[adsense float=’left’] Do you want to make more sales? One thing you have to do, is stop angering your prospects by trying to embarrass them. It is exactly not the way of how to win friends and influence people.
I’ll give you an example of this, and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid the same situations in your life. It is a great illustration of the secret concepts that are shared in my book: Selling by Personality Type.
In my last post, I discussed how Marie Harf, the spokesperson for John Kerry’s State Department, angered the media reporters she was supposed to convince. Today, I’ll break it down further and discuss how she tried to use the emotion of “shame” to persuade a long-time family friend, and why it back-fired on her.
The Facebook post that Marie Harf made, ended with this:
“There’s a way to disagree with our policies without making it personal. Growing up in Ohio, that’s how I was taught to disagree with people. I hope your behavior isn’t an indication that’s changed.”
What Marie Harf was trying to do with this statement was to shame the prospect into backing down, and doing things her way. Do you think it worked?
How is this Shaming?
I’d like to back up and point out how this is a shaming technique…
The emotion of shame is triggered in a person’s mind, when they realize that they haven’t lived up to one of their values. For example, if you say that you are a kind-hearted person, and then you realize you were cross with a stranger, you’d feel a bit of shame as soon as your mind made the connection.
That is what Marie Harf was trying to do with this comment. She was trying to point out to the other person, that they haven’t lived up to one of their values. It is like waving your finger in front of the person and saying “shame on you.”
What she was hoping for, is that the person would feel shame and apologize to her and offer up some sort of restitution. That is the best-case situation. But she made two fatal flaws.
The major mistake was that she said this in public. By exposing someone else’s flaws in public, it crossed the line from being a shaming tactic, to being one trying to embarrass the person. Causing someone to feel embarrassed is the absolute worst thing you can do from a persuasion strategy. Embarrassment is probably the most powerful of all the emotions, because it has an infinite lifetime. People NEVER forget embarrassing moments in their past.
Because the emotion of embarrassment is so powerful, it can be a very potent tool in your sales and persuasion arsenal. But Marie Harf used the tool in the worst possible way. She meant to embarrass the recipient of her comment.
[adsense float=’right’] The result, because the embarrassment was intentional, is that the person receiving the comment from Marie Harf is feeling a new emotion: anger. Whenever you make a comment to embarrass someone, they feel it as an attempt to manipulate them. And people ALWAYS have contempt and anger for the manipulative person.
To sum up: what Marie Harf wanted was for the person to feel embarrassment and/or shame. But what she actually got was anger and contempt. And more importantly, it was triggered in everyone that read the public comment, not just the specific recipient. Why? Because everyone can see that she was trying to manipulate the person, and “everyone” hates manipulators too.
What “Value” was she trying to point out?
The second mistake Marie Harf made, was assuming that the person receiving her shaming comment has the same values that she does. In her defense, everyone makes this mistake. We all transfer our values onto other people and assume and expect them to live their lives around our values.
But this is wrong. We cannot assume that other people have the same values that we do. Unless you know their personality temperament is the same as the one you have, you MUST assume that their values are different.
In the case of Marie Harf, she has the values of a person with the Morale Officer personality temperament. In her statement, you can get a sense of the value (the guiding principle she lives her life by) in the sentence: “There’s a way to disagree with our policies without making it personal.” I would say that this is the Morale Officer value of: “morality (showing love).” Incidentally, the list of values is found in my book: “Selling by Personality Type.“
Does the other person share this same value? If they have the Morale Officer personality temperament, they probably do share it. And in that case, the fellow Morale Officer person would feel shame about not living up to the value of “morality (showing love)” too.
But we don’t know that. My guess is that they don’t. Therefore, the feeling of shame wouldn’t be triggered in them. However, as mentioned previously, they would sense that Marie Harf was trying to manipulate them. They would have the contempt emotion, and it would be aimed at her.
Use Emotional Tools Wisely
I am not against using emotions to persuade people. In fact, it is probably the only way people are persuaded. But you must use the emotional tools correctly. There are specific things you should probably never do, like trying to shame someone in public. You never know who is watching and listening, nor what their personality temperament is.
My suggestion is that you learn the secrets of personality marketing. It will save you from some of the most common mistakes that salespeople make. And it will also make you far more effective persuader and salesperson.