Persuasive Tactics To Close Your Next Deal
‘Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.’
– Jason Nazar: tech entrepreneur, investor, and writer.
A good business deal should bring genuine benefit to both parties. Rather than manipulating someone to do what you want, the art of persuasion convinces a potential business partner, or buyer, of the genuine worth of the deal you’re offering. Ethical persuasion also helps overcome unwarranted hesitation by the other party. Sometimes, people have difficulty pulling the trigger on even attractive and beneficial deals.
Whether you’re trying to boost conversions or sell your business in general, the six principles that Dr. Robert Cialdini explored in his 1984 publication Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion remain as relevant as ever.
And, we would be remiss not to include the seventh he identified in his 2016 book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.
Here are the persuasive tactics Dr. Cialdini identified that will help you get what you want in a business deal.
Remember: if you want to persuade someone that your offer is worth their time, you must first believe it yourself.
Reciprocity: giving with the intention of receiving
Human nature dictates that when someone gives something to us, we feel obliged to repay the favor, either as an act of kindness or simply because people don’t like feeling indebted to others.
Websites use this principle regularly – how many times have you agreed to sign up to a newsletter or mailing list, thereby giving away your email address, when offered something like a discount or free ebook?
This can be reframed when negotiating a business deal as a concession: making a large request that you expect to be turned down, then making a smaller request (your concession) that the other party will feel obliged to accept.
If you’re trying to sell someone on your business, this can be a useful tactic to persuade them that they’re getting a fantastic deal.
Social proof: feeling validated by following others
Put very simply: if people see that other people like your business or product, they’re more likely to want a piece. If you pass a coffee shop and it’s packed with happy customers, you will be much more inclined to go inside than if it were empty.
Studies have shown that nearly 70% of people say they look at product reviews before making purchases online. Take this business which has been put up for sale on an online marketplace at a price of $1,000,000:
They have included customer reviews of their products on their site, giving prospective buyers the chance to see what people really think about them.
In a nutshell: we like to be given cues on how we should act. If you’re trying to sell your business, social proof will be key to demonstrating its value, whether it’s in the form of testimonials, likes, retweets, or positive mentions in the press.
Likes, retweets, testimonials, press coverage, and reviews are all forms of social proof. #influence #persuasion Click To Tweet
Commitment and consistency: doing what we say we will
People feel compelled to be consistent with opinions, actions, statements and behaviors that they have previously expressed because they understand the importance of projecting a stable image.
When humans make a public commitment to something or someone, they are very likely to stick to what they have promised and deliver on that commitment, as nobody wants to be perceived as flaky or unreliable.
When negotiating a deal, this tactic can be used though recognizing a previous commitment and linking it to your current request. For example, if the other party has invested in your company before or expressed an interest in buying in the past, you can remind them of this when asking them to make an offer now.#Persuasion: Commitment & consistency projects an image of stability & trustworthiness to others. prevents cognitive dissonance, too. Click To Tweet
Liking: we like those who are like us
This very simple principle considers that we’re more likely to be agreeable towards someone with whom we share interests.
If you start talking to someone you don’t really know, and then discover that you both enjoy a particular TV show, it will do more than give you something to discuss; it will make you view them more positively in general.
From a business standpoint, you can make use of this by learning about the interests of the people with whom you’re negotiating and finding common ground. You can then leverage this to get them to like you more and want you to succeed.
And the good part is that it needn’t be all that cynical. In the process of trying to get deals done, you may well end up forming real and lasting friendships.
Scarcity: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone
It is human nature to find something much more attractive when we perceive that it is rare or about to vanish altogether; how many times have you been persuaded into buying something by a sign screaming ‘Limited Time Only’?
This is down to a mistake in reasoning that people make when they believe that it is better to avoid losses than make gains: scientists call it ‘loss aversion’, and it basically comes down to people wanting what they can’t have.
If you’re trying to sell your business, this is another tactic that will help you close the deal: during negotiation, if you can persuade a buyer of how much they stand to lose if they don’t do what you’re asking, you are much more likely to get your way.
Authority: doing what we’re told
People naturally respect authority and are more likely to do what perceived authority figures tell them to do. A controversial experiment called Milgram’s Obedience Study proved this by asking participants to give electric shocks to another person (who was in a different room) when they made a mistake in learning word pairs. The participants felt uncomfortable in administering the shocks until the leader of the experiment – the authority figure – told them it was OK to do so.
An endorsement of your business by a person of authority can really help you to sell it or get what you want in a deal. This could be a CEO, a professional with an impressive title such as Professor or Doctor, or – probably the most influential of all – a celebrity.
Unity: positioning someone on your side
We looked earlier at how sharing interests with someone makes us more favorable towards someone, and the unity principle is somewhat similar, but with a significant distinction.
Although superficially similar to liking, unity is about a shared sense of identity. Who we are, what groups we belong to, what we’re trying to achieve; these can all factor into it. The goal is to make someone feel that you’re on the same side somehow, part of the same tribe.
This can be extremely powerful. Since we’re far more likely to take advice from family than anyone else, presenting yourself as part of someone’s extended family in a sense will make them more susceptible to your ideas.
And if you’re on someone’s side, you not only want them to succeed but will actually gain satisfaction from helping them do it.Leveraging our tribal instinct in business can be a deal-maker #sales #BusinessStrategy Click To Tweet
You can try to communicate with people in the same way you communicate with your family; being frank and informal, using pronouns to link you (“we”, “us”), expressing concern in their wellbeing.
You can also try to get them involved in some minor element of your business because that will engender a sense of responsibility. Then, when you try to close a deal, they’ll feel to some extent that your success is also their own.
Cialdini’s techniques are based on appealing to a prospective buyer or business partner on an emotional level through a solid understanding of human psychology. If you apply these principles to your negotiations, you’ll find that you’ll get the deals that you want with a lot more ease.Seven persuasive tactics to close your next deal. #influence #sales Click To Tweet