One of my favorite things to do in my business is help people learn how to become better at sales. Sales can seem scary, but it’s simple, really — it’s just a value exchange. You give something of value, and someone gives you material currency for it. That’s it. We create a lot of stories in our minds about it though, don’t we?
Life is selling, day after day, whether you’re trying to convince your partner to go out for dinner, your kid (or adult partner, ahem!) to turn off the Xbox, or your VA to take on more responsibility. We’re all selling, all the time, even though we don’t call it that.
So how do we make selling easier? By understanding a little better how persuasion works.
Nothing illustrates the magic and simplicity of persuasion more beautifully than Aesop’s fable
“The North Wind and the Sun”:
The wind and the sun have a dispute over which is stronger.
The wind spots a traveler and tells the sun, “Watch me make him take off his coat!”
But the stronger he blows, the tighter the traveler pulls his coat to this body. Then the sun takes her turn. She beams warm and loving rays at the traveler until he willingly undresses.
The moral? Persuasion is far more effective than force. Always has been, always will be.
How can you be more persuasive — at home, at work, in your relationships?
By using the Four Ps framework!
What do you want to achieve in persuading someone? Have a clear objective. Can you measure whether or not you were effective? For example, do you want your VA to take on more responsibility (and hours) to better support you? Do you want a date night every Friday? Do you want your kid to limit video games to forty-five minutes a day?
Having a clear purpose in mind makes you confident because clarity does not allow for confusion or mixed messages. What’s your precise purpose when it comes to your next persuasion?
This step is commonly overlooked as we dive straight into making requests. What’s the reason behind your purpose? Why does it matter?
For example, if you want your VA to take on more tasks, what tasks specifically are they? How can they lighten your load – by doing what, exactly? And when throughout the week? Why does it matter to your business and your larger vision that they’re a part of? Make a list of that good stuff.
Also … How has being part of your team contributed to their own learning, development, and confidence – did they learn new software? Become adept at social media management or YouTube editing? These are highly profitable skills! And how will their skills only expand beautifully with more responsibility?
Preparation for the conversation puts you in the strongest stance possible.
Added bonus: Prepare for the rebuttals you might get. Play devil’s advocate with yourself.
Prepare a comeback for every possible rejection!
Present (with Presence)
When we want someone to do something, we want to present the decision or option in their best interest. For instance, I was negotiating a conference room in a nice hotel and wanted to pay way less than the standard fee. I didn’t mention my limited budget. I didn’t talk about my needs. I didn’t appeal apologetically. I leaned forward, made my suggestion, and then listened.
What I did do was tell the events manager that twenty of New York’s finest entrepreneurs would come to her hotel, see its amazing facilities, be introduced to the chain, potentially book rooms, and even consider hosting their own conferences there (meaning: more money is gonna be coming your way, girlfriend)! Your language and the vision you create matter. My objective was to get a 40 percent discount. I got 30 percent. Win-win for all!
It’s important to be as present as you can be when presenting your case. Everyone just wants to be heard, so be an active listener, too.
Persevere — and Be Patient!
Someone once said that 80 percent of success is showing up. I’d argue it’s staying put once you get there. We are too likely to quit, walk away, and leave dissatisfied from any negotiation. After almost two decades in sales, I can tell you that the best salespeople simply stay in the arena. It’s true that success is a numbers (and patience) game — and most people just leave the party too early.
Say your VA feels at their max right now, and perhaps some personal reasons play into this. Cool! Have a follow-up conversation in a few weeks. What’s one extra small thing that they can perhaps support you with in the interim? It’s okay to keep asking questions.
Remember all the prep you did for the conversation — you’re a great boss and support their expansion and growth — but if you don’t ask for more when you need it, you’ll likely never get it. It can leave you frustrated and feeling like you have to start over with a new person when you don’t have to! Perseverance is the final step most people never realize.
Force can give you a quick win, yes, but the long game is all about a fair value exchange and making the value you bring clear. Let the other person slip off their coat.
By Susie Moore
Susie Moore is the author of Let It Be Easy and Stop Checking Your Likes. She is a former Silicon Valley executive turned celebrity life coach and advice columnist, and her work has been featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, Oprah, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Cosmopolitan. Born in England, she lives in Miami with her husband Heath and her Yorkshire terrier, Coconut. Find out more about her work at www.Susie-Moore.com.