Mastering Influence and Persuasion Skills in Your Business

Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., is the authority on persuasion. His book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a masterclass on how to get people to say “yes.” Learning the art of persuasion in business is essential for any leader, as persuasion is at the heart of sales, management, marketing, and more. If we can become more persuasive, we will find many doors open to us.An aggressive male manager shouts through a microphone to persuade an woman employee

Why is persuasion important in business?

Persuasion is necessary at all levels of entrepreneurship. Managers need to be persuasive in the way they interact with their teams. Salespeople need to persuade potential customers. Employees can convince higher-ups to make changes or implement feedback. Finally, marketers must design persuasive materials. Getting to the “yes” is the primary goal of any transaction.

How can persuasion be used in the workplace?

According to Cialdini, there are six “principles of persuasion:” factors that influence us to say “yes” to someone’s request. Cialdini defines these as mental shortcuts we take to guide our decision-making processes. Using them to our advantage, we can influence others towards persuasion in business communication
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Here are the factors that increase the effectiveness of our persuasion in business:

  1. Reciprocity: If you do someone a favor, they will feel indebted to you. Being the first to help others will earn you social capital when you want them to do something for you.
  2. Scarcity: When supply is limited, demand goes up. This is a common sales tactic. Limited-time deals and exclusive offerings are a great way to persuade buyers who might be on the fence.
  3. Authority: People are more willing to listen to someone they know to be an expert in their field. Having genuine or perceived authority makes persuasion in business much easier.
  4. Consistency: Usually, people try to remain consistent with their values and behaviors. Once we have decided, we tend to stick with it even in the face of opposing evidence. The key is to frame your ask as something consistent with a person’s previous statements or actions.
  5. Liking: Unsurprisingly, people say yes to people and things that they like. Being a likable person and selling a likable product are some of the quickest ways to persuade others in the business.
  6. Social Proof: This is the power of groupthink. People look at what others are doing to guide their behavior. Having an arsenal of positive reviews can convince someone to buy your product better than any sales pitch you could come up with.

There is a difference between being persuasive and being manipulative. Manipulation is convincing others to act in a way that benefits you. Persuasion in business means selling others on a mutually beneficial solution. If you master the six principles of persuasion, you’ll find this a much easier task.

In my years as a business coach, I’ve helped countless clients upgrade their leadership skills through mastering the art of persuasion in business and more. If you want to learn more effective leadership techniques, sign up for my email newsletter to have my top tips and tricks delivered to your inbox weekly.

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Dave Schoenbeck
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