Archive for December 29, 2011

The Science of Getting People to Say ‘Yes’

December 29, 2011 Comments off

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In both the business environment and in personal life it is essential to know how to get what you want — and get people to say “Yes” to your requests. But, how do you approach people so that they are more likely to agree to your proposal, sales pitch or ideas?

Two researchers, Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser, conducted an experiment to find out how to get people to do something they would not normally do. The researchers went door to door in a small neighborhood asking people to put signs outside of their home to “Drive Carefully.” Only 20% of people said “Yes” when asked to put up a large sign. However, researchers found that they could get 76% of the residents to say “Yes” if they asked them to first put up a smaller three-inch sign.

This study is the perfect example of how starting with a small request will help you get a “Yes” to bigger request later. Many of the residents said “Yes” to the second request because they had already also entered into an agreement with the researchers. When you ask someone to buy something from you, believe in your idea or say “Yes” to you, you have to establish a certain level of trust. The smaller sign showed the homeowners that if they put up a small sign, the researchers would not abuse them. When you are working with clients a small “Yes” can help show your client that they can trust you.

This technique, also called the ‘yes ladder’ or the ‘foot in the door’ method, is extremely important for anyone in the business world. Let’s review the steps of this technique:

No. 1: What is your big ask? The most important first step is to determine about what your big ask is. If you are a salesman it is probably getting the client to purchase your product, if you are an employee it might be asking for a raise. Identify your big ask.

No. 2: Work backward. Once you have identified your big ask, work backward, thinking of two to three smaller asks. If you are a salesman this can be getting someone on your email list, or having them take home a demo. If you are an employee wanting a raise perhaps you want to ask for an extra benefit or a title change before a salary bump.

No. 3: Plan your first yes approach. Your first yes might be even more important than your big ask. Plan your approach for your first yes as if it was just as important as your ultimate goal. Lay out all of the reasons your target should say yes to your first ask. Often times your target will be so overwhelmed by your preparation and energy for your easy ask, they will be much happier to say yes.

No. 4: Encourage trust. Once your target has given you your first yes — don’t let them down! Make sure they are happy with your first promise and encourage them to engage in the young relationships so they are more likely to want to mature it.

The yes ladder is fundamentally a trust building exercise. If you can get people to trust you, your product and your brand they will be more likely to say yes to you again and again.


Jonathan L Freedman and Scott C Fraser. “Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 4(2), 195-202.

Vanessa Van Petten specializes in social and emotional intelligence research and development. The focus of her company is to research youth behavior and help adults keep up with young adults.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.

Are You Using Social Media to Your Advantage?

December 29, 2011 Comments off


Written By Suzanne Zionts

Navigating through the ever-changing landscape of social media has been a key challenge for small business owners trying to brand themselves in this uncertain economy.

Earlier this month, small business owners got yet another social media tool from Google+ in the form of branded pages.

Kirsten Wright, the social marketing director for, a social media agency, took some time to speak with FOX Business after presenting at Blog World, a social media conference in Los Angeles, earlier this month. Wright detailed how small business owners should be using social media to grow their business, and identified the pitfalls many owners make when first venturing into this world.

While it’s hard to keep up with the developments coming out of the social media world, Wright said  it’s important to a business’s growth potential. “I’m a firm believer in reading as much as possible. If you are not staying on top of everything, you are getting further behind.”

FBN: What are small businesses doing wrong when using social media?

Wright: The biggest pitfall that small business owners have is that they think social media should not be an investment and have a “we should just have people in administration do our media” mentality. Small businesses need to get to the point where they compete with bigger businesses through social media.

FBN: What are small businesses doing right in their use of social media?

Wright: They are able to be more personable. A lot of bigger brands don’t have the personality of their brands and become too corporate. Small businesses tend to have more leeway, have more fun and still capture personality.

FBN: What is the most important social media tool for business owners?

Wright: Twitter and Facebook are both extremely powerful tools and you have to be on both of them to have a successful cross promotion strategy. One tool that is often overlooked is YouTube, but Twitter and Facebook are the primaries.

FBN: Should small business owners be using Google+?

Wright: A week ago I would have had a different answer….I think that by launching the business pages, if the bigger businesses get involved with this, it will be a great tool. But my word of warning is: If you can’t do Facebook right, stay out of Google+. You are better off building a phenomenal Facebook page.

FBN: What is the biggest misconception when it comes to using social media?

Wright: That it’s free. It is a lot less expensive than traditional media, however, to make social work, it can’t be done just for free. You need a solid strategy. You need promotion. You need Facebook applications. A lot of small businesses don’t think about Facebook advertising, but it does take a budget to make it work.

FBN: Is there a best way to listen to your customers?

Wright: Twitter is a phenomenal way for a brand to do customer service more effectively. Twitter allows for a quick response, but Facebook provides a longer conversation. The only way it is going to work successfully is if the customer service team is watching and will respond.

FBN: Why do you think some small business owners are afraid of social media?

Wright: So many people are afraid of social media. I work with many consumer brands and they can’t say certain things because of legal issues. Social media gives an open door and people can say whatever they want, but you have the ability to manage your brand under legal compliance. I have worked with pharmaceutical brands, and we just make sure everything we do is triple checked. There is almost no brand that can do social on its own. It takes an integrated team to do it.

