Have you ever had trouble closing a deal or convincing someone of your worthiness? Most people have this problem or at least have had this a few times in their life. In Business, mastering the technique of persuasion is known to be the key to major success and can be the difference between a pat on the back or a slap in the face, figuratively speaking.
Read on for a little insight into the art of persuasion in the world of business.
7 Great Persuasion Techniques To Use In Business
1. Give and you shall receive
When someone does you a favour, you know instinctively that you will have to do something in return in the future. Psychologists call this the reciprocity rule, and it can be very useful in persuasion.
Try it out next time a colleague or your boss needs help with something by being the first to stand up and lend a hand. Even better, think ahead and be aware of the deadlines and meetings your boss has to reach so you know to step in if they get called away. According to the reciprocity rule, they’ll be more likely to return the favour in the future.
2. Admit your weaknesses
People will never accept an idea or proposal if it sounds too good to be true, so one of the most effective ways to be persuasive is to admit a weakness.
Next time you’re trying to convince someone into giving you that job or deal, admit a small drawback before you go on to tell them that you are the best person for the job, or why your proposal will work. For example, point out that you have only two years experience instead of the required three, but then go on to explain the relevance of your past experience and how it puts you ahead of other potential candidates.
3. Emphasise potential loss
A study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior showed potential losses count far more in a manager’s decision-making than the same things presented as gains. What this means is that to be more persuasive, you should point out what they have to lose by not accepting your idea, as well as what they can gain.
So if applying for a job, or putting forward a proposal, make sure to emphasise what the company has to lose by not taking on your skills or suggestions. Just make sure you do so respectfully, and do your research on the company or your client first.
4. Highlight similarities
It is well known that people respect and listen to those who they believe to be similar to themselves. One way to influence this is by using what psychologists call mirroring. By mirroring the body language, tone of voice and interests of the person you’re speaking to, you’ll make them more likely to accept your suggestions.
Next time you meet a potential employer or client, do a brief background check on their company or personal interests. Find any similarities between them and yourself or your individual companies and bring them up in the beginning of your meeting – they’ll be more likely to say yes if they feel like you’re on common ground.
5. Appeal to their reputation
People are more likely to behave in a way that is consistent with their past decisions or beliefs, thereby upholding their reputation. This is what psychologists call labeling.
You can use this to your advantage by pointing out that someone has demonstrated a particular trait in the past, and then suggesting that their next course of action remains consistent with that label. For example, say, “Your company is cutting edge and cutting edge companies invest products like X.” This technique is tried and true and you’ll often see it used in marketing.
6. Use Social Proof
When people are unsure of which course of action to take or how to behave, they tend to assume that others around them are better informed, and will look to them for guidance. Psychologists call this Social Proof, and it is a powerful mode of persuasion.
If you’re trying to convince someone to hire you, mention that you have had interest from other potential employers. Or if you’re trying to sell an idea or product, highlight how the idea or product has been successful with other businesses. People will trust the decisions or behaviours of others and will be more likely to do the same.
7. Take it one step at a time
This is all about getting your foot in the door. If you’re pitching a proposal that’s a bit of a risk, if you throw it all on the table at once your potential employee or client is likely to say no to the whole lot. In order to build trust, you need to convince them one step at a time.
Try breaking down what you aim to achieve into small steps, and then gradually talking them into saying yes to each one – you’ll be more likely to persuade them into giving you what you want. This process can take time but remember small steps in the beginning can lead to big leaps in the future.
The Great Jim Rohn once said: “If you want more, you need to be more”. Something to think about.