Whether you’re applying for a job, convincing your child to eat their vegetables, or proposing to your future life partner, one major skill is essential – you need to sell to the other person. Persuasion is at the very heart of sales. Regardless of your profession, your ability to sell will significantly influence your success. How can you be more persuasive? Today I’ll share with you the three keys to becoming a more persuasive person using the ancient wisdom of Aristotle – Ethos (credibility), Pathos (emotions), and Logos (logic).
Keys to Persuasion #1 Ethos (Credibility)
Of the three keys, your credibility is the most critical factor to your success in persuasion. Social science has demonstrated that people believe and follow others of authority. When making purchasing decisions, we tend to buy from brands that we know and trust. When deciding whether to listen to a salesperson, we make judgements about their motives and ability to follow through with what they say.
This is why it is so critical for us to work on developing our character rather than skills alone. Selling with integrity is simply not possible without this groundwork. While there are certainly superficial ways we can build our credibility (e.g. wearing nicer clothes, giving ourselves a fancy title, or faking confidence), it will never make up for a lack of personal integrity.
Keys to Persuasion #2 Pathos (Emotions)
The second most important key to persuasiveness is appealing to another’s emotions. We understand from neuroscience (and general sales wisdom) that people make decisions emotionally, and then justify them with logic. Honestly, how many of us can claim that we bought a TV because we needed it? If you’re married, was it a matter of logic that you committed the rest of your life to be with them?
When selling your product or idea to someone, make sure you appeal to their emotions by painting vivid pictures of what life will be like with your solution. Tell them stories about how other happy clients have enjoyed what you offer. Use questions that appeal to their emotions, such as “How would it make you feel if you had this problem solved?” Resist the urge to sell based on numbers and facts alone.
Keys to Persuasion #3 Logos (Logic)
The third key to persuasion is logic. While it is the least of the three, it is absolutely necessary for persuasion to occur. An unscrupulous salesperson might be able to swindle a person into buying a product they will derive no value from, but as soon as the emotions fade, the truth will come to light. The victim will feel buyer’s remorse, seeking recompense and never doing business with that company again.
In addition to making an emotional proposal, make sure that what you sell is backed by the numbers. Resolve never to sell to people who will not be better off from your product. This step requires courage, hard work, and transparency, but will pay off by further increasing your Ethos!
For a person to be persuaded by you, they need to believe you are a person of good character, feel the need to change, and be convinced with logic. These are stated in order of importance, but none can be neglected when selling with integrity. Make a point today to be more persuasive through these three keys!
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