You have a message. You want to be more persuasive. Whether you are an employee, business owner, student, blogger, etc. you need to be heard.
We're all marketers trying to impact a world that's drowning in information.
How Can You Get Results?
Here are 10 ways to be more persuasive. Each has proven effective in controlled experiments and many are from Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
1. Social Proof – When the course of action is not clear, people look to others for guidance (even though they will deny that fact). Put more simply, people tend to do what other people similar to them do. This behavior is programmed into our genes and is well established. Social proof is more influential when we are observing others we perceive to be similar to us. So if you are trying to sell someone on something, be it an idea or a product, a powerful method is to show how others similar to them have already bought into it.
2. Mirroring – People respect, like, and are most easily influenced by people who they perceive to be similar to themselves (see Social Proof above). So one way to influence someone is to mirror them. Mirror their speech and their actions. If you verbalize back to someone something they have said and in the same words, you instantly become more influential. The same thing applies to posture and actions. If you want to influence Mike, then you need to act like Mike. If he is leaning back in his chair, then you would be wise to do the same.
3. Offer Few Choices – People are paralyzed by choices. Given too many options, many simply fail to choose anything. When you are offer alternative products, services, or ideas, be sure to limit the choices to only a few. Two choices is often better than three.
4. Reciprocation – Do someone a favor and they are more likely to return it. There's an interesting twist to this. People who do you a favor once are more likely do do you another favor in the future. Once someone has done you a favor, in their mind you become more important to them; you must be worthy of their time. So get someone to do you a small favor, and they are more likely to listen to you or do you an even bigger favor in the future. The best way to get them to do you a favor in the first place is to do one for them.
5. Baby Steps – We want to act consistent with our previous actions. Moreover, once we buy into something or someone, we tend to become much more committed to it or them. This is the foot-in-the-door technique. No matter how small a step you can get someone to take in agreeing with your idea, product, or service, those small steps will lead to larger steps in the future. This even works on yourself. Start small. Get your target to say yes to anything first, and then they will be much more likely say yes to what your really after.
6. Labeling – Marketers use this one on you all the time: “You seem like a smart person and smart people buy X”. Tell someone they are smart, sophisticated, thrifty, a risk-taker, etc. and ask them to take an action consistent with that label. There is a powerful inner drive to stay consistent with what we have demonstrated in the past. If someone labels us, we believe we have demonstrated that trait (especially if it is positive).
7. Ask the Right Question – Recently I was given a pitch for a new home (we're considering something smaller). Through the entire sales pitch, the agent was asking me and questions about what would we do or what we would like to do. This was leading to the final push on the actual sale. Before asking someone to do something, get them to say they would do it or something consistent with it. Get them to verbally express an inclination or desire to do something. Then when asked to do something consistent with what they have previously expressed, they are much more likely to agree. (We didn't because we are just "window shopping" at this point).
8. Smile – Smiles are powerful influencers. People like people who smile. But your smile needs to be authentic. Humans have a remarkable ability to detect false smiles (it’s in the eyes). Find something in the other person that you can authentically appreciate and then smile about it. In general, just practice looking on the bright side of things and being happy. You will naturally be more influential because you smile more. That's easy, eh?
9. Keep it Simple – I've read studies that show the most persuasive writing is written at an 8th grade level of comprehension. This is true even among people who were capable of comprehending much more complex language. There is a convergence of data showing that simple is better. Simple and easy to remember names and ideas are the best. Resist the urge to show off your knowledge and sophistication and keep it simple.
10. Scarcity and Exclusivity – Make whatever you are offering, even ideas, unique and therefore scarce. People value what is scarce. Think about a high-end BMW. Part of what makes it so desirable is the fact that it is rare; the overwhelming majority of people cannot afford it. At first glance scarcity might seem to be counter to the social proof phenomenon described above, but they actually go together. When you buy the high-end BMW you are joining an exclusive club of sophisticated people who also value such quality and sophistication in an automobile. They are people like you. I'm a Mac owner and have been for years. We're (an ever-increasing) minority of computer owners but believe we are somewhat exclusive and unique. So: offer something unique; then, package it in a way that also attracts people through the social proof of others.
If you really want to learn how to be more persuasive and influential, check out Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.
photo courtesy of www.congresslink.org
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