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Dave Lakhani: Secrets of Modern Persuasion

Tuesday, 1 Jul 2008 | 5:16 PM ET

By Dave Lakhani

Understanding of how people make decisions to buy has increased dramatically in the last decade, yet sales training has failed to evolve. The predominate sales training focuses on skills

developed in the 1970’s and 80’s and they are only marginally effective today.

In order to sell more you must focus on new buyer behavior. Buyers no longer wait for a salesperson to call on them; they begin their search on Google. Buyers are also no longer looking for someone who can quote features, benefits, and pricing they are searching for a skilled expert to handle their business. Formulaic closing tactics no longer work either. But in a highly competitive market, persuasion can have a significant impact outcome of the buying decision.

YOU HAVE TO BE SEEN TO SELL

In today’s competitive marketplace it isn’t only the most visible brand that lands the business but the most visible sales professional. Everyone likes buying from an expert. Being seen to sell means salespeople must actively focus on developing expertise and being visible. That means doing things like writing a blog if your company will allow it, penning articles for trade journals, creating white papers or online videos that explain what buyers want to know about your product or service. Those activities cast you in a great light and give you a leg up as an expert.

LEVERAGE PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSUASION TACTICS

The Law of Reciprocation says that when we give someone something they feel more inclined to give us something back. In business gift giving is often frowned upon but there are many ways of initiating the Law of Reciprocation. Setting up a test lab in the prospects location, delivering demo units and setting them up, buying dinner or providing a gift basket in their room when they come to evaluate your offerings or anything else that allows you to transfer something of value to them before they buy will often make them more likely to do business with you.

DEVELOP A PERSUASIVE PERSONA

Present yourself in a way that causes people to notice you and pay attention. In my book Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want, I talk about studies show that people afford more trust to people who don’t rush their words or talk to fast; they also tend to trust deeper voices more. To persuade better and sell more, put a little space between your words, drop the pitch of your voice slightly, and dress a little better. Your clothes are your uniform and in North America, we respond to uniforms. A suit is the uniform of a CEO, a well dressed salesperson in the midst of a sea of business casual stands out.

For more details about how to persuade more effectively, visit www.subliminalpersuasionbook.com/blog or pick up one of Dave Lakhani’s books Subliminal Persuasion: Influence and Marketing Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know or Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want at your local bookstore or Amazon.com