The art of persuasion means convincing others to agree with your point of view or to follow a course of action. Persuasion is a fundamental skill that comes naturally to some. Favorably, it’s a skill that you can cultivate and develop, even if you lack confidence in your persuasive abilities. For professionals who sell, teach, negotiate, or speak in public, gaining traction with the audience doesn't happen until they catch a glimpse of your point of view. For sellers making their way in the world, business deals don't succeed until that strategic connection is made.
Every business deal requires some level of persuasion
A successful business deal doesn’t happen by accident! Interpersonal relationships can only exist with the foundation of credible, influential and reasonable communication. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle introduced the concepts of ethos (credibility), pathos (emotional appeal) and logos (logical reasoning) as fundamental elements of persuasion. These essentials set the stage for completing a typical business deal and building the framework of a trusting relationship.
How to manipulate a business deal with persuasive techniques
First, understand that persuasion is not coercion. As a seller you are not forcing a decision. Quite the opposite. If your discovery methods are sound, you have assembled enough data to understand the prospect’s problem, identified the decision-makers and prepared a path toward an elegant solution. Utilizing simple persuasive techniques, you can craft a narrative. With your narrative, you engage emotions and connect with the audience on a personal level. Several additional persuasive principles appear in the summary of Robert D. Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
People are more likely to say “yes” to someone they know, like and trust. Building rapport and establishing a personal connection with someone can increase your chances of influencing them. In fact, according to SalesFuel's 2023 Voice of the Buyer study, 28% of buyers rank “likeable” in the top five attributes of salespeople who call on them. What’s more, 46% appreciate a seller who “cares about me or my business.” This is followed by one third who value sellers who are “respectful of me and my time.”
The concept of social proof suggests that people will conform to a behavior or belief if they see others doing the same. For instance, Cialdini uses examples and studies to illustrate the principle, showing how social acceptance plays a significant role in influencing decisions. He also provides practical advice for how to use these principles in an ethical and effective manner. As you weave the narrative of your proposal, be sure to introduce how your product is sought and accepted by those with similar needs. If, during discovery, you find an authority figure or expert who holds sway with your client, be sure to include that important piece of information here.
People tend to value things that are perceived as scarce or limited in availability, leading to a heightened desire to obtain them. Be careful not to overuse this principle as creating a false shortage can damage your reputation. However, stressing urgency or legitimate time limits may work to your advantage.
People tend to be consistent in their behavior and beliefs. For example, once a buyer commits to something small, they’ll be more likely to follow through with larger requests later on. Persuaders can leverage this technique as it addresses the incremental nature of any business deal of substance.
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