The ability to persuade is essential in virtually all fields. My mentor, Dianna Booher, has just published a new book called What MORE Can I Say? Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It, which presents nine principles of persuasive communication essential for anyone hoping to change someone’s mind or actions. I’m pleased to provide the following exclusive guest post on how you can make your communication more productive.
The Link Between Persuasion and Productivity
By Dianna Booher
Change usually involves a period of chaos until people struggle through it to success. Solutions are seldom pain free. Even the world’s most powerful software requires a learning curve. Influencing people to take action—whether to buy your product, accept your recommendation, or change their behavior––often includes minimizing as much as possible the potential pain of change.
If you happen to be in sales, you can reduce the pain of risk several ways:
- Make a “try before you buy” offer.
- Give a generous, “no questions asked” returns policy.
- Put guarantees in writing.
- Post your privacy policies.
You can also increase productivity and minimize the pain of parting buyers from their money in these additional ways:
- Bundle things so they can pay once for multiple items.
- Refuse to nickel-and-dime buyers by adding on small fees for this or that after the primary sale. Otherwise, the pain keeps coming over and over again.
- Provide different payment options and terms from the very beginning. Don’t make buyers who can’t handle a big lump payment have to email or call you to discuss “an exception.”
- Detach the pain of paying with the act of buying by using the “bill me later” option, the “simply click here” option, or the “get four months free and just write ‘cancel’ on the invoice” option.
- Accept credit cards or direct withdrawals from their bank accounts (in addition to the increased efficiency, people don’t feel the pain of paying so much if they are not parting with the actual cash).
Whether persuading some to accept an idea, a project, a product, or a service, ask yourself these key questions:
- What’s the other person’s perception of productivity or pain? (Paperwork? Tangible cost? Excessive regulations? Micromanagement? Risk? Fear of failure? Embarrassment?)
- What’s the other person’s perception of quality or positive outcome? (No stress? Speed? Fun? Praise? Time off? A raise? Durability? Dependability? Ease in learning? A better education?)
Answering these specific questions with relevant information makes for a productive, persuasive conversation.
Dianna Booher, an expert in leadership communication, works with organization to increase the effectiveness of their communication. She’s author of 46 books, published in 26 languages. Her latest book, What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It, is available at local and online bookstores. www.WhatMoreCanISayTheBook.com. She’s the found of Booher Consultants and CEO and of Booher Research. www.BooherResearch.com