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persuasion

Susan Cramm, Career Coach, and blogger said it best in her quote, “It’s not how much you know, it’s what you know about your audience.” My experience as a corporate trainer and coach has proved that skills and/or knowledge single-handedly cannot guarantee sales success. Human nature demands that people do not do what they don’t see a benefit in doing. Therefore, if a business owner doesn’t communicate to their prospects in such a way that inspires the prospects to see benefit in their offer, they are wasting time. Moreover to communicate to inspire action requires the business owner or sales person to learn about their audience. And understanding how the art of persuasion works is guaranteed to achieve that goal.

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In this article, there are three takeaways:

  1. Learn about the three (3) broad conclusions pertaining to the art of persuasion, and how these conclusions can help one confidently embrace the different art of persuasion tools to achieve sales and/or business goals.
  2. Learn about how logical we are as humans, and how this information can help one communicate in terms relatable to the prospect/client.
  3. Learn how to use analogy, as an art of persuasion mental trigger, to inspire decisions favorable to your sales goals.

Note that in sharing this information, I’m also assuming that you are ethical and so, will not use this information to manipulate others into doing what’s against their will.

Broad Conclusions Pertaining to Persuasion:

Most people think that either they cannot persuade others, or they are non-persuadable. However, my research has led me to 3 broad conclusions, which if embraced will shed light into the very basics of the art of persuasion.

First, we are more susceptible to persuasion than we think although we tend to believe that we are not as vulnerable to persuasion as others around us. In part, this belief derives from the delicacy of clever operations which make it hard to see that we are being persuaded. In part, we also believe that we are natural at defending ourselves from being persuaded more than other people. However, the more immune we feel, the less likely we are to take precautions and as a result the more susceptible we are to persuasion. The good news, however, is that as a business owner, your customers are part of this vulnerable group—meaning that they are persuadable.    

Second, the most effective persuaders are the least obvious. This fact is vital in preparing and employing persuasive tools because almost everyone is savvy enough to put his or her guard up against the fast-talkers, pushy sales people, or aggressive con artists. Therefore, in order to connect to your prospects, you need to be more subtle, likable, honest and trustworthy. And as Abraham Lincoln once observed, “There’s nothing stronger than gentleness.” Note that the most effective persuasion takes place when your clients don’t realize that they are being persuaded.

Third, the rules of persuasion aren’t all that different, regardless of the source. Whether people are selling massages, chairs, or cars, it seems that most are reading from the same manual. Therefore, the art of persuasion is as effective as the persuader. Note that to become an effective persuader, we have to master ourselves in order to establish our strengths and how we can use them to influence others.

 How Logical Are We?

Research has shown that most of the time one’s decision making process takes place without him/her even realizing it. According to scientific research, our brains take 20% of the body’s total energy in order to operate. This is one of the main reasons why we avoid using the brain to make certain decisions especially if we can find shortcuts. Furthermore, we are living in the information age where there’s just not enough time for us to really evaluate every single piece of information we access and then decide what we are going to do with it. Let’s face it; for the most part thinking is hard work. Considering there are so many things in life to think about that to consciously ponder every single decision you are going to make is impossible. So, instead we have mental short-cuts that appear as forms of preconceived ideas about what we believe or how we believe certain things should be. Consequently, when we come across something that involves making a decision, we subconsciously cross-reference it with all the preconceived notions and beliefs that we have and then make a decision. And this is the same reason why we are susceptible to persuasive tools.

For instance, how many times have you walked into a store and relied on the sales person’s advice to make a decision to buy what you want? How many times do you base a buying decision on the reviews or testimonials of a product or service that you would like to purchase? How do these reviews influence your buying decisions?  Unfortunately, most people will never confess to being influenced by other people’s input. Many of us think that we can buy something just because of the way it looks or because of the label that’s on it. But that’s far from the truth. The truth is that we rarely make logical decisions. Even for those decisions that we think were made logically, were based on the related information that we already had. For instance, if a client is in the process of making a decision to pay for a massage, they will first tap into what they already knows about massages, and then compare that information with the massage therapists’ or salesperson’s presented information. If the presenter’s information is foreign to the client, the client will have to rely on the presenter’s information to convince them to make the decision. Therefore, we are emotional people making decisions primarily based on emotions but thinking that we are logical. Note that even the most logical decisions are driven by emotions. For example, the decision not to jump off a roof is a logical decision because you don’t want to get hurt or even die. However, this decision is still driven by the emotion of fear. Even for those people who like to think that they make decisions logically, such as, the “thinkers,” they are not strayed by emotional arguments because they like hard data and facts that support their points of views. And their desire to make logical decisions is still driven by the emotion to want to be logical. This implies that when persuading this type of people, it is vital to appeal to the logical side of their brains, yet keep in mind that you are still triggering their emotions.

