Elon Musk’s Magic card
People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. In being able to connect to people in an emotionally intelligent way and to be able to persuade them, there are several factors that play a part; and one of them is consistency.
Consistency is done or activated by looking for and asking for small commitments that can be made.
In the same token, powerful salespeople or even founders or CEO’s with a unique product who want to illicit a strong positive response from their buyers create intrigue by showing consistent success. Looking for and asking for bigger commitments is much easier when small commitments have already been fulfilled. In fact the peril of success is highly connected to the concept of small wins. In other words people begin to invest in individuals who they have seen consistently display signs of small but steadily growing success with consistency.
Case in point: Elon Musk. Born in South Africa, by the age 12 the serial entrepreneur had sold computer code to a space game for about $500. Musk left for the U.S. at 17 and made his first fortune as one of the co-founders of PayPal.
With Stocks up at 625% in the past year of Tesla Motors, an electric carmaker he founded, and SolarCity, the solar panel designer and installer run by his cousin Lyndon Rive, which is up 340%. Overall, Musk’s fortune has more than tripled in the past year, clocking in at $2.7 billion for 2013. His privately-held spacecraft-maker SpaceX was reportedly valued at upward of $4 billion in March 2013.
Lets discuss the consistency principle and the science behind it. In one set of famous studies, researchers found that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front yard that promoted a drive safely campaign in their neighborhood. However in a similar neighborhood down the street, people were 4 times more likely to display that same unsightly sign to promote the drive safe campaign. Why? Because just 10 days before they had agreed to display a small post card on their front window promoting the same cause. That small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger yet consistent change. So, when seeking to influence the consistency principle the detective of influence looks for voluntary, active and public commitments and ideally gets those commitments in writing.
For example, one recent study reduced missed appointments at health centers by 18% simply by asking the patients, rather than the staff to write down appointment details on the future appointment card.
So what are we exactly pointing to here? That in order to have a strong voice in communication and master the art of persuasion, one of the major keys to strike is consistency.