You’re not going to get anywhere in sales without being persuasive. It’s something of a cliche, but cliches exist because there’s usually an element of truth to them. You do have to strive for perfect persuasion in sales though, cliche or not.
Now, when one thinks about persuasiveness our natural progression is to then think about communication. If you improve your communication skills you will automatically improve your persuasiveness. This is certainly correct however it is a narrow view of persuasion as a topic, especially within the sales context.
Persuasion techniques in sales: Strategy and tactics
As a sales professional you need to work on your persuasiveness strategy and the tactics you’ll use to implement it, not just your verbal and written communication. Say you can write well, can you also plan your marketing emails to maximise their effect? You’re entering a new market for your product, can you write about it while taking into account your new market’s cultural uniqueness?
Fostering a broad minded attitude towards your business persuasion will make you exponentially more persuasive and boost your product’s profitability. Let’s start with some writing first, the bricks and mortar of your sales strategy.
Cut out the cliches
This article started with a cliche. That was to make a point about how easy it is to use cliches, they’re as easy to pie, like stealing a candy from a baby… See how easy it is to slip into banality?
You’ll have definitely come across plenty of cliches in your business life but some of the worst offenders are as follows;
- ‘You can trust me.’ – Really? You need to tell people that you’re trustworthy?
- ‘It’s company policy.’ – This makes you sound like your shirking responsibility.
- ‘We’re competitive.’ Yes and the sky is blue and roses smell nice, don’t state the obvious.
Cliches don’t make for persuasive writing in fact they make you come across as insincere and unoriginal. Avoid them altogether and focus on projecting authenticity in your speech. Instead of the cliches try these instead;
- Give examples of when customers who trusted you gained from the experience.
- If you can’t achieve something, tell the customer it’s your responsibility.
- Provide statistics on how your product is better than the competition’s.
In short, focus on substance rather than style.
Mastering your (e)mail
Do you put a lot of thought into planning your emails? Most people working in the sales industry have a good idea of how to approach their sales emails. They’ll know to write them in a certain way and to focus on specific aspects.
Do your research, make the subject line solid, don’t be too formal, keep it brief and throw in a call to action at the end. Badda bing, badda boom, all done right?
Certainly, if you’re firing off one email but how about 100, or 1000? You need to have an email strategy, time your emails for maximum effect, use the tone that the customer responds best to throughout your communication. Being persuasive in sales is usually not a one time event you have to keep on being persuasive throughout the customer cycle.
How do you create an email strategy? You can take a course on improving your emails. Thanks to the coronavirus most of us have a little extra time and many course websites are free so why not check them out.
- Coursera (one of the world’s largest learning platforms)
- EDX (offers courses linked to Harvard Business School)
Rock your reviews
Everyone likes to be liked and the same applies in sales. A good review is one of the most persuasive pieces of writing out there whereas a negative review can have a nasty impact on your business. Therefore it’s crucial you don’t leave reviews in control of the public alone, you have to run your reviews.
Obviously you can’t always control what your customers say about your company but you can steer their reviews in your desired direction. This requires you to run a competent social media campaign with a high degree of interaction with your subscribers. Implement the following steps to ensure your reviews are positively persuasive;
- Make sharing easy – You want positive reviews to spread easily.
- Plan efficiently – Don’t spam your followers with content, focus on quality not quantity.
- Highlight – If a customer leaves a well-written, positive review, highlight it.
- Respond – Nobody’s perfect, if you get a bad review ask what happened and try to fix the problem publically.
You can’t control customers who give reviews but you can control the environment in which they give them. This will be extremely persuasive for potential customers so make sure you focus on rocking your reviews, if you can master this area then your overall volume of reviews will be highly positive.
Learn to localize
You could be the most persuasive salesman in history but how persuasive can you be if your potential customer doesn’t speak your language? Maybe you speak the same language but there’s a big cultural gap between you, do you lose out on the sale? Only 25% of internet users speak English, that’s a big market you can gain access to if you adopt localization.
Localization is more than just translating your sales content for a specific market. For example, Americans generally eschew formality whereas being informal will come across as rude to most businesspeople in Hong Kong. Localization training ensures you take these business accounts, and makes your products and pitching more persuasive as a result.
Localization requires several steps starting with generating market specific content. This will function as content marketing as well as boosting your SEO. You may also want to consider altering your product to better meet local demand.
Whatever you do, don’t just rely on Google translate, you won’t come across as persuasive at all.
Pause before proceeding
The techniques listed above will make you much more persuasive and your writing will become considerably better. Pause before you proceed however, don’t fall into that classic sales trap; Overconfidence.
It’s one thing to learn knowledge and another entirely to actually implement it. Thinking you know everything will also make you make ill informed and rash decisions. So after implementing the previous four techniques make sure to use the following system to ensure you’re on the right path.
- Perceive – How will your plan be perceived by the customer? Can you justify it to your team too?
- Explain – If you can’t explain your plan to your colleagues then stop at this stage.
- Proceed – If your research shows the product will be well received and can be explained proficiently then go for it.
This plan aids the creative process and builds teamwork by creating a check system. Imagine that you can observe yourself working, like an out of body experience, would you approve of the decisions you’re making? Being overconfident makes you arrogant and diminishes your persuasiveness, so be focused and don’t let your ego get in the way of your work.
Want to learn more?
Persuasiveness is about so much more than just eloquence and charm. Think creatively and learn from other businesses that are succeeding in this area. Never be afraid to experiment or to try new ideas.
Make sure you keep checking out blogs for more articles on sales, communication and other business ideas you can implement at your company. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our social media pages too for the latest updates.