How to Build Influence and Earn Trust via Enchantment: An Interview with Guy Kawasaki

Information doesn’t sound like it’s worth a lot of value. In fact, most of the time information wants to be free and are free in the sense of accessibility. In order to make information so valuable that people will pay money for them, you had to turn organized knowledge (i.e. stuff you find on Google, Wikipedia or on the Internet in general) into insights.

That’s what most experts, gurus and teachers do. They sell insights in the form of ideas packed inside a book, a seminar, a podcast or any information products. The value of the information isn’t just in what you present, but how you present it.

Enchantment book 224x300 How to Build Influence and Earn Trust via Enchantment: An Interview with Guy Kawasaki

This is precisely what Guy Kawasaki did in his latest book “EnchantmentThe Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.”

Guy took influence to another level by providing action steps, how-to guides, case studies and various examples to help you understand the power of social influence in the digital age.

What I particularly enjoy is the fact that the book is formatted in a way that’s easy to consume and gets the point fast with excellent use of headlines, subheadlines, bullet points and pictures were spotted on.

Here are some of the key parts that I found useful.

  • Chapter 1-3: Explains in detail what Enchantment is all about including likeability and trustworthiness.
  • Chapter 4-7: How to leverage enchantment to launch a business or a product.
  • Chapter 8-9: How to use market via push technology like presentations, e-mails and Twitter (or what marketers call outbound marketing) and how to use pull technology like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn (inbound marketing).
  • Chapter 10-12: Tips on building relationships with your boss, employees and resist the enchanting wiles of others

It felt like the book is trying to get you to learn it instead of just jamming jargons down your throat. If you want to learn social media influence and persuasion, I highly recommend this book.

I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking with him about his new book recently. You can click below to listen to the podcast: 

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You can buy Enchantment from Amazon.

Interview with Guy Kawasaki – transcription

Eric: So, can you talk about the difference between this book and the nine previous books?

Guy: Well, some of the nine previous books are easy to differentiate. One was about funny definitions. One was about databases and one was a collection of interviews. But the meat of my writing has been things like “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy”, “Selling the Dream”, “The Art of the Start”, “Reality Check”.

And those books contain some similar material focusing primarily on evangelism. And I would say that “Enchantment” takes evangelism and persuasion and wooing and influence to another level that a lot of those techniques are for transactions.

You evangelize a Macintosh.You persuade someone to buy a Macintosh. You influence someone to buy a Macintosh. But if you are truly likable and trustworthy and have a great product, you can take it beyond the transaction. Beyond the one time purchase of a Macintosh and delight the person with the relationship that’s so strong and so permanent that they’ll not only buy a Macintosh, they’ll buy a Macintosh, an iPod, iPad, iPhone, i anything. And buy books from iBooks and movies and songs.

That’s sort of the goal of the book, to take it to that level.

Eric: OK. That’s great. So, in the book, actually, I had to read it really fast but you defined enchantment as more powerful than traditional persuasion, influence or marketing techniques.

How has the Internet changed traditional persuasion, influence and marketing techniques?

Guy: As opposed to changing enchantment?

Eric: Well, as opposed to, for example, before the Internet came along the way it is today, can people embrace enchantment?

Guy: Yeah. Well, first of all, I have sort of a…perhaps even somewhat contradictory response. On the one hand, if you are likable person and you are trustworthy and you have a great product or service, you could rub two sticks together and be enchanted.

Eric: [laughs] (totally agree)

Guy: OK? The flip side of that is if you are not likable and you are not trustworthy and you have a piece of crap, you could have the most expensive, extensive social media, Internet, digital technology campaign in the world and you won’t be enchanting.

So, it’s not so much that people are enchanting because of social media. It starts with the basics.

Now, if you got the basics, the trustworthiness, the likability in the product, then social media can just take you beyond. Faster, cheaper and easier than ever because you can reach so many people so quickly anywhere in the world.

Eric: OK. So, basically, would you say Internet allows you to build relationships in a mass scale, right? But are they authentic? Are they the same relationship that you would have (in real life) ?

Guy: Well, by definition, if you… with people’s time being finite, if you have a thousand relationships versus 10 and you suspect that the thousand cannot be as deep as the 10.

But having said that, I’ll tell you that in my personal case, I have relationships with thousands of people I could never have prior to the Internet. And so, it depends on how you look at it. Is the glass half empty or half full?

Half empty says, “Well, Guy, you have all these friends that you’ve never met face to face. You’d never have dinner with them. You don’t know what their kids look like.”

It’s very wide but very thin. That’s the half empty.

