Everyone wants it their way.
You have been trying to persuade people since you were a baby: crying, smiling, banging your hands on the table. Primitive to be sure — but effective. Babies tend to get their way.
So do little kids. Remember going to the supermarket with your mom and begging for that candy bar? THAT was persuasion. Remember high school dating? THAT was persuasion.
But now that you have business cards, some of the tenacity associated with your persuasion skills is missing.
Fear not. Although you may have to call on a different set of skills (no more crying or throwing a fit), you have the natural ability to persuade. All you have to do is uncover it and practice.
Persuasion takes many forms. You might want others to see your point of view, agree with your ideas or take action. Persuasion is a skill…a science. And it can be learned and mastered in a way that isn’t offensive.
Persuasion is not just a selling skill. Persuasion is a life skill. To master it, you may have to change the way you think and interact with others. That includes everything from what you wear to what your body says. Everything from hand gestures to the spoken word.
Look at the way others persuade you. When you’re asked to do things, why do you do them? What better way to learn persuasion than by seeing yourself being persuaded? Especially when you take action and love the result.
What trips your trigger? Fear? Vanity? Greed?
The key to persuasion is to make sure the person you want to persuade feels great about “seeing it” or “doing it” your way. In order to accomplish this, there has to be an understanding of “how” to best persuade.
How do you persuade others? The easiest answer is: get people to persuade themselves. This is done best by asking questions. To understand how this works, here are a few more “What is persuasion?” answers:
Persuasion is a science. You can learn to persuade. You can learn the best ways to persuade in each given situation of your life, your business life and your sales life.
Persuasion is an art. You never cross the line to “pushy.” You show reserve and poise. In short: be cool.
Persuasion is compromise. Often there is some give-and-take in order to get to your “win.”
Persuasion is excellent communication skills. It’s the way you put your words together…the way you say them. It’s in your expressions AND expressiveness. These elements make or break persuasion.
Persuasion is excellent questioning skills. It’s getting the other person to see your perspective by answering your questions. Ask: “Why do you think this happened?” or “What made that happen?” Don’t tell: “This is why that happened.” A subtle, but powerful difference.
Persuasion is excellent listening skills. Listening is one of the most difficult elements of persuasion because it requires patience. The two-word secret of patience and listening is NOT “shut up” — it’s “take notes.” Taking notes shows respect — and eliminates miscommunication.
Persuasion is asking questions to clarify the situation. Asking for elaboration and understanding (WHY) will lead you to harmony. That harmony will permit open-minded dialogue.
Persuasion is getting the other guy to convince himself. If you question, listen, write it down and question for clarification — your answers and your point of view will become obvious.
Persuasion is preparation. You have to gather the right information, create the right questions, uncover the right hot buttons — and act on them.
Persuasion is an outcome. The secret of persuasion’s happy outcome is two words: manipulation free. Manipulated persuasion is short-lived. True persuasion exists when it lasts beyond the moment.
Persuasion is a victory. It’s not just your victory because you got your way. It’s persuading with harmony, so everyone feels great. You get your way without the other person feeling like he or she “lost.”
“And did it my way!” is NOT how the song “My Way” should have ended. If Frank and Elvis were masters of persuasion, they would have sung: “And did it my way, and everyone agreed with me!”
GitBit: Why not learn “more ways” of getting others to see it “your way”? If you want the positive side of persuasion, I’ve got a few more tips. Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time user — and enter PERSUADE in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail