Business Secrets Podcast Episode 25: How To Use Micro-Commitments

This is a transcript from the Business Secrets Podcast With Robert Kanaat. Click here to view and subscribe on iTunes

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Business Secrets. My name is Robert Kanaat – founder of, the premier online destination for all things inspirational and transformational.

Today I wanted to speak to you about something called micro commitments. If you know anything about me, you know that I geek out about psychology. I geek out about understanding why people do the things that they do. Like what is the root of the human behavior?

Now this skill can help you in a lot of different ways. It can definitely help you in sales. It can definitely help you in relationships. It can help you in a number of ways that include negotiations, and almost everything else where you have an interaction with another person. Psychology is at the root of success. If you can understand human behavior, and you can come into a room and be able to read the people – and to leverage certain tactics to actually push your desired outcome forward. Then you can literally achieve a lot. This will help you in business to scale to whatever you want.

Today, what I want to talk to you about is something called micro commitments. To understand micro commitments, I wanted to explain to you how the human brain works. The human brain works off of momentum. If you’ll recall, I did an episode not that long ago where I talked about the micro changes approach to basically creating any habit.

That was also the root of the 15 minute rule. When you can break procrastination, you use a 15 minute rule. If you didn’t listen to it, go back and find it. The 15 minute rule is where you set a timer in front of you and you do something for 15 minutes that you’ve been putting off for a very long time. You do it for 15 minutes – nothing more, nothing less. You do not promise your brain more than that. Then the next day, you do it for another 15 minutes.

What happens there is that you build momentum, and you also eliminate – you break that kind of inaction. You stopped the procrastinating, and you started to do something. That’s the 15 minute rule, which works on – obviously, building a momentum. The micro changes approach is something similar where you do something very, very small – but you do it consistently every single day, like walking around the block one time. But you do it for like seven days. That ultimately builds the habit of working out.

Micro commitments work kind of similarly along the same lines. Because when you get somebody to agree to do something, and you get them to agree to do it numerous times – you can build up a big ask. There was recently a documentary about this called, “Push.” Where within 90 minutes they got a guy to agree to murder somebody, literally – using social proof and micro commitments. I want to tell you how actually powerful this is. If you haven’t watched, “Push,” go watch it.

The underlying psychology behind micro commitments is very powerful. Because once you get somebody to agree to do three small things for you, they are going to agree to do one big thing for you as the fourth. Three small asks, then one big ask. The three small asks can be anything. All you have to do is get them to agree to it. Finding simple questions, or simple tasks for somebody to agree to do something or help you – and the fourth is your big ask. The fourth is the ask for the sale.

How can you use micro commitments in a conversation when somebody – let’s say a prospect, let’s say you are a coach or a consultant. You are selling anything. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You get the prospect to agree to certain questions. This doesn’t have to do with whatever it is that you’re selling.

For example, if I got on the phone call, what would I say? I would say, “Hey, how’s it going? My name is Robert Kanaat. It’s really nice to meet you. This is how this process works. I’m going to take 30 seconds and explain to you how it works. Then if you’re comfortable with that, then we can proceed and we can move forward. Is that okay with you?” Naturally, they are going to say, “Yes.”

You do this three times. Then you find something else that will be like very agreeable to them. “Would you agree that the current state of the economic climate that we’re in is so and so?” Find a blanket statement that they would agree to. Or, “Would you agree that it is really difficult to fund your college education?” Or something like that. You’ve just got to get them to agree with three small things. Within that context of that conversation – as they agree to those three small things, in the back of their mind – they’ve built momentum to agree with you. It’s way easier to ask them for the big ask on the fourth question.

The fourth question would be for the sale. Whatever that sale is, whatever the dollar amount – it literally doesn’t matter. If you can get them to agree to the three small things – and they’ve successfully agreed to those three small things, then getting them to agree to the sale is going to be a very, very high probability. Because you’ve already built the momentum of agreement. They’re already in tune with you.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to – for example, like in Italy around the Spanish steps. You’ll see these older women walking around, trying to give you a rose. Why do they walk around trying to give you a rose? Isn’t it weird? Isn’t it weird that somebody’s trying to give you something for free? It’s very strange. It’s a departure from the begging. Because these people are ultimately going to ask you for money. What happens when you agree to take the rose or the flower or whatever it is that they’re offering you?

