Sent: 17-07-2012 12:35:03
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Yes can be the hardest word - Part 1
No doubt many will recall the famous song by (Sir) Elton John, "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word". A truism when dealing with personal relationships as I (and I am sure many others) have found out. However, in business I think that another word is possibly the hardest one to get people to say. Having worked as a financial adviser, I really appreciate that it involves a great deal of 'selling', usually of yourself. Consequently I believe that sorry may not be the hardest word. I would argue that Yes can be the hardest word as it can be one that is extremely difficult to elicit from a prospective client.
I will cover a number of ways to elicit that all important word in this series. Hopefully you will at least some of them useful.
A while ago I discovered a little book called Yes! - 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (Goldstein, Martin & Cialdini) that immediately sparked my interest, so I went out and bought it (actually I clicked on it as I used Amazon). I found the book to be very easy to read and the suggestions simple and effective. I then discovered a number of other authors had written on the subject, some of which delves into the technical aspects of persuasion and psychology. So I have decided to put together some hopefully simple ideas distilled from the various sources out there.
Here are some of the ideas I discovered:
Enlist the herd instinct
People like to do what other people do. We all like to think we follow our own path but in reality the herd instinct is very powerful. If we see something is popular with others we tend to want a piece of the action too. You can use this idea if you already have lots of happy customers. Letting your prospects about your sizeable client base could help win their business.
Let people know they're getting a good deal
Let people know how following your suggestion will help them too. This in many respects goes back to the WIIFM principle which we all know means 'What's In It For Me!'. Show people what they can gain, in real, down to earth terms that they can relate to. This will obviously change form one person to another as what is important to one person is not so important to another. How do you work out what is important to a particular person? Ask them! Them explain how you can help them achieve that goal, or provide the security they crave for. Tailor the approach according to the need.
Fear is a great motivator
You may feel bad using this one but if it convinces people and what you tell them is true there's no harm. Most importantly, you have to find a solution to their fear. So, find out what it is they are worried about. Get them to look at a (almost) worst case scenario. Then ask them how they feel about it. Then ask them about a best case scenario and ask them how they feel about that. Then, show them how you can help them achieve the latter while avoiding the former and ask them how they feel about that!
Don't ask for too much
Sometimes the best approach is to ask for something small to begin with then when you've built up a trusting relationship you can try asking for more. This is because decision making is a series of small steps. It goes back to the old adage, 'How do you eat an elephant?' Answer, in small chunks. Every journey, be it long or short, starts with a small step. If you look at the long distance it can be daunting, but if you look at each small step, you can go a very long way. So, start small, get them to agree to small things. Have a path they can follow by taking a series of small steps and you will be surprised how far you can take them.As you can see, applying some logic to the problem means that solutions are possible. There is more, much more, but that will have to wait until next time.
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