The art of persuasion in sales & marketing is one that has changed significantly in recent years. Rather than trying to make your voice the loudest, basically yelling “look at me!” to customers, it’s about knowing your message, audience, and competition — and, how to leverage each to your advantage. It’s about approaching sales and marketing from a persuasive marketing perspective that can employ humor, joy, or a range of other emotions.
Persuasion marketing involves the audience’s pathos (an appeal to the audience’s feelings), ethos (an appeal to the speaker’s credibility), and logos (an appeal to the audience’s logic). You can use humor, emotions, logic, or a variety of other methods to appeal to your audience. Some successful persuasive marketing examples include Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign, Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign, and Volvo’s XC60 “Moments” TV advertisement.
Here are a few ways that you can be successful through the use of persuasive marketing:
1) Give Before You Expect to Receive Anything as a Persuasive Marketing Tactic
The old school train of thought with sales and marketing is to pitch or push your message out to whoever will listen with the hope that people will respond. However, just because you put a message about a product or service out there doesn’t mean that people are going to react positively or buy into it. This is why persuasion marketing should implement different persuasion techniques.
Big Think expert Shane Snow, the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Contentedly, says that today’s modern sharing economy is one that requires a different approach to persuasive marketing. His “help first” concept is one that borrows from inbound marketing, or what is also known as permission marketing. Taking this approach and applying it to sales & networking perspective often helps to achieve more significant results in the long run.
According to Snow:
“So, if you want to connect to more people and get them to connect you to their people, give them something that helps them solve their problems. Give them something that helps them, without any ask, help the people that they care about… As a company you can have banner ads, you can interrupt people with commercials and say ‘buy this, buy this,’ be an infomercial. Or, you can give them education and say ‘here’s how you can be more successful in your life; here’s things that we care about,’ and, in that way, build a relationship with those people so that when they’re in the market to buy, they come to you.”
2) You Must “Pre-suade” Your Audience Before You Can Persuade Them
According to Big Think expert and social psychologist Robert Cialdini, “pre-suading” people is just as important as persuading them. In persuasive marketing, persuasion is the notion that people are more likely to be receptive to messages if those messages incorporate six key principles of influence:
- Reciprocity: People are more likely to want to listen to you if you do something for them first.
- Liking: People are more likely to engage if they know someone else who likes or approves of your message, product, or service.
- Authority: People are more likely to believe a message that comes from someone who is perceived to be an authority.
- Social Proof/Consensus: People want to do what others do.
- Scarcity: People are more likely to desire something they perceive is rare or limited.
- Commitment and Consistency: People want to be consistent in keeping their word by doing what they say they will do.
Pre-suasion, on the other hand, is a subconscious persuasion technique that you can use to prime your audience to receive your message before you share it. To use the analogy of gardening: you’re preparing or cultivating the earth to receive the seed you want to plant. Examples of these persuasion techniques include using positive or encouraging images that subconsciously motivate or inspire people to act a certain way.
3) You Can Help People Persuade Themselves by Asking the Right Questions
Big Think Expert, business analyst, and author Dan Pink is an advocate of using an unorthodox approach to persuasive marketing: getting people to convince themselves to do something by simply asking counterintuitive questions that get them to rationalize their own argument in favor of what you want them to do. While this sounds like a magic trick or nothing short of a Jedi mind trick, it is a highly effective sales persuasion tactic.
In an interview with Big Think+, Pink says:
“When people have their own reasons for doing something — not yours — their own reasons for doing something, they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to the behavior more strongly… The key here is that we tend to think that persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another. And what the social science tells us very clearly is that it’s really something that people do for themselves. And, your job as a persuader, as a motivator, is to reset the context and surface people’s own reasons for doing something because it works a lot better.”
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