The half full is, “Guy, you know people in Istanbul and Moscow and everywhere in the world, Brazil.” So, these people you would have never known at all. So, half full is a wow, you have a lot more friends in the world. That’s the way I look at it.

Eric: I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, I looked at almost all the photos that you took when you travel because I’m subscribed to your Posterous. (I was one of the first group of people to sign up and use Posterous and it’s got some interesting people o there.)

OK. So, in this book, you talked a lot about ways to influence others through actions, likability, trustworthiness and even got endorsements from the Godfather of influence himself, Robert Cialdini.

Guy: Yeah.

Eric: I mean he’s just an amazing guy. I love his book. I actually reference it a lot in my marketing. So, how important is influence in becoming enchanter?

Is it like celebrity fame where you can’t just go to the public anymore because people are just going to come up to you? Or is it like the Klout score for Twitter like where you have influence and it’s a number?

Guy: Well, I think that all enchanted is influential but not all influence is enchanting. So, the enchantment is perhaps purer form of the influence. And as I said, influence can be on a transaction basis. One time, temporary, whatever. Whereas enchantment, I think it is a more permanent relationship.

So, Cialdini is definitely the Godfather and created the foundation and I’m just taking it often in a slightly different direction. But yes, he did endorse the book which is pretty influential.

Eric: Yeah, when I saw that I was like, “It’s over. We’ve got to get a couple more copies of this book when it comes out.” So, which quality of persuasion is more important in order to enchant someone?

I mean is there one more important than the others? The ethical persuasion (techniques) like reciprocity, scarcity, liking authority, social proof, consistency?

Guy: Well, in that section, I list the techniques that you just described. And I don’t think it’s so situational that social proof could be very important if you are introducing a consumer gadget.

You want people to see that lots of people have iPods, so lots of people buy iPods. So lots of people see iPods so lots of people buy iPods, all right?

So, that social proof. In another circumstance, it could be reciprocity. You’re not trying to get thousands of people to reciprocate. You are just trying to get one person to reciprocate.

So, it’s like saying what’s the most important marketing technique? Well, it kind of depends on the situation and the product.

Eric: You provided some pretty specific entrepreneur strategies and tactics on creating, launching, and sustaining a business. In order to be successful, what’s the most important thing to master as an entrepreneur beyond having a marketable product or service? I mean obviously, you got to have product and service, right?

Guy: Yeah. I mean you say that as if it’s that easy. [laughs] But it’s not that easy. But let’s assume for a second that you do have that. I think there’s two things.

One is you have to plant many seeds. Today because the Internet has flattened influenced and persuasion. It’s not as simple as well, there’s this opinion leader and he writes for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times or Business Week and if you get this opinion leader and he or she blesses your product then she or he is going to tell the great unwatched masses to just do what I tell you and game over, right?

That may have been true in the old days but that’s not true anymore. So, now, it could be lonelyboy15 that makes your product successful and he’s got 250 followers on Twitter. And he has a hundred friends on Facebook. How the hell did you know he was so influential and so powerful? Probably, he didn’t know he was.

But it’s all those people who add up that make a Facebook or make a Twitter, right? I don’t think it was because any industry guru declared Facebook and Twitter winners at the start.

Eric: So, how should a beginning enchanter, an entrepreneur, deal with tasks outside of his/her expertise?

Like obviously, everybody got dreams. Everybody talk about it. When it comes to actually doing it. “Hey, I’m just not good at writing copy. I’m not just good.” Obviously, you do that well. I see all the references to the people you give and how do you go about that?

Do you just pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I need help? Help me out.”

Guy: Well, I could tell you what works for me but I maybe an unusual case.

Eric: Well, you’re Guy Kawasaki, by the way. (just a reminder)

Guy: Yeah, well… But it’s not like I’m Nelson Rockefeller’s son or something, right? I didn’t come into this world with any special advantages.

So, in my career, I attribute most of my success to two things. One is I grind it out. I’m willing to grind it out. I’m willing to do an interview anytime you want, any way you want, and I answer my own emails. I do this kind of stuff. Well, most of them, anyway. And so, my secret is grinding it out.

The second thing is I really believe that life is win win. And so, in the book, I discussed that there’s two kinds of people. One is a baker and one is an eater.

And an eater believes there’s this pie and it’s fixed in size and I got to get a bigger slice of the pie as possible.
A baker believes that you can bake bigger and bigger pies. So, I’m a baker. I’m a baker on steroids. I believe that life is not a zero sum gain and I think that attitude… when people understand that’s where you are coming from, they tend to help you.

