It Sucks When You Let Other People Down…

Source: Stencil

At 9 in the morning, emergency mode erupted in our house. All four of us scrambled— even our young kids.

We lost a key. It may not sound like a big deal. But this was not our key. It’s a key to our neighbor’s house. They are on vacation. They entrusted us to care for their cats.

Sooner or later lost keys always turn up. It’s different when someone else trusts you with the key to their home and the well-being of their pets. We feel a desire to validate that trust. That’s what created all this angst.

We faced an ugly alternate solution. Call the neighbor and ask her to contact a locksmith so we could take care of their cats. Talk about an awkward conversation. It reminds me of those wanna get away snickers commercials.

For two hours, we ransacked our house. Nothing. My wife even retraced her steps back to the neighbor’s house. We thought she dropped it on the way home last night.

Every search turned into a dead end. Two hours later, we called it. My wife contacted our neighbor and broke the bad news. She made arrangements to deal with it later if no other neighbor had a spare key.

To Tell Or Not To Tell

If this were our own key, our reaction would have been less frantic. We would have looked for twenty minutes, tops.

“It’ll turn up. We’ll look again later.”

There’s a big difference when it’s someone else’s property. Trust is a powerful motivator. When someone trusts you with something privileged, it hurts to let the other person down. There’s a desire to act in a consistent manner. In this way, we prove the trust is well placed.

There’s a creative persuasion technique built on this principle. I call it The Secret Privilege.

When someone tells us a secret, we feel privileged they entrusted that information with us

If you limit the secret to a group, the members of the group bond over the shared secret. A secret limited to only one person makes him feel even more special.

“He trusts me above everyone else. Wow. I can’t betray that trust.”

The Secret Motivator

This tactic is often abused. You’ll often see writers put in their articles or sales letters something like:

“Here’s a secret. Don’t share it with others..”

It’s a great tactic in one on one communication. In a mass email or public advertisement, it’s just silly. Thousands of others are reading the same message. How is it a secret? Your audience sees right through that.

Be smart about it.

First, if you claim you’re sharing a secret, make it real. Don’t share information on your website. Make it something reasonably unknown.

Second, make sure your privileged information is a one on one communication. Never use it in a mass email or public website. Use the right tool for the right situation.

A Happy Ending

Later that day I pulled up a couch cushion and found the missing key. Neither of us checked it during our frantic search. We both assumed the other one did.

Secret privilege is a powerful strategy… but it’s only the beginning. Get two of my best creative persuasion secrets here<<