7 Powerful Ways to Persuade

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By Dexter Lunde

One of the great equalizers in the business world is the ability to persuade a client or stranger to do something they know nothing about. While some people are naturally charismatic, if they don’t do the work (like research for example), they won’t be able to close the deal. The opposite is true as well. Someone may be a know-it-all but if he isn’t a people person, than that client is going to go with a different company.

So how do you do it? How do you persuade someone that you don’t know to do something? Check out this list of tips and tricks that will help you close that deal or at least give your company a second glance.

#1) The Science Behind Persuasion

There are six factors that researchers have been researching in terms of persuasion and what affective persuasion looks like: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus. These are 6 principles of persuasion that have been scientifically validated in studies. Luckily for us, most of these require internal modifications and are practical. They are all ethical (so you don’t have to worry about losing karma points in the office). Let’s talk in depth about them, shall we?

#2) Reciprocity (When People Feel Obligated)

A study was done in a restaurant where waiters either did or didn’t give their guests mints with the tip. The study showed that with those that give their guests mints had an increase of 3% when it came to their tips. Two mints increased their tip by 14%.

However, when the waiter specifically left by saying “here’s another mint for you because you were so pleasant” their tips increased by 23%. What should you take from this? It’s not necessarily what you give your clients but how you give it to them as well. Be the first to offer something and make sure that it is personalized.

#3) Scarcity (When People Want More Because There Is Less)

Sometimes you have to tell people what they may lose by not joining forces with you as well as what they can gain when they do join forces with you. Ease it into the conversation and don’t make it sound like a threat. Practice it in your office. Have other staffers listen to your tone. Remember that how you do something is just as important as what you do.

#4) Authority (When People Play “Follow the Leader”)

If you go to your doctor’s office or a therapist (or psychiatrist’s office), you will see plaques of their achievements on the wall behind their desk. So that when you sit in front of them as they are doing their initial consultation, you will see that they are an authority in their field.

Prove your credibility. If you prove that you are knowledgeable in your field, they will be more influenced by what you have to say.

#5) Consistency (When People Make a Small Commitment)

If you want to use this principle, you have to look for something that the client or subject is willing to voluntarily do (preferably actively and publicized). Try to get that in writing as well. If they will voluntarily do something for you, they will be more apt to do something else in the future.

#6) Liking (When People Just Adore You)

In this study, a group of MBA students were told “Time is Money” and when they were sent in to do a task, they came to a 55% consensus within their group. When a second group was told first share personal statements and find things that they had in common before they started negotiations, they were about to come up with a 90% consensus rate.

Why did this happen? Because we are more apt to agree with people that we like. So before you go to a meeting, do your research and find out if you have anything in common with your client. Then casually bring it up in conversation before you start negotiations.

#7) Consensus (When People Look at Your Actions)

A study was done in a hotel where two notes were left for guests. One asked guests to reuse towels and told them of the environmental benefits of doing that. The other note said to reuse towels because 74% of their guests do it already. What do you think happened?

30% of people who saw the first sign reused their towels while 33% of the people who saw the second sign reused their towels. Yes, it is a small change but one that can make the difference in the long run. This is why businessmen will often point to their current clients when trying to snag new ones – especially of those current clients are pretty prestigious.

Now it’s your turn. How do you practice persuasion in your office? What events or situations do you have to use persuasion at work? We want to hear from you! Share your opinions, thoughts, ideas, and questions with us in the comment section below.