Today, I want to share a remarkably powerful communication strategy that applies to all aspects of your life including persuasion!
But first, that headline!
I’ll tell you — I’m NOT pulling the rookie move of saying, “SEX… Now that I have your attention…”
While that makes for a good pattern interrupt for a huge percentage of the population, it’s really not an effective communication strategy.
And so, if I’m going to put “sex” and “consent” in the subject line, I must ACTUALLY be talking about…
How to figure out if someone is excited to have sex with you!
(Oh yeah, and there’s probably a really important marketing and selling lesson in here, too.)
But if you’re concerned about reading about sex, whether because you’re at work, or because you’re really not comfortable with that part of your humanity…
Well, it’s time to either hit “delete” or save this email for later.
With that out of the way…
Let’s get to the sexy bits!
As I’ve said a ton of times in Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, I’m all about consistent, incremental, compounding growth toward my biggest goals. Because I know that’s you become masterful at anything.
Which extends well beyond business — into relationships, and more!
And yesterday I had my attention drawn to this article all about asking for sex: How to Get Freaky Without Being Creepy, by Charlie Glickman. (Nice headline, huh?)
In short, it’s about how to convey your desires to your partner in a way that is both assertive about what you want AND totally respectful that your partner may not be in the exact same place right now.
In fact, it gives a very specific communication technique that embodies this respectful assertiveness that is so powerful, I immediately saw how useful it could be both in the bedroom and in every other corner of your life!
How to ask for sex with power and grace: “If you… [then] I…”
This is so simple you can put it to use immediately. (Okay, maybe not immediately — at least not for sex. I don’t know who you’re with right now! But you’ll also see how to use it throughout your entire life by the time we’re through, and you can start to practice every time you want to ask for something!)
Have you ever heard of “if-then” statements?
This is a really simple variation on “if-then” that is easy to use and is a great way to give someone the space to make their own decision while also clearly indicating what it is you want.
Step one: Start with an “If you…” statement…
— If you’re in the mood…
— If you’re up for it…
— If you think you’d enjoy it…
Step two: Add a “[then] I…” statement of your desire…
(Note from Roy: I added the “then” in brackets because Charlie doesn’t actually use them, but I find it easier to remember “If you… [then] I…” with it in there.)
— I’d love to kiss you right now…
— I’d love to take you on a date on Saturday…
— I’m really itching to tie you up and give you a naughty spanking…
Combine the “If you…” with the “[then] I…” and you get…
— If you’re in the mood, I’d love to kiss you right now…
— If you’re up for it, I’d love to take you on a date on Saturday…
— If you think you’d enjoy it, I’m really itching to tie you up and give you a naughty spanking…
An important sidebar from Charlie. “If you” is required. But so is “I.” For many who are less comfortable with asserting their desires, it’s really easy to accidentally transform the I statement into another question. That’s not assertive, and really weakens the request.
Example: “If you’re in the mood, can I kiss you right now?” Yes, it gets your point across. But it’s not stimulating or exciting. It doesn’t come from a place of strength and confidence. And inside the bedroom and out, you’re far more likely to get the other party enthusiastically on your side when you make requests assertively from a place of strength and confidence while also respecting their desires.
In a moment, I want to share the four responses Charlie said you should expect and be ready for from this, but first…
Let’s look at how to use this to get what you want in persuasion, selling, business, and your career!
If you’ve followed me for much time at all, you probably know I’m not into the kind of hard selling where you try to get your mark to do something they will regret later.
I believe you should provide value to your prospect, and their life should be better off as a result of doing business with you. (Sounds like a good attitude for the bedroom, too!)
If you agree with this fundamental approach to selling, your role in persuasion then is to convey the value of your proposition. To tell your prospect how their life will be better by taking you up on your offer. And then, challenge them to make a decision to move their life in the positive direction you promise.
Think about this in the context of consultative selling.
Let’s say that I’m selling you my copywriting and marketing consulting services. You came to me for my reputation for helping clients get million-dollar-plus winning campaigns.
We talk for a bit. I get to know your desires and preferences. What has worked for you before, and what hasn’t. (And yes, we’re still talking about marketing!)
Then, in the context of your desires, I explain what I’m about, and what I bring to the table.
We reach a point where I think I’d like to work with you. And where all the signals you’re giving me seem to say you want to work with me.
But still I don’t know. And so I need to get your consent. I need to know that you’re excited to do this, to move forward. I want to do it in a way where you don’t feel pressured, where I’m respectful of your decision, but where I assert my position and desires clearly.
