Covert Persuasion Toolbox, Part 2

Covert persuasion works extremely well because the influencer would be closely focused on the subject and how the subject responds to different persuasion tactics. In a previous discussion, we focused on the following persuasive tools: questions, attitude, mental images and needs.

In today’s discussion, we are going to delve into more tools and tactics that will help you achieve persuasion or influence more quickly in almost any situation. Bear in mind that not every tactic will work so you still have to plan ahead.

The worst thing you can do as an influencer is to just pull out random strategies and language patterns in the hopes that you will be able to create a miracle out of thin air. Influence and persuasion does not work this way at all.

The more you don’t prepare for a conversation with another person or an important meeting with a large audience, the more likely you are going to fail.

Sure, you can master different tactics but having the tools alone will not guarantee your success. It’s like have a large shed full of brand new power tools. If you don’t know how to choose the right tool and if you don’t know how to use the tool properly, you might end up with a lopsided creation or you might even get hurt using the tool.

The same principle applies to persuasion. There are numerous tools that you can use but every tool has to be used at the right time and at the right place.

Below are two specialized tools of persuasion. Use these tools wisely and make sure that you use specific techniques in the right situations.

Tool # 1: Speed Matters

One of the most effective elements that you can add to any interaction is speed. The speed trigger can be used in almost any situation where the influencer requires a leeway in exchange for something valuable. For example, a salesman might say something like “I will shave $500 off the initial payment and have it delivered to you today. No more additional shipping fees”.

The speed element usually shocks the subject into complying with the request because it’s hard for the human mind to wrap itself around the idea of having something so quickly.

Speed is convenience and happiness rolled into one and all the mind can say is “yes, give it to me!”. This might sound incredibly sneaky (and it is) but it is not unethical at all.

Both the subject and influencer will benefit from the interaction and as the influencer, you are just expediting the transit of the benefit from your side to the subject’s side. The speed element is extremely effective because it can be ‘added on’ to any conversation. Let’s say you need someone to accompany you to the movies.

Instead of sending a message like “Will you go with me to the movies tonight?” you can instead send a more persuasive text message: “Will you watch “The Avengers” with me? I’ll pick you up in half an hour with my new ride”. See the big difference? The element of speed shocks the subject into action and really helps prevent any knee-jerk reactions like “I’m busy tonight”.

Tool # 2: Damage Control

Let’s say that a person that you have just completed a business deal has not come back to do business with you again. When you finally get a hold of the person, he doesn’t want to talk about what happened the last time that he did business with you.

Obviously, something went wrong – why wouldn’t he do business with you again? In situations like this, it is very important for you to perform proper damage control.

It is not enough to just apologize because that does nothing to address the actual cause of the problem. Begin damage control by asking general questions about his experience when he was doing business with you.

Move from general questions to specific questions further down the line. When the subject becomes more open to sharing his thoughts with you, just back down – don’t try to defend yourself or your decisions in the past.

You are at a point where your past decisions have already had an impact on another person’s life, so it would be pointless to explain every decision that led to that point.

The most helpful thing that you can do right now is to just listen. That’s right – sometimes the best solution is to just quiet down and listen intently at what the other person has to say.

People are very emotional especially when it comes successes or losses. A person who has just suffered from a loss will be very sensitive and very defensive and will simply walk away if he thinks that you are not going to be the one providing the solution to his new set of problems.

After listening closely to what the subject has to say (and after jotting down a few important notes), provide some reassurance that you value the subject’s business and you are willing to make things right. This reassurance is the first step to creating a new business relationship with the other person. Sure, not every person will be as forgiving, but it is worth a try.

Provide a solution that you think will solve the subject’s problem. After laying down your new solution, ask the subject if he wants the solution or if he has a better solution in mind. Once again, hear him out. If the solution he has proposed cannot be implemented because it will go against your principles, try to a middle ground.

There is always a middle ground – you just have to work hard to negotiate with the other person. The other person will yield to this middle ground because no one truly likes the idea of walking away with nothing and obviously, as the influencer, you are going to great lengths to offer something of value to the subject.

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