Master the Art of Persuasion Copy 6

There's a subtle art to persuading others.

To succeed in business, it helps to have strong persuasion skills. Persuasion is crucial when you need to finalize a sale, bargain, or sway someone's opinion. 

But before we proceed, allow me to preface with a key facet underpinning the entire discussion: whatever you’re offering should be in the buyer’s best interest.

However, there is a fine line between being persuasive and pushy. While pushiness may get you some short-term wins, it can lead to significant losses over time, not the least of which is your reputation.

Today, we'll explore the art of persuasion and how to influence others without folks seeing you as a jerk. We’ll also discuss the power of persuasion, psychology, and subtle persuasion techniques to drive the point home.

By the end, you will have learned to communicate persuasively with respect and professionalism while improving your overall persuasion skills.

The Power of Persuasion

The art of persuasion involves convincing someone to take a specific action or adopt a particular belief. Persuasion can be a game-changer if you regularly run into brick walls when trying to convince others.

Whether you're trying to sell a product, negotiate a deal, etc., being persuasive can make all the difference.

However, over-aggressiveness can backfire and scare folks away. That's where soft sales skills come in. 

Understanding Soft Sales Skills

Soft selling refers to a sales approach with subtle language and non-aggressive tactics. The soft sell is designed to avoid pushing potential customers away.

Because soft selling is a low-pressure sales technique, it may only sometimes result in immediate sales. Since this approach emphasizes building relationships, customers who purchase from you will likely become repeat customers and refer others.

Soft selling requires a certain amount of energy on the salesperson's part since you must maintain the customer's attention in a friendly manner.

Repeating an idea, message, or desired outcome can help soft sell a buyer. These tactics are more persuasive and less likely to discourage potential buyers.

Here’s an example. 

Imagine a salesperson, Sarah, trying to sell a high-quality air purifier to a potential customer, John. During their conversation, Sarah casually mentions the air purifier's benefits in improving indoor air quality and reducing allergens. 

Next, she discusses how the air purifier could be helpful for John's children, who may have allergies and asthma.

Later in the conversation, Sarah discusses seasonal changes and how pollen levels can cause discomfort for many people. 

She subtly restates the advantages of the air purifier in combating these issues, emphasizing its long-term benefits for John's family's health and well-being. 

By the time the presentation was over, John had bought the air purifier - noting his family’s well-being as the deciding factor.

The Psychology of Persuasion

Understanding the subtle psychology beneath persuasion can improve your ability to influence others.

Before you can gently guide others toward your desired objective, here’s why it helps to empathize with their perspective.

Doing so allows you to create a more compelling and persuasive argument that resonates with them on a deeper level.

Here are some fundamental psychological principles to keep in mind:

Building Rapport

People are more likely to be persuaded by someone they know, like, and trust. That’s why building rapport with your audience is an essential first step in persuasion. 

Through active listening and careful observation, you can find common ground with your customer.

Knowing Your Audience

Understanding your audience's goals is vital to tailor your message to them. Do your research and gather information about your audience before making your pitch.

Using Social Proof

People are more likely to take action if they see that others have already done so. Use social proof to your advantage by highlighting testimonials, success stories, and other forms of social proof.

Say you work in life insurance, and you're speaking to a 67-year-old grandmother with no funds set aside for their burial.

You realize the problem is that Ms. Betty overthinks decisions to the point of not acting. So, when you’re laying out your pricing, you give her three different face amounts. As you do it you tell her,

"Ms. Betty, it’s your choice to make, but this middle one is the option everyone always goes with.

Here’s why everyone else likes this one the most. In addition to covering your burial, it can also help your loved ones with any incidental costs, like travel, hotel accommodations, etc.

Can you see how this can help your family, Ms. Betty?"

No Surprises. Tell Them What’s Going to Happen

In any sales process, ensuring your customer feels comfortable and well-informed throughout the journey is crucial. No one likes confusion or surprises, especially when making important decisions. 

By walking your customer through the buying process step by step, you can address any concerns and make it easier for them to digest the outcome. 

Build Transparency Into Your Process

Your transparency helps create a sense of ease and familiarity, ultimately leading to a more positive experience for everyone involved. 

Furthermore, giving your customer a detailed overview of what happens next empowers them to make informed decisions. 

And in many cases, they’ll appreciate your efforts and see you as a trusted advisor rather than just another pushy salesperson. 

Creating a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency can motivate people to act. Use deadlines, limited-time offers, and other tactics to instill a sense of urgency.

How to Persuade Without Being Pushy

Now, we’re to dive into the art of subtle persuasion. Building subtlety into your process ensures you can effectively communicate your message while maintaining a respectful approach.

Let's see how to balance assertiveness and empathy to build solid connections and achieve desired outcomes without being manipulative.

Listening and Asking Questions

Listening to your audience and asking thoughtful questions can help you understand their needs. This also shows that you value their input and are interested in addressing their needs.

