Persuasive People
Leonardo DiCaprio - Wolf of Wallstreet

Life can be really difficult if you don’t know how to influence others. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or professional, your success depends mostly on your ability to get others to do what you want. Unfortunately, many people think that being persuasive is something that only certain people can do.

Because of this, they find themselves in a position where it’s almost impossible to move forward. It’s like they hit a gigantic roadblock and they have no idea how to get around it. We’ve all been there.

If you’re a salesperson or an entrepreneur, you have probably had trouble convincing prospects to become customers. Perhaps you’re a manager who needs to motivate your team to perform better.

Here are the five steps that persuasive people do to get others to do what they want:

1. Encourage others to talk

Contrary to what many think, being persuasive isn’t about being able to make your case effectively. It’s a common mistake. People rush right into telling the prospect why they need to buy into their product, service, or idea.

When you insist on pushing your ideas on your prospect without any concern for their needs or opinions, it will make them less likely to accept what you’re saying. In his book “How To Win Friends And Influence People,” Dale Carnegie says that a key factor in moving others is listening intently to what they have to say.

Here’s why:

  • Showing genuine interest in the other person makes them more likely to open up to you. This will help you understand how your idea will benefit them.
  • The more people talk to you, the more they will trust you. This is important when trying to influence someone.
  • Letting the other person talk is a great way to build rapport and establish a relationship.

The best way to get someone to talk more is to ask more open-ended questions than close-ended questions. Close-ended questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” An open-ended question invites a more detailed answer.

Here’s an example:

  • Close-ended question: Do you like your current cell phone plan?
  • Open-ended question: What do you like about your current cell phone plan?

See the difference? You can get a much more informative answer by using open-ended questions. The more open-ended your questions are, the more your prospect will tell you.

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah Winfrey

2. Make others feel important

Everyone wants to feel important right? Of course we do. This means that making people feel important is a great way to get them to like and trust you, which is important when trying to influence others. If you can show the other person that they are important, they are far more likely to be persuaded.

Here’s a few simple ways you can make the people around you feel important:

  • Gratitude: Be sure to let your prospects know that you appreciate them.
  • Genuine interest: The more interested you are in the other person, the more important they will feel.
  • Provide value: Find ways to make the other person’s life easier.

These three things are pretty easy, and yet they are powerful. They show the people around you how much they matter to you. Showing them how much they matter will instantly make you far more persuasive.


3. Show passion

Passion is important. Why? Because emotion is one of the primary contributors to the reason we make the decisions we make. Yes, it’s easy to believe the myth that most people base their decisions on rational logic. I know it sounds crazy, but it isn’t true. People act on emotion more than logic. This is where your passion comes in.

Showing your passion about the subject you’re discussing will make you more persuasive. Expressing your ideas with conviction will cause others to share your conviction. After all, nobody will buy an offering that you don’t believe in, right?

Emotions are contagious. The more passion you show, the more your prospects will feel it. They will be far more likely to be influenced by you.


4. Effective positioning

The way you begin your conversation will have a deep impact on how the rest of the interaction will go. If you’re going to influence another person, you need to position yourself effectively. You have to open up the conversation in a way that makes you more persuasive.

Here’s some pointers on effective positioning:

  • Benefit: What is the benefit you intend to provide to your prospect?
  • Evidence: How can you prove that your solution will provide this benefit?
  • Positive expectations: Are the expectations you’re setting realistic?

When you’re talking about the benefit, you need to think about the main benefit the prospect will get if they accept your offer. The evidence needs to be something that will build confidence in your prospect. It could be statistics on how your offer does what you say it will do. You could also tell stories about how your offer has worked in the past.

Make sure that the expectations you set for the prospect are high, but realistic. Don’t promise the moon unless you can deliver the moon!


5. Invest in others

This goes hand in hand with positioning. You have to make yourself as valuable to others as you can. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.” The more willing you are to help people get what they want, the more likely they will be to accept what you’re proposing.

Here’s some ways to become more valuable:

  • Use your expertise to give them helpful advice.
  • If you have connections, see if you can use them to help your prospects get where they want to be. Perhaps there are some doors you can open for your prospects!
  • Give encouragement when it’s needed. Don’t underestimate this one. A positive, encouraging word can be pretty powerful.

The idea is to find as many ways to be helpful as you can. Remember, when you’re influencing others, it’s all about them, not about you.

“Invest in the success of others.” – Albert Einstein 

Contrary to popular belief, persuasion is not something you have to be born with. It’s a skill like any other; it has to be learned and developed over time.

Persuasive people do the 5 things listed in this article, and they do it regularly. If you start practicing these principles today, you will see how much easier it will become to move others.

Which habit is your weakness? How do you plan on strengthening it? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!


  1. You said that “persuasive people do the 7 things listed in this article” however, only 5 are listed. None the less I got the 5 and working on the approach. It is striking conversations that I need to work on.

  2. Great article! “Showing genuine interest in the other person makes them more likely to open up to you.” This is not usually on our solution list when we are trying to influence others. It makes perfect sense. If we listen more, we start to understand what motivates others to take certain actions and we now have the opportunity to speak their language. Thanks for sharing!

    • Charlene,

      Thanks for the comment! You’re absolutely right. We usually make the mistake of being more concerned about our own wants and interests. It’s a rookie mistake. You can’t influence others if you’re only concerned about getting your way. Instead, we need to focus on what the other person needs and wants. It’s only after we focus on the other person that we can actually get what we want.


  3. Wonderful article with great insights, author also put open-ended question at the end of this article, and truly I am influenced by this post. Thanks Jeff

    • Hello Subhan,

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      I’ve always believed in using more open-ended questions. They create a much better conversation than close-ended questions.


  4. Jeff,

    Fantastic article bro. You hit on some points I would not have necessarily considered when being persuasive!

    Like Ben Franklin said, “If you are to persuade, use incentive not logic.”

    I would say I need to work on positioning a bit, although after reading a good amount of Peter Drucker, Sam Walton, and other business leaders I’d say it’s more important to start with the strengths and work on improving those. Why build weak points up to average when you could sharpen good to great? (Jim Collins)

    In that case, I am pretty good and making others feel good, motivating and investing in other people to improve what they’ve got going on. I love being a catalyst to other people’s movements while I build up my own as well.

    Keep up the good content!

    – Evan

    • Hello Evan,

      It is important to work more on your strengths than your weaknesses. However, I’m not so sure that you’re as weak at positioning as you may think…

      Here’s what you wrote about yourself:

      “In that case, I am pretty good and making others feel good, motivating and investing in other people to improve what they’ve got going on. I love being a catalyst to other people’s movements while I build up my own as well.”

      It may need some work, but I think that’s a GREAT positioning statement.

      What if you said something like:

      “I help motivate and inspire people to improve and build their own movements.”

      Since I don’t know exactly what you do, I’m sure you could come up with a better way to say it. But as long as you’re telling your prospect how you can benefit them and why they should believe it, you are positioning yourself well. Let me know if you need more help on this!

      Thanks for your comment!



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