What is Persuasion?

Sam Witteveen

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Many people often ask me what my definition for persuasion is.

So let me give you a rough guide of what I believe persuasion to be. First of all, persuasion is the act of getting someone to take a particular action or to change a particular belief.

What I mean here is, for example in sales, the biggest thing in sales we want is people to buy from us, we want them to take the action of actually deciding, making the decision and following through, paying us money in cash or credit card or signing up for terms. They’ve made the decision and they have followed through on that decision to take action.

What you have to understand is that decision alone is not enough. Often people make decision but they don’t follow through, so true persuasion is getting people to follow through rather than just making the decision.

The second thing that persuasion is, relates to beliefs. When we persuade someone at a higher level then just decision and action we actually change their beliefs about something - this is what the best the sales people do consistently.

If for example, you went to a BMW store, we found the best sales person in BMW what we’d find is that if we put the average Mercedes customer in front of him , then he would be able to persuade that person to believing that BMW is actually a better make of car than Mercedes Benz.

So what he’s doing is not just getting the person to make a decision and follow through an action but he‘s also getting them to change at their belief level. At an even higher level of persuasion, is where people begin to change their identity level. If we look at cults, people ask me “Are the cults persuasive?”

Yes, one of the things that makes them so effective is that they get people to make a change at an identity level till they see themselves as being the type of person who is congruent and fits in with a certain type of people. This is the reason we have cults and this is the reason why no matter what you legislate or what you do you‘ll always have people joining groups like that. It’s persuasion at one of the highest levels.

Now, it doesn’t always mean that this level of persuasion is bad, many religions work on the same way as well. People are being persuaded to believe that they are a certain type of person. Think about it, people describe themselves as being Christians, as being a Muslim, as being a Jew. This is one of the examples that their change is not just at the belief level, it is actually an identity level.

Now, we can apply this to a product. We were talking about a BMW sales person persuading an average Meredes owner, what if I changed it to a hard core Mercedes owner. Would that person be as easy to persuade as average person? NO they wouldn’t; the reason why is, at an identity level see themselves associated with Mercedes Benz cars, when someone associates themselves at a identity level its much harder to change them.

That’s the reason why we have smokers who will refer to them self as I’m a smoker and those people are going to find it much harder to change their behavior. Think about it, what is smoking? It’s a behavior no one is a ‘smoking’ , it’s a behavior that a person can do.

One thing you must understand is that you need to think what your beliefs and identity levels are, because its going to be much harder for you to persuade yourself to change them if you keep holding on to them at an identity level.

So what is persuasion? Persuasion is a number of things.

1. The first level it is getting people to make a decision.

2. The second level is getting people to follow through and take action.

3. The third level is getting people to change their actual beliefs about something.

4. The Fourth level is getting them to change their identity of how they see themselves in association to this particular belief or product or idea.

So think about that when your out there dealing with your customers and dealing with people your trying to persuade. What specific one decision you want them to make? What action and follow through you want to get from them and then perhaps start to think about what beliefs could you change and finally what identity could you create for them to change. If you think about t, Marketing is really aiming for the higher levels not just for the lower levels. Branding, the whole concept of branding is really making your brand so that people are associated to it at an identity level, at least the best forms of brands are doing that kind of thing.

Remember as a sales person you need at least the first two levels and preferably the third level, first is getting them to make a decision, second is to follow through thirdly you want them to change their belief.

The problem that can occur that if you don’t have them change their belief, then they don’t have the conviction about your product. Later on they may change their mind about buying your product they might even actually think they made the wrong decision buying your product. This is one of the most common and also the most costly mistakes sales people can make.

So think about those four levels of persuasion and when you’re out there and actually selling your ideas and products to people and think about how you can implement them in your actual sales process, this is on of the key aspects I teach I my Persuasion Sales training programs. I go through the four levels of persuasion and give people the techniques to reach each level.

Sam Witteveen is an expert on persuasion and using persuasion in sales situations. He has expanded on his 16 years of NLP skills by modeling the best persuaders and sales people in the world, to build a model of what it takes to make a great sales person.

For more articles and information please visit: http://www.persuasionsales.com or http://www.sellmorewithnlp.com


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