Persuasion isn’t easy.
Anyone who has to get others to do what they want on a daily basis knows this. It’s especially difficult when you’re an entrepreneur. When you’re starting a business, your success depends upon your ability to get others to take action.
Because persuasion is necessary for getting prospects to become paying clients. It’s necessary for motivating your team members to work hard for you. It’s necessary for getting investors to provide you with the funding you need to operate.
As an entrepreneur, pretty much everything you do is sales.
If you can’t persuade, you won’t win.
Here’s the problem: many entrepreneurs have insanely awesome ideas, but they don’t succeed because they never learned how to sell. There’s a few reasons for this:
- They don’t have a background in sales.
- They are afraid of selling.
- They mistakenly think that influencing others isn’t something that can be learned.
Contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to be a natural salesperson to influence others. The “natural salesperson” is a myth. Those people who seem to be born with the skill to influence actually acquired this ability through practice.
Sure, some people learn it easier than others, but the key point to remember is that influence is a skill that is learned, not something a person is born with.
This post will give you a few easy tips that will make you more persuasive. If you master the tips given in this article, you will find it easier to persuade others.
Make The Other Person Feel Important
Have you ever read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People? If you haven’t, finish reading this post, then do yourself a favor and go buy yourself a copy. Right now.
In this book, Carnegie teaches that one of our deepest needs as human beings is to feel important. We all want to feel like we matter. It’s one of the things that drives us to do the things that we do.
When you do things that show the other person that they are important, you strengthen the relationship you have with them. You give them something that your competition probably isn’t giving them. Whenever you are attempting to influence someone, start by getting them to see that you view them as important.
One of the best ways to do this is by expressing gratitude. In my own life, I have seen how powerful gratitude can be when it comes to deepening relationships with others.
Earlier this year, I made a decision to express sincere gratitude to the people around me, and I found that by doing this, I was giving them something that was valuable to them. I made them feel important.
Identify the things the other person has done that you can be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If it’s a prospect, you can be thankful for the fact that they’re taking the time to speak with you. If it’s a member of your team, you can show gratitude for the extra effort they have given.
Making others feel important has a profound impact on your efforts at persuasion. If you do this the right way, you will earn the right to influence others.
Give Sincere Praise
This may seem manipulative at first. Many might shy away from using praise in their efforts at persuasion because it may come across as insincere flattery. You might be afraid that the person you wish to influence will view praise as blatant brown nosing.
Here’s the thing…
If the praise you give is sincere, you won’t have to worry about any of this.
Just as people can tell when you’re being fake, they can also tell when you actually mean what you say. That’s the key. You have to be sincere about the positive statements you’re making about the other person.
The great thing about this is that it’s not difficult. Most of the people you interact with will exhibit at least one trait that you admire.
Maybe it’s their drive to succeed.
Maybe it’s their intellect.
Maybe you love the way they communicate.
Maybe they make a killer shepherd’s pie.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you make a point to compliment the other person. Figure out what you like about your prospect and let them know how you feel about it.
If you’re still afraid of appearing to be manipulative, then back up your praise with evidence of what you’re saying. If you’re complimenting a member of your team on how tenacious they are, then bring up that time when they succeeded at their assignment despite the impossible obstacles they faced.
Remember, praise is not manipulative if you mean what you’re saying.
Provide Free Value
Want to gain instant influence? Give your prospect something. Find a way to benefit them without asking for anything in return.
The more you serve the other person, the more you will earn the right to influence them. Remember, the level of influence you have is tied to the amount of value you give the other person.
The value you give doesn’t even have to be related to the action you want them to take. Anything you can do to make their lives easier will benefit your efforts at persuasion in the long run.
Find ways to give the other person something extra.
Doing this will endear you to your prospect and show them that you’re not just focused on what you can get from them.
While it may not seem like it, your brand (personal or professional) has a huge role to play in your persuasion efforts. Without an attractive brand, it will be nearly impossible to move others to action.
Jeff Bezos says:
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
What do you want others to say about you?
This is the question you must answer. If you don’t define your own brand, others will define it for you, and it won’t always be good. Don’t let this happen.
Part of building an attractive brand is articulating your purpose. Purpose is an integral part of establishing your brand identity.
Why does your company exist? What impact do you desire to have? Why?
These are some of the questions you need to answer in order to determine your brand’s purpose.
Benjamin Disraeli said:
“Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.”
Anyone who is in sales understands the importance of positioning yourself. You have to make your prospect understand who you are and why you matter.
But what about the prospect?
If you’re going to influence others, you can’t just talk about yourself. They’re not interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.
While conversing with your prospect, you have to make it clear that you understand who they are and what they consider to be important. Don’t just tell your prospect who you are, tell them who they are. And do it in a way that is favorable to your position.
If you sell home security services, you might tell your prospect something like this: “I can tell that you are someone who is serious about protecting your family.”
If you’re a corporate lawyer, you would probably say to a potential client: “You’re obviously the type of person who likes to make sure they’re making the right decision for their business.”
See what I mean? Verbalize the positive observations you make about your prospects to show that you understand where they’re coming from.
Here’s a caveat: just like praise, this has to be sincere.
Don’t make a statement about your prospect that clearly isn’t true. They will see right through it and you will look incredibly foolish.
Show Your Passion
There’s nothing wrong with showing a little bit of emotion. Even though we don’t like to admit it, we are very much influenced by our emotions.
A large component of your prospect’s decision will be swayed by the way they feel. If you can make them feel something, you will increase your chances of getting them to say “yes.”
Passion is a great sales tool. When you truly believe in what you’re selling, it will show. Allowing your passion to show will get your prospects to feel what you feel.
Yes, you do need to appeal to logic. Your prospect does have a brain after all. But you also have to appeal to their heart if you want to inspire the right type of action.
Don’t Just Position Yourself Once
Positioning is important. We all know this.
However, we mistakenly assume that positioning only happens at the beginning of the conversation.
If you want to have a successful sales interaction, you need to reaffirm your position throughout the conversation. Remind them who you are and why you matter.
I’m not saying you need to beat them over the head with it.
What I’m saying is to reinforce your position whenever it’s appropriate. Why? Because your prospect will forget it if you only say it once.
If you position yourself as the premier landscaping company in town, then do everything you can to cement this idea in the mind of your prospect. If your company provides management consulting services, you need to continually reinforce the fact that you specialize in increasing the effectiveness of your clients’ management teams.
Since persuasion is a skill that can be learned, it’s important to continually hone your sales skills. As you practice these skills on a continuous basis, you will find it easier to get people to say “yes” to you.
At first, it can be hard to remember to put these tips into action, but as you keep moving forward, they will become a habit. Remember, your ultimate objective is to benefit your prospect as much as possible. That’s what sales is all about.
If you want a better way to implement these hacks, download the free “Persuasion Hacks For Entrepreneurs” worksheet!
Originally published on LinkedIn.