In this book, the creation of this book, you would be pretty amazed at how many people helped you.
I mean let me just tell you some ways. I need examples because I like to use new examples that Malcolm Gladwell hasn’t used yet, right?

Eric: Right. (now we’re talking!)

Guy: So, I post these kinds of questions on my blog and I say I need an example of this or I need an example of this or tell me your personal story of enchantment.

Every chapter has this personal story at the end, right?

Eric: Right. Love that.

Guy: There are 12 of them. And of the 12, I knew one before the book which is Garr Reynolds. Everybody else came through the woodwork in the Internet. And so, I got these stories from the Internet, from strangers in quotes.

People help me with my Power Point. I’m about to put out badges for the book. Two people did that for me for free just because they… I don’t know. They love me. I don’t know because they love the book and it just… I did a crowd sourcing cover contest and there was a thousand dollar price for that.

And the guy who won is an engineering student in like Singapore or Cambodia or Malaysia or something.

Eric: Indonesia. (Yes, I read the book)

Guy: Professional designer. I’m sorry?

Eric: Indonesia, I think.

Guy: Indonesia, yeah. And so, just time and time again, this kind of stuff just happens and I don’t have scientific proof for but it I think there is a karmic scoreboard. You help a lot of people, help comes back to you.

Eric: So this book has ways to be becoming enchanting as an entrepreneur as well as an employee which kind of what surprised to me when I was reading it towards the end.

What is your recommend for longtime employees who want to enchant on their own journey that lack direction?

Guy: Well, are you saying how to enchant your boss.

Eric: No, like let’s say you are working for someone and you kind of want to just break out of that and start your own thing.

But you don’t really have a direction. You have the passion. Maybe you are tired of it. Maybe you got an idea up.
Do I just buy this book and say follow the whole formula before that and it works.

Guy: Well, just to be accurate, this book presumes that you want to be enchanting, whether it is in your current job or future job, or a new company.

So if you want to learn how to quit and start a company, you should read another of my books called the Art of the Start. I am not to pimp myself too much. But that’s the book for that purpose.

Eric: All right, so make sure you get that book everybody. [laughs] OK, so you had a chapter on overcoming resistance. How should an enchanter deal with failure?

When things don’t go right, and maybe you lost a lot of money doing something, the software is not working…

Guy: Yeah, well first of all, as you get older I think you come to expect that lots of things will fail as opposed to this romantic notion that everything will succeed off the gate and you are the next Google after six months.
So part of that is just this realization that life is tough. And then it becomes a matter of your personality. Do you give up or do you keep going?

And that is one of the toughest decisions to make. I think one of the hardest decisions is when do you decide that it is not working and you should give up.

A very difficult decision.

Because you always hear these stories about the guy who founded FedEx he was on his last payroll and he went to Las Vegas and he made 10 grand. And he met the last payroll and then things turned around the next day.
So you love that kind of story. But for every one of those there is probably a thousand people who didn’t make the last payroll and died.

So you don’t read about those, right?

Eric: No.

Guy: So that’s the challenge. And when you face an adversity, of course it is easy for me to say because I am not facing your adversity, but you just have to suck it up sometimes.

I wish I could tell you that for $26.95 you can buy a book that’s going to fix adversity and prevent you from lot of failure because if that was true, that is a lot, and we’ll price the book a lot higher. And infinite copies would sell. I would wipe up all the forest in the world, cutting down trees to print this book, because so many people would buy it.

No book can do that. We could give you tips, we could give you insights, we can give you slightly better ways, we can even inspire you.

But at the end of the day man, you got to suck it up and you have to grind it out actually.

Eric: Well, one of the things that I’ve noticed about the book, I don’t know if this is the right way to say it, but it makes me feel I need to be a better person, or maybe there are other agendas behind everyone’s actions.
But it’s kind of like when you talk about social proof and when we talk about persuasion and stuff like that, it makes you question yourself.

It makes you question the things you do, that tactics that you use, and how you engage with other people.
And in a way I would say this is kind of similar to Robert’s approach to a lot of things except you kind of put that whole thing into Internet (marketing) strategy with Twitter, Facebook, social media and how to deal with people in general.

So I guess my next question is what do you think about improving yourself through the Internet or is it possible to do that, through building a relationship that you have with people over the Internet, does that help you?

Guy: Well, certainly it helps you. I think it can broaden your perspective; you can gain sort of a 360 view of the world, and of yourself.

And it brings diversity to you in terms of age, and color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, I mean you name it.
So, yeah compared to what, compared to an extreme where you are living in a forest area with no cable, [laughter] yeah absolutely.

