There is a difference between being persuasive and being pushy. People tend to mistake one for the other, and the conservative folks among us then shy away altogether. Nobody wants to be a nuisance. Well, no right thinking person anyway. Yet, there is evidence that most people, clients or customers, in this case, do not respond positively til at least the 5th email or phone call from a vendor or seller.
And it’s not because these prospects are trying to test the resolve or staying power of the pitcher. It’s simply because everyone has a lot to do every day of the week. In fact, most people have too much on their plates any given weekday. Between family, work, and their social lives, it’s difficult to take the time to tend to new prospects or intending vendors.
Yet, you ned to close the transaction. You need to convert the lead and grow your customer base. You need to meet your targets. How do you do this without being a nuisance? Without being pushy? The answer: by being persuasive.
The following are 3 of the several tactics used by highly persuasive people to get what they want:
1. Encourage others to talk
We all want to be heard. In fact, we all want to be heard intently. That is what makes people feel important. Listening is the first step in being persuasive. A pushy vendor wants to tell you all about his company and his products and his exploits. The awards they’ve won, and how much they put into research and development every year. Sometimes, many times, this leads to overkill.
If you want to win a person over, listen first. If you don’t seal the deal on this occasion, it leaves the door open for another opportunity because you would have made a connection. You would have developed rapport.
Now, listening is good. But to listen, the other party must talk. So how do you get a total stranger to talk to you? There are 2 broad ways:
- By asking open-ended questions.
- Talking about a common interest topic (this is the ‘1/2’ referred to in the title)
An open-ended question is a question which makes the other party elaborate on their answer. A question which does not allow for a simple yes or no response. “Is this your first time at the annual conference?”. This is a close-ended question. “How has the conference being for you so far?”. This is an open-ended question.
Flirtatious people know all about picking up on a common interest topic, and using it to get a target to open up. Common interest topics help develop a feeling of camaraderie between you and a prospect. One of the easiest common interest topics is marriage. A wedding band is a dead giveaway.
Children come a close second – an open wallet with pictures of children is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation about raising a family. And one of the easiest and most effective common interest issues is sports. Supporting the same team as a prospect can be more important that technical know-how.
2. Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm is contagious. The more passionately you discuss your offering (without being pushy of course), the more believable you are. Think like a radio OAP. An on-air personality with her infectious attitude. OAP’s have an interesting knack of making everything interesting. Almost any topic is engaging in the hands of an OAP.
Brands are fully aware of this wonderful ability possessed by OAP’s, and it is one of the main reasons why they are always in demand. OAP’s are engaged for brand promotion, on-air sales, and as trade event compeers. They infuse their passion into their work and into a vendor’s goods or service offering, enough to convince people to buy.
We can all learn from them. Of all the qualities of a persuasive entrepreneur, arguably the most important one is enthusiasm. A prospect cannot love your work more than you do. Show this love and watch them fall for you.
3. Offer value
From making the other party feel important and valued, to ensuring that you are only offering what the prospect wants. Value is the currency by which persuasive people trade and influence others. Offering value ties in perfectly with listening. It is only by listening that you know what the prospect considers to be valuable.
And to offer value, you must be respectful of the other person’s opinions and status. And you must show keen interest in what they want. Value is subjective – what one party considers valuable, may not in any way impress another. One person wants matching wood finishing in his living room while the other person favours plastic tiles. After gently trying to persuade the second party, it is important to quickly switch tactics and get on the same page. In other words, sell what people want, and not what you think they should want. And do so respectfully.
One person wants matching wood finishing in his living room while the other person favours plastic tiles. After gently trying to persuade the second party, it is important to quickly switch tactics and get on the same page. In other words, sell what people want, and not what you think they should want. And do so respectfully.
Persuasion is in a way ‘effective selling’. Or better still, strategic selling. It means thinking through before approaching a target. And so like the selling we say it is, persuasion can be learned. Admittedly, some people are born more charismatic than others. They are the natural extroverts. The born salesmen and women. But it is a learnable skill nonetheless.