Part 3 of Common Mistakes Old School Persuaders Make.
- The facts and studies show…
We can present all the facts, figures, studies and statistics; but it will not always convince your prospect/client. All decisions are comprised of part emotion, part logic. The skill is to know what parts to use. It depends on the situation and your prospect’s personality. The bottom line is, we make decisions with our subconscious mind and come up with the reasons why we did it later.
In the past, we did not know how our consumers thought, what persuaded them to buy, or take action. Most people in sales and marketing were shooting in the dark. We hoped or guessed what we were doing was working. Sure it worked some of the time, but I hope you are not happy with that success rate. Dr Damasio of Harvard University said more may have been learned about the brain and the mind in the last decade than during the entire previous history of psychology and neuroscience. Persuasion and influence is both an art and a science.
We are intrigued by reason, but we are moved by emotion. We use logic to justify our actions to others and ourselves. Take note that emotion will always win over logic and that imagination will always win over reality. Think about talking to children about their fear of the dark, or to someone about their phobia of snakes. You know it is useless to use logic to persuade them that their thoughts and actions don’t make sense. They are still convinced that there is a problem. In his book Triggers, Joseph Sugarman estimates that 95 percent of the reasoning behind a consumer’s purchase is associated with a subconscious decision. In other words, most buying is done for reasons a person hasn’t even fully formulated. Dr. Gregory Neidert estimates that our brains actually run on idle 90 to 95 percent of the time.
There are two paths to persuasion: the conscious and the subconscious. Both paths can persuade others to your way of thinking, but each path uses a very different means of processing information. In the conscious path, both you and your audience make an active or conscious attempt to understand, define, and process an argument. A person who is interested in your persuasive attempts will be highly motivated to listen. As such, she will also be able to consciously evaluate your message by carefully weighing the pros and cons of the evidence you present.
On the subconscious path, the listener spends little or no time processing the information. This approach results in those automatic triggers we previously talked about. These knee-jerk reactions happen when you follow your intuition or use a mental shortcut. Your mind reaches a decision without doing any logical processing. These subconscious decisions are largely driven by instinct and emotion. Individuals who spend lots of time on the subconscious path do so because they lack the time, motivation, desire, or ability to really listen to your message. They’re not really involved in the subject. They use their instinct or emotions instead of their intellect. Passive processing and automatic decision triggers rule their decision-making.
The key is knowing when to use which method. Successful application of all the principles I’ve outlined requires that you become skilled at quickly identifying which ones will be the most effective in which situations. In persuasion, your message has to focus on emotions, all the while maintaining a balance between logic and feelings. Logic and emotion are the two elements that make for perfect persuasion. We can be persuaded using only logic or only emotion, but the effect will be short-term and unbalanced. A master persuader will create a proper balance between logic and emotion in order to create the perfect persuasive message.
- I’m great at warming up my prospect – I can small talk with anyone
At times this can be a great skill, one that can win friends. We live in a different society today. Time is of the essence. You have to be prepared to get to the point. Most people don’t appreciate useless dribble drabble. Here is what the research is telling us. The majority of prospects do not appreciate unsolicited small talk, and many find it offensive. People buy from others who understand their wants and needs. This skill can be a great asset or a great liability. You need to read your prospect and understand when small talk is appropriate.
For many it is after the relationship has been established and they know you care and are sincere. You could be going down the wrong road asking about someone’s family and their interests before they who you are and what you represent. For some you can mix business with chitchat after you get to the point. You have heard it with the telemarketers – the first thing they say is, “Hi, how are you this evening?” And you are thinking, what do you care or you don’t really mean it. If the prospect wants the small talk, they will initiate it. Follow their lead.
Many persuaders don’t know how to maintain rapport throughout the entire persuasive situation. You see people in sales break the ice, build rapport for the first five minutes, and then launch into their presentation. All of a sudden, they get serious and change their demeanor. What is the prospect supposed to think? The person they have been talking to for the past five minutes has now changed. The two were getting along, having fun, and all of a sudden, without warning, the salesperson becomes serious and dives into a sales pitch. This breaks rapport and seems incongruent to the prospect. You both know why you are there and what the ultimate goal will be, so continue to build on that rapport.
The call to action is the most important part of your presentation. This is where your audience understands exactly what you want them to do. It is where you define yourself as a persuader instead of a presenter. This conclusion should not come as a shock to your audience. Throughout your presentation, you should gently lead them to the conclusion that you are going to present at the end. Prompt them so they end up wanting what you are going to propose anyway. You should prepare your audience for this conclusion before you even start on the rest of the presentation. Your entire presentation should be built around the call to action. In your preparation, make sure your conclusion is explicit and that the audience is not left on their own to make sense of and understand your message. You need to tell them what to believe; you draw the conclusion for them. Make the call to action easy for them to follow and simple for them to do. There should be no doubt in your prospects’ minds about exactly what you want them to do. When planning and preparing your call to action, remember that it should not be long and painful. Be short, brief, and to the point.
- Persistence is the key
Persistence is an incredible quality to have. Persistence is the number one reason why people are successful in life. It’s also the driving force that determines why certain people are wealthy. Their success is not due to financial backing or education. They owe their achievements to persistence. There’s an old sales adage: “Some will; some won’t. So what? Who’s next?” I want to focus on smart persistence. If you get lots of no’s, you might be wasting your time and the prospect’s time. There is a fine line between smart persistence and being a pain in the butt. You need to be able to sense when and where the best time to contact is, how to make contact, and if you should continue contacting your prospect. When you are doing it the right way, your customer will let you know they appreciate your correspondence. You can be persistent trying to break down the brick wall with your head, but there is a time and place for good, smart persistence.
