A set of core steps to establish influence over others in sales, negotiations, or other contexts by leveraging persuasion and influence components.

Kingmaker Influence is a framework that condenses lessons learned from coaching executives and top performers in influencing and persuading others in the most demanding contexts. It combines proprietary knowledge and lessons with techniques from existing frameworks to create an exclusive, elite, jam-packed framework for elite influence and persuasion for the biggest deals and in the most extreme situations.

The Kingmaker Influence has six key steps, which are then split into specific techniques:

  1. Pre-Framing (how you establish yourself);
  2. Priming (warming up and preparing the other person);
  3. Empathy (establishing identification and empathy);
  4. Erosion (creating erosion in their convictions);
  5. Disarmament (pre-empting and addressing objections);
  6. Constriction (limiting their options to guarantee compliance);

The Key Components of Kingmaker Influence

Let’s take a look at each of the key components of Kingmaker Influence in specific. The six major dimensions can be further split into specific techniques.

1. Pre-Framing

This is how you establish yourself. In a way, it can be considered branding. But in terms of persuasion, it’s your specific positioning. You want to position yourself as a specialist, providing something exclusive, and with a diagnostic frame – you’re here to logically obtain information and make an informed recommendation, versus being pushy trying to sell something. This increases your authority and establishes you as a trusted advisor. The goal is for you to establish yourself with a powerful, trusted, authority frame to adjust the other side’s expectations going in.

Techniques include:

  • Specialization;
  • Exclusivity;
  • Diagnostic;

2. Priming

Priming is all about preparing the other person. It’s about discovering what their specific personality type is, so you can speak to their core desires and fears, and then torquing up desire and qualifying them so they are more receptive to you. Creating indoctrination by making them follow your processes, your rules, your materials is also helpful, shaping their behavior.

Techniques include:

  • Personality (assessing personalities using the Four Perceived Personalities framework and tailoring communication to the correct one);
  • Desire (creating desire in the other person will warm them up to your product/service/point);
  • Indoctrination (making the other person follow your rules, your criteria, your vocabulary, your view of the world);
  • Qualification (making the other prove themselves to you through one means or another – by coming to you, paying for your time, making an effort for you);

3. Empathy

This step is about establishing empathy with the other person. You can achieve the “usual” layer or use techniques, such as those from Tactical Empathy, to reach a deeper level or empathy and be more effective.

Techniques include:

  • Archetype (defining your empathy archetype – will you be the old friend? The consultant? The confidant? This affects how you listen to the other person and your frame of empathy);
  • Labeling (labeling their emotions to both disarm them and obtain more information);
  • Mirroring (specifically Chris Voss’s “Hostage Negotiator Mirroring” – repating the 2-3 key words to obtain more info about them. “It’s not a good time right now”. “Not a good time?”);
  • Challenging (asking challenging questions about their past to show interest and involvement in their story. “What kind of person did you have to be to overcome that?”. Increases empathy by showing you’re involved and making an effort);
  • Summarizing To “That’s Right” (from Chris Voss’s Tactical Empathy as well – applying Labeling and Mirroring to build the other side’s view of the world, then repeating it back to them to ask “Did I get it right?” and for them to reply “That’s right”, which immediately and substantially increases empathy);

4. Erosion

This step is all about creating doubt and stabbing the other sides’ convictions through the heart. There are usually two steps – first, ask the other side to show their hand, and then sabotage it. You can sabotage it by casting doubt into their choice, pointing out contradictions in their rationale or using consensus.

Techniques include:

  • Eliciting Empathy (asking the other side to show their hand (“Can you tell me why you think that?”);
  • The Sabotage 2-Step (requesting their experience and then casting doubt on it by suggesting alternatives “Is it possible things aren’t usually like that and you came across one very specific outcome?”);
  • Pointing Out Contradictions (pointing out a contradiction based on their values – “You told me you usually invest in high-end products. This is a high-end product but you seem to be hesitating. Can you tell me more about that?”);
  • Consensus (pointing out how other people’s experience is different – “Most people take a different route);

5. Disarmament

This step is about disarming objections. But even before that, it’s about uncovering them. There are many objections that are left unsaid, and because of that create illusions or false expectations in both parties, just wasting time. The goal is to both be able to uncover objections and then address them.

To provoke objections, I usually recommend three techniques: starting with the negative, excluding the person and/or labeling.

For dealing with objections, besides having ready answers, I usually recommend the RFAD Model. It splits responses to objections into four major categories: Reshaping, Flipping, Acceleration, Deflection. These can handle any type of objection.

It’s worth noting that, as with other parts of the framework, this phase’s effectiveness is augmented if the prior work has been properly done. You can have amazing responses to objections, but if you didn’t establish proper empathy, if you have a push salesman frame versus a diagnostician one and didn’t prime the person through qualification/indoctrination/other, chances are you’ll get suboptimal results.

Techniques include:

  • (Provoking) Starting with the Negative (requesting a “no” instead of a “yes” gives the other person the freedom to
  • (Provoking) Exclusion (excluding the person from your offer – “I’m not sure if this is for you” will make them work hard to be considered);
  • (Provoking) Labeling (labeling emotions to defuse them);
  • (Responding) Ready Answers (just replying to given objections with good answers);
  • (Responding) Reshaping (finding the deeper meaning of an objection and dealing with it – “This price is too high”. “Of course. If you pay too much for something and don’t get results, it’s heartbreaking. It seems to me it’s more about making sure you achieve results, and not about the price, right?”);
  • (Responding) Flipping (turning an objection against the other person “Can you guarantee this will work?” “Can you guarantee that you will put in the effort? If you do, this will work”);
  • (Responding) Acceleration (taking an objection where the other person is testing you, and instead of tackling it, accelerating it even more. “Maybe I should go for a lower product”. “You know what, maybe you should. This product is specifically for advanced for advanced clients to achieve [XYZ]. Maybe you should. Why are you here with me on this call?”);
  • (Responding) Deflection (using a Reticular Question to parry a direct/major objection. “I can’t pay this price”. “What are trying to achieve here?”);

6. Constriction

This step is all about limiting the other side’s options and making sure they play according to your own rules. There are several techniques for this. One is using questions oriented to making the other person work towards your goal – Reticular Questions. Stacking these questions helps tease out false commitments and assure compliance for genuine ones. Other techniques like using consensus against the person or using prospect theory to present your option as the best also work here.

Techniques include:

  • Reticular Questions (question started with “how” or “what” that has an underlying frame. “How can we do business today?”, “How can we make this happen”? – what Chris Voss calls “Calibrated Questions” in Tactical Empathy);
  • The Rule of Three/The Inquisition (a stack of Reticular Questions to tease out false commitments – Chris Vosss uses The Rule of Three with three calibrated questions, Grant Cardone uses what he calls The Inquisition win a similar logic);
  • Consensus (using social proof or consensus against the person to make them seem like they’re being left out and redirect them);
  • Prospect Theory (presenting a set of options to the person where yours is the best one);

Conclusion: A New Approach for Influence

The Kingmaker Influence framework allows you to properly build empathy and rapport with different personality types, and effectively using it to leverage closing deals, effectively building compliance for a request, or others. Each of six steps focus on a specific phase of the influence process, making it a flexible framework for any purpose, from having conversations to old-school sales to personal situations.

It’s a great complement to Kingmaker Performance and Kingmaker Perseverance – once you know how to influence others, you still have to keep performing at your best, and to learn to take the hits you will receive and leverage them.

Find more of our resources on the resources page, or specifically head to books, articles, reports and/or interviews.

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