The Anatomy of a Persuasive Offer

If you’re a professional salesperson, it’s in your best interests to become more persuasive.  The better able you are to convince people to take action based on your offerings, the more successful you’ll be financially.

However, developing the ability to craft and deliver a persuasive offer shouldn’t just be a priority for salespeople.  All of us will have to negotiate with others at some point in our lives – whether that occurs as part of a salary adjustment request, a car purchase decision or even smaller scale exchange in which both parties have the potential to benefit.

To learn how to handle these negotiations appropriately, it’s important that you learn how to develop a compelling offer that will persuade your contacts to close the deal with you.  Here’s how to do it:

A persuasive offer focuses on benefits

Features refer to a product or service’s characteristics, while benefits encompasses how these features will improve the user’s life.  As an example, if you were in the market for a new TV, a feature might be one model’s higher resolution, while the benefit of this feature is a clearer, more enjoyable viewing experience.

In general, when crafting your persuasive offer, be aware that people tend to respond more strongly to benefits than features.  Whenever possible, frame the effects of your proposal not in terms of “what” you’re offering, but by how your offering will improve your negotiating partner’s life in some measurable way.

A persuasive offer is delivered confidently

Of course, knowing the benefits that your offer provides isn’t enough.  If you want your negotiating partner to respond well to your stated benefits, you’ve got to deliver them in a way that he or she can get behind!

For this reason, it’s important to practice delivering your offers confidently before deploying them in the real world.  Try to put some excitement and a sense of reassurance into your voice, and make sure that your hands or body language aren’t betraying you with nervous ticks.  Controlling your physical and vocal nervousness will help to make your offer seem much more persuasive overall.

A persuasive offer is limited

When crafting your offer, keep the concept of “limited time only” in mind.  The most persuasive offers are those that come with some limitations – whether those limitations exist in terms of quantity or time available.  After all, do you really think people would sign up for time shares or “exclusive” membership programs if they weren’t so afraid of missing out on a good deal?!

If your negotiating situation doesn’t inherently include some type of limitation, find a way to introduce this concept.  As an example, if you’re negotiating for a new car purchase, make it clear to the salesperson that you intend to make a firm decision within a day or two.  Creating this narrow window provides an additional incentive for the salesperson to work with you, lest he lose out on your business entirely.

A persuasive offer avoids extra choices

Next up, when creating a persuasive offer, be aware that offering too many choices can confuse negotiating partners – making it less likely that you’ll reach a satisfactory conclusion.

It can be tempting to think that, by padding your offer with multiple options, you’ll be more likely to close one deal – even if it’s not based around the particular option you want most.  If you’re negotiating a job offer with a new company, for instance, you might decide to request a higher salary, or more vacation hours, or a larger sign-on bonus.

However, by failing to focus on a single priority, your offer becomes disjointed – and, therefore, less persuasive.  To combat the indecision that may occur within your negotiating partners, select a single priority and make it the basis of your entire offer instead.

A persuasive offer highlights your prospect’s pain points

Finally, when developing your offer, think about your prospect’s “pain points” – the specific things he’d like to avoid.  As humans, we tend to be more motivated by avoiding pain than by seeking rewards, so it’s a good idea to spend the time necessary to understand what exactly your negotiating partner stands to lose by not following through with your offer.

As an example, if you’re negotiating to buy a house that’s been on the market for a while, keep in mind that the seller is likely sick to death of preparing for frequent showings that never end on a positive note.  By offering a quick escrow period and a fast close, you may be able to get the seller to accept a lower offer in exchange for the resolution he’s been seeking for so long.

Obviously, the process of crafting and delivering a persuasive offer takes time to master.  However, by practicing frequently and incorporating the above elements into your proposals, you’ll soon be on your way to better resolutions for all your future negotiations.


4 thoughts on “The Anatomy of a Persuasive Offer

  1. Pingback: Persuasion is an Art: Master it! (Part 8) « EMD FX

  2. Pingback: The Science of Persuasive Marketing

  3. Bill Meirs

    Nice post. I appreciated the not offering too many choices. You would enjoy The Paradox of Choice if you haven’t read it.

  4. Mazen

    That’s true, “humans, we tend to be more motivated by avoiding pain than by seeking rewards”. Conversely, it’s not true for me as a buyer!

    My strategy is that I want to know what I will GAIN from buying something. That is the main factor for me. However, I agree with you that MOST people are usually motivated by avoiding pain.

    From my experience, this tendency is also industry specific. A person who is buying a lot on a graveyard is definitely not motivated by avoiding pain after death. Or are they?

    Now you know my buying strategy 🙂



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