Don’t make it a badge of honor counting up your rejections. Sure rejection is part of being a persuader. Let’s just keep it down to a manageable level. We know we can’t persuade all the people all the time. We should know when to walk away and find other prospects to spend time with. I could be in NYC handing out $100 bills to pedestrians and many would not take the bills. They would not have the time to think about it…there has to be a catch, etc.
Working harder is useless if the prospect doesn’t see a need for your product or service. Find your ability to read what they need and the best way to be persistent. Are they a qualified buyer? Persuaders contact prospects almost everyday and wonder why they don’t return their calls. The persuader feels they have a great potential buyer and they are interested and it is just a matter of time. They know the sell is inevitable. Then we contact the prospect to get the truth. This is what we find out: They have not had intentions of buying, they are sick of all the messages; they did not have a need, want, interest, or even the money to buy. But our faithful persistent persuader did not take no for an answer. Again persistence is a great trait, but let’s add the smart aspect to it.
Another important point is when you are contacting your prospect again, remember the emotion has left the building and you need to revisit why they were interested in the first place. Maybe they were going to think about it, but they probably have not had the time to think about it or to look at your beautiful literature. You have to recapture their interest and needs when you make the second contact. If they are no longer hot, then you have to restart the fire. If you do leave a message, make sure you give them a great and legitimate reason to call you back. Do you have more info? Has there been a product enhancement, has the pricing changed? Get them involved as much as possible.
Research suggests that the more you engage the five senses, the more effective and persuasive you’ll be. As a master persuader, your goal is to decrease the distance someone has to go to reach your objective. When you get a prospect to start something, it is most likely they will follow through and complete your desired outcome. The more involved they become, the less psychological distance between the start and the finish. The desired outcome becomes more and more realistic instead of just an idea you are proposing. If you put on your shoes to go to the store, you are more likely to continue in that direction. If you sit down and turn on the TV, your goal of going to the store is less likely to be reached.
If you are dealing with a stubborn person who absolutely will not change their mind about anything, don’t panic. There are reasons why this person is closed-minded and always says “no” to everything. They might not have a clear idea about what you are proposing, they may have been hurt in the past, they are afraid of being judged, or they may feel their ideas are not appreciated. Don’t take it personally; it will happen from time to time.
- I’ll figure it out on my own
This phrase has cost me millions of dollars. It was a great day when I realized that all the problems and obstacles I was having in life, or in persuasion, had already been solved or figured out by someone else. That means these people have answers! Poverty thinking is “I will figure it out on my own and take three years of time and countless money trying to reinvent the wheel.” The big challenge is that we cannot coach ourselves. We can’t see all our strengths and weakness, what we need to improve and work on. All great players have mentors and coaches. Look around you. Who can you talk to, who can you take to lunch, who can be your coach? We know getting the book is a great start and will teach you great things, but if it is true excellence that you’re going for, you need coaching. If you want to learn how to play basketball from reading a book, you would never achieve greatness on the court. You need to interact with the best. The best growth in my life has come from mentoring and coaching with the best.
You don’t have the time or resources to wait to figure it out on your own. It amazes me how many persuaders go down this road. Persuasion is not rocket science, but you do need to learn how to master your craft. In the past we would be able to get along, slowly learning, but times have changed. The train is picking up speed. We used to be able to play and miss the train and run and catch up if we were late. But the speed the world is moving at and the competition you are facing will not allow you to figure it out on your own. You can invest in yourself right now and find the best to teach you the skills or be on the long road to little income, few skills, and the inability to persuade. If you wanted to rebuild the engine in your car, learn how to fly, or rewire your house, would you just try to figure it out on your own?
Would you get the best book on learning how to fly and just hop in a plane and learn along the way? NO! Then don’t treat your career or your ability to persuade the same way. The answers are there, closer than you think. You would be surprised by how much people can help you succeed.
Pay the price to become a professional in your field. Don’t settle for mediocrity; become the best you can be at what you do. Who is the best in basketball? Right – Michael Jordan. He knew he could not become the best without daily practice of fundamental skills along with the addition of new skills. He also knew he could not excel without a team, and especially not without a coach. True excellence comes from knowledge, continuing education, and consistent practice.
This life is not a trial run or a dress rehearsal. There is no reset button, do-overs, or mulligans. This is it. We deserve and desire to be happy and truly successful and have an enjoyable life. We are here to be happy. You need to enjoy the journey of life and know what it takes to achieve success and happiness. Things will not change with hope and desire, although that is a great starting point. You need to take action. You need to have a plan and take control of your life. We have to find that winning edge that will propel us to the top and help us to things we know we are able to accomplish. Once we can get ourselves to do the right things, we can start working on success skills that make the difference. We can gain that winning edge which is the difference between top and average performers.
Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income. It is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships?
Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Do you see the power of this?
- How can you tell when you have pushed your prospect too hard?
- What can you do to increase the trust level between you and your prospect?
- List three ways in which you can increase the value of your product or service.
- List three things you can do to increase your persistence level.
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