Have you ever met anybody who seemed to have a way with words and could convince others with what they said?
We label them “persuasive people”.
It’s as if they have the power to manipulate others into thinking or doing what they want. Is it really the case, though?
In reality, they use persuasion techniques when approaching their audience. Such approaches are highly beneficial in business, especially if you want to expand your presence.
Besides detailing the techniques, this article also explains why they’re essential, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners. We also have some tips on how to be more persuasive in business.
What Are Persuasion Techniques?
Persuasion techniques are methods used to convince one person or group. Usually, we want them to believe in, be interested in, and do something.
To employ the techniques, we need places, platforms, or media. One of the most common is advertisements.
Like your audience, you interact with dozens, even hundreds, of ads every day. You find ads on social media, television, radio, magazines, YouTube description boxes, or stickers in public places.
This article from PPC Protect states that a person is exposed to 6,000 to 10,000 commercials every day. With the immense rise of online marketing and advertising, brands and businesses increase their organic reach by tailoring their ads appropriately to our needs. They persuade us to buy their latest products, contribute to a social cause, register for a limited-time course, etc.
It happens at the supermarket, bank, or anywhere providing products or services. How often were you approached by a sales rep or consultant who wanted to promote the new options, upgrades, or package deals to you? Especially if you’re a repeat customer, they approach you more often because you’re on their prioritised list.
All the examples above aim toward one thing: to grab attention and build impressions of the offered content. Even when you decide to skip an online ad, they want you to think: do I consider buying it or doing what they say? Should I register or make any purchases?
If these questions cross your mind, their persuasion techniques work on you. They’re often psychological-based, so entrepreneurs and business owners must be strategic and empathetic when employing them.
Why Are Persuasion Techniques Important, Especially for Entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs develop their companies through networking all the time. Persuasion is an excellent skill to have because it helps:
Connect You With Your Audience
Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t achieve success just by having the most original or exceptional idea. They must grow that idea and make relevant connections because they can’t work alone.
Here’s where the art of persuasion comes into play. The keyword is “connect”.
A small part of Jan Koum’s success story with WhatsApp, for instance, happened after some persuasion. His close friend Brian Acton (now co-founder of Signal) persuaded Koum to keep developing his startup even though Koum wanted to give up. Acton also convinced five former colleagues from Yahoo! to invest $250,000. It enabled them to lease a cubicle in Evelyn Ave, California City, California and awarded Acton co-founder status.
Persuasion techniques are far more than just convincing people to buy your products or invest in your company. They’re tools that should be coupled with social and observation skills to connect with who you persuade.
Acton understood Koum’s struggles in building a startup with seemingly no future; he was also unemployed during the early phase of WhatsApp. He was influential—an adjective commonly attributed to persuasive figures. The idea of WhatsApp was already great; they needed more support and motivation to bring the platform to how we know it today.
Successful persuasion made that happen.
Persuasion isn’t only for marketers and salespeople to attract customers. Entrepreneurs also utilise it to generate networks with other professionals to simultaneously progress their brand and career. It’s a skill worth having if you want to “sell” yourself to others.
People want to hear persuasive people talk about ideas and objectives in a way that enthuses and inspires them. Entrepreneurs need this to achieve success.
Learning to employ persuasion techniques goes far from only converting potential buyers into customers. It also builds a solid network of people who want to flourish your company’s vision. You want to ensure that their decision to trust your words pays off in the future.
How to Be More Persuasive in Business?
Like any other skill, you can learn persuasion with no need for a degree in psychology first. To be a persuasive entrepreneur, use the skills appropriately; otherwise, you’ll appear dishonest or gimmicky. This can backfire and turn your connection-building sour and difficult instead.
Your Audience Is the Key
Who you’re talking to plays an essential role in employing persuasion techniques.
- Define who they are
This is probably an easy decision, and it’s great if you already have clear personae of your customers, investors, suppliers, and other relations in your industry. (If you just started or haven’t been able to pinpoint them, we have an article about mistakes to avoid during customer discovery!)
Determine who’s most likely interested in your brand’s products/services, ideas, and visions. Don’t “mould” yourself to fit everybody—or even worse, pretend that you can relate to them.
Identify what motivates or challenges them and discover their problems or needs. Sometimes they might not realise the answers to their questions. When you can articulate demands that a customer didn’t even recognise, your chance of becoming more persuasive increases.
- Share your story
Storytelling has been around thousands of years ago, originating in cave drawings and oral traditions. Humans are wired to be naturally attracted to tell and hear stories. This is also not so different for business.
This article from the simpleshow states that people recall up to 70% of information communicated through a story compared to statistics (5-10%). Another study in the article outlines the discovery of human brains that can remember stories 22 times better than mere facts.
In short: stories sell! Besides making your conversation sounds more personal, it makes you appear more approachable to your audience. They deserve to know where you come from and why you do what you do.
Remember that everyone perceives information differently. When you present one general idea in several phrases, listeners react to the part that matches their worldview. It’s a good idea to be flexible in communicating your message. Create multiple message forms and delivery strategies (verbal or non-verbal, for instance).
Evaluate Yourself as the Persuader
Eventually, the entire process comes back to you and how you present yourself to your listeners.
- Establish your expertise
You don’t have to have already built a very successful empire to do this step. Your difficulties in your entrepreneurial journey can still be part of your persuasion techniques.
Share any relevant accomplishments and skills you utilised to make them happen, but don’t go overboard. The last thing you want is to seem as if you’re bragging.
Find balance by sharing the challenges you encountered to create those achievements. It helps you be more relatable and keeps you from looking arrogant. Establish your expertise in a humble way that still benefits your listener.
- Empathise with them
This includes finding common ground with your audience and adapting to their personalities. They’ll be more open to listening and doing something whether or not you already know them personally.
Adjust the way you communicate to their personality type. Think about their worldviews. Are they passionate about social causes? If so, then appeal to their emotions. Are they ambitious about making money? Try persuading them in terms of projected profits and stock values.
- Be confident
Confidence goes a long way in persuading your audience. Get your facts straight and have sound ideas before approaching them.
It’s totally fine and understandable if you’re still awkward and jittery at the beginning. You just need more practice, and it takes time to grow that confidence.
Persuasive people employ persuasion techniques effectively to convince their audience about a particular message.
Persuasion skills apply not only to marketers and salespeople but also to entrepreneurs and business owners who want to expand their brand and expertise. They use them to attract potential investors and talents who share the same visions and objectives.
Being more persuasive in professional settings comes in two aspects: first, prioritise your audience, and second, evaluate yourself as the persuader.
You’re not the star of the conversation; they are! It’s crucial to define who your listener is before sharing your story. As the persuader, establish your expertise and be confident in what you have to say.
By employing persuasion techniques, it’s time to attract your audience with your message. Are you ready for that?