Research shows that most persuaders use only three to four persuasive techniques, over and over again. Even high producers typically use only seven or eight persuasive techniques. What a waste of talent! Did you know that there are over one hundred persuasive tools and techniques that you can have readily available, right at your fingertips?
True persuasion is about creating customers and friends for life; it’s not about getting that one quick sale that’s all too likely to turn into a dissatisfied customer, a return, or a refund. It’s not about getting short-term compliance. That type of persuasiveness will generate long-term resentment, rebellion, and frustration.
People aren’t won over by tactics and gimmicks. In fact, they’re all too weary of them. A New York Times poll found that 56 percent of respondents felt you can’t be too careful in dealing with most people, and 34 percent said that most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance.When asked what they thought about persuaders or salespeople, only 32 percent of respondents said, “I have a positive attitude toward salespeople.”
The challenge is that most persuaders are certain they possess most of the persuasion traits they need, but when you ask the people and prospects they interact with, you get a completely different picture. Whatever your area of persuasion, most of your audience (whether prospects, employees, or clients) will describe you as:
Or they’ll complain about your:
Getting personal too fast
Lack of followthrough
Not really caring
Asking offensive questions
Badmouthing the competition
Attempts to get their wallet
Lack of interpersonal skills
Not understanding their business
Useless small talk
Employing obvious closing tactics
Why all this negativity? First of all, the general public is more educated now than ever before, which means they are more discerning. Secondly, all of us are bombarded by countless persuasive messages every day. We don’t have to go looking for them—they find us. By the age of twenty, the average American has been exposed to approximately one million television commercials.With such a constant marketing onslaught, who wouldn’t be sick of it? Everyone starts to go numb with the sheer volume of daily persuasive attempts.
Most people think persuaders talk too much, overpromise, fail to follow through, are only looking out for themselves, and are greedy or manipulative.
What does all this mean for you as a persuader? It means out with the old and in with the new. Forget about the old tactics, clichés, and stereotypes. It’s not about having tricks up your sleeve and pulling a fast one. It’s not about coercing, nagging, bullying, or begging. These forms of “persuasion” are not really persuasion at all. They may work initially, but their effects are only temporary and your audience quickly becomes desensitized. As a society, we’ve grown to be more demanding and less patient.
Instead of learning techniques and strategies, think in terms of transforming yourself into a naturally persuasive person. You are what’s persuasive, not some tactic you employ. You’re the real deal. You are persuasive because of the traits, talents, and characteristics you have integrated into your life. Persuasion is the critical skill, and it’s transferable in any situation or career. Cultivating your natural persuasiveness will bring you success in any job, setting, or business.
The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.
— JOHN HANCOCK