routine about the seven dirty words you couldn’t say
on television. I won’t repeat the seven words but I will say this; persuasion wasn’t
one of those words! Having shared that, I realize some people link persuasion to
sales and therefore have a negative reaction to it. I get it. After all, most
people try to avoid salespeople like the plague because they feel they’ll be
sold something they don’t want or need. However, let me say emphatically that ethical
persuasion is not manipulative selling.
I had an interesting exchange with someone regarding persuasion after watching
their video presentation online. The title of their presentation was How To Convince Your Clients, When
Appropriate, To Have a Social Media Presence. After watching it I posted a
comment on the website:
“I was disappointed because I never felt like
you shared ways to persuade someone that using social media could be
beneficial. Most of the commentary was about making sure the people you speak
to already see some value but quite often we know businesses could benefit
(even if they don’t see that currently) so I was hoping to hear insights into
how to manage that discussion.”
“I never try to persuade people to do
anything. It is like trying to sell glasses to a blind man. You should never
have to convince. You move on to people who get it, and in doing that the
people who are not yet will become convinced as they see people they know, like
and trust start to use social media.”
do anything”? I wish I had his wife, kids, clients, boss, etc., because life
would be easy. That’s one of the most foolish statements I’ve seen on the web
in quite some time. We are persuading
people every day. Whenever you ask someone to do something they’re not
currently doing – kids and homework, spouse and chores, boss and a raise,
turning prospects into customers – you’re attempting to persuade. And like it
or not, what you say and how you say it can make all the difference between yes or no.
or change and some people are never ready. His example of selling glasses to a
blind man would be old school, manipulative selling because in a situation like
that the salesperson only cares about making the sale regardless of the need
for the product. That’s unethical and not what I’m talking about when I write
about or teach ethical persuasion.
change but have multiple people attempting to convince them their product,
service, or idea is the right one for them. In those cases it’s usually the
person who does the best job persuading that gets the yes answer.
ready state but change their minds when someone persuades them otherwise. Here
are two examples:
- Steve Jobs. He created products no survey
group said people wanted or needed. However, once he created a new product then
said something like, “A thousand songs in your pocket,” everyone saw the
possibilities and wanted it.
- Life insurance. Most people who fail to buy
life insurance don’t make that poor choice because they don’t need it. People
don’t buy coverage because emotionally no one wants to think about death. Too
often they convince themselves “it will never happen to me” or “I have plenty
of time for that” so they focus on more pressing issues. I doubt a widower ever
cursed a life insurance salesman for persuading the deceased spouse to purchase
a life policy.
Aristotle said persuasion was the art of
getting someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.
If everyone were doing what we wanted we’d never have to persuade. Instead we
could sit back and enjoy life as it unfolds but you and I know that’s not the
case. Not a day goes by where everyone does what you want because they just
“get it.” Knowing that you might want to sharpen up your persuasion skills a
bit otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting people to do what you want.
dirty word. Persuasion is a skill where you understand how people think and act then
adjust your communication accordingly. Like so many other skills it can be used
for good or bad but that says more about the person attempting to persuade than
it does the act of persuasion itself.
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.