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I was profoundly honored to be named one of The Top 10 Influence Experts by The Huffington Post. To be included in this article with giants like Robert Cialdini and Daniel Pink is such a joy. When Tim David reached out to me to do the interview, I thought it sounded like fun, plus it would be good PR. I had no idea that Tim was going to put together such a fantastic piece jam-packed with value!

I asked him if I could repost the original article here and share it with you guys. He kindly obliged.


(enter Tim)

I’ve spent most of January researching dozens of candidates and nominees for this list. Once I had narrowed down the field (based on their own influential reach, the quality of their methods, significant contributions to the field of influence in 2016, and ethical standards), I tracked down the finalists for an interview. These are the ten who impressed me the most, along with their absolute best sales tips.

Let the countdown begin!

#10 Sharí Alexander

To Learn More About Shari, CLICK HERE

Google “influence speaker” and you’ll find Sharí (pronounced sha-REE) Alexander on page one promising to “bring the ‘dark arts’ of influence into the light”. I’ve been a subscriber to her blog for quite some time and her insights are both sharp and entertaining. If you haven’t met this master of observation, connection, and influence, then allow me to introduce you.

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What makes Sharí Alexander unique is how she learned about persuasive triggers and techniques. She spent years studying CIA field agents, hostage negotiators, con-artists, HUMINT officers, interrogators, trial attorneys, mentalists, undercover law enforcement, and even pick-up artists. Her mission is to put these powerful skills in the hands of entrepreneurs and leaders so that they can effectively be a positive influence in their businesses and lives. Sharí has designed numerous communication training courses and speeches that cover these enlightening areas of enhanced communication, along with self-study programs.

Sharí is certified in neurolinguistic programing (NLP), microexpressions, and body language. Her clients include CEOs, politicians, professional athletes (NFL, NBA), television and movie producers, news commentators (ESPN, HLN, NBC), and New York Times Bestselling authors. Sharí is also a regular contributor to Entrepreneur and guest lecturer at USC.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

To Learn More About the Persuasive Profit Formula CLICK HERE

Persuasive Profits is Sharí’s 8-week course where she teaches entrepreneurs how to be more influential in the profit-generating areas of their businesses. It covers sales, copywriting, speaking/webinars, working with clients, and advanced influence techniques that can be used every day.

Best Sales Tip: It’s all about aligning with their “VIBES”.

Instead of focusing on how important it is to make the sale, be on the lookout for what is motivating to your prospect. How does your offer align with their wants, needs, and desires? She calls this, finding their “influential VIBES”.

What are their…

Values – What do they hold near and dear? What is most important to them?

Identifiers – How do they see themselves or who do they hope to become?

Beliefs – What are their current beliefs about your product or industry? About you? About your competition?

Emotional Triggers – What puts them in a positive state versus a negative state? How can you leverage both of those?

Secret Goals and Desires –What in their life do they want changed? (Whether or not they realize it.)

#9 Nir Eyal

To Learn More About Nir, CLICK HERE

I shared the stage with Nir (pronounced “near”) at a conference and I turned into a total fan-boy – getting an autograph and a photo. If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or start-up then you’ll be hooked too.

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You’ll find Nir Eyal at the intersection of psychology, technology, and business, helping people to build habit-forming products.

He is perhaps best-known as the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products but he’s also founded two tech companies and has taught at Stanford.

Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.

Major Contributions to Influence in 2016

Nir has spent much of 2016 spreading the gospel of Hooked. In addition to fantastic blogging at, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today. Nir is an active investor in habit-forming technologies and a sought-after keynote speaker for top conferences and events. He also organized Habit Summit, an annual conference where some of the world’s leading behavioral scientists, designers, product managers and economists gather.

For Information on Habit Summit 2017, Click HERE

Best Sales Tip: Create habit-forming products.

The sale isn’t completed when the transaction is made. Take a look at the products and services you deliver. Are there ways to make them more habit-forming so that customers come back again and again? Could your product become your best salesperson?

A habit-forming product brings users through four experiences, or “hooks”. They are: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.

Trigger – Every habit needs a trigger. This is the beginning of the behavior. An example might be when a young woman called Barbara sees a nice photo online of a place she’s planning to visit. Her interest has just been triggered.

Action – When Barbara clicks the photo, she is taken to Pinterest, a site she’s never been to before. Clicking the photo is the desired action – which was made more likely by how easy it was to do.

Variable Reward – When Barbara lands on Pinterest, not only does she see the image she intended to find, but she’s also served a multitude of other glittering objects. The exciting juxtaposition of expected and unexpected delights her brain with the promise of reward. Before she knows it, she’s spent 45 minutes clicking around.

Investment – While Barbara scrolls Pinterest, she builds a desire to save some pins. By collecting items, she is making an investment, which increases her ties to the site and primes her for the next trigger.

