4 Unorthodox Persuasion Techniques You Can Test in Your Next Sales Conversation

Academics have been quite diligent in creating, proving and disproving hypotheses on how to persuade people. Actually, the resources invested in some of these studies are incredibly high. Why is so much attention given to this field and who funds this? The answer is simple. Big Business. Corporations want to know how to sell more and how to sell more FASTER. Persuading people is one of the rare fields that have gathered both academics and corporations alike. With that said, here are some unorthodox techniques, tested and proven:

  1. How to make sure your prospect does not change an opinion you agree with

When a prospect says something you agree with, you can strengthen that opinion by saying something along the lines of, “I see that you have really thought about your company’s needs.” Such a statement will prompt the prospect to agree and will thereby strengthen their belief even more. This is a great tactic to make sure the prospect does not change their mind – perceiving that more thought has taken place leads to greater attitude certainty… or to put it like this: if you lead a person to think that they have thought about something a lot before reaching an opinion, they are more likely to stick to that opinion. The research goes both ways — if you can get a person to doubt the time and energy they have dedicated to forming a belief, they are more likely to change it.

  1. Bring up any counter-arguments yourself

It goes without saying that you should be well prepared for a sales conversation. You must be ready to counter any argument your prospect might think of. Even better — you mention them yourself first before they get the chance to. Then, quickly counter them. By wrapping up the most delicate part of the conversation yourself, the rest is pretty easy. A study conducted on over 20,000 participants has shown that a two-sided argument is more convincing than a one-sided one. Probably because everyone expects there are two sides to any story. So, if they are presented with just one side, they will think you are hiding something.  However, if you do the whole work yourself, telling everything as it is from the start, you will come across as credible and honest. And your explanation will be more effective than if you had waited for them to ask.

  1. Align with the way your prospects think

Take a moment to observe how your prospect thinks. Are they using emotions or logic? Do the same! If your prospect is reluctant to join your company because of emotional attachments to their current company, highlight how much your company cares about it’s clients. Mention that your relationships with clients are based on trust and respect. Explain to them that you will provide full support to make the transition as smooth as possible.

On the other hand, if the argument for hesitating to join you is logic-based, counter their argument with another logical argument. For example, your prospect might say that their current XX company’s product has helped them reach a 10% increase in sales. You reply by showing the success in sales your product has helped generate for your clients.

  1. Make it simple

The rule of thumb when explaining something (be it quantum physics or how to poach an egg), is: make it simple. Do not complicate, do not use jargon or industry buzzwords if you are not 100% sure the person will understand them. It is all good and well that you like hearing how you sound, but you are not the one buying the product, are you?

Here is a clear indicator that you are losing your prospect: look into their eyes. Do you see in them that glow of understanding? Or does your prospect look confused and insecure? If it is the latter, go back and explain it all again. No matter how convinced you are of your arguments, it will not mean a thing if your prospect does not understand you. They cannot base a decision solely on your enthusiasm, right?

The explanation behind the “make your argument simple as possible” thesis lies in the term cognitive fluency, i.e. people like things that are easy to think about. This might not come across as something new but you would be amazed by how far the influence of this concept extends.

Indeed, the effect of cognitive fluency prevails in numerous spheres. For example, studies have shown that shares of companies with names that are easy to pronounce do better than the shares of companies with more difficult names! Also, when showing participants a statement, just using a clearer font or making the statement rhyme will significantly contribute to its perceived truthfulness. Yes, we trust more if things rhyme. How silly is that?

Implications of these findings go further than you can imagine, not just in getting people to buy a product, but also in politics, education or choosing the opposite sex. Those who know how to use cognitive fluency can manipulate emotions such as doubt or attraction.

The level to which we have understood how people think and make decisions impresses me. The boundaries of human knowledge are expanding every day and with them, so does the human power. This is somewhat intimidating to think about. Persuasion tactics are a tool. They can be used for a good or bad cause. The choice is yours… Be wise.

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