And so I phrase my request to move forward in the “If you… [then] I…” framework.
“If you think we could create some marketing magic together, then I’d like to get started with a campaign strategy call next week.”
Crystal clear. Assertive. Direct. No ambiguity. But also totally respectful of the other person’s autonomy in making their own decisions.
Feel this from the perspective of the person who is getting the request. It doesn’t feel pushy. But it feels strong. It feels good because they are being respectful of you while also asserting themselves.
Do this, and you’ll get one of four responses…
Here we go back to Charlie’s article, because he broke down the four possible responses so clearly. But I’ll present them in my own voice because 1) I’m being inspired by him and trying not to plagiarize and 2) so we can keep our focus now more on the boardroom than the bedroom.
- They can say “yes.”
If they say yes to what you asked for, you need to be ready with the next steps to take. You should at least be clear on how you plan to respond after you get that yes.
- They can say “no.”
Here you have to be able to separate them declining this request from the feeling of them rejecting you. In fact, you should sometimes make requests that walk the line, so you can get totally comfortable accepting the “no” with equanimity and grace.
A recommendation from Charlie is to actually thank them for the no. They may tell you a reason for the no, they may not. Either way, find a way to thank them for considering your request.
This keeps the door open for future requests, and keeps their respect for you intact.
- They can make a counter-offer.
Maybe they have a different idea of what they’d like to do, or how they’d like to move forward.
This is great! It keeps the conversation flowing, and you can find some way that both you and the other party can get what they want. It may not be exactly what you first asked for, but the great thing is if you start a conversation this way and get a counter-offer, you’ll almost always land on something you want.
- They may also ask for more information.
In selling, this means they’re still interested but not ready to make the decision yet. The great thing is that your request brought this to the surface. What they’re really telling you is, “if you give me this information and it’s in line with what I want, I may say ‘yes’ to your next request.”
Just like the counter-offer, this keeps the conversation flowing, and is likely to end up somewhere very good for both of you.
What to do next…
If you think this strategy makes sense and could work for you, I’d like you to practice it in making at least one request within the next 24 hours.
Identify something you want. It could be large or small. (You may want to start small, just to make it more likely you’ll get a yes in your earliest attempts.)
While you’re planning your request, you can do it backwards. Start with what you want — your statement of desire. “I’d like for you to grab me a protein bar from the kitchen.”
Then, think about what has to be true for the other person for them to be happy to consent to your request. I’m assuming you’re asking someone who’d normally be happy to do the favor in this case, so we can be really simple with this. Such as, “If you’re going that way,” or “If you have a second.”
And so you might say, “If you have a second, I’d like for you to grab me a protein bar from the kitchen.”
See how they respond. And see how YOU respond to their response. Did you get a “yes,” a “no,” or maybe make a counter-offer or ask for more info? What was your reaction to that? Were you able to be respectful throughout — no matter how they decided to react?
If that works for you, I’d like for you to start to imagine all the other ways you can apply this in making requests in your life. Then, try them!
(Did you notice that I used variations on “If you… [then] I…” in both the first paragraph of this section and the last one?)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS — I’m putting this in the PS because I couldn’t find a better place to work it in. “If-then” statements are powerful in copywriting, too. The example above where I showed how to close a sale with “If you… [then] I…” can also work in copy. But it goes so much deeper. Many great headlines are either overt or covert “if-then” statements.
Brainstorming examples, because I’m already over on my scheduled writing time for this and don’t want to go digging in old copywriting books…
“If you want to lose 20.6 pounds in 111 days, I’ll show you why my 2-minute WOD trick creates fast and consistent weight loss results!”
“For those who are sick of today’s ultra-low investment yields, here’s my #1 strategy for getting a 8%+ yield today AND piling capital gains on top of that.”
“If you want better sex AND more success in business, I want you to read this article again from the beginning.”
In copywriting, the readership request is implied — and so unless you’re wanting them to do more than that, the “[then] I…” part of the statement should provoke curiosity and promise benefit, to give them a reason to move forward with your message.
And don’t stop at the headline. Make “if-then” statements and “If you… [then] I…” requests part of your normal communication repertoire, and work them in whenever they are natural and appropriate ways to be respectfully assertive in requesting someone to consent to do something.
PPS — If you want more perspective on this and especially applying it to getting what you want in your sex and intimacy, I really think you should read the original article here: How to Get Freaky Without Being Creepy, by Charlie Glickman.
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