I started with “Influence 1.0,” which are very traditional, but important, strategies, such as having a firm handshake, smiling, making a joke, using first names, praising). But Rick wasn’t budging.
1) Acknowledging the other person’s freedom of choice (the organizer has the freedom to say yes or no to me)
2) Asking motivational questions like,” Why might you decide to open a spot at Startup Weekend for me? (versus “Why can’t you let me in?”) and
3) Reiterating only what the other person says that works in favor of what you would like to have happen, no matter how small (versus reiterating negative things like, “I understand you’re all booked up.”).
So I called back and left Rick the following message:
“Hi Rick. Thanks so much for calling me back. And listen, sorry about pushing you before and telling you that you just had to let me in. The importance of the event got the better of me. I, of course, know that whether you let me or anyone else in at this late stage of the game is totally up to you and I can’t control that. It’s your choice (Instant Influence Principle 1, Freedom of choice, done). But since you kept saying that you’re “pretty much full” and that “you didn’t think you could let me know, that may mean that there may be some room, some chance. Otherwise, you would have said absolutely, totally full and completely no chance (Instant Influence Principle 3 [Yes, you can play with the order], reiterate what works in your favor). So, my question to you is, ‘Why didn’t you say that there was absolutely no room?’ (Instant Influence Principle 2, ask motivational questions like, ‘Why didn’t you say definitely not?’ instead of what most people ask, which is, ‘Why are you saying probably not?’). You don’t have to call back, but if you want to, you can. Thanks for trying and, if I don’t see you, have a great startup weekend.”