Many important factors play a role in becoming persuasive and being a successful negotiator. Effective persuasion is an ongoing learning process.
The process of persuasion requires you to establish credibility and reinforce your position with compelling content, not just numerical data but also stories and metaphors that have an emotional impact. You need to connect emotionally with your audience and find common ground for your goals. Are there any shared advantages to your position?
Persuasion also requires flexibility. If you’re not willing to compromise, you can’t expect to bring people to your side.
Here are a few more essential elements of persuasion to keep in mind and practice as you work with your prospects and clients and seek to persuade your friends and others to accept your way of thinking or your position on a particular subject matter.
1. Be Authentic
Few things turn someone off than a lack of authenticity.
No one likes to feel:
- Like they’re lead on
- Like you are deceiving them
- That a person is not honest with them
- Like a person has ulterior motives in trying to “help” them
We want to know that someone is telling us the truth and being honest.
There’s a reason that used car salespeople have such a bad reputation.
They don’t seem authentic.
They seem like they care about getting you to purchase a car. They don’t have a genuine human concern for your well-being. They want to make their money and send you on your way.
It may be a stereotype, but stereotypes are often based on truth. However, not all used car salespersons have this kind of reputation. Most of them do care about their customers. The simple fact is that we want people to be authentic with us.
Now, more than ever, people can tell when someone is not presenting their true selves.
They can tell when:
- You’re not whom you present yourself to be
- You’re just putting on a show
- All you care about is winning an argument
When people sense a lack of authenticity, it makes it much more challenging to persuade them. They won’t trust you and won’t buy into anything you’re saying.
If you want to persuade others and get them to agree with you, you must be your true, authentic self. You need communicate honestly.
The reality is that authenticity is always more persuasive.
Authenticity wins every time.
2. Use Reciprocity
Few things are more persuasive and influential than reciprocity.
The reciprocity principle is that if I do something for you, you feel compelled to do something in return for me. It’s the adage, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”
A straightforward example is when waiters put a mint and a personalized thank you on the check. That tiny gesture can make people feel like they should leave a larger tip.
You can use the principle of reciprocity to persuade people more effectively.
If you can give someone something of value, there’s a much greater chance that they’ll feel a sense of obligation to you. They’ll feel like they should provide you with something in return. There’s a greater chance that you can persuade them to come to your side.
Even something as simple as a compliment can go a long way in getting someone to come over to your side.
This is one reason why persuasion is different from manipulation. With persuasion, you seek to add value to the person you’re trying to persuade. You’re not just trying to get your way.
3. Use Effective Patterns of Speech
It turns out there’s some science behind the stereotype of the fast-talking salesman.
Research has demonstrated that speaking faster in situations where someone will disagree with you is better.
Why? Because it gives them less time to come up with counterarguments, making it easier for you to persuade them.
To be clear, don’t speak so fast that a person has trouble following your argument. It would be best if you still were clear and easy to follow when communicating.
If you can add a bit of speed to your arguments, you may have an easier time persuading a person.
On the other side, if a person is more inclined to agree with you, speak more slowly. Give them time to evaluate what you’re saying. Give them time to process and see that your arguments align with their beliefs.
They are already more inclined to agree with you, and when you give them time to process your arguments, it increases the odds of you persuading them.
Master Negotiator, Greg Williams shares powerful insights on this topic in our interview with him titled, You Are Always Negotiating.
To sum things up:
- Speak faster when an agreement is less likely.
- Speak more slowly when they’re already somewhat on your side.
4. Create Scarcity
The simple truth is that people want what they can’t have, and if you can create a sense of scarcity around your proposition, there’s a much greater chance of persuading them.
What exactly is scarcity?
It’s putting some restrictions on what you’re offering. This restriction often creates a sense of urgency within a person. They feel like they need to take action on the offer, or they’ll miss out on something.
It’s the classic case of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
The scarcer something feels, the more people want to get in on it.
There are numerous ways you can create scarcity, including:
- Limiting the number of what you’re offering
- Highlighting what a person will miss out on if they don’t accept your offer
- Putting a time limit on when someone can take advantage of your offer
- Adding bonuses that they can get only if a person acts now
5. Be Very Confident
Not surprisingly, people are persuaded more by confidence than by expertise. In other words, they tend to be more influenced emotionally than logically. If you come across as confident, you’ll be more persuasive.
On the other side, you may have all the facts on your side, but if you’re not confident, you won’t be particularly persuasive.
This is good news for you. It means you don’t have to be an expert in something to persuade a person. Instead, it would help if you were very confident in your presentation.
Be bold when presenting your arguments.
Avoid hedging them or qualifying them with phrases like “I think” or “I believe.” Don’t waffle or go back and forth when presenting your point. Present your argument with 100% confidence.
The more confident you are when presenting your arguments, the more likely you will persuade someone. So be bold and enthusiastic, even if you’re not an expert on a particular topic.
The key is that you genuinely believe what you’re saying.
You can be bold and confident if you have strong convictions about a particular point. You don’t need to have every fact at your disposal.
It is essential to have a conviction regarding the truth of your arguments.
So be bold and courageous with your arguments, even if you don’t feel like an expert.
There are many other essential persuasion factors in addition to the five mentioned above. To be effective, you must have credibility and be able to connect on an emotional level that enables your prospects to see your point of view. What is it that you have in common with them? Are you willing to compromise, so the others are persuaded to come to your side? Do you exhibit confidence during presentations and in conversations with other people? All these things culminate in what it means to be persuasive.
Persuasion is all about win-win.
With practice, you can become a master of persuasion. Your ability to move people to take action will become easier. It is a skill that can be learned but requires much practice.
Are you effective at getting your prospects to see the advantage of your products and services?