The question is, how can you use the preceding information to connect to more customers? The answers to this question are plenty. However, I will share one proven technique that you can start using immediately to connect to more customers.

Note that although emotions are essentially what fuel the world, logic still plays a role in the emotional experience. Therefore, in your persuasive pursuits, I suggest that you always balance tapping into logic and emotion. Remember that people are definitely more likely to believe what you say based on logic but ultimately it is their emotions that will move them to take action. For instance, if I wanted to persuade you to buy shares worth $1.5 million in my massage spa, which you logically cannot afford, we won’t even get started with the persuasive process because you have already made a logical decision.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes we use logic. And in those cases, it is extremely valuable. For example, when we are attempting to come to conclusions based on evidence that has been given by others, we employ logic to determine if this evidence makes sense to us. As a matter of fact, for any argument to make sense or be worth discussing, it has to be true and valid—which also implies that there has to be some degree of logic involved. Once the logic is established, this is when we tap into our emotions to make a decision.  

Mental Triggers:

There are various types of mental triggers that can be used to persuade others, but I will share one tool in this article.

 Analogies:

An analogy is when one presents an offer using an example or a comparison of how a certain point makes sense. Note that to persuade, a prospect must understand what you are saying. And this is not easily done by just repeating yourself, but by finding ways to present an offer in a way that a prospect can relate to.  Fortunately, analogies can help us to understand new concepts by pulling context from our past experiences and knowledge.  For example, if you are defining a massage experience to someone who has never had a massage, you could say something like, “after having our massage, you will feel happier than a dog with a bone.” This analogue would especially work if the prospect has a dog or relates to them. Or, you could say something like, “Our massages will comfort you as a warm woolen blanket comforts one on a winter night.” This analogue would relate to people who experience winter.

Analogies are the reason why when someone describes a movie we haven’t seen as a “roller coaster thrill-ride of emotion,” we know exactly what to expect, especially if we have ever been on a roller coaster or heard stories about it. On the surface, a movie and a roller coaster have nothing in common. One involves sitting quietly in a dark room for a few hours, the other involves flying through the air in a death-defying manner for 90 seconds or more. However, the comparison helps reveal the anticipated emotion that will be triggered when watching the movie. 

You could also use a story as an analogy. Take for instance, the following article written by Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital and founder of http://www.copyblogger.com. The story illustrates how one can elicit a positive response from a stubborn prospect or client and/or turn a rebuttal into a sale.

           An elderly man storms into his doctor’s office, extremely upset.

          “Doctor, my new 22-year-old wife is expecting a baby. You performed my      vasectomy 30 years ago, and I’m very upset right now.”

          “Let me respond to that by telling you a story,” the doctor calmly replies.

          “A hunter once accidentally left the house with an umbrella instead of his rifle.        Out of nowhere, a bear surprised him in the woods. So, the hunter pointed the        umbrella, fired, and killed the bear.”

          “Impossible,” the old man snaps back. “Someone else must have shot that    bear.”

          “And there you have it,” said the doctor.

This story illustrates how persuasion is about an audience understanding what one is communicating because understanding leads to acceptance when the argument is sound, and well-targeted.

When it comes to creating effective understanding, analogies normally create desired results. Most of the persuasive power comes from prospects arriving at the intended understanding on their own.

The doctor could have simply said that the old man’s wife had to be cheating on him. But the analogy allowed the angry patient to come to that conclusion on his own, which strategy was successful.

The right analogy, at the right time, told the right way, may be exactly what your prospect needs to do business with you.

In conclusion, the art of persuasion is generally about understanding how people make decisions, what inspires them to make those decisions, and how you can communicate in such a way that triggers them to make decisions in your favor.

If someone has a problem they want solved, they want to find a solution. If they’re currently a part of your audience, they want you to be the solution. This means that they want to understand why you are the best choice; and this is where the art of persuasion plays a part.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Communicating Your Way to Success: Master the Art of Persuasion, Positively Influence others, Increase Sales, and Stand Out From the Crowd. 

Link to the book – https://www.amazon.com/Communicating-Your-Way-Success-Persuasion-ebook/dp/B0151Y8CCM

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Dr. Mpalyenkana, Jacinta is also a corporate and transformational coach who offers corporate training/seminars and works on the art of persuasion to businesses. For more about Jacinta, please visit http://www.tapthegood.com

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