In today’s changing market the ability to persuade and influence is a key part of everyone’s job. Whether you are selling, negotiating, marketing, advertising, coaching, leading, managing, speaking in public or online, you are persuading others to accept your ideas.
You sell yourself everyday: your skills, your confidence, your likeability and your competence.
You are always engaged in selling and it makes sense to have the clearest possible understanding of what the process is about. If you know exactly what you are aiming for, getting there is always easier.
How Do You Persuade People?
The objective of all influence and all selling skills is to get the other person to act, to go ahead, to accept your idea. But how do you achieve this?
Action is the result of motivation. Consequently, any sales process should be motivational. However, be careful you don’t confuse this with manipulation, which is ineffective. To avoid misunderstanding, let’s define them both:
Put simply, manipulation is getting people to do what WE want. Motivation is getting people to do what THEY want.
No one is interested in what we want, they are interested in what they want. Consequently the two steps in a motivational, action-producing presentation are:
- Find out what the other person wants.
- Match your product/service/idea to it.
Help People To Get What They Want
That’s the key to successful selling. Can you recall the last time you made an important purchase, perhaps a car, a computer, or a holiday? You had a requirement, and when you found what you wanted, you felt motivated to buy. This is often forgotten, especially with ever more complex digital products – it’s not about what you offer, it’s about what the customer wants.
Find out and match is the fundamental psychology of persuasion. It always applies, whatever the situation: Highlight it in your sales and management training.
Here are some more examples of selling in the workplace:
- As a speaker on the podium you must know what your audience is interested in and match your presentation to that.
- Modern leadership stresses the importance of matching the individual’s personal goals to the goals of the organisation. How do you motivate an individual in your team? Find out what they want to achieve and match the task to that objective.
- The golden rule of coaching is ‘they speak first’. In any people situation you should always begin by uncovering the other person’s thoughts and concerns. Then it will become clearer what input and guidance is required from you.
- When someone has a complaint, find out what they are unhappy about and ask, ‘What would you like us to do about it?’
These examples all reinforce the concept of find out and match. To influence anyone, find out what’s important to them, and then match to it.
Find out and match is also a reminder that questions, not reasons, are your main persuasive skills. In order to ‘find out’, you have to start by asking questions and then you have to listen carefully.
The More You Listen, The More People Will Like You, Trust You And Want To Do Business With You
When the customer speaks, the skilled salesperson listens with full attention. When you listen, you learn what matters to the customer. And there’s an added bonus – listeners quickly become popular.
Martina King, when she was Managing Director of Capital Radio in London, told the story of how she called on a prospective customer and somehow allowed the prospect to tell her about his family, his kids and all the difficulties he was encountering. Driving back after the meeting, Martina thought what a waste of time that was. She felt guilty at not making her presentation and selling her product.
The next day he phoned and booked an ad campaign – the first ever from that account.
Rapt Attention Is The Highest Form Of Flattery
Listen to people as if you have all the time in the world. Whenever you speak to a customer, visualise a neon sign above their head which reads ‘Make me feel important’. That’s just as vital as matching their requirements.
Give the impression that you value the relationship more than the sale. Your personal mission is to do everything possible for your customers to make sure the full resources of your organisation are utilised to help them achieve their objectives.
Respect The Other Person’s View
The secret of good listening is to listen in a way that strengthens the other person. Whenever we feel respected we get a good feeling. We instinctively think better of the other person. We think they are smarter, more capable and more trustworthy – after all, if they see the best in us they must be very shrewd.
The better you make the customers feel about themselves, the more they will like you and trust you. The secret of getting people to like you is – like them first. And the secret of getting people to respect you is respect them first.
Good selling is a diagnostic process. This is one of the reasons why accountants and engineers can become skilled sellers. They are used to asking diagnostic questions and listening.
Learn more about LDL sales training and management training courses.