No matter who you are or what your profession is, there’s one inevitable challenge we all have to face…
‘How do I get this person to agree to my idea and how can I ensure I get positive responses as often as I can?’
It takes time, understanding and patience to figure out the best approach to take to achieve consistent “yes” results that are essential to the growth of your business.
In PR, whether it’s selling a story to a journalist or pitching to a new client, we need to utilise our communication skills effectively to ensure success. And by having a greater understanding of persuasion, it really can help to determine whether you ‘make it or break it’ in the industry.
So, what techniques can we use to help secure that ‘yes’ result we all need?
Persuasion techniques can be filtered down into two approaches – the most successful approach will vary on who it is you’re communicating with, and having an understanding of what drives them.
The most common approach to selling an idea, initiative or product is to utilise a ‘towards motivation’ technique. This technique involves an explanation of the benefits you will be delivering, with a primary focus on positive outcomes.
The second approach is an approach known as ‘away motivation’, which is used to influence people who are primarily driven by a ‘fear of what could happen’. A person who is motivated by this approach tends to act mostly when they realise that there could be negative consequences if they don’t change their situation.
By default, the approaches that we select to persuade those we don’t know can often correlate to what motivates ourselves. However, it is much more reliable to adopt a tailored approach to the person you are addressing. The better you get to know the person – client or journalist – the easier it is to understand what drives them.
When persuading someone to support your idea, it’s important to reduce their barriers to resistance by finding ways that can make it easier for them to say yes.
There are three initial courses of action to take to help increase success when selling in a new idea:
- Stage 1 – Credibility
Introducing your idea and having your audience accept your idea.
- Stage 2 – Positive persuasion
Enable the other person to feel positive about your suggestion and ensure that they remain convinced after the discussion has ended.
- Stage 3 – Empower
Enable your audience to feel happy and comfortable enough to persuade others that your suggestion is the correct course of action.
Showing confidence in your ideas can indicate that you are experienced, but there aren’t many people who trust in confidence alone – your ideas will need to be backed up by results and you will need to showcase how similar projects have worked out in the past to increase your chances of a successful pitch.
Nurturing a productive, positive and consistent relationship with a client, colleague or journalist will help to establish trust. Once a strong foundation of trust has been built, you can slowly begin to introduce more risks, while showing them how this is still safe.
Remember – doing nothing often carries the greatest risk, especially where reputation management is concerned.