Keys to Persuading Pragmatic Personalities

Here it is, your big break – you have a meeting with the Donald! That’s right, Donald Trump has agreed to give you 15 minutes to pitch your idea. How will you go about persuading him to get a yes answer?

This week we’ll take a look at how best to persuade someone who is a pragmatic or driver personality. In my mind, Donald Trump is an off-the-charts pragmatic because he’s someone who is more task-oriented as opposed to relationship-focused and he likes to control situations and others. The following describes this personality type:

Pragmatics generally want quick results; are more focused on getting things done than chatting with people; prefer taking control of situations; sometimes act before thoroughly thinking things through; are assertive; not afraid to take risks; appreciate getting to the point quickly.

Because pragmatics are not relationship-oriented it will come as no surprise to learn in my online survey they chose answers that engaged reciprocity and liking far less than did the expressive and amiable personality types, two personalities that are people-focused much more than task-oriented. Some persuasion advice when dealing with a pragmatic.

Don’t be rude but don’t spin your wheels using the liking principle because they don’t care much about being your friend. Do you think Donald cares more about being your friend or possibly closing the deal? I bet he wants to close the deal.

Don’t try to pull the reciprocity lever by doing favors with an expectation that it will be a difference maker because it probably won’t help too much. Donald will gladly accept what you offer but it’s doubtful it will be top of mind for him to think about how to repay the favor.

Uncertainty can be bothersome for pragmatics so when they’re not sure what to do they tend to respond to a couple of principles more than others.

Pragmatics generally don’t care what everyone else is doing but it can be persuasive to tell them what others just like themare doing. While they don’t respond to the principle of consensus as much as other personalities it was nonetheless one of their top choices. Donald Trump doesn’t care what the run of the mill businessperson is doing but he cares what respected peers are doing so do some research and incorporate your findings into your presentation.

Sharing hard data or using the advice of perceived experts is the most effective route with this group.  In fact, in more than half the cases where authority was a choice, pragmatics went with it! Show Donald what the numbers are or share what respected experts have to say and he’ll give that more weight than anything else.

Motivating pragmatics to action can be easy if you know which principles to look for. Generally, you want to use consistency or scarcity.

When it came to using consistency – what someone has said or done in the past – pragmatics were more motivated by this principle than any other personality style. In fact, it was their second most often chosen reason when it came to being persuaded. When Donald Trump says something do you think he believes he’s right? Of course he does, so tie your request to his previous words, actions or beliefs and your odds of success go up dramatically. I can back up that claim because I saw this to be the case on an episode of The Apprentice.

While scarcity wasn’t one of the top three choices for pragmatics, using this principle was more effective with pragmatics than any other personality type. Think about Donald Trump – he hates to lose! Talk about what pragmatics might lose by not going along with what you’re proposing and you’ll get more compliance than you would by talking about what they might gain or save.

When it comes to the pragmatics you know, they may not be as extreme as Donald Trump, but nonetheless there are certain principles that will be more effective than others. In order of effectiveness they are:

  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Consensus
  • Scarcity
  • Reciprocity
  • Liking

Next week we’ll take a look at the expressive personality, sometimes known as the influencer.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer

Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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