How to Be Persuasive

You may know people whom others call “natural salespeople.” These are the individuals who speak flawlessly and convincingly, are always at ease, and usually get the results they want.

persuasive salesperson
Image by jchatoff / Flickr

But maybe you are not a “natural salesperson.” Perhaps you’re not comfortable trying to influence others, or you shy away from confrontation, or just don’t like being the center of attention. If this is you, it may be hard to imagine being able to effectively sell anything.

You couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many business leaders feel that people who don’t fit the “natural salesperson” image – the so-called “introverts” – are actually better at sales than those who fit the salesperson stereotype. That’s because they tend to connect better with clients and don’t try to sell products or services that clients may not want.

So if you lean toward the introverted end of the spectrum, and you find yourself either in a sales position or having to “sell” a client or manager on a course of action, you do have the capacity to be persuasive. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Mirror the other person. Take note of the hand gestures and the speech patterns of the other person. Then try to mimic (not mock!) those gestures, use similar words and phrases, and even paraphrase what they say in the form of a question. Experts say that’s a good way to help someone build a rapport with you.
  • Ask questions – and listen to the answers. This goes hand in hand with “mirroring.” People love to give their opinions when asked, so this tactic helps engage them in a conversation – so the situation feels less like a “sales pitch” and more like dialogue.
  • Determine what the other person wants. Obviously, asking questions can help with this, but sometimes the answers don’t tell the whole story. So don’t be afraid to read between the lines a little bit. The goal is to find out what the other person wants instead of focusing primarily on “selling” what you have. If you understand the other person’s needs, then you can tailor what you say to fit those needs.
  • Use emotion, not logic. Logical statements of fact are nice, but they don’t tend to be the most persuasive arguments. You should always give correct information when asked, but you shouldn’t shape your entire pitch around facts. For instance, if you were selling a home alarm system, you shouldn’t go with “Property crimes are up 5% over the last year”¦” but instead say something like, “How important is protecting your family from burglars?”
  • Get them to agree. If you can ask questions or state outcomes that they like, getting them to say “yes!” repeatedly goes a long way toward convincing them of your point of view. Conversely, you should strive to agree with whatever they’re saying as long as it isn’t an outright falsehood.
  • Close the deal. This phrase sounds ominous, but it’s really just another way of saying don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If possible, give them a choice between two outcomes that are both favorable to you. Either way, you should be confident and assertive, and expect to get the answer you’re looking for.

About the Author: Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites and is also a ghostwriter for several blogs, covering a wide range of topics such as home alarm systems, car insurance, and home renovations. In addition, he is an accomplished voice actor and an experienced sportscaster. Martin has also worked as a radio DJ, a traffic reporter, and a public address announcer for sporting events. And yes, – he still considers himself an introvert.