We are all in sales -- every day. Not just when we are selling hotel rooms to our guests, but also when we are selling ideas to our vendors, our employees, our bankers, our public officials, and even our family members.
So how can you be more successful in selling your services and your ideas? The answer is to be more persuasive -- and here are seven tips for being really persuasive.
- Be Selective -- Most conversations are not about getting someone to do or to accept something, so choose when you need to advocate. Put simply, pick your battles.
- Listen, Then Listen Some More -- Articulating your position in a convincing way is only part of the process. You must also listen to your audience so you can determine how receptive people are to your ideas, what specific objections you must overcome, and when you can capitalize on consensus. You can’t persuade effectively if you don’t understand the other side of the discussion.
- Create A Connection -- People prefer to agree with individuals they like and with topics they are positively linked to emotionally. So be likeable and establish common ground -- for example, show empathy and state shared objectives. Make listeners feel as though you are on their side.
- Acknowledge Credibility -- Don’t dismiss the opinions of others outright. Rather, give full credit for opinions that have validity which will in turn make people more likely to give you equal respect and be open to the merits of your views.
- Offer Satisfaction -- You don’t have to win every battle to win the war. The easiest path to “yes” sometimes means yielding on points that are less important, while holding your ground on issues that truly matter. Choose to be successful in the big picture over being right on every point.
- Ask Questions & Know When To Be Quiet -- Wearing people down is not a successful strategy to persuade and sell. Instead, step back occasionally to assess the state of the discussion. For example, ask questions -- and at the right time, close the conversation by asking for consensus and resolution.
- Know When To Back Away -- Many discussions require an immediate decision, but being pressured with a time constraint is never the preferred way to persuade people. If you are dealing with urgent or emergency situations, it’s even more important that you respect the feelings of those with whom you are speaking and that you practice some of the tips above. When possible, give people time and space to absorb your ideas.
Whether you are selling products or ideas, you have to know how to handle rejection, but follow these tips and closing the deal will be at your fingertips.