I’ve seen it a thousand times; done it myself even. A person tries to influence a second, and more reluctant, person to do something and their approach of choice is to bombard the aforementioned subject with messages, pleas (very ugly), advice and suggestions followed swiftly by the million dollar question: “so can we move forward then?”
All of us go through a maximum of four stages of emotional response when we are faced with somebody trying to persuade us to do something whether it’s a sales person selling us double-glazing or an employee asking us for a promotion. The following states are the ones that any subject will experience; 3 of which you have some influence over.
- Resistance: just how open to your proposal is the subject. Picture this as a scale from 0 (there is no resistance at all so stop persuading and close the deal) to 100 (really not convinced at all). You can easily work this out by looking at body language, listening to how they say things not just what they say and by their initial response to your suggestion.
- Suspicion: you must create the merest suspicion in the mind of the subject that there might be something in this for her. If she can imagine that whatever you are proposing might, just might, be of advantage to her you have achieved stage 2. Try to illustrate financial gain; an easier life; more for less; reduction in risk or making them look good – there are others but these are the major persuasion benefits to aim for.
- Belief: reaching Suspicion will effectively give you a stage on which to perform and a limited time in which to deliver your message; a bit like one of those comedy theatre auditions you see on TV. “Next!” Make an impression here with your proposal showing the benefits to them whilst mitigating the downside. By creating belief in your subject you enter the home stretch – might even get called back for a second audition.
- Conviction: you can reach this stage from Resistance, Suspicion or Belief but if not you must create it yourself. Find out what the obstacles are that prevent a successful conclusion and overcome them. This is a crucial stage. By now you should be talking to somebody who wants to be convinced but keep a sharp eye out: as soon as they are convinced stop persuading and close the deal. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a very real threat here.
So the 3 key messages for successful persuasion are: –
- Don’t rush the process; assess your subjects initial resistance levels and then proceed accordingly
- Concentrate on achieving the next level of persuasion but don’t lose site of the end-goal
- As soon as you reach “Conviction” STOP PERSUADING and close the deal. You could talk yourself out of a sale!
Why not try it out today and let me know how you get on.