Providing Value

Don’t just go into every presentation seeing nothing but dollar signs. Instead, try and focus on providing value to your prospect. You build trust and credibility with your audience by providing helpful solutions to their problems.

Framing Your Message

How you frame your message can significantly impact how it is received. Use positive language and focus on the overall outcome your buyer desires.

Using Storytelling

People are often more engaged by stories than by facts and figures. Use storytelling to illustrate your points and make your message more memorable.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Avoid hyping your product or service when beginning a “sales conversation”, avoid hyping your product or service. Likewise, it’s best not to talk about your product too early. 

Before diving into the product, start by establishing a connection, offering value, and asking insightful questions to gain insight into your customer's mindset.

Developing Your Persuasion Skills Further

In today's competitive world, the ability to persuade others effectively is more critical than ever.

So, it’s no surprise that improving your persuasion skills improves communication and can positively impact your personal and professional life.

Fortunately, persuasion is a skill that you can develop with practice. Here’s how.

Practicing Active Listening

To use your active listening skills, entirely focus on what others say rather than impatiently waiting to respond. 

You can also practice active listening by asking questions and paraphrasing the other person's words.

Improving Your Body Language

Nonverbal cues can be incredibly revealing when conveying your level of confidence, interest, and sincerity. For example, looking away from your customer while you speak says you lack confidence in what you’re saying.

Improve your body language by maintaining eye contact, using open gestures, and avoiding defensive or closed-off postures.

Building Confidence

Confidence is the key to unlocking your powers of persuasion. However, if you feel uncertain about whatever you’re presenting, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

So, always self-check to make sure you believe in what you’re representing. From there, you can build confidence by practicing delivery and preparing for objections.

4 More Subtle Persuasion Techniques

Several subtle persuasion techniques can be effective if used correctly. However, to make these techniques work it helps to understand the foundational psychological principles at play.

Two primary emotions drive buying decisions - fear and greed. The secondary emotions influencing purchases, like pride, shame, altruism, familiarity, and envy, represent different shades of fear and greed.

When you have a solid handle on what motivates your prospective buyer, you’re ready to use this next set of techniques. 

1 - The Foot-in-the-Door Technique

This technique involves getting someone to agree to a small request before asking for a larger one. For example, asking someone to sign up for a free trial before asking them to purchase a subscription.

2 - The Door-in-the-Face Technique

This technique involves making a large request that your buyer will likely refuse outright. After they refuse, you follow up with a smaller, more reasonable request. 

For example, asking someone to donate $1000 to a charity before asking them to donate $50. After the shock of seeing yourself fork over $1000, the $50 sounds more like five bucks. 

It’s almost like shaming the customer into buying. A buyer who doesn’t want anyone to see him as cheap will usually take decisive action on these offers, especially if others are around.

3 - The Scarcity Principle

This principle involves creating a sense of scarcity around a product or service. Anytime you use the scarcity close, you’re really saying, “If you don’t get this now, it will either be gone or more expensive later. 

For example, emphasizing your product is only available for a limited time or in limited quantities. By the way, this technique relies on your customer’s fear of losing out.

4 - The Anchoring Effect

Using a reference point, the anchoring effect can influence how your prospect perceives something. 

As an example, let's turn to Sue, a solar salesperson. Her customer, Mary, pays $300 in monthly electric bills. 

After reviewing Mary's electric bills, Sue says,

"Hey! If you keep paying this to the utility company, in 25 years, you will have paid them well over $90,000! 

Wouldn't you rather lock in just $175 a month to power your home for 25 years?"

Selling With a Consultative Approach

No one likes getting pushed or coerced into doing anything. After all, strong-arming your customer into buying usually leads to more significant problems. 

Not to mention, hard-selling forces you to waste unnecessary energy. Wouldn’t you rather be the judo master who uses your opponent's energy to your advantage rather than trying to overpower them?

Selling without being pushy relies on your customer already possessing some interest in what you're offering before you approach them. 

After establishing your customer’s pre-existing interest in your product or service, you can apply any of the following tactics. 

Create a Win-Win Situation

Focus on creating a situation where both you and your customer benefit. Doing so can help build trust and make it difficult for the customer to ignore your offer.

Focusing on the Benefits

Instead of highlighting the features of your product or service, focus on the benefits and how they can improve your customer's life.

You'll see massive success if you can show your customers how your product or service can help solve their problems. Use examples and stories to convey your points.

Making it Easy to Say Yes

Make it possible for your customers to say yes to your offer. Provide clear next steps, remove unnecessary barriers, and do whatever you can to remove friction.

Final Thoughts on Mastering the Art of Persuasion

Understanding the psychology of persuasion and applying the subtle techniques we’ve just reviewed can help you influence others without being pushy.

Remember, it all starts with believing in your product or service. Next, whatever you’re offering must be in your customer’s best interest. 

If they’ve never even considered what you’re offering, they’re probably not your prospect. Once you’ve confirmed a need, you can build value using all the tools we discussed.

With persistence and practice, you can master the art of persuasion and become a more effective salesperson, negotiator, and influencer.

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