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Words, Images and Actions That Influence and Convince

It was a shame to disagree with a friend on such a beautiful fall day. Leaves were turning bright gold, shiny orange and chocolate brown. Over a period of weeks, they floated down to a well-worn lawn in front of our house. Then one day, it looked like the trees said “Let’s get this over with” and dumped the remainder of their leaves overnight on the wet fall grass.

I was nine years old and my neighbor, Donnie, was eleven. That made him the “old man” in our group. We were talking about camping out on the upcoming weekend. Of course to suburban kids like us, “camping out” meant sleeping on your back porch with easy access to snacks, bathroom and TV.

I said it was going to be fun seeing the sun come up in the morning. But Donnie (aka Mr. Know-It-All/Straight-A Student) insisted the sun doesn’t really come “up” — it just looks that way because the earth rotates away from the sun and back again. I argued for logic, saying if it looks like it’s doing something, it is — it doesn’t matter how it works.

That’s kind of how I felt when I read the book Brainfluence by Roger Dooley. He covers a lot of the words, images and strategies that I’ve used for clients and explains how and why they work. Boo. I liked when it was just creativity and salesmanship — not science. Oh well.

Dooley points out one hundred ways to influence customers. I’m suggesting a few of my favorites here. You can check out Dooley’s book to find out why most of them work — or just take my word for it. Here they are:


It’s tested and it’s true. A smile increases sales. People who smile more make more sales. Stores, banks and other retailers with smiling staffers usually have better sales

Baby, Oh Baby

The image of a cute baby in an ad always grabs attention. This goes for TV, print and even social media. But there’s a secret to doing it successfully. If the image of the baby is looking out at you, recall of the brand and offer is much lower. You see the baby and not much else. Make sure the image of the baby is in profile — looking into the ad copy, headline or logo.

Bow Wow

Images of dogs. See Babies.

One is the only number

You get more engagement and also more sales or donations if you feature ONE baby or dog in your ads. Give him or her a name. Personalization works.  As you add a second or even more babies or dogs, the connection and the emotion start to fade.

Your brand is crisis

Yes, like the movie. And like the movie — crisis or urgency works well for home safety and personal protection and even health products; it doesn’t just get South American politicians elected.

Small Steps

When you have something big to sell, a short (and free if possible) trial offer is a good way to move toward the final sale.

Free Sells

“Free” is the most effective word in advertising.

New Also

“New.” The second-most effective word in advertising.

Tell Stories

Telling a story gets attention, makes it real, creates engagement. See the first part of this column.


Eight out of ten times, people will choose products or services that are familiar, even if a similar product at about the same price has superior features.


Like smiles, confidence sells. Ask Tony Robbins.

Whether you call them science or creativity, these words, images and actions will improve your marketing.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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