There are persuasion techniques you are using right now that cause people to resist you and your message. My research shows that there are four major (easy to fix) blunders many persuaders make that limit their success and income. Each blunder is like trying to drive in your car with the emergency brake on. You are wondering why your car never has much power or speed. These problems are simple to fix, but expensive to have.
Persuasion Blunder #1: Assuming Closing Skills Are the Magic Cure-All
Closing skills were the big thing 20 years ago. We were taught that closing skills were all you needed. If you did not persuade enough people, you had to learn more closing skills. Nowadays, sure, it’s nice to have a few closing skills in your persuasion toolbox, but shouldn’t you spend more time opening up your audience before you even think about closing a deal with them? In fact, great persuaders don’t even have to use closing techniques. That’s because their audience is ready to purchase before the end of the conversation has even been reached. You need to be able to connect with your audience, to be sincere and empathic, and to show them you have their best interests in mind. When dealing with a potential client, you should spend more time on connecting, building rapport, and uncovering needs and wants than gunning for a close.
Persuasion Blunder #2: They trust me.
Wrong. The studies show that most people do not trust you. The persuader may think and feel that s/he has developed trust, but when we talk to the customers/prospects, there is no trust on their end. The ability to gain and keep trust is a vital factor in persuading others. Research has shown, time and time again, that trust is always a contributing factor in the ability to persuade others. When a person trusts you, that trust alone can cause her/him to accept your message. On the flip side, if people don’t trust you, all the evidence, reasoning, facts or figures in the world won’t get them to budge.
Persuasion Blunder #3: Talking Too Much
Being an extrovert, having the gift of gab, or being able to make small talk with anyone you meet can definitely be used to your advantage, but watch yourself. How can you persuade if you are always talking? It will be very annoying to your audience if they sense that you like hearing yourself talk more than listening to their concerns. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Great persuaders listen more than they talk. In fact, great persuaders use their listening and questioning skills to get their audience to persuade themselves. It’s much better if your audience feels as if they have made the decision themselves, without perceived external influences. When you do have to talk, be succinct and to the point. A good rule of thumb is not to talk more than 30 percent of the time.
Persuasion Blunder #4: Focusing on price rather than building value
Many persuaders tend to focus on price rather than building value. When you are finished with your persuasive presentation, your prospects should think: That’s it? That’s inexpensive! What a great value! Even if they can’t afford it, they should be able to see the value in what you are offering. Discussing price arouses fear in many persuaders. As a result, it’s often where the sale begins to sink. Three things happen when you bring price into the persuasion process too early: 1) Prospects know it is a great way to get rid of you; 2) They can postpone making a decision; and 3) It is a knee-jerk reaction. You have not built the value of your product or service and hence, losing a prospect becomes probable. We often feel like lost sales come down to price. However, it’s not the price issue! It’s that your prospects don’t see your product or service’s true value. Only 6 percent of all purchases are based on price alone.
When we take an honest look at our persuasion methods, we often find that what we think we need to work on and what we actually need to work on are two different things. The truth is, even in our areas of strength, there is still always room for improvement. Success starts with learning and mastering the fundamentals. If you want to become a better persuader, first master the fundamentals. Know them inside and out and cultivate the ability to execute them flawlessly. Then, as you gain mastery over the basics, you can incrementally add new tools to your toolbox. Whatever skill you are focusing on at any particular time, always be a professional and strive to be the best at what you do.
Kurt Mortensen is the author of The Laws of Charisma: How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success (AMACOM). He is one of the world’s leading authorities on persuasion, motivation and influence with 20 years of experience as a highly sought after consultant, trainer, seminar leader, and speaker. He is also the author of Maximum Influence and Persuasion IQ.