This is the second article in a series on the art of persuasion based on my business experiences
and applied to situations
in everyday life where you need to
persuade someone to buy into your idea or proposal.
There are skills involved in the art of persuasion
In the first article on the art of persuasion, we looked at the basic skills involved in the communication and persuasion process – people's motivations, the use of words and in particular the importance of asking questions.
In this article we are focused on advanced communication skills that will help you achieve this.
The 3 phases to ensuring that you and the other person stay on the same page as you build the win-win.
This whole persuasion process starts with you having an idea or a proposal that you are seeking to get someone else to buy into.
Let's use the example of a holiday.
You have found an excellent Airbnb property that is large enough for 2 families and has enclosed land attached suitable for dogs to run around safely and unsupervised.
This property is an attractive rural location and is very close to a village with a good pub and restaurant.
You have family friend lined up to act as "general helper" and to help look after the children.
You would like to pitch this idea to someone you know socially but who is not a close friend. Your contact has 4 children and 2 dogs.
To have the best chance of success with this, you can't just meet up with your contact and launch straight into your pitch.
You need to move in phases. A good general analogy is the phases of social interaction that we are familiar with in networking, building friendships and dating etc.
As you progress through each phase of the discussion you are aiming to ensure that at the end of each phase the other person and you are:
The 3 phases are technically known as: Orienting, Analysing and Developing.
 ORIENTING - SETTING THE SCENE
During the setting the scene phase, you give the other person a little bit of general information:
"I've been thinking about family holidays this year and looking at various options."
Your aim at this point is to:
"What are your plans?"
"What type of holiday are you considering?"
"Do you have any particular location in mind?"
During the setting the scene phase you absolutely do not:
 ANALYSING - UNCOVERING NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS
This phase is about uncovering specific information about their holiday needs and requirements that you know your proposal can meet.
This is where you want the other person to educate you as to what key things will constitute the ideal holiday for them.
You also want to try and understand what the other person's drivers and motivations are in the context of their ideal holiday.
You may find that their primary drivers in this context are any one or combination of the typical main drivers shown below:
MOTIVATIONS & DRIVERS
MOTIVATIONS & DRIVERS
In this phase your goal is to establish what the other person's specific drivers and motivations are with this holiday.
In this example, they are wanting to:
The other person has indicated that they have a very specific idea of what would constitute a really good holiday for them.
When you are uncovering needs and requirements you will need to ask more closed questions [with YES/NO type answers] to get clear and specific facts.
During the uncovering needs and requirements phase you do not:
It is always a very good idea to test your understanding of the other persons needs and requirements by restating and reconfirming what you have heard to ensure you and the other person have a shared perception of those needs.
 DEVELOPING - GAINING BUYIN TO YOUR PROPOSAL
This is the phase where you pull it all together.
Your contact has given you a very clear indication of their needs and requirements for their preferred holiday.
Now is the time to introduce your proposal and to highlight the specific features of your proposal, namely:
Recap: a feature is a description of your idea or proposal stating what it is and how it works. But always remember that a feature tells the other person about the idea or proposal it does not explain the benefits.
Then you move in to telling them about the benefits this holiday offers.
Recap: a benefit is a brief explanation of what a feature of your propoal can do for the other person - i.e. how it meets their need, how they stand to gain.
So now you outline the benefits of your proposal, and highlight that your proposal was selected and chosen by you because you have very similar needs and requirements to the other person:
In the world of professional selling there are many different techniques for closing the deal, but in my view this is the very best - and most natural - way to get buyin to your proposal:
Create the environment where they want to buyin to your proposal!
In my experience, in the majority of situations, the best way of getting buyin to your proposal is to create the environment where the other person wants to buyin to your proposal.
This will happen because you have succesfully identifed their needs and you have shown them how the benefits of your proposal meet those needs.
This whole persuasion process needs to be participative and collaborative.
It is very important to maintain the interest and involvement of the other person, especially when you are uncovering their needs and requirements.
If it isnt, and it just becomes an interrogation process with you firing a stream of questions, then the other person will feel uncomfortable and will disengage.
These 3 additional communication techniques can help ensure that the other person feels comfortable and engaged in the conversation because you have:
These techniques are known technically as: Confirming, Acknowledging and Bridging.
 CONFIRMING YOUR UNDERSTANDING
When you confirm, you verify that you understand what the other person has said.
This usually involves
restating what you've heard and asking the customer for verification. For example:
“Let's see if I understand this correctly.... Is that right?"
"Are you saying that...?"
“If I understand…is that the case?"
"So you actually depend on.... Is that correct?"
"So, to summarise, correct?"
 ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU VALUE WHAT THE OTHER PERSON HAS SAID
When the other person
provides information that prompts another question from you, you let them know you
heard and understand the last remark and provide feedback before you talk about
a related or a different subject and ask anothe question. For example
“I see, that's a good point.... Let me ask you then....”
"Interesting. That makes me wonder.....”
"Your comment prompts another thought....”
 BRIDGING BY MAKING A CONNECTION BETWEEN ONE OR MORE POINTS THAT YOU HAVE BOTH MADE
"Earlier you said that.... Does that affect the way you feel about the situation you just described?"
“You mentioned something earlier I'd like to ask about."
Tactical Problem Solving is a process of reaching a solution, which:
This is not the same as compromise, where settlement is reached by mutual concessions.
Tactical Problem Solving has three steps:
 CONFIRM OBJECTIVES ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED AND THE CONSTRAINTS
Summarise as best you can your understanding of the other persons key needs and requirements and their key issues that need to be resolved.
To continue the Airbnb example:
YOU "....so if I understand you correctly, we broadly both have the same objectives for this holiday but because you are tired, you don't want to be bothered with taking it in turns to cook the evening meals but you obviously would feel gulity about not sharing the load....also, there is a cost constraint about taking both families out to the local pub restaurant for dinner too many times. Is that a fair summary?"
OP "Yes that's it"
 INVITE / OFFER ALTERNATIVES
Express your ideas and listen to the other person’s ideas on what steps could be taken to resolve the issues.
YOU " So we're both agree we need to work within our cost constraints otherwise we lose the cost benefit of this type of holiday?"
OP "Yes I agree ...I wonder is there somewhere locally where we could order some takeaway meals instead?"
YOU "Or....maybe we could hire someone locally to come in and act as cook for several nights?"
OP "That's a good idea, but couldn't that still work out costly? "
YOU " I know... I think I have may an idea - I could ask our family friend who's going to help with the kids if she would be prepared to act as housekeeper/cook for evening meals? She's a great cook and she loves cooking. In return we offer to pay half of her accomodation costs and all of her share of food costs?"
OP "Brilliant idea!"
 BUILD A WIN‑WIN SOLUTION
Once you have both agreed viable alternatives:
YOU "OK so I will talk to the helper and get that arranged - and I'll let you know as soon as she has confirmed. And we are agreed that both families will split her costs. Also we can't expect her to clear up afterwards so we will need to all muck in and help with that after each dinner. Are you in agreement with all of that?"
OP "Yes that's fine."
YOU "Great so I will go ahead and make the arrangements and email you confirmation of everything."
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