By Julianna Coderre
Mastering the art of persuasion will give your business a boost. Learning to write and speak persuasively is any business owner’s must-have skill.
But don’t fret – you know more about persuasion than you think. For example:
- Have you ever convinced your reluctant spouse to join you at a dinner party?
- Have you persuaded your defiant daughter to clean her room?
- Have you nudged your nervous friend to apply for a job she’d been eyeing?
So why did they listen to you?
1. You had their attention.
2. There was something in it for them.
3. They trust and respect you.
4. They like you.
5. It wasn’t so difficult to do, after all.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at these 5 basic principles of persuasion:
Rule #1: Engage Your Audience
Don’t write lengthy, wordy messages. Unless you’re writing an academic paper, trim it down and simplify. Be respectful of your reader’s time.
Don’t feel that you have to use fancy words to sound intelligent. You may be surprised how quickly this will alienate your readers. Remember KISS: Keep It Simple, Sweetie. But …
Do be clever! Keep your readers interested. Some eye-catching headlines, a bit of humor, and some colorful words will help you keep their attention.
Rule #2: It’s Not About You
Do make it all about them. When creating your message, always think about the receiver’s point of view. They will be asking these harsh questions:
- Why should I care?
- What’s in it for me?
- Why should I believe you?
Do try to answer these questions right off the bat.
Don’t overuse “me, myself, and I.”
Do re-word your message to include the words “you” or “your.” See this article’s first sentence for an example.
Rule #3: Respect and Credibility Must Be Earned
Do write with confidence! You want your readers to perceive you as credible and knowledgeable. Let’s look at that first sentence again: I could have said, “I think being persuasive might be a good way to boost your business.” But, I’m confident that it will. Make sure that comes across in your message, but don’t make claims without backing it up.
Don’t try to trick, mislead, or coerce your audience. Treat them with respect, and they will be more inclined to do the same. Some folks will do or say anything to make a sale and they lose their credibility in the process. For instance, why do some used car salespeople or politicians get a bad rap?
Do provide useful, accurate information. Let them decide if your product or service is right for them. Do your research and share your knowledge. You will soon become a trusted source.
As an example, Progressive Car Insurance made the bold choice to include their competitors’ price quotes along with theirs, and yet they’re one of the largest auto insurers in America. People appreciate this honest and informative service.
Rule #4: Be Likeable
Don’t be whiny or desperate. “Please buy my product, I really need the money!” is not going to win you sales. But –
Do try to reach your audience on a personal level. Consider a warm and friendly photo in a thoughtful “about us” section. Putting a friendly face to your name will help build a connection. The occasional anecdote and a splash of humor just might do the trick, too.
Do keep your message light, breezy, and easy to read. Your choice of words can make all the difference …
Rule #5: Think “Easy”
Don’t cram your website or emails full of “stuff.” Too much information on one page is overwhelming. Keep your site inviting and easy to navigate.
Do make it as convenient as possible for your readers to find you, learn about you, and use your product or service. People don’t want to bother with too many steps. Use relevant, well-placed links to direct people to the information they’re looking for. They will be much more persuaded to try you out if they have clear, concise information at their fingertips.
So there you have it: honest, easy, engaging messages that will sway your audience in your favor.
For Further Reading:
- Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini
- The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say “Yes” in 8 Minutes or Less! by Kevin Hogan
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Julianna Coderre is a work-at-home writer, consultant, and transcriptionist.
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