Persuasion without the Ick

Here’s my dirty, little persuasion secret: I love high pressured sales situations.

With a Ph.D. in communication and 7 years of teaching persuasion under my belt, I can spot a persuasive technique a mile away.

When my hubby and I went to Cabo, I suggested demanded that we take the the timeshare tour. I wanted to battle it out with one of these pro sales people and earn $400 in the process. The husband unit was instructed not to say much of anything during the tour.

At every turn, I was able to identify exactly what persuasive technique he was using. He played nearly every persuasion card in the book – this book by Robert Cialdini to be exact.

Because I understood his tactics, I had the perfect defense.

Long lasting persuasion – the kind that turns audience members into advocate and even clients – doesn’t happen because you used persuasive tactics. Tactics lead to short term gains but only rarely to long term relationships.

Sure, tactics can be very effective, and when they occur organically in your ask there’s nothing wrong with using them. But when you’re adding persuasive tactics into a speech (or any communication for that matter) or using a fill-in-the-blank template that converts like magic, it’s treading on the dark side of persuasion (and may leave you with that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach).

Here are three ways to persuade in your next presentation that leave you and your audience feeling great.

1. Set your intention to give rather than get

You know what makes me feel great during a speech?

Knowing that I can stand up in front of a room and that I’m doing my best work and giving my audience’s ideas and actions they can use.

My big problem with speak to sell programs or reverse engineering your talk so you can make an offer is that it’s focused on getting not giving.

Most of those talks have the goal to solve one minor problem for the audience while leaving them with another massive problem that only your product, program, or service can solve.

Just like I can spot a persuasive technique a mile away, audiences always know when they are about to be sold too.

They can sniff out a sales pitch like my cat can smell a frisky treat from halfway across town.

I completely believe there’s an opportunity in every speech you give, but typically that opportunity is relationship building not selling.

Get clear on what you’re going to GIVE in your talk and think about how you’re going to develop the relationship with your audience after your speech (more on that next week).

2. Seed your service

One mistake I see speakers making is to not even mention that they have a business that serves people on their topic. It’s as if they are so afraid of appearing to sell from the stage (probably because they got burned before) that they go in exactly the opposite direction.

These speakers figure somehow the audience is going to make the connection between their speaking and their business. That rarely happens.

The vast majority of my Speak for Impact clients view speaking as a vehicle for building awareness of their business and establishing their expertise. They speak because inside of each of them burns a message that they must share and by doing this they hope to build their business.

Mentioning what you do in the course of your speech is not selling. It’s seeding.

Seeding is simple act of mentioning how your business serves a couple of times during your speech to let people know what you do.

For example, the third paragraph of this point is seeding! I talked about my clients for Speak for Impact. Now, you know that I help business owners grow their business by speaking! Cool, eh?

Please note that I said to use seeding a couple of times during your speech, not every other sentence. You want to seed not spam.

3. Stories of transformation

Speaking of seeding, telling stories about how your clients transform is an excellent way to seed your business in your presentation. And bonus, you get to talk about the people you love – your clients.

Stories are a phenomenal persuasive tool. A good story invades our brain. We can’t help but to relate to the struggle of the main character, to feel their pain, and to share their joy when that struggle is resolved.

I’ve got to admit, I love telling stories about my clients and their successes. It makes my heart happy.

Stories persuade and stick with audience members, so where can you tell your favorite client stories, share about them and their businesses while showcasing what you do.

You don’t have to rely on persuasive tactics to build your business. Growing a business is a long term strategy. “Buy now” gets money in your wallet and sometimes the regrets of your customers because they didn’t need what you offered.

Buy in is a long term strategy that builds relationship and leads to building your reputation, establishing your expertise, and creating customers who are huge fans of what you do.