#8 Daniel Pink

To Learn More About Dan, CLICK HERE

One of my favorite business thinkers, Daniel Pink jumped to the front of my mind when I began compiling this list. However, when you see some of his accomplishments and his brilliant quick sales tip, you might be tempted to ask, “Why isn’t he ranked #9 or #10?”

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Former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, Daniel H. Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about business, work, and behavior – including three long-running New York Times bestsellers. His books have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

Pink was host and co-executive producer of “Crowd Control,” a television series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel. He also appears frequently on NPR’s Hidden Brain, the PBS NewsHour, and other TV and radio networks in the US and abroad.

In 2015, London-based Thinkers 50 named him as one of the top 10 business thinkers in the world.

Pink’s TED Talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most-watched TED Talks of all time, with more than 19 million views. Impress much?

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Dan’s Book HERE

Okay, so I know that To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others didn’t come out in 2016, but it remained a top seller throughout the year and remains relevant.

Using social science to offer a fresh look at the art and science of sales, To Sell is Human became a #1 bestseller on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post lists and has been translated into 29 languages. More than a dozen outlets, from to The Washington Post, selected it as one of the best books of the year. It also won the American Marketing Association’s Berry Book Prize as the year’s best book on marketing. Like Adam Sandler says, not too shabby.

Best Sales Tip: A Real-Life Jedi Mind Trick.

This technique, called “motivational interviewing” by the academic-types, can be used in a variety of situations when someone might need a nudge. Here’s the big idea, people do things for their reasons, not for yours. To tap into their motivation, you’re going to ask them two questions. The second question is entirely irrational, but the first is a staple in selling, “On a scale of one to ten, how ready are you to move forward with this?” Let’s say they give you a low number, such as four. Now you’re going to follow up with the irrational question…

“Interesting, why didn’t you say a lower number?”

In order to answer that question, they have to explore the reasons that brought them “all the way up” to a four. In other words, they’re thinking about their own motivations for moving forward. Pretty smart stuff.

#7 Frank Kern

To Learn More About Frank, CLICK HERE.

Sure, I’d heard of this “cool uncle of internet marketing” before. What student of influence hasn’t? But when I sat down to research his web site before our interview, something strange happened. His words influenced me. Despite an impending deadline, I spent almost an hour on his site and I found myself taking advantage of his offer. Even though I was just trying to be an objective observer, it was as though my fingers were filling out the forms on auto-pilot. This man has some magic.

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I once read that the shorter a person’s bio, the more money they make. Here’s Frank’s: “He is the most sought-after Direct Response internet marketing consultant and copywriter on the planet.“

Mic drop.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

To Get a Copy of Frank’s Book, CLICK HERE

Not available in stores (not even Amazon), this concise guide lays out some of Frank’s best advice for landing clients. If you sell any kind of professional service, this is worth a look-see.

Best Sales Tip: Make ‘em come to you.

Frank claims to be the worst salesperson in the world. So, how does he pull in millions? He does one thing well. Frank’s genius is in getting prospects to show up on his virtual doorstep, ready to buy, cash in hand. Pretty easy to “sell” to THAT person, right?

He does that by systematically delivering what he calls, “results in advance”. It’s the ol’ demonstrate that you can help them by actually helping them trick. But it’s not random. It’s intelligent and it’s specific, and his process ensures there will be a lot of people happily waiting in line to give him their money.

#6 Roger Dooley

To Learn More About Roger, CLICK HERE.

This guy managed to sum up an entire emerging field in one word, Brainfluence. In his work, Dooley brilliantly bridges the gap between the academic and the applicable. His new book, The Persuasion Slide is devoid of fluff and offers a simple framework that any influencer can (and should) apply.

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Dooley spent years in direct marketing as the co-founder of a successful catalog firm and was director of corporate planning for a Fortune 1000 company. He has an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Roger’s Book HERE

Psychologists have uncovered many secrets of influence and persuasion psychology, but trying to apply them in a practical way has often remained elusive for marketers. The Persuasion Slide presents a simple framework that lets marketers and advertisers address both the conscious and unconscious needs of their customers.

This short, well-illustrated book, will give you a new way to look at websites, ads, landing pages, and other persuasive content. Dooley combines practical conversion optimization knowledge and years of experience in direct marketing with the research of experts in behavior science.

The framework you’ll learn to use in this book also focuses on the overlooked effects of friction, both real and perceived. In almost every case, rooting out friction from your process will cost nothing, improve user experience (UX), and, most importantly, increase conversion rates.

Best Sales Tip: Grease the slide.

Is it easy to say yes to you? It is surprising what can cause friction on the persuasion slide. From the font on your web site to the number of fields your order form requires, $4.6 trillion are lost to friction every single year – and those are just the losses due to e-commerce shopping cart abandonment. Chances are, you’re losing sales to friction too. The worst part is that often the sale is nearly complete when some trivial aspect of the checkout process stops it. Search your sales process for barriers to yes and then remove them today.