I think it has been my experience and I travel all over the world. And maybe I don’t see every element of every society clearly I don’t. But people are more similar than they are different.

And basically people want to have a good life, and have a even better life for their children. It kind of boils down to that. And I have more similar than it is different around the world.

And I think partly, a book like enchantment can help you arrive at that because it helps you change people hearts, minds and actions.

I have a great deal of the book dedicated to the ethics of enchantment, because I think for enchantment to truly work and to truly last, you have to have a very high degree of ethics.

And just in case people encounter people who don’t have a high degree of ethics, there is a chapter though about how to resist enchantment. Which I felt was very important to put in.

Eric: So one last question about the title. Because I am marketing guy and I love book covers and stuff like that. Is that your idea to put your name at the top? It’s almost bigger than the word enchantment?

Guy: Well, we went back and forth about that. So one theory is as the person in a coffee shop tell you, people are going to be confused and think Guy Kawasaki is the title.

Eric: Well, it just happened. (I told Guy earlier that I was reading it at a coffee shop and someone saw the book and thought Guy Kawasaki was the name of the book.)

Guy: Yeah, so that’s not good. On the other hand more people who have heard of my name than they heard of the book by definition because nobody has the book yet. And so we went with the marketing decision that the initial recognition would be the name and not the title.

And we’ll see, what I am really trying to do is I am trying to make the butterfly an icon that, it’s like sort of easily recognizable.

I am trying to own the word enchantment, right. Tom Peters owns Excellence and Geoffrey Moore owns Chasm and Robert Cialdini owns Influence and Persuasion, and Malcolm Gladwell owns Tipping.

And I want to own Enchantment. And so the whole thing is with the butterfly and the red cover, everything is pushing towards that goal.

Eric: Right. I would expect to see your name attached to that when I go to the dictionary.com or Wikipedia.

Guy: Yes, certainly Wikipedia. [laughter]

Eric: One last tricky question. There is a story, really interesting story about you and Richard Branson in there. And I am just kind of wondering, do you ride Virgin more or do you ride United more right now.

Guy: Well, let me tell you something. As of Richard Branson, well just two things. One is Richard Branson. Because he just got on his hands and knees and started polishing my shoes, that’s a kind of leverage.
But the second thing is, this is a good institution of a gentleman. So he has likeability and trustworthiness. That’s two and a three.

But Virgin America is a great airline. The airplane is really nice. It’s WiFi on everyone. The flight attendants are nicer. The cabin is more beautiful, et cetera, et cetera. So if it was just Richard Branson, and he had a crappy airline, I would not fly it. But there is all three. And so I am global services on United, which is the highest level you can be.

And if I was flying to some place that United flew and Virgin flew, I would fly Virgin. And you know, that the way you get to be global services is you have to amass not only a lot of miles, you have to amass a lot of revenue.
Because if someone flies the cheapest coach ticket, a 100 or 150,000 miles a year, is not as good as someone who flies full fare first class a 100 or 150,000 miles a year, right.

So when you start flying other airlines, you risk your global services status. But I just like the plane better and in San Francisco where I fly out of, Virgin America flies out of the international terminal, which is cleaner, newer, cooler, shorter lines.

Because the international terminal is busy late at night, when everybody is flying to Asia and flying to Europe. And you fly at midnight; you get there at 7:00 am, that kind of thing.

So during the day, it’s not nearly as crowded. So you get through the line faster, and to my great sadness this service Clear, kind of died, it is coming back now. It is in Denver, in Orlando, but Clear was the great equalizer.
Because if we had a Clear card, it didn’t matter whether you had first class or coach or whether there was a first class or coach line, because there was always a Clear liner, that was always fast.

But Clear doesn’t exist in San Francisco right now. So it matters. And so for all these factors, yeah, I am a Virgin America.

Eric: It’s almost like they have a superior product in every way that you would not have discovered it had he not polished your shoes.

Guy: You know, that is kind of true. I think, eventually I would have taken it and figured it out.

Eric: I bet, but then you have already invested emotionally, financially into United. And so it is difficult thing, I got a lot out of that story because it is enchantment. He did that. And it doesn’t cost him anything. But that was incredible.

Guy: Yeah. It is also true that he might not do that for everybody, right? But still I can tell you a lot of people who would have done that for no one.

Eric: All right Guy, I really appreciate your time.

Guy: Thank you, bye.

Enchantment infographic
One simple diagram that explains the basics of enchantment.

enchantment infographic How to Build Influence and Earn Trust via Enchantment: An Interview with Guy Kawasaki

Need more enchanting evidence? Check out these Enchantment slides and videos.

Further Reading

 

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