Tips On How To Persuade Ethically & Effectively

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

PersuadeWe spend a lot of time on our courses discussing how people don’t like to be sold to. We generally have an adverse reaction to the thought of salespeople putting the pressure on them. The picture of the fake-smiling, pressurising, money-grabbing scenarios of the 1960’s still permeate the minds of today’s consumer, and we don’t like it, thank you very much.

Many salespeople are taught scripts that use overt or not-so-overt techniques and tricks that get prospects to go down a specific route that ends up at the dead-end wall of ‘give-in-now’. So, what’s the best way to get people to say ‘You know, I think I’ll have what you’ve got, and I’ll have it now, please!’

Personally, I believe that scripts only work if you write it out, hand it to the prospect and say ‘Here, have a read of this. I’ll come back in an hour or so for my presentation. OK?”

Your overall effectiveness will only increase if you present the product or service in the way that your prospect wants to know about it.

So, how can you persuade ethically and effectively without putting the pressure on? Here are some tips:

1) Use facts along with emotions. This way you’ll appeal to both sides of the prospect’s thinking brain. The left side’s logical and rational side will be involved alongside the emotional and feeling-oriented right side. Something like “So you can see how this investment will bring you a guaranteed 11% return in the first two years and the peace of mind that you are requiring”.

2) Use visual aids. Most people have a preference for the visual rather than the auditory when they are determining a decision. By showing a brochure, slides, pictures, testimonials and the like, you allow the prospect to clarify in their mind what the answer will look like. That way, they are more likely to persuade themselves.

3) Present by asking questions. The more the prospect is involved, the more they feel in control. Something like ‘Would that give you the returns you are seeking?’ put the customer in the driving seat and make her feel they have the deciding vote when it comes to the decision.

4) Induce a fear of loss. One of the most interesting ideas about human behaviour is that fear of loss is a greater motivator for change than opportunity for gain. The commonsense approach is that, if you want someone to want your product, talk about the benefits of ownership. But if you want them to decide NOW, act Now, buy NOW…then talk about what they miss out on or lose if they don’t buy. Why are those shops with ‘Closing Down Sales’ and ‘Last Few Left’ signs so successful and always full of customers. We KNOW they’re just liquidating stock or selling off for new stock, but don’t tell me you’ve never been tempted to at least take a look!

Achieving all of this in one presentation can be both stimulating for you and appealing to the prospect. You get them to appreciate the need for making a decision, and they don’t feel pressured because they can see that ethically it is the right thing to do, and will help them achieve their goals.

That way, they achieve what they need to and you get the order. See, it’s a win/win all round!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 7 November, 2013

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