Persuasion Is Not A ‘Dirty’ Sales Word
What connotation do you get when you think of the word “persuasion”? Does it harken images of a used car sales man trying to talk you into something you don’t want?
You can’t sell something without persuading someone that they need your product or service. When it becomes malevolent is when we persuade someone against their will to do or buy something.
That’s called manipulation, and it’s an entirely different horse from persuasion. Predators manipulate the elderly or children into situations that are against their will or their best interests. Shysters manipulate people into buying things they don’t need, giving the rest of the sales profession a black eye in the process.
Think about this for a moment: you can’t sell something without persuasion.
If you have interaction with other people, especially in relationships both personal and professional, you use persuasion daily. Have you ever succeeded at getting a friend or significant other to try a restaurant you like? Have you ever gotten your boss to give you a day off when you want or need it?
That’s persuasion at work. And it’s a skill just like any other that we seem to inherently have as a child, but tend to outgrow as we age. What child hasn’t persuaded a parent to stop for ice cream or to go to the park on a beautiful day?
Selling is a natural skill. It’s developed as a child. You may know it as persuasion.
Jeffrey Gitomer, Author
Persuasion, when used for good purposes, is the art of selling something that will benefit others. Whether you’re selling ideas or products, you’re using certain techniques to entice someone to either change their opinion or try something new.
Lasting influence is the result of persuasion. When you use honesty and integrity in persuading someone to buy something that you truly believe will help him or her, you are setting the stage for a commitment that lasts beyond just a moment in time. When irresponsible people manipulate someone into buying something they don’t want or need, you might have a short-term gain, but it only breeds resentment, irritation, and distrust.
There are four pillars for you to build your foundation of successful persuasion on:
Pillar #1: Create a Connection through Empathy
When you can truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can instantly see where and how you may be of help to him or her. And when you can identify exactly how your product or service benefits a customer, you will never need to manipulate someone into buying. When you form connections built on empathy, you see the world through your customer’s eyes and you’ll know what to say and how to say it to persuade him or her.
Pillar #2: Respect other’s Opinions by Acknowledging their Credibility
No one has ever persuaded a customer to purchase something by claiming his opinion is wrong. It just won’t work. But when you acknowledge the veracity of someone else’s opinion, they are more apt to listen to your opinion, however opposite it may be. Respect breeds respect. There is no argument that you can win by forcing your opinions on someone else.
Pillar #3: Practice Reflective Listening
Do you constantly think about what you’re going to say next while someone else is talking? Or do you really focus on what they’re saying so that you have a complete understanding of their wants and needs? The best persuasive argument is based on listening, then listening some more to get to the nuts and bolts of the issues at hand. To assume that you know what someone else needs or wants is to set yourself up for failure. The more your customer talks means the more listening you do, which will not only result in a stronger connection, but provide you everything you need to know to solve their problems.
Pillar #4: Show Confidence
You might have all of the knowledge about your product that you need to present it successfully, but you’ll lose the sale if you don’t show confidence. When I go to an electronics store, I usually gravitate towards the salesperson who appears confident because she seems more knowledgeable. An assumption on my part, I know, but confidence breeds trust, while uncertainty and hesitation just comes off as incompetence. Put your best face forward, whether you feel confident or not, and show your customers that you know what you’re talking about.
The key to making each one of these pillars work for you is to use your own natural style to accomplish them. When you try to adopt someone else’s persuasive techniques, you’ll come off as false. Be yourself, and use your own innate abilities to connect with and reach people where they are.
At Natural Training, we only focus on your inherent talents and traits to help you become the most successful salesperson, presenter, or leader that you were born to be.
Call us today to see how we can create training around your natural talents to help you succeed beyond your expectations.
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