Persuasion is a beautiful art. It’s one of those things that not everyone can do well. And, those that do it well often do it by accident. It’s an elegant dance that can be learned when you break the individual pieces down and analyze them.
When you think of persuasion, influencing or selling, you probably think of the manipulative used car sales type. We’ve all seen the stereotypical slick salesperson obviously out to part you from as much of your money as possible without considering your desires or providing real value. That’s not what I like or encourage.
I was at my mother’s house today for her 60th birthday. While watching my son play Wii, another guest mentioned to me he just bought a brand new large TV and entertainment system for their new home. He said, “After I picked what I wanted, the guy helping me asked if I wanted to buy a Wii. I asked how much they were and he told me about $250. So, I said, ‘when they go on special I’ll get one.’ They guy helping me then told me they never go on special and they’re lucky to have them in stock now so if I want one now would be a good time. So, I bought one.”
I noticed a lot in what he said and how easily he was sold. Here are a couple items I quickly picked out:
- This was a “Would you like fries with that?” up sell. McDonalds makes a ton of money every year with that six word question. Once you get a commitment it’s always easier to get just a little bit more.
- After purchasing a couple thousand dollar entertainment system a $250 up sell doesn’t seem like as much money. This is a law of contrast. If he was only there buying a $15 music CD a $250 option is a lot of money. Compared to the couple thousand he just spent on the entertainment system a $250 purchase was a very small price.
- “The guy helping me.” Whether or not the salesperson’s title was actually “salesperson,” the customer did not perceive him as a salesperson. He was “the guy helping me.” He was trusted and providing help. There are many factors to this and I did not learn enough about the event to find out how “the guy helping me” earned that title.
- “The store was lucky to have them in stock.” There are a few things implied here:
- They can’t keep them in stock because they sell so quickly.
- You are lucky to be here today so you can buy one. A feeling of good fortune and “specialness” for my friend because he’s there when they’re in stock.
- Scarcity gives an added illusion this is something special. If he doesn’t act today he will have to wait until a store has one in stock to buy.
- Social proof this is a “hot” buy because they’re selling out so quickly. It’s the “Everyone wants one so it must be good” mentality.
This is not an exhaustive list of the interaction. I’m sure there were many other factors that attributed to his easily saying “Yes!” But, this is what I thought I’d quickly share from the conversation.
Whenever I hear stuff like this I often start thinking:
- What is the strategy or strategies behind what happened?
- How can I apply these strategies in my persuasive situations?
- Where are the key moments of power where one begins to get or lose control of the situation?
- What can I do to prevent or minimize the points where I could have lost the sale?
You can see the persuasive tactics used here were not manipulative or pushy. The salesman simply asked for the sale and quickly answered a couple of questions with some loaded answers.
Persuasion is a beautiful art.