Use positive persuasion to meet your organization’s goals
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
When trying to land a new client, close a sale, or win approval for a new project, selling your idea factually is, of course, your first priority. Yet, you also know it's crucial never to lose focus of the human element of connection — finding just the right way to convince the person in front of you that doing business with you will be beneficial, and will be a pleasure as well.
This is where mastering the skill of positive persuasion comes in.
If you can sell your idea through the correct emotional delivery, a clear communicative style, a conducive environment, and real client concern, you can seal any deal. Use the following science-proven strategies to sharpen your skills, and expand your company's portfolio:
Don't be too enthusiastic.
A study earlier this year from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University found that using strong emotion to persuade your client to buy into your idea may backfire unintentionally.
The researchers discovered that if you're obviously excited about the product or premise you're presenting, people automatically tend to be skeptical that your excitement is authentic (even if it is). Subjects in the study were more receptive to a less emotional sales pitch.
Your best approach: smile and speak in a friendly tone as you describe what you're proposing, but watch your body language. Avoid big hand gestures, a loud "selling" voice, or any attempts at physical familiarity like patting your potential client on the back as you interact.
Break up your speech.
University of Michigan researchers reported that engaging in frequent short pauses as you present your idea is most likely to have a positive, persuasive effect on your listener. The researchers' study subjects perceived people who spoke quickly without breaks as less trustworthy, and doubted the merits of their position.
Keep in mind that when we speak naturally, in a nonstressful situation, we tend to pause four to five times per minute. To make sure you're comfortable doing this, record yourself practicing your presentation, note where your speech pattern is too fast, and allow yourself those natural pauses.
The more you run through your presentation in a relaxed setting, the more effortless your pauses will feel — and that will translate when you present to your potential client.
Present your idea in a room with a high ceiling.
A surprising study from the University of Minnesota's Carlin School of Business found that listening to a pitch in an area with significant ceiling height or a vaulted ceiling subconsciously causes us to feel a sense of freedom.
This, in turn, makes us think more expansively about the benefits and possibilities of any given idea, so we feel more positive about pursuing it.
In a low-ceiling room? Study subjects reported feeling more confined, and were more likely to restrict themselves to focusing solely on the granular specifics of the idea, not its full potential.
Take off your jewelry.
Another new study from the University of Michigan has found that wearing "bling" or obvious status symbol clothing tends to make a bad first impression on a new peer, and ultimately, makes it more difficult to feel friendly toward you, which probably won't win that person over regarding your idea.
Dress neatly and professionally, but avoid any flashy accessories to ensure your potential client doesn't feel intimidated in any way.
Check in as you go.
As your presentation unfolds, ask your client what he or she thinks during key points. Watch for any signs of confusion or displeasure on their faces, and state directly, "I see you look a little dubious. How can I make that point more clearly? What else do you need to know?"
This strategy is very helpful, because it shows your willingness to work with your client and incorporate his/her ideas on the spot — plus your concern is both disarming and appealingly honest.
Conveying that you truly care about meeting your clients' needs is the best way to persuade them to work with you — and that your project will succeed in the long run.
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