Powerful Secrets of Persuasion
I recently spoke to a business acquaintance who has been having trouble getting his proposals accepted. “I know my facts inside out and my presentation material is first class but I don’t seem to be getting them over the line” he confided in me. Sadly, not an uncommon problem. We can share valuable information with our work colleagues, friends or clients which we really believe will make a difference and have a ton of facts to support it but the proof of the pudding is in the eating….did we convince and persuade the audience to adopt out ideas or proposal and ultimately, take action?
Your ability to persuade and influence people, i.e. to get them to understand, accept and ultimately act on your ideas, is the difference between success and failure. People who speak persuasively have greater personal power. They get more done and achieve their goals faster. So what are the Powerful Secrets of Persuasion?
People deal with people they know, like and trust.
Trust underpins everything! You must develop trust, be it from your reputation or past dealings. One of the most powerful tools in building trust and rapport is eye contact. I’m sure you have had conversations with people and they just can’t look at you straight. You’re naturally suspicious and you don’t trust them. Now eye contact doesn’t mean stare at them and burn a hole in their forehead! It means make and retain genuine eye contact particularly when you’re making a point.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Show a genuine interest in in the other person’s needs. How does your product, service or proposal serve the best interests of the other parties? The quickest way to lose your power is to go on about you and your product or service. Ask questions and people will open up about what they need. Talk to people about what they need and you’ll have their attention. There has to be a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) for your audience or the person you’re speaking to.
First impressions are lasting impressions.
What we see is just as important as what we hear. Like it or not, people will judge you at first glance and thanks to millions of years of evolution, you have less than 30 seconds to make a good impression! Your body language, behaviour, character and dress all have a lasting impact on your ability to persuade. An early mentor of mine once told me “always dress better than your best dressed customer”. Make sure you dress appropriately.
Look confident, be confident.
How can you possibly expect anyone to accept your ideas or buy your product if your behaviour does not match that belief? People feed off others confidence and certainty. All your behaviours must demonstrate a level of confidence and certainty which creates trust and comfort in the other people and a belief that what you’re saying is right and in their best interest.
People listen to experts. Fact! By demonstrating authority, you’ll get the “yes” quicker and more often. How do you become an expert you ask? Knowledge…… knowledge is power. Being an expert doesn’t mean you have to know everything about your product, service or proposal, it just means you know more than your audience and how it will benefit THEM.
Control your emotions.
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check at all times. People turn to those in control of their emotions, especially in times of conflict, pressure or stress. Would you adopt an idea or proposal of someone who has become either angry or agitated? The answer is obviously NO. You need to maintain your demeanour at all times, even if the other party does not. Your ability to stay calm and not reactive demonstrates your confidence.
What you’re suggesting or offering can’t be available anytime and at the same price. Why? Because if it were, there is no reason for the audience to act now or for the consumer to buy that product now. They could take their good old time and think about it. You need to create some urgency. This is not relevant to just products. It could be your idea at work to improve productivity or implement a new strategy. The scarcity or the urgency you need to convey is that the time is right now, the conditions and all other factors demand action be taken now. Genuine scarcity is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion.
This is more applicable in a sales environment. Neediness is one of the most unattractive qualities and as dogs can “smell” fear so can your consumer “smell” your neediness. One of my mentors once told me “That which you need will control you.” So imagine going to a sales appointment and all you’re thinking about is “God, I need the commission on this sale”. Not a good place to be and trust me, the other person can sense it. The ability to get up and walk away if you feel your client isn’t interested or is being difficult is ultra-powerful. How many times have you seen it where the party which may have been difficult in the negotiations all of a sudden changes their tune, “hang on, where are you going? “ For example, “ Well John, what I’m hearing is that you’re not committed to the program at this time so there is not much point continuing this meeting” When you get up to walk away, I assure you, John will become very interested all of a sudden! Of course this only works when you honestly believe your customer can benefit from your product or service.
As people can smell neediness, they can sense fear. Fear demonstrates a lack of confidence and belief in what you’re saying and creates a barrier to persuasion. As I have written earlier, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how can you expect others to? If Fear is one of your biggest challenges in your ability to persuade, stay tuned. I’m writing an EBook focusing only on Fear and useful tips and tools to help control it. Fear is definitely an issue for many people and as such we deal extensively with it in all my courses.
Well, I’m pleased to report my acquaintance had a better result in his last presentation. Being armed with the above tools gave him a sense of belief in his own ability, and that in itself is a huge win but actually implementing these strategies has made a difference to his results.
Go forward in confidence to your next speech or presentation using these “Powerful Secrets of Persuasion” and expect greater success.
I look forward to your comments, feedback and any questions you may have to help you become not only a better conversationalist but a better speaker and communicator because as I say, the quality of your communication will ultimately determine the level of success.
Until next week, my name is Con and I am “The Con Versationalist”
Con is an accomplished and articulate speaker and presenter with over 25 years of high level sales experience.