How Using “Tie Downs” Can Make You A Persuasive Communicator

Have you ever spoken to someone in the past who was really drawn to what you were saying? Like you were just talking and they couldn’t help but to keep nodding their head and saying words like “yeah”, “uh-huh”, “then what happened”. When you are getting eager reactions such as those from your listeners, doesn’t that give you some kind of signal that what you are saying is very interesting or compelling? Well what about the opposite? Your talking and your listener gives you little or nothing to work with. Especially if you are trying to sell this person on some kind of idea or product, and all they are doing is looking your straight in the eye with no expression. Has that ever happened to you?

Energy and Enthusiasm

Besides the technique I am about to teach you, having energy and enthusiasm when you speak makes a world of difference. Many times, it’s not what you say but how you say it. This is hard to convey through text, but let’s say you are telling someone about a party.

“Hey man, there’s a party this weekend, you should come…”


“Hey man! There’s this awesome party this weekend! You gotta be there!!”

Practically the same words but said differently can be the difference to whether that person comes to the part or not. Now to take your communication to the next level.

Tie Downs

Tie downs are small phrases or brief sentences you use after you say something that gives opportunities of interaction to your listener.

“Hey man! There’s this awesome party this weekend! You gotta be there!!” You love parties don’t you!?

Now when I added a tie down to this sentence, not only do you gain interaction from your listener, but the tie down you use specifically correlates with what you just said.  This is actually done on purpose.  The agreement can be in the form of a verbal response (“yes”, “of course”, “sure”), a head nod, or even attentive silence.

In a sales scenario:

“Bud, this tie looks great with your suit. It shows the type of professionalism that’s required to be successful in a job like yours. You want to look professional, don’t you?”

So if the client says “no”, they are saying “no” to looking professional. This is why they will most likely say “yes” to the question. By saying “yes” to this question, they are also assumed to purchase the product.  The best part about this is that it gives you the leverage to handle their objection if they say “no” to your close.

Client: “no, I don’t want it…”

You: “Bud, professionalism in your job is what helps in your success, isn’t it?

Client: “Yes”

You: “Well, that’s exactly why you need to get this tie. Let me ring you up. Did you want to do cash or credit.”

Implanting an Embedded Command

Tie downs are also a way to focus attention on the question form of your statements instead of the embedded commands the statements contain.

“You can see the power of this, can’t you?”

It leaves the listener caught trying to answer the question while the suggestion/command ‘see the power’ slips into the subconscious.

A Less Aggressive Approach

Here is an example given to me by one of my readers (Andrew):
If our company could save you $300 per year on your domestic budget, how do you think that you would spend it?

Tie Downs for Bloggers

Since many of you are bloggers or people becoming bloggers, I figured I should show you the power of tie downs in Blogs. As I stated before, tie downs do not necessarily have to mean a verbal “yes”, in fact it can just be something one says internally. When you want to draw someone into a conversation, you ask them a question or something that allows them to participate.

Many bloggers naturally use questions toward the end of their blog when asking for their readers opinion on what they just wrote about or something along the lines to that. However, if they started using tie downs throughout their post, they would get more user interaction. Something as simple as a statement followed by a tied down throughout your post can help do this.

Have you ever read a long run-on statement that lost your attention? Sometimes even the best blog posts can be slightly modified with a few tie downs and make a world of difference. Tie downs give the reader subconscious cues to be ‘involved’. With the feeling of involvement comes participation. With participation, you will get more action on your blog. Whether it be products or services your selling or just getting people to click your ads, the more tie downs you use, the more active users you will begin to notice.

26 thoughts on “How Using “Tie Downs” Can Make You A Persuasive Communicator

  1. tom

    I noticed this in me too, when i talk to someone and either I don’t want to talk to them or I am not interested, I just whip out the oh yeah, really, uh huh, thats cool.

    I think at least for me, I prefer to do it this way then directly telling the person to shut up or to stop talking, and to avoid confrontation also.

  2. JMom

    Great article. I’m guilty of being passive and uninvolved both in my conversation and writing. These are great tips to keep in mind.

    I am now following you on twitter and retweeted this post.

