Many of my articles focus on persuasion – how to persuade other people to do something because they want to do it. Today, let’s look at how not to be persuasive. I’ll again use Jay Conger’s article (click here), along with my own observations.
According to Conger, there are four common methods for being unpersuasive.
1) People attempt to make their case with the up-front hard sell. State your position and then sell it hard. When someone tries this on me, I just get stubborn. I’m not going to agree just because I don’t like their approach – even if I think there’s some merit to their argument. I push back simply because I don’t like to be pushed on.
2) They resist compromise. If you want me to agree with you, I first want to know that you take me seriously. I want to know that you’ll listen to me and accept my suggestions – at least some of them. If you blow off all my suggestions … well, no deal.
3) They think the secret of persuasion lies in presenting great arguments. I often run into this with technical people. They may think that the merits of their argument (or their product) are so clear and convincing, that they don’t need to “sell” the idea. It’s so obvious I’ll be compelled to agree. Again, I just don’t like to be compelled to do anything. Logic is necessary but not sufficient.
4) They assume persuasion is a one-shot effort. I’ve never been successful at selling much of anything with just one visit. The old wisdom still applies: listen first, establish your credibility, and then start to build your case … listening for concerns and suggestions as you do.
Bottom line: persuasion requires patience and persistence. Take your time.