Thu, 24 March 2016
The old-school approach to persuasion put a lot of the emphasis on the final outcome: clinching the deal, closing the sale. Back then, it was a lot more about getting the sale than having a true and lasting relationship with an actual person. The problem with being so closing-oriented is that a persuasive encounter is not a static, one-sided arrangement. The “persuadee” is not some brainless lump who will unquestioningly accept everything you say. They are living, breathing human beings, which means the exchange is two-sided. You have to establish rapport very early on, making a good and lasting first impression, and you have to keep the rapport going.
Many persuaders don’t know how to maintain rapport throughout the entire exchange. They’re good at breaking the ice and helping their audience feel comfortable, but when it comes to “getting down to business,” all of a sudden their demeanor changes. Their light-hearted, jovial manner may turn into intense seriousness as they launch into “the bottom line.” When this transformation takes place, what is the audience supposed to think? The person they were joking around with for the past ten minutes has now completely morphed into someone else. Which one is the real person?
Great persuaders don’t focus on their persuasive encounters in terms of initial “kick-off” and final “closing.” They maintain rapport and connection by keeping the exchange emotionally and logically on the same plane. Think of your audience as a friend you will see and do business with again. Do not allow yourself any abrupt mood changes; be flexible and willing to adjust to the many moods and emotions your audience may go through.