Persuasion—a Powerful Tool
In my many years in the sales profession, I have observed human behavior, a subject that fascinates me greatly. I learned that a deep understanding of people’s motivations is the most powerful tool anyone can use to persuade others. My experiences so far have led me to record and document a process that has created repeatable and predictable success for people who desire to get YES.
Take the following example: I recently helped a colleague create some promotional material for a community organization that she runs. In need of funds, she had decided to approach local store owners for donations, so she showed me the first draft of her pamphlet.
She had created an impressive flyer that spoke about the organization, its purpose, its achievements, and its future plans. I could see that a great deal of work had gone into informing prospects of the organization’s background as well as other formal information. It was detailed and well organized, but it was completely ineffective in terms of persuasion power.
My colleague wrote the document from her point of view. She focused on issues that were important to her and paid little attention to the fact that the business owners she planned to approach may not share her interest. In the dangerous fashion of those who do not consider their customer, she had created something that many of them would never even read all the way through.
A mental shift was necessary in order to create a persuasive pamphlet that would inspire local business owners to answer her call to action. As one example, instead of beginning the pamphlet with a call for contribution, she would have been more effective by opening with a paragraph that included a benefit statement.
Evaluate these two opening statements:
1) “Contribute and Help Support the Arts in your Local Community.” 2) “ Become Known in your Community as a Generous Supporter of the Arts.”
The first statement is a plain request for contribution; the second clearly leads with a benefit to potential contributors...esteem, recognition and reputation. One is far more persuasive than the other.
When you consider the first statement, it may seem obvious that contributing to a local community organization will have all of the great effects promised in the second statement. Naturally, everyone knows that when a business sponsors a community organization it will automatically be given a prestigious standing as a local contributor, a good reputation for “giving back,” and a favorable opinion in the minds of local patrons. However, leaving this information to be intuitively figured out by the prospect is a big mistake.
What if your prospect does not figure it out? What if your prospect does not make the connection? Within your proposition, your prospect is looking for benefits; things he or she will get out of performing the action you are proposing.
When your prospect makes a final decision, it will be based mostly on his or her perception of these benefits. The only way you can be certain that all the benefits you feel your proposition offers are taken into consideration is if you clearly explain these benefits instead of hoping that the prospect will simply understand them.
Try this exercise to help you construct a more persuasive proposition.
Doing this exercise, you should come up with answers that directly reflect what the prospect will gain from agreeing to your proposition.
Remember, in trying to persuade, your prospects are always wondering how your proposition will serve them. Approach your prospects by clearly communicating what is in it for them; this is more likely to heighten interest in your proposal and improve your chances of getting a “yes”.
About The Author:
Alvin Day is a guest writer on Pavansut. After 27 years leading Fortune 500 companies to earn millions of dollars, Alvin Day now simplifies the success principles to help people achieve and prosper in business and job. Get his free eBook, Ask and You Shall Receive -- visit this website: Alvinday4free.com
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