If there is a life skill that is essential in determining the success of your personal and professional life, it must be the art of persuasion and influence. When you master the art of persuasion, you are more likely to get your desired job, obtain the job promotion, make better business deals and sell more products. You can even rally a community to work together when you can persuade them to support your proposals and ideas.
In fact, we are all born masters of influence. Even as a baby, we are already equipped with the ability to get what we want by crying. We seem to innately know how to get our parents to respond in a certain way, such as giving us food, buying us a soft toy or bringing us to McDonald’s. Yet as we grow older, we seem to have lost this instinct. It appears that the fear of rejection prevents us from stepping up to tap into the ability to influence that we are already gifted with.
Aristotle developed a basic system of rhetoric and is touted as the most important single work on persuasion ever written. He states that there are three main ways that we can persuade someone to take our position: appeal to ethics, appeal to emotions or appeal to logic. Let’s take a look at how they work and its relevance to sales.
3 Elements of Persuasion
Ethos is the Greek origin of the English word “ethics”, and it is one of the three key aspects of influence that deals with credibility. Your professional ethics count towards your credibility: everything that you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility and, subsequently, your ability to convince someone.
People tend to believe in people whom they admire or respect. If the communicator is trustworthy, has his listener’s best interests at heart, knows his subject well, and practises what he preaches, he’s likely to be persuasive. It is important for the people he is trying to influence to recognise him as the right person to deliver the expected value. Integrity is therefore of utmost importance.
If you are a parent who is attempting to teach your kids certain life’s morals, you will have to be able to walk the talk yourself first.
If you are a sales professional or an entrepreneur, you will have to be passionately in love with the product or service you are promoting.
This is perhaps the most critical component of influence: the element that deals with our emotions. It has been demonstrated time and again that emotions trump logic when it comes to making a decision. If we could afford it, many of us would probably not buy a sports car based on logic: it’s fuel-guzzling, expensive to maintain and there are far too many traffic lights in Singapore anyway. Instead, it is our emotions that drive us to buy it.
Being able to communicate with the deep, subconscious needs of a customer is going to inch your prospect towards a “yes”. Human beings are largely emotional, in that everything that we do and say, most of our decisions are more or less influenced by our emotions. Therefore, to have a significant influence on others, we need to be able to connect with whatever causes them to feel strongly towards what we’re trying to sell.
When you are attempting to study and understand the position of another person, you are identifying their buying values; you are making an effort to understand what they need and desire. Learning to position your pitch around their needs and wants improves your chances of influencing and selling anything to them.
Finally, there is a part of influence which deals with logic and reason. When applying logos in enhancing our persuasive power, logic is used to back up a claim. Engaging logos as your tool of influence means making sense to your listener. Since people are constantly trying to rationalise every decision that they make in their lives, it is also important for you to work on the logos appeal when trying to influence them.
Applying these three modes of persuasion in your daily communication not only make you more persuasive, but also make you appear more empathetic and authoritative as well.
This article first appeared on jackylim.com.
Jacky is a sales architect who teaches you how to structure conversations with your prospects and influence them. Want to learn more about applying the three elements of persuasion? Connect with him on LinkedIn or find out more about Acme Achievers International.