Author Archive | Adam Kornegay


Word Crimes

Growing up with a former English teacher for a mother definitely had some positives as well as its share of negatives.  As you might imagine, I learned the finer points of when to use “less” and when to use “fewer,” as well as the appropriate times to use “me,” “myself” and “I.” The drawback comes when I hear or see others using incorrect grammar.  As soon as I hear someone say the wrong word, my brain focuses on the error and picks the correct word.  Ultimately, I end up distracted […]

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Don’t Fear the Second Opinion

Have you ever stopped to consider that every single day, other financial advisors are contacting your clients?  Just like you, they are interested in growing their businesses.  Just like you, they are looking to differentiate themselves from other advisors.  Consequently, they are increasingly well-prepared to respond the standard rebuttal of “I already have an advisor.” Many financial advisors simply use the “second opinion” offering to get a foot in the door.  After all, who wouldn’t like a free second opinion? Still others are congratulating the client on getting started on […]

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I Thought You Were Doing That

After John & Betty finished meeting with their estate planning attorney, they were relieved that there was so little they needed to do.  The attorney’s office had already prepared the necessary documents prior to their arrival.  After a few rounds of signatures, the only thing left was to update the beneficiary information on their IRAs. Little did they know that a seemingly simple task was about to cause them months of aggravation. Upon returning home, John called Dave, his advisor, and told him they needed to update their beneficiary information.  […]

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For a Limited Time Only—Please Read Now!

I have a confession to make.  If I have a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, I usually have no qualms about calling to reschedule if my calendar starts filling up.  On the other hand, I will do everything humanly possible to make sure that I attend my regular dental check-ups. This is not because I care more about my dental health than my general health.  Rather, I have learned that I can usually get a new doctor’s appointment within a week or so of the original appointment.  But when I have […]

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Reciprocity – Returning the Favor

Every December, my wife and I go through our Christmas card list to determine who we will send cards to.  As a rather analytical guy, I keep a spreadsheet with the names and addresses along with a special column to note whether or not we received a card from that family.  As you might guess, we usually stop sending cards to those who don’t send us one in return.  Every now and then, we have to scramble when we receive a card we weren’t expecting. The rule of reciprocity is […]

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The Likeability Principle

Have you ever found yourself doing something you didn’t particularly want to do for someone, just because you liked him or her? Over the last several weeks, I’ve been writing about the principles of persuasion outlined by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Another of his key principles is that we are more willing to say “yes” to someone we know and like.  In fact, this principle is so strong that we will respond positively to someone who simply mentions an individual we know and […]

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The Power of Social Proof

Have you ever been walking down the street in a crowded city and noticed a group of people looking up at a building?  Chances are, you couldn’t help but look up, too, to see what everyone else was looking at.  In fact, you can create this phenomenon yourself by simply stopping and staring up at a fixed object.  Soon, everyone walking past will start to look up as well. Our tendency to go along with what everyone else is doing is identified as “Social Proof” by Dr. Robert Cialdini in […]

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Demonstrating Your Authority

Have you ever noticed that people regard individuals wearing eyeglasses to be smarter than others? On the rare occasions that I wear my eyeglasses, I can regard myself as smarter—at least, when I’m looking in the mirror. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that Dr. Robert Cialdini (in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion) found that individuals exhibiting the appearance of authority could significantly influence the behavior of those around them. In one piece of research cited by Cialdini, scientists conducted two studies of a 31-year […]

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Harnessing the Power of Commitment and Consistency

In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini identifies “Commitment and Consistency” as one of six key principles that describe how individuals are influenced by external factors. The principle describes our deep-rooted need to appear consistent to ourselves and to others, and to follow through on our commitments.  Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we feel psychological pressure to act in a way that is consistent with that commitment. Generally speaking, this is a good thing.  Our economy relies on individuals living up to […]

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My All-Time Favorite Business Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

The bookshelves in my office overflow with business books.  The usual suspects are there: The Intelligent Investor (Graham), Stocks for Long-Run (Siegel), The Black Swan (Taleb) along with many, many others. Without a doubt, my favorite business book of all time is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. Originally published in 1984, it has been revised and reprinted many times since. The book outlines six key principles that describe how individuals are strongly influenced, often subconsciously, by external factors. In my conversations with advisors, they are often fascinated […]

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