#5 Carmine Gallo

To Learn More About Carmine, CLICK HERE.

In my quest to discover the top influence experts, I asked the people who evaluate authors and experts every day – speaker’s bureaus. One email came back containing only two words. It said simply, “Carmine Gallo!” After doing my due diligence, I became convinced. You’re going to want to hear about this guy’s story.

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Internationally admired keynote speaker, bestselling author and advisor to the world’s most admired brands, Carmine Gallo has written eight books which have been translated into more than 30 languages.

He has been featured in The New York Times, Success Magazine, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, and ABC’s 20/20. Gallo has advised executives for many of the world’s largest brands including: Accenture, Allstate, Berkshire Hathaway, Chevron, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Ford, Google, HCA Health, Hyundai, Intel, Kaiser, KPMG, LinkedIn, Medtronic, Microsoft, Pfizer, Salesforce, SAP, Walmart, and many others.

Gallo is an instructor in the office of executive education at the Harvard University School of Design. He also writes columns for, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Carmine’s Book HERE

In his book, The Storyteller’s Secret, Gallo explains why the brain is hardwired to love stories and how the latest science can help you craft a persuasive narrative that wins hearts and minds. “The art of storytelling can be used to drive change,” says billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. And since the next decade will see the most change our civilization has ever known, your story will radically transform your business, your life, and the lives of those you touch. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story. Your story can change the world. Isn’t it time you shared yours?

Best Sales Tip: Good selling is 65% story.

Storytelling is the best persuasion tool we have. It’s in our DNA. We think in story, we process our world in story, and we like to receive information in story form. As a journalist, author, and communication advisor I’ve studied and interviewed the world’s most charismatic presenters. In many cases, stories make up at least 65 percent of the most persuasive presentations. Tell more stories and you’ll stand out in the world of ideas.

#4 Tiffani Bova

To Learn More About Tiffani, Click HERE

I was about to take the stage at a conference when, in a nearby session, Tiffani Bova was receiving a huge ovation for her presentation. Twitter immediately lit up with positive feedback from attendees and I knew that I had a tough act to follow. But I did follow her, and I’ve been following her work ever since.

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The Global, Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist for, Tiffani Bova considers herself a “recovering sales rep”. Everyone else considers her one of the leading thinkers in sales transformation and business model innovation. One of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in California” from the National Diversity Counsel, “Top 50 sales and marketing influencers” by Top Sales World Magazine, and “Top Sales Influencers” by INC magazine are just a few of the awards she’s received and her work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Economist, Hoovers, USA Today, and more.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

To watch the webinar with Tiffani and Seth Godin, CLICK HERE

Tiffani joined in March, since then she has been travelling around the globe speaking at various events and meeting with Salesforce customers to learn more about what makes them successful. It appears her schedule isn’t slowing down anytime soon with over 40 keynotes a year and dozens of webinars and podcasts she finds a way to maintain a clear pulse on the challenges and opportunities sales leaders are facing. Her 20 plus year career in both sales leadership and advisory roles, most recently as a VP and Research Fellow at Gartner, has also allowed her the opportunity to work with some of the top business minds (some of which are on this list) who she not only admires but considers as her own mentors. Above is a link to a hugely popular webinar she did with Seth Godin.

Best Sales Tip: Always invest in yourself, then spread the value.

Here’s Tiffani: “I’m a huge believer in always investing in yourself. Become a student of your profession. In this case it may be sales, but regardless, if you don’t invest in yourself, nobody else will. Take a class, watch a webinar, read a book, expand your network to learn new points of view. I believe that if you’re going to be a better seller you have to take some ownership of the things you can control such as your behavior in front of a customer. At that moment of truth the value you add, the insights you share, the relationship you are able to build all matters. It shows you are invested in the success of your customer, not just your own success. That will go a long way as you build your brand as a strong sales person.”

#3 Jonah Berger

To Learn More About Jonah, CLICK HERE

While listening to NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast, I heard Jonah Berger explain why top brands are now paying celebrities significant sums of money NOT to use their products. I was intrigued, so I grabbed a copy of his book, Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior – which came plastic-wrapped with a not-so-subliminal message on the back cover that reads, “DON’T BUY THIS BOOK”. I’m glad I ignored it. (Or did I?)

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Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Dr. Berger has spent over 15 years studying how social influence works and how it drives products and ideas to catch on. He’s taught Wharton’s top ranked online course, published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, consulted for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and popular outlets like the New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Jonah’s Book HERE

Hands down, it’s his NY Times bestselling book, Invisible Influence. This fascinating and groundbreaking work explores the subtle, secret influences that affect the decisions we make—from what we buy, to the careers we choose, to what we eat.

In Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger integrates research and thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.

Best Sales Tip: Be a Chameleon.

Trying to increase your influence, persuade someone, or close a deal? Subtly imitating the behavior, language, or facial expressions of others can make your more successful.

How much more successful? In negotiations, people who mimicked their counterparts were five times more likely to reach a deal. Waiters and waitresses who mimicked their customers’ orders received a 70% higher tip.

Mimicry, or mirroring others, facilitates social interactions and boosts sales because it increases liking, trust, and affiliation. Imagine you learned someone else has the same birthday, or went to the same high school. You’d feel like the two of you are similar or part of the same tribe. Mimicry works the same way. It creates a sense of kinship that turns strangers into friends and acquaintances into allies.

So, don’t just listen; emulate. If a client starts emails with “Hey” instead of “Dear,” adopt that language in your response. If a prospect leans back in their chair or crosses their legs, do the same. Be a chameleon. Subtle shifts can deepen social bonds and help you close that sale.

#2 Dan Ariely

To Learn More About Dan, CLICK HERE

One of the most influential social psychologists of the decade, Dan Ariely is the author of one of my favorite books on behavioral economics, Predictably Irrational.

Scratch that. It’s one of my favorite books. Period. Leaving him off this list would have been irrational.

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In terms of official positions, Dr. Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. He’s earned two Ph.D.’s – one in cognitive psychology (UNC) and the other in business administration (Duke).

He’s authored five books (three of them became NY Times bestsellers), done a few TED talks (with about 8 million views), made a critically acclaimed movie, and even invented a card game about human irrationality.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Dan’s Book HERE

Dan’s major contribution was releasing the next Dan Ariely book. Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations investigates the true nature of motivation, our partial blindness to the way it works, and how we can bridge this gap. With studies that range from Intel to a kindergarten classroom, Ariely digs deep to find the root of motivation — how it works and how we can use this knowledge to approach important choices in our own lives.

And his speaking schedule. My goodness. When does the man sleep?

Best Sales Tip: Fairness is More Important than Price

When we think about pricing we often think that people pay for what they get, and that’s partially true, but we also pay for the feeling that something is fair.

For example, imagine that you come to Durham, North Carolina. You find a parking spot, but you don’t have a quarter for the meter. I happen to pass by and you ask, “Excuse me do you have a quarter?”

I say, “Yes. I’ll sell it to you for a dollar.”

How would you feel? Most people would say, “Not interested” or something more rude.

Now imagine the same situation, but this time I say, “No, but there’s a bank down the road. I can run there, make change, and run back. I’ll be out of breath, but I’ll get you four quarters. If I do that, how do you feel about giving me a dollar for my trouble?”

Now people feel great about it – even though they are worse off in every measurable way.

#1 Robert Cialdini

To Learn More About Dr. Cialdini, CLICK HERE

Here he is, the “Godfather of Influence” himself. This is the man who introduced the world to the power of science-based persuasion in 1984 with his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The book went on to sell over 3 million copies and inspire a generation of young psychology enthusiasts, including yours truly.

To join the ranks of Dr. Cialdini’s clients, including such organizations as Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Bayer, Coca Cola, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, IBM, Prudential, The Mayo Clinic, The Weather Channel, the United States Department of Justice, NATO, and MANY more, visit

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Well for starters, there’s his book, Influence, the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon best seller that was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time by CEO Read and required reading in over 30 languages.

Before that, Dr. Cialdini received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and post-doctoral training from Columbia University. He has held Visiting Scholar Appointments at Ohio State University, the University of California, the Annenberg School of Communications, and the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University. Currently, Dr. Cialdini is Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

Dr. Cialdini is CEO and President of INFLUENCE AT WORK; focusing on ethical influence training, corporate keynote programs, and the CMCT (Cialdini Method Certified Trainer) program.

Major Contribution to Influence in 2016

Buy Robert’s Book HERE

His first solo book in over thirty years, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade quickly jumped to the top of the NY Times and WSJ best seller lists. Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made Influence an iconic bestseller, Dr. Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, the artful diversion of attention gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”

Best Sales Tip: There IS no single sales technique that works every time.

During my interview with Dr. Cialdini, he was very clear about one thing. Chasing “the ultimate sales tactic” is a fool’s errand. The REAL secret is to understand your prospect and tailor your sales message to them.

In 2017, we have two great opportunities to understand our prospect before we ever meet them.

For the past fifty years, psychologists have been studying what makes human beings decide when to say yes and when to say no. There are core, common drives that every salesperson must be aware of. Learn what REALLY motivates decisions within the human brain and you will have a powerful advantage that will serve you for the rest of your life.

Secondly, we have the Internet. Simply looking someone up on social media before speaking to them will avail you of all kinds of information that will help you tailor your message.

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