The science of persuasion

Forget dictatorships, or command and control style approaches, persuasion has a lot more going for it when it comes to better sales, better relationships, better team work, better business outcomes and long term change in actions and behaviour.

The term persuasion is most commonly associated with sales people. And there’s a good reason for that. If we consider the Business Dictionary definition of persuasion — “process aimed at changing a person’s (or a group’s) attitude or behaviour toward some event, idea, object, or other person(s), by using written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination of them” — it is clear that selling has a lot of persuasion in it.

But persuasion is not just the purview of sales people — it is vital life skill.

We use persuasion in our daily interactions with others, often without even realising it. For example, when we want our boss to take on our new idea, or our children to eat those tricky foods, or get out of bed, we are persuading them to our point of view. How well we do it is another question.

Be it consciously or not, sales people are persuading prospects and clients to stop what they are doing now and do something different — whether that is paying attention to your valid business reason for calling, or taking on board your recommendations based on a thorough needs analysis client briefing, and so on.

However, like anything, persuasion can be used for good or evil. So it’s important to understand how persuasion works and to use it ethically in our selling and business endeavours.

In this video, Dr Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, experts in the science of persuasion, share the six things you can do to ethically persuade others:

Understanding what influences people’s behaviours, and working out the little things we can do that cost us nothing, can be vital keys to improving our sales and business careers.

How will you use the powers of persuasion to help you and your business sell better?

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

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