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The power of persuasion - five useful techniques

Every sales exchange requires a level of persuasion.

It either involves persuading someone to make a change from a product or service they already know or convincing them to take a chance on something they’ve never tried before. As creatures of habit, both put us out of our comfort zone.

Whether it’s something as simple as switching from one brand to another for your tea bags, a new phone contract or a new holiday destination, we will naturally need to be persuaded to divert from our ‘normal’.

Understanding who your audience is and what they want is essential to creating any persuasive argument. Without understanding what it is that drives your audience, you will not be able to provide insight that assures them you have what they want and need.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite persuasive techniques, tried and tested approaches that have proven their worth in many sales conversations.

1. Prioritise the prospect's motivations

It is important to demonstrate your understanding of your prospects pain points and empower them by presenting key elements of your proposition that directly address their needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the most widely acknowledged theories of motivation, underpinning the basic structure for which most people will go about fulfilling their needs. By prioritising your prospective buyer’s motivations you will instil trust in your product or service as a solution.

2. Transparency gains trust 

Recognising competitors’ offerings will reinforce the idea of transparency. Demonstrating confidence by highlighting other businesses that offer a similar product or service will make your audience trust that you believe in what you’re offering. Gaining respect from your prospective buyer is imperative to persuading them.

3. Testimonials - the social element of selling 

We naturally trust an independent review of a product or service more than a supplier’s pitch, as it is objective and based on real experience. Testimonials from existing customers in the same sector as your prospect are a powerful way to reinforce and clearly demonstrate the value of your product or service. Robert Cialdini, a leading expert in the science behind persuasion and influence, suggests this is one of the most effective persuasive techniques there is.

4. Scarcity and exclusivity 

This is another of Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion. The principle of scarcity is based on the fact that our desire to possess something increases when it is thought that there is limited availability. Believing a product or service is in high demand makes it more desirable and is known to encourage uptake. This can be used in various ways in a sales scenario, for example emphasising the need for a prompt purchase decision as stock is limited or securing a meeting by highlighting limited availability of key personnel that offer valuable insight to the prospect.

5. “The Power of Three

Studies have shown that three is a more persuasive number than four if, for example, you are citing reasons to buy or listing the benefits of a product. It is thought that four claims is one too many and creates scepticism in your prospective buyer. There is also a belief that a prospect can be overwhelmed when given too much information or too much choice so in terms of persuasion, less is often more.

Of all these techniques, we really believe that leading with your prospect’s motivations should always be No 1. A customer-centric approach that focuses on your buyer's needs is essential if you are to stand any chance of formulating a persuasive case for purchase. As we highlighted in a recent blog, listening to understand and clarify the challenges and needs of your prospect not only enables you to tailor a proposition that truly addresses those needs, it creates a genuine, human connection and bond.
 
Our sales agents are expert at understanding the needs, pain points and challenges of each prospect and using persuasive skills honed on hundreds of client campaigns to present compelling offers that address those needs. If you’d like to discuss how our persuasive skills can add value to your sales conversations, get in touch.

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