctors with greater verbal skills come across as more credible, more competent, and more convincing. Doctors who hesitate, use the wrong words, or lack fluency have less credibility and come across as weak and ineffective.

Word Choice

Vocal Techniques



Packaging Your Numbers


Positive Word Choice

Vocal Fillers

Emotion-packed Words


Word Choice in Marketing


Use of Silence


Vivid Language


Comment about using persuasion

You may likely be using a number of these tactics and laws already.  It needs to be pointed out that you probably never stop in the middle of that discussion and remind yourself that you are intentionally directing your words and conversation to accomplish that particular Law of Persuasion.  I’d wager that you have no conscious recognition that you are using one of the Laws or Persuasion when you are using one of them.

The key and the lesson here is to implement these laws intentionally and consciously in your conversations for the benefits they provide in your practice. 

Smart doctors should already be doing this process. Every advantage you can find to boost your position with your patients will over the long haul pay off in prestige and income. It’s also a critical part of marketing your medical practice business.

The author, Curt Graham, is a highly experienced business and marketing expert, copywriter, and entrepreneur who has been published in various media over 50 years while in medical practice and after.
Discover what it takes for you to reach the optimal limits of your potential in medical practice, and how to do it: Click The Link NOW!
© 2004-2011, Curt Graham M.D., All rights reserved.

Article #26A

 Oct. 2011  Dan Kennedy article

Dan Kennedy riding a bull




Government does not work because it is more about royalty remaining royalty than it is about results, so the only time it gets anything of real importance accomplished is in moments of severe crisis, when all the royals are equally threatened. Business works - when it works - because of an opposite operating system.

Small business works better than big business, because its leaders have little fear of being deposed; they are the owners, a status actually higher than royals (which is why royals despise business owners), so they can act without political considerations. For that reason, they are often proactive instead of only reactive. Because they deal in real rather than fictitious numbers, have a limit on debt they can get their hands on, and eat profit, they often make intelligent and rational decisions.

Many work at defusing problems at their tiniest, in their infancy, rather than postponing doing so as long as possible, until the monster has grown big enough to eat them. If you stand back and observe all this, you can see what works and what doesn't work quite clearly, and make your personal behavioral and business practices choices accordingly.
If you will

Felix Dennis is a Renegade Millionaire - actually worth about $500-million, which he manufactured for himself, entirely on his own, from scratch. He is one of Britain's richest citizens. In his newest book, The Narrow Road, he tells more blunt truth about what works in the making
of money, more succinctly than any other credible person I've ever read on the subject.

I am more simpatico with his conclusions than I am with anyone else's. Like me but more so, Dennis is offensive to many and frightening to many more. Truth is rarely pleasing or reassuring, except to the very tiny number of people who prefer it to being pleased or reassured. I suggest getting and reading this little book, but in a well-lit room, not in gloom inhabited by scary shadows.

Unlike most authors of most success genre content, he makes no attempt to deliver ideas that will be popular with a large audience. This mirrors my own approach as an author, spanning, now 32 years and more than 20 published books. (, My scariest is No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits.

One very big difference between the path most are on versus The Renegade Millionaire Way is mixed agendas vs. laser-focused dedication to what works. The Renegade Millionaire Way is simple: find what works and use it. (That's what being part of a great mastermind group is all about. Why coaching is important.) Others' way is far more complicated. It is cluttered with: what will people think of me? am I permitted to do this? but we've never done it this way.

We should do get more consensus. My peers are all rushing off to do the new thing and I don't want to be left behind. Will this make me popular? liked? or gossiped about? What if it sparks criticism about me on Google? Ordinary business owners are trying to run fast through a dense forest of all these concerns, thus bumping into trees at every turn, spending a lot of time lost and confused. Renegade Millionaires have left that forest and are running on a clear, paved path.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.

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