The ‘Accidental’ IT Worker

December 29, 2011 Comments off

The ‘Accidental’ IT Worker: Does Your Office Have One?

Many small businesses have them: the accidental IT man or woman who was hired for one thing, but ends up doing that plus all the computer work.

It’s a common scenario—after all, most small businesses are full of employees wearing multiple hats. And while these accidental IT workers may know basic technology procedures like how to network printers, manage email or set up smartphones, often times they aren’t experts, which can expose a business to potential security problems.

“There’s a misconception that if someone is an expert in one piece of technology they know everything,” says Cindy Bates, vice president of Microsoft U.S. Small and Midsize Business. “If someone knows about setting up email they may not know about databases.”

These accidental IT employees can make small businesses vulnerable to hackers if they aren’t deploying adequate security software correctly and staying current on potential threats. Small businesses have increasingly become targets for hackers because of the assumption they don’t have the funds to have the same level of security present at larger companies.

“Technology is a competitive advantage that can’t be taken lightly,” says Bates.

Small businesses with limited resources don’t have to put security on the backburner, there are cheap and free ways to get IT help without relying on non-expert employees.

“Today technology is much simpler,” says Bates. “There are a lot of great cloud-based offerings bringing the power of enterprise software down to the single-person office.”

There are a host of cloud- based applications that do everything from managing customer relationships, to sales contacts and contracts. Small businesses don’t even have to house the hardware on sit. Companies like (GOOG) will provide the storage and computing power for a monthly fee.

Outside IT help doesn’t stop at cloud-based applications. Small businesses can get help and support for as little as $100 a month, according to Bates.

“A big trend is managed services where small businesses pay monthly for a technology provider to take care of everything,” she says. She adds more small business owners are choosing to go this route because they are realizing the cost is minimal to have an IT company manage the systems compared to if the business goes down for a day or more.

On top of accessing the cloud for applications and turning to a service provider to manage IT, many companies offer affordable software packages to handle all the different aspects of running a small business. For instance Microsoft’s Office 365 (MSFT) costs $6 per month per user, and gives a small business email, the ability to share documents and web conferencing. Meanwhile Google Apps (GOOG) for Business costs $5 a month for each user and gives the company business grade email, a Google calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites–which is an easy way to create intranets and group websites.

Keeping a small business’s computers security up to date and protected is important to ensure the business stays up and running. While it’s easy to assign that task to an employee, there are free and affordable applications available that can take on the load.

North Korea hails Kim Jong-un as leader

December 29, 2011 Comments off


Many thousands of North Koreans took part in Thursday’s choreographed memorial

North Korea has hailed late leader Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, as “supreme leader of the party, state and army”.

Mr Kim took centre stage at a memorial service in Pyongyang’s main square a day after his father’s funeral.

Kim Yong-nam, formally the number two leader, told a million-strong crowd their sorrow would be turned into strength “1,000 times greater under the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un”.

State TV showed Kim Jong-un surrounded by top government and army officials.

  • Artillery fire and blaring horns commemorate Kim Jong Il’s life
  • Speeches at the ceremony proclaim his son Kim Jong Un as ‘supreme leader’
  • The service takes place a day after the elder Kim’s three-hour funeral procession
  • His death earlier this month has created uncertainty about the country’s stability

The memorial event appeared to be the Kim dynasty’s unofficial handover of power, says the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in neighbouring South Korea.

A three-minute silence was also held, after which trains and ships throughout the country sounded their horns.

Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on 17 December, aged 69, state media said. He had ruled North Korea since the death of his father Kim Il-sung in 1994.

‘Military first’

“Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un is our party, military and country’s supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong-il’s ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage,” Kim Yong-nam told the massive crowd gathered in Kim Il-sung square.

“The fact that he completely resolved the succession matter is Great Comrade Kim Jong-il’s most noble achievement.”

 Kim Jong-un (in buttoned black overcoat) bows at the memorial in Pyongyang

A top military official, Kim Jong-gak, also addressed the crowd.

“Our people’s military will serve comrade Kim Jong-un at the head of our revolutionary troops and will continue to maintain and complete the Songun accomplishments of great leader Kim Jong-il,” he said.

Songun refers to the “military-first” policy – channelling funds into the military.


On Wednesday, thousands stood weeping and wailing in the snow as Kim Jong-il’s funeral cortege passed, images from state television showed.

Correspondents say the ceremonies echoed the displays of pomp and military might that marked the death of Kim Il-sung, in 1994.

Kim Jong-un – Mr Kim’s third son – cried as he walked alongside the hearse. Tens of thousands of soldiers lined up to bow their heads in homage in the city’s main square.

Kim Jong-un – who is thought to be in his late 20s and who has little political experience – was accompanied by his uncle, Chang Song-taek.

Mr Chang is expected to be a key player as the younger Kim consolidates power.

Kim Jong-il – known in North Korea as the “Dear Leader” – was in the process of formalising Kim Jong-un as his successor when he died.

However, the transition was not complete, leaving regional neighbours fearful of a power struggle in the nuclear-armed pariah state.

Mr Kim’s two older sons, Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong-chol, were not seen at the funeral.

No foreign delegations have attended any of the events. However, UN offices around the world lowered their flags to half-mast.

A spokesman at the UN headquarters in New York said that the move had been requested by Pyongyang’s UN mission but was part of normal protocol for the funeral of any head of state.

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