What happens is that you’ve now set yourself up in your mind for a commitment. You’ve just committed to doing something. What they’re also leveraging is the reciprocity principle. When you take something from someone for free, you are – feel obligated towards them. That’s why blogs and other content that you consume is very powerful. Because the person that you are consuming it from becomes an authority, and you feel reciprocity towards them. You feel like you owe them something.

This reciprocity principle is something that I unknowingly leveraged when I was doing Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine articles about people. What I was trying to do was to interview them to figure out like how did they get successful. But as I delivered value, as I wrote an article and delivered a massive amount of value – they felt obligated towards me. Now not for full obligation, but in a way that they become more open to doing stuff with you. They become more open to doing business with you. They become more open to collaborating with you in a number of ways.
You can understand how this all comes down to micro commitment. It’s basically finding something very easy that they can agree with. Then getting them to commit to something. I talked about the power of free before. That is huge. The free plus shipping model is one thing. But actually delivering value to somebody after that free plus shipping – in the form of an email sequence that really adds value.

This podcast, for example is one of the ways that I know to deliver value. To deliver more value in another medium, as opposed to the blog. The blog which has a massive audience. Gets so many people there, and so many people there who basically want to do business with me. At the end of the day, people are really attuned to those who deliver value to them.

Without getting too much off the topic, I wanted to explain again why the micro commitments issue is so big. If you can get somebody to agree to three small things, you ask them for the sale as the fourth thing. This also comes back to the contacts with a prospect before you get a sale and six to eight touches. In the world of micro commitments, when we condense it down to a phone call for example – a 30 minute phone call – you can take a person from cold to hot and ready to buy when you use micro commitments.

Ask yourself this question the next time you are going to interact with somebody. How can you get them to agree to three small things? Even in a room where you’re in a negotiation or a meeting room. Let’s say you ask the person next to you to switch seats. They’re almost identical seats, but this person is the decision maker. Even getting them to do small things like that, or to hold a glass of water – these are just all micro commitments. The more micro commitments you get, the more likely they are to agree to a real ask, a big ask.

This is not manipulation, this is negotiation. This is leveraging psychology to get sales. This is not about trying to bamboozle somebody, pull something over their head, or to calm them in any way. You have to be selling something of substance. You have to be selling something that’s worthwhile. But aside from that, you can use micro commitments to make that sale. It’s really, really powerful.

Pay attention next time – either on a sales call, or you’re with your sales team and you can figure out what are these – what can they be doing better to improve the sale process? Listen in on their phone calls. Just think about how you can leverage this principle to literally drive more sales, or to literally make more money no matter what stage your business is in. You have to find a way that you can get into a forum with your customers, and then you can get them to agree to certain things.

This is why you see – for example, on webinars – like Jason Fladlien, who’s a friend of mine. He gets on the webinars and he gets people to not only to engage, but to micro commit during that engagement. “If you can hear me, say, ‘Yes.'” “If what I’m saying is coming through loud and clear, please type in ‘Yes,’ in the message box.” “How many of you, this is your first time on a webinar? Type in ‘Yes.'” Or, “How many of you have struggled in business? Type in ‘Yes.'” Whatever the questions are, you get them to engage and you get them to commit micro commitments.

You want to solicit that engagement by the audience. Because by engaging, they’re making small micro commitments to you. These are all micro commitments. Micro commitments are really, really powerful. You have to just think about what’s driving human psychology. Because sometimes it’s not as black and white as, “Hey, I’ve got this sale, would you please buy it from me?” You have to leverage the psychology of the mind in order to make the sale.

Keep that in mind the next time you are doing anything that has to do with business or relationships or sales or anything. People who are in the dating niche teach this as well. If you get a girl to follow you from one side of the bar to the other side of the bar, and then you get a girl to hold your drink. Then you get a girl to do something else, whatever it is. Those three small commitments lead to a bigger commitment, the bigger ask. Then you can get them to leave with you.

I’m not saying that you should be using this to trick people. I’m just saying that this is taught by the biggest marketers in the world, literally. Or is leveraged by them, if it’s not taught by them.

Keep this in mind. I hope that this was very useful. Again, please like, share, subscribe on iTunes, comment. I would really appreciate it. If you want to drop me a specific comment to my email inbox, just go to and click on the “contact” tab. You’ll find my email address there, and let me know what you think. I really appreciate it. I’m hoping that you’re getting a ton of value out of this, and I will speak to you guys next time.