  3. Ray

    It’s not all blue skies. Unless used deftly this kind of communication can come across as pushy and manipulative.

    1. AJ Kumar Post author

      It’s not pushy nor manipulative. It all depends on how you plan on using it. Being persuasive is like anything else, meaning it can be used in a positive way or a negative and deceitful way.

  4. Simon - presentations training

    I’m with Ray here – unless this technique is used so well that I don’t notice it (yeah, right!) all it does is make me laugh at the way the other person is trying to manipulate me… unless I’m less tolerant for some reason, in which case it makes me ANNOYED that the other person is trying to manipulate me! 🙂

    I’m not saying it doesn’t work, just that it has to be done so very, very well to work that I’d classify it as a “high risk” persuation tactic.


    1. AJ Kumar Post author

      I disagree with you Simon because MOST people have no clue you are using persuasion on them. Also, it comes down to 1. practicing persuasion so as it comes across as second nature and 2. using it sincerely to help someone.

      With this particular persuasive technique, the goal for the tie downs are only to create interaction between 2 people.

      1. Ray

        It depends on the scenario. If you’re trying to get your friend to go to a party, they won’t have a clue. But in a sales scenario many people have their guard up from years of advertising with the message “This will make you sexy!” Please.

        You are probably very good at this and it isn’t noticed but a less gifted newbie is at higher risk of causing annoyance. As such, these tactics should come with a health warning.

        1. AJ Kumar Post author


          the example I gave was pretty aggressive, I do not doubt that. However, even though a few people might be repelled, being aggressive is required to make a lot of sales. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean being rude, because there is a huge difference between the two.

          And also, you do make a very valid point on “depends on the scenario”. It’s one of those things where it SHOULD be like common sense to understand if your prospect is getting annoyed or not. Also, an important factor that comes into play is your level of rapport with the person.

          Tie downs are must to sell. Selling is asking questions. Selling isn’t telling.

  5. Lars

    Don’t you think you risk alienating people when you use those weasel questions? I know they ping my radar very quickly and my first response is to say “f*** you” to whoever is using them on me, usually some sales dude, or occasionally my wife…

    1. AJ Kumar Post author

      Alienating people with weasel questions? Of course not! The whole point of using tie-downs is to create interaction with 2 people. You unknowingly use it with friends all the time. I can understand you getting mad and that’s probably because the person your talking to is completely out of rapport with you.

      And especially in your case, when your wife’s arguing with you 😉

  6. Andrew

    AJ Kumar,

    I can certainly see the value of eliciting the involvement of prospects during the sales process. Indeed, as Dale Carnegie so rightly points out, the goal should not be for you to persuade your prospect, but rather for your prospect to persuade themselves, a process which cannot happen unless they are actively engaged in the conversation.

    That said, with respect, I can certainly see the point raised by Ray, Simon and Lars, and I would think that some prospect may be put off by the line of questioning which you suggest. How about some more open lines of questioning? Perhaps (and this is just off the top of my head) ‘if our company could save you $300 per year on your domestic budget, how do you think that you would spend it?

    1. AJ Kumar Post author

      Hi Andrew, you gave me a good example! I put it on the post :D.

      “a process which cannot happen unless they are actively engaged in the conversation.” Right I totally agree that your prospect has to “sell them self”. If the prospect you speak to does not talk back or engage in that conversation with you, what do you do? You ask questions of course. Tie downs are as you already know are just mini questions. They are also used to close the prospect on whatever deal.

      I know people hate the whole “close” thing but that is the reality of sales. You need to close your prospect on whatever product/service your selling.

      Qualify. Present. Close.

  7. BC

    “Tie downs are like small phrases…” or “Tie downs are small phrases…”? I quit reading after hitting that cerebral speed bump.

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  10. lizzy


    i dont care what anyone says tie downs and embeded commands is a must and always works, if a prospect puts the phone down on you it clearly means they were a stroker from the start, i am a junior broker and have been using tie downs and embeded commands for last few months as i am quite new to it, however i must say its creating a level of sucess for me, EX you do have a pen and paper there at hand..dont you? or would u need me to hold?

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