1 mile west of the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall (800) 810 3100
Recently,  I experienced that it is far more ‘profitable’ to ring bells for the Salvation Army when you partner up with an enthusiastic four-year-old granddaughter.  Let me tell you the story,  which illustrates some key principles on how to get people to say “yes.” It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  My wife, Rose, my granddaughter Lucy, and I stood by the exit door of a major Chicagoland food store.  We were ringing bells for the Salvation Army, which does charitable work for the distressed and dispossessed.  To put it bluntly, we were like beggars on the street.  It was obvious to us that many people were choosing to treat us as “the invisible.”  They would intentionally avert their eyes from us! Rose and I knew that if we could get young Lucy involved with the bell ringing, it would certainly help us to fill our bucket.  It did not take long for Lucy to become enthused about asking people for money—and the results were outstanding! It was fascinating to watch as Lucy implemented her “give me money” strategies.  She whirled, twirled, and danced with enthusiasm while I hummed aloud a Christmas tune.  Every time the exit door opened, she would look people directly in the eye, extend an open hand, and cheerily say, “Happy Holidays!” I had the pleasure of watching people who would have passed us by… stop.  With Lucy standing in their path and with outstretched hand and cheery greeting—they would pull out a dollar bill or their pocket change.  She would take the money and  put it in the bucket slot.  In fact, she quickly became “Queen of the Bucket.”  She would clearly express her displeasure when anyone tried to skip her hand to put the money directly in the slot.  That was her job!  The photo below shows Lucy with left hand outstretched and right hand and arm covering the top of the bucket and the money slot.  (This is a candid shot!) salvation-army-photo-2reduced Why was Lucy so successful in getting people to do what she wanted?  The answer to that question is  important to each one of us who need to get people to say “yes” to our “ask”: 1.    She was in alignment with one of the key marketing principles highlighted by Robert Cialdini, PhD in his landmark book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion—she got people to like her.  Cialdini refers to ‘liking’ as “the friendly thief.”  We will say yes to those we like.  Lucy is a cheery little girl who presents a familiar and friendly image.  That image triggers a positive association in the eye of the beholder.  Nearly everyone knows and loves, or has been loved by, a happy child.  When they looked at  Lucy, they did not want to disappoint someone that they liked; and 2.    She placed herself in their path while clearly and unmistakably confronting people with a straightforward “ask.”  Her body position and her outstretched hand were the request, and behind her stood a red bucket and her smiling grandparents; and 3.    She never gave up, even when she experienced rejection.  When people ignored her or refused to give her money, she simply pulled herself together and got ready for the door to open again.  Isn’t that just like a child?  They will just keep on asking until they get to ‘yes’ (or your discipline boundary). What “yeses” do you need to get this week to be more successful in your law practice, your health care community, or your professional practice?  Think about Lucy’s lessons and how they can help you fill your bucket!  Work to make yourself more likeable and to trigger positive associations within your prospect.  Be more direct in asking for what you want and/or a referral.  Finally, don’t give up!  The first ”no” sets you up for the next opportunity. By the way, this Christmas and holiday season, please give generously to the many charities like the Salvation Army who serve the under-resourced and those who are in great need. Thanks, Grandpa Rick

wwii-memorial-cropped1 Will Rogers once said, “We can’t all be heroes. Some of us get to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.” I am proud to say that our client Richard Reimer is an American hero.  He served his country in the United States Navy between 1943 and 1946 in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  One of the great blessings of our elder law practice is assisting our wartime veterans with VA long term care benefits.  Richard and his wife Virginia live at Alden of Waterford.  They are provided live-in care by a beloved caregiver named Jean. Despite age-related obstacles, Richard (“Dick” to his longtime friends) joined 79 other veterans and 70 volunteers for the April 15, 2009 Chicago to Washington, D.C. Honor Flight.  Honor Flight’s noble objective is “bringing Chicago veterans to DC – with honor.”  Their goal is to get our surviving World War II veterans to Washington so they can experience “their memorial.” Dick told me that he knows that this memorial belongs to the people. He got involved early, and he personally wrote twenty checks over the years to help fund the project.  He showed me his donor certificate. As a member of the April Honor Flight, Dick was thrilled to hear again the music of the Andrews Sisters as presented by the Legacy Girls.  What a day he had! It was 23 hours from start to stop.  He got to the assembly area at 2:00 a.m. and did not stop until he got back home at 12:01 a.m. the next morning. Although it was a gray, rain-filled day, Dick visited the World War II memorial and the Illinois pillar.  Each state has a pillar with veterans’ names available via a computer monitor built into the pillar. Dick was accompanied by his proud daughter, Susan Reimer, R.N.  Susan served the Honor Flight as a volunteer nurse and had to pay her own way. One of the great things about the day was the veteran group was meeted, feted, and greeted at both ends of the flight by bands, cheering crowds, and lots of love.  When I asked Dick to describe what he felt was the most important thing about the Honor Flight, he responded with this: “I am just grateful that after 60 years someone cared.  You know, the first group of guys that got home [from the war]—they they got cheers and bands, but the rest of us… just came home. After the war, I left Hawaii on a liner to go to Treasure Island in California.  Then I took a train from California to Chicago.  From there I went to Great Lakes Naval Station.  At Great Lakes I got discharged.  They gave me the cash they owed me and some car fare and I went home to Elgin.  That was it.” So after 60+ years, Honor Flight of Chicago is providing a way for our World War II veterans who “just came home” to be treated to the welcome that they truly deserve. The Honor Flight needs both funds and volunteers to help more veterans to have their chance to see the World War II Memorial.  Our own Rick Niksic, who serves as the education and outreach director for Law Elder Law, will serve as a volunteer on the Wednesday, July 15, 2009 flight. For more information about how you can help the Honor Flight program, see www.honorflightchicago.org or e-mail Mary Pettinato at mpettinato@introncorp.com. P.S.  It costs about $48,000 per flight to cover the entire cost for 80 veterans from Chicago to Washington, D.C.