Super Girl has x-ray vision and Wonder Woman has the lasso of truth. What does the woman in business have as a superpower? The art of persuasion. This power, unlike x-ray vision, isn’t simply given at birth but learned, honed and sharpened. If you are a woman looking to add to your business success, follow these 7 tips to refine your persuasion powers.
Many women have the natural attribute of empathy, a valuable tool in perfecting persuasion abilities. Empathy can be used to read the reactions of others and apply that information in a way that appeals to the listeners’ concerns. Empathy requires gentleness. Instead of pushing others to see a certain point of view, gently reasoning with empathy can be highly effective.
Use Names Often
A customer or client will react when they hear their own name. Learn the names of your clients as quickly as you can and use those names often when working with them. It will compliment their egos and therefore, build connections. Persuading your clients becomes that much easier since connections already exists.
We tend to feel obligated to return favors after people do favors for us. Using this principle in business is a foundation for persuasion. Sales, coupons and special promotions are obvious reciprocity tools. Dr. Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University and author of the book The Psychology of Persuasion, says “The implication is you have to go first. Give something: give information, give free samples, give a positive experience to people and they will want to give you something in return.”
What we see is often much more important than what we hear. Because of that truth, it is important for business women to be aware of what their clients are seeing. Make a professional first impression. Pictures that tell a story can be used to harness emotional responses. In order to become the best persuader you can be, master the art of creating images through words. Be specific and use language that can make your client “see” what you want them to see.
Use Undeniable Truths
Build trust with your client by beginning discussions with an undeniable truth like “Asking is the beginning of receiving,” or “If you don’t believe, why would they?” By doing this you are offering your client a statement they can agree with, since it is true. You are immediately building trust with them by starting off on a point on which you agree. Undeniable truths lead to further agreements, making persuading your client to your way of thinking easier.
Use Social Proof
Tom Polanski, EVP, eBrand Media, in an article that published the results of six of Dr. Cialdini’s persuasion principles remarked, “Many television commercials say ‘If our lines are busy, please call again,’ instead of saying “Operators are standing by.” The first response implies that other people like your offer so much that the phone lines are busy, which may persuade others to act similarly.”
When people are unsure about a course of action, they look around for guidance. They want to see what other people are doing or deciding to do. This is a fact of human nature that is fundamental to know and use in persuasion. By using social proof that others have agreed or are agreeing to your approach, you are in effect using peer pressure to guide their decisions. We never fully grow out of peer pressure. Testimonials from satisfied customers show your target audience that people who are similar to them enjoyed your product.
Use “Manifesting the Next Step”
Cohen-First’s technique takes your customers out of their own limitations. It persuades them into the next steps, even if there is a barrier.
In an article titled Women in Business: Being Persuasive in Customer Meetings, Rena Cohen-First wrote, “After I complete an informal presentation, I love to ask the million-dollar question, ‘I’m curious to know, what do you see as the next step?’ This is my favorite technique of all! If they cannot answer this question (for any number of reasons or objections), then you can ask the following: ‘I see. Out of curiosity, if that issue (the budget, the personal change, the holidays) were resolved, then what would the next step be?’ This is what I call manifesting the next step.
The power of persuasion is a super power when used in business and can propel your career to new heights. Fine-tune your skills and watch as clients and customers say “Yes!” more and more. You don’t need a cape or an invisible plane, just a determination to employ persuasion in your practices.