To influence someone means to convince them to agree to or do something they probably don’t want to do (yet). This can be achieved by; effectively communicating your will following 3 thoughtful and strategic steps that I have summarized as PDF; Planning, Delivery, and Follow-up.
Step 1: Planning.
Be reasonable in your intention.
Being reasonable here means that you are convinced that your will is; feasible, beneficial, is making sense to you, and would also make sense to a prospect before communicating it to them.
Target the right person to communicate with.
A secret to maximizing your influence is to ensure it is directed to the right/suitable person. For instance, it will be fruitless to be planning to influence a vegetarian to patronize your roast chicken store. Therefore, you should study your target before approaching them.
Anticipate questions and objections.
Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect; think about likely questions and objections they may have, and draft convincing solutions to tackle them.
Choose the right medium for your pitch.
Study your prospect to understand how they would prefer to communicate a matter like yours; over the phone, in person, etc. Visiting a prospect in person to discuss your pitch could make them feel respected, and as a result, they may want to consider you. On the other hand, some persons may not consider you if your request is verbally communicated rather than formally written. Therefore, you should choose a medium centered around them, not you. Simply asking them what medium will be suitable for them will go a long way if you are confused as to the right medium to use.
Ensure the timing is right.
The best time your communication will be most impactful and influencing is when it is delivered at a time that it is most beneficial to your prospect (e.g., if you trying to influence a purchase) and most convenient for them.
Step 2: Delivery.
Spike up their Interest.
Having others want to do something is the best way to get them to do it. You can spike up their interest by drawing their attention to a problem that could escalate if they do not buy your idea. For instance, saying “do you know that using a system without a powerful antivirus protection can lead to its gradual damage, a slow-down in work, and complete loss of data?” can spike up the interest of someone without a laptop antivirus protection.
People like to feel important and respected. Remember that you’re attempting to convince someone to agree to or do something they probably don’t want to do yet. How you make people feel while communicating with them can impact their decisions, therefore, being polite is vital. For instance, saying, “I will be delighted if you could try out this amazing Product XYZ to protect your laptop from malware and make your work faster”, is more polite and would likely yield positive result than saying, “your unprotected laptop and sluggish work needs Product XYZ, so buy it”.
Don’t make the discussion into an argument.
While trying to influence someone to buy your idea, if you make your communication sound like an argument such that your prospect begins to feel like you are trying to make them feel like a loser, they will get defensive, such that rather than buying your idea and losing to you, they will maintain their stand against you. For instance, saying, I agree with you that your former antivirus type is good. However, it would interest you to know that Product XYZ has XY feature which makes it unique and more effective” will yield a better result than saying “Impossible! I can never agree with you! Even a novice can tell that product XYZ is better than your former antivirus.
Speak with Empathy.
Speaking with empathy means acknowledging the other person’s feelings and point of view. When you show people that you are listening to them and that you understand them, they will also want to listen to you. For instance, saying “I understand how you feel about the high product cost especially at this difficult time, however, if you try to purchase Product XYZ for your laptop now, you can be rest assured of safety and increased productivity” will yield more result than saying “you shouldn’t even be complaining of the product cost, you should be glad I am offering you the product in the first place.
In seeking an assistant, exaggerate your need at first.
For instance, seeking for 2 hours of a busy man’s time to facilitate a free lecture may sound exorbitant to them, and so they may decline. However, reducing your demand afterward to 30 minutes can spur their empathy towards you and for that reason, they may grant your wish (the 30 minutes you actually wanted).
Step 3: Follow Up
While it’s quite possible to get a positive response as you make your initial pitch, some persons may not give you an answer immediately, therefore it is important to follow-up to reinforce your interest and encourage the prospect to take positive decisions.
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