How Do People Really Want to be Treated? | Cialdini & Clinton

“He made me feel like I was the only one in the room.”

Guy Meeting Bill Clinton

What influential technique did Bill Clinton master that you can to? Find out here: (Click to Tweet)

Like him or not, Bill Clinton had a special gift. He was renowned for his ability to make people feel special. He had a unique ability to make one person in a room of 500 feel like the only one who mattered. And then he would make the next person feel the same way…and the next…and the next.

He knew something that few people know:

People don’t want to be treated well.
Or like you want to be treated.
They want to be treated like they are the only one who matters.

Yesterday, I shared the first of two scientifically proven techniques to make you a better leader, spouse, parent, marketer, and ultimately influencer. That technique was giving people a head start, starting them in the middle, not the beginning. As promised, here is technique number two.

Give preferential treatment

Giving people preferential treatment (even if it’s only perceived) works everywhere. Waiters know this as well as anyone. OK, good waiters do.

According to a study by Monmouth University researcher David Strohmertz, waiters who add a candy/mint to the bill increase their tip size.

  • Normal tip: 18.95%
  • Tip with candy: 19.59%
  • Tip with two candies: 21.62%
  • Tip with special treatment: 22.99%

What is this “special treatment” that is so effective? It is incredibly effective and frighteningly simple.

Strohmertz’s research showed that waiters can increase their tip from 21.62% to 22.99% (that’s $1000+ a year for some waiters) by first giving a single candy or mint, then after turning to leave, returning and offering a second one. Tricky, huh?

Yes 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert Cialdini

These lessons and studies come from one of my favorite books of all time. Check it out here.

This makes diners feel like they got the preferential treatment I mentioned above. The waiter went from protocol to individual favor.

Everyone wants to feel like you are doing something just for them. They want to feel special. They want to feel like the only one who matters.

You can use this to your advantage in every area of life.

  • At work: Offer special training to someone on your team.
  • With customers: Use the waiter example and the car wash example from yesterday’s post as creative inspiration. There are thousands of ways you can give special treatment to customers.
  • With clients: If a contract calls for 20 hours, spend 22. Occasionally go 10 minutes over on the one-hour call. Send them a book you recommended, at your expense.
  • With anyone: If a name comes up on conversation and you know the person, offer to introduce him or her.
  • At home: Spend individual time with each child (if you have more than one). Don’t make it appear to be routine.
  • At work: Initially decline a request for help, then offer it.

Two warnings

There are two warnings I must give when it comes to this technique. There are two dangerous traps that people can fall into that must be addressed.

  1. Be careful with the opposite sex. Giving preferential treatment to team members, clients, or customers of the opposite sex can come across wrong and put you on a slippery slope. Be sure that you consider the appearance of the special treatment first. (Do I even need to mention how Bill Clinton went wrong here?)
  2. Tell the truth. Don’t manipulate people or situations. In the example above about declining to help, then offering it, don’t do so dishonestly. If you genuinely decline at first, I am suggesting that then you might consider offering special help. Don’t decline to manipulate.

Think about leaders you know who are great at this and learn from them. You might even ask them how they do it. They just might give you preferential treatment and share with you.

How can you give others perceived preferential treatment?

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