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Persuasiveness in Business/Sales

Claudia Miclaus
Persuasiveness can be learned, and it often goes hand-in-hand with experience. See some practical ways to improve your influence, thus, getting more effective results in sales.
Who wouldn't like to influence for his own benefit the situation he/she is in? Especially in business and negotiating, this is a very important issue and requires certain skills and experience.
Situations that necessitate others involvement in them have the potential to be frustrating when the people implicated are not cooperating as expected or are not cooperating at all. Practically we all have been in such a situation where the finality of our task depended on other party's involvement, a party that proved itself to be difficult to work with.
In selling also, these situations are an everyday challenge, trying to communicate and persuade your prospects. The better communicator you are, the better results you achieve in persuasion. Right, but let's see several components of a persuasive communication.

1. Feedback

The information you give through your presentation must be properly understood by your client in order to lead to the point you want, that's why don't miss the subtle feedback like a nodding head or a frown, or an effort to say something, because they represent signals for you. If you don't see the signals, the communication can be incomplete and flawed.
However, many times the prospect is not willing to voluntarily give feedback, that's why it should be sought openly using strategic questions. So, interpose questions into your presentations, questions that involve the customer and determine him to give an answer, thus stimulating feedback.
For instance questions like the ones shown below can help you gather information and reveal the customer's need, probing in the same time: "Are you happy with the service you are now provided? Do you think you are paying too much for the service you have now?"
These questions are intended to draw negative responses regarding the relation with the present supplier. Of course you have to carefully use these questions so as not to sound like you want to destroy the goodwill or the reputation of the customer's present supplier.
Therefore using questions after discussing a benefit is a very good way of obtaining feedback.

2. Empathy

Put yourself in the prospect's shoes. As Alan A. Vengel, who has been teaching the subtle art of influence for over 20 years, says in his book 'The Influence Edge', "To succeed in any influence situation, be aware that there are always two critical components: your own goal and the other person's situation.
Know exactly what you need and what the other person must do to ensure a positive outcome. Then, get into the mindset of the other person. What's important to them? What challenges do they face?"
Empathy is assuring your prospect that you want to know his needs and wants, and you are not only present and focused on selling your product at all costs. So 'Tell me your problems so I can help you' is the idea you need to transmit; it is always wise to adopt the customer's point of view to meet his need the best way.
Tell him using the 'language' he understands, evincing thus the genuine interest for the client's situation and your sincerity in offering the proper and best solution for his condition.

3. Keep it Simple

Don't overwhelm your customers with information. Use words and materials that are easily understood by your client. Use suitable language for each customer.
For instance, you will be able to tell other technical details to the mechanic that wants to buy a car from you, technical details that will not be relevant for an English teacher who doesn't know all the mechanical terms.
Therefore a experienced sales person will make his prospects feel comfortable with a new product or complex technology by using a language without difficult technical data and terms to embarrass the buyer; instead he will have a respectful attitude and present the information in a nontechnical way.

4. Listen! Listen! Listen!

This is an important key to success in all areas of life and not only sales. Listen to words, feelings, and thoughts. Hearing does not equal listening, that's why don't think about your answer while your prospect is speaking.
Listen to what he has to say, and especially try to see the image behind the words, the emotional information. Observe carefully the body language, the nuances of his voice.
Listen between the words to what is not said, as some people reveal more in what they don't say. Nonverbal communication has proved to be a critical component of the whole communication process in the past 15 years. To recognize these nonverbal signals is decisive for success in today's challenging market.
Active listening is the most effective; it implies not only listening to words but placing yourself in the other's person shoes, perceiving the whole situation because there might be barriers to be removed.
The barriers can appear because of differences between sender and receiver, cultural differences, outside or other distractions, and maybe the very way the information is conveyed. Regardless of their origin, the barriers can occur and for an efficient communication, they have to be removed.
The use of open questions is a great way of opening the communication door, disclosing personality/behavioral types. 'How do you see this?' 'What would be possible in this case?' 'How would that look?' Paraphrasing is also an important weapon to clearly see where you stand with your prospect.

5. Proof Statements

Proof statements add up your credibility. Using trustworthy sources in your presentation can add much persuasiveness to your words, fact that will substantially increase your persuasion ability validating your product's benefits.
People trust proof statements of a reliable, objective source, especially when the source is not in connection with the products presented to them. Quoting experts in the field and also demonstrating that other respected personalities use and trust the products, will considerably encourage your customers to believe the information you give them.

6. The Right Attitude, Enthusiasm!

Showing a positive enthusiastic attitude does not mean to push your prospect with an aggressive approach. It is just a positive attitude toward resolving the customer's problem, being willing to go as far as it takes to bring the right solution for his issue. This can be done by asking questions rather than doing all the talking yourself.
Thus, your client will perceive sincerity and the willingness to really help. Your benefit is also increased because through the emphatic approach you show, you will come to know the real point of view of your customer.
In conclusion, persuasive power is enhanced through certain characteristics: displaying true empathy, listening rather than talking, and an enthusiastic attitude. Keeping these in sight will most likely speed your way to success.