The fundamentals are always the key to success in any area, whether baking a cake, playing a sport, building your business or mastering the art of positive persuasion, what I call “winning without intimidation.”

The fundamentals are not necessarily the only thing that matters. “Out-of-the-box” thinking, creative ideas and smartly spoken words and phrases can often spell the difference between good and great. However, consistent success is typically based on doing the little things right, time after time, again and again and again.

Coach Vince Lombardi’s dynastic Green Bay Packer football teams of the 1960s mastered blocking and tackling, the most fundamental aspects of football. They used to run a very basic play called the “power sweep.” The defense pretty much always knew when they were going to run it. It didn’t matter. “The Pack” ran it so well, it was practically unstoppable.

Lombardi is famous for starting the training season by telling his group of pros, “Gentlemen—this is a football.” This was a man who believed in fundamentals!

All greats understand this truth. There are master chefs who can create gastronomical masterpieces bound to tantalize most anyone’s culinary desires—yet you can be sure that their expertise is based on a firm knowledge, understanding and application of the most basic basics of their craft.

My friend Thom Scott creates long-copy sales ads and marketing campaigns that absolutely floor me, yet when I go through them, I notice they veer not one single bit from the basic premises he has learned and now teaches regarding the basic, foundational elements necessary for any successful advertisement or campaign.

Network marketing megaproducers with tens of thousands of people in their organizations often stand out in certain ways, yet they all seem to perform the very same fundamental actions: making a list, continually adding to it, prospecting, networking, contacting, inviting, following up, reading good books, listening to strong teaching audios and attending major company events.

It’s the same for the skill of winning without intimidation. When it comes to mastering the art of positive persuasion, the fanciest, most effective lines, words and phrases that will cause people to do for you those things they would rarely do for most others simply will not work—unless they are based on the fundamentals of the craft.

What are those fundamentals? There are five that I see:

1. Attitude

You have the mindset that the universe is friendly to your desires; that people are generally good people who want to be helpful, if only given the chance to deal with a nice person such as yourself—that is, a person who has the right expectancy.

2. Expectancy

You expect that other people will go out of their way to help you; you are “solution-oriented.” This is not naïveté; it’s the understanding that with this type of expectation, you’re not trying to change the other person, you are changing yourself and your mindset. Thus, you look at other people in a much different way. As such, they will respond differently to you than they otherwise would have.

3. Politeness

This separates you from the crowd, because most others approach people with an “entitlement” mentality, a mindset that says, “You owe me your help.” Well, whether they do or not, they are not necessarily going to play their part in this game correctly! It’s up to you to approach them in a way that elicits their wanting to help you. Politeness is a fine start in that direction.

4. Patience

Since most people are not used to “living in the solution,” it might take a while to re-teach this person. (And note that when you want what you want right now, even a few minutes qualifies as “a while”!) And that’s okay; it’s worth the investment of your time and patience.

5. Persistence

Zig Ziglar calls this, “courteous persistence.” This is the mindset where you retain your great attitude and positive expectations for this person and his motives, remain polite and patient, and demonstrate that you’re willing to stay with this situation until you get the right results.

I teach something I call, “The Eight Key Words That Will Instantly Move a Person to Your Side of the Issue Practically Every Time.” These eight persuasive words are, “If you can’t do it, I’ll definitely understand.” It’s a powerful thing to say—yet even such powerful words or phrases will work only when you first create the right context by utilizing these fundamentals. Imagine simply walking up to someone and coldly spewing out those eight words without any context. What are the chances you’d get the results you want? Very little.

On the other hand, if you’ll master these five fundamentals, you’ll find good things and great results happening more often, and more quickly, than you have probably ever imagined.

The Spares

I remember once when I was a kid, watching an older boy bowling. He was excellent, nailing strike after strike after strike. I was amazed. Finally, I said to him, “Man, you must love getting so many strikes!”

He replied, “I sure do.”

I then said, “I’ll bet you must really practice mastering those strikes.”

His reply surprised me. “Nope! Not at all. I never practice mastering the strikes. I practice mastering the spares.”

Sensing my confusion, he then added a sage piece of wisdom that has followed me ever since that time. He said,

“When you master the spares, the strikes will come by themselves.”

Master those spares: perfect the basics. Quick results will soon come your way in abundance—quick, but also long-lasting results—both in your networking business and in all other aspects of your life where you are dealing with people.

BOB BURG is on the faculty of Networking University and is
author of
Endless Referrals and The Success Formula.