As a business owner, I am sure you frequently encounter people who solicit you in order to sell you their services. For instance, the other day the phone rang and someone, who identified herself, only as “Ann,” launched into a monologue about how her digital marketing company would “achieve outstanding outcomes” for my business. She promised that she would bring in new clients. Ann boasted that her company had already “achieved outstanding outcomes” for her current clients.
But, here’s what Ann didn’t tell me: Her last name; her position with the company; how the company achieves “outstanding outcomes;” how her company proposes to do the same for the Language Lab. In fact, what she really wanted was to tell me next to nothing! The whole purpose of her call was just to set up a meeting with one of her “excellent marketing analysts,” as soon as possible.
Ann was more dissuasive than persuasive! It’s the reason I decided that today, on the Language Lab blog, I’d focus on some of the techniques Ann could have and should have used.
Ten Techniques of Highly Persuasive Communicators
1. Be Friendly: To persuade someone to consider your services, you need to create a mindset that’s conducive to congenial conversation. And you do that by being friendly, not pushy and evasive.
2. Be Professional: Establish your credentials and the credentials of the company, for whom you work.
3. Be Transparent: Be clear about what your role is, and what you hope to achieve, i.e. your goal.
4. Be Inquisitive: If the person, with whom you are talking, is open to hearing what you have to say, use that openness to find out more about the person, and her or his needs.
5. Be Prepared: Being inquisitive does not mean figuring out, on the fly, who your audience is. At the very least, you need to know to whom you are speaking, and what that person’s role is.
6. Be Sensitive: Try and sense whether or not the person is receptive. If, for example, someone tells you he/she has to run to a meeting, believe the person. You can offer to email her/him materials, or to find out if there is a better time to call back.
7. Be Informed: Back up your statements with evidence. If you claim your company achieves “outstanding outcomes,” provide evidence that substantiates those outcomes.
8. Be Valuable: Offer something that has tangible value for the prospective client. For example: Offer a cost saving, a revenue improvement, or a greater social media profile. Whatever that value is, it lies in quantitative, not qualitative solutions to problems.
9. Be Evocative: People respond to stories and to imagery. Paint a picture with your words; don’t bombard with statistics. Statistics are essential when demonstrating quantitative value. Statistics alone will not persuade someone to listen to what you have to say.
10. Be Human: In the end, you are one person trying to persuade another person, or a group of people, to do something. You do that through honesty, warmth, sincerity, and by creating some kind of human connection.
I should note that I did, in fact, let Ann book a meeting with one of her marketing analysts, for me. I decided I wanted to let the marketing analyst know how frustrating the first point of contact with his company — Ann — turned out to be. And you know, I may also send this blog post to Ann, herself. Perhaps, it will persuade her to rethink her approach.
To hone your persuasive and powerful communication skills, enrol in one of our business writing courses at The Language Lab.