Have you ever wondered why certain people in your organization get their way more often than others? I’m sure you have.
These people seem to be able to propose any idea under the sun and gain backing for it. They seem to know exactly how to get everyone else behind their new initiative. Their ideas gain traction almost instantly.
And they make it look easy.
It’s easy to assume that these are people who have played the political game well. They did a good job of forming the right relationships.
There could be some truth to that. But here’s the truth of the matter: these people are more persuasive than others. They know how to sell.
In his book “To Sell Is Human,” author Dan Pink writes:
“We’re all in sales now.”
It’s a simple statement but it contains a lot of truth.. You are surrounded by salespeople every single day. As a matter of fact, whether you like it or not, you are also a salesperson. And the better you get at selling, the easier it will be to get the things you want in your professional and personal life.
Sales Isn’t Just About Getting People To Buy Product
Many people make the mistake of believing that sales is only about persuading people to spend money on products and services. However, that is just one part of what sales is.
Sales can be defined simply as the act of attempting to convince people to do something that you want them to do. Anytime you’re trying to move another person to a specific type of action, you’re selling.
When you try to convince your teenager to clean his room, you’re selling. When you try to motivate one of your team members to work harder, you’re selling. When you try to get your cell phone company to lower your monthly bill, you’re selling.
It’s a much different way of looking at the idea of sales. But when you look at it this way, you begin to realize how much of your life involves selling.
I’m actually in the act of selling at this very moment. I’m trying to sell you on the idea that you’re in sales!
Even If You’re Not In Sales, You’re In Sales
As stated previously, the fact that you’re not getting people to buy products or services doesn’t mean that you’re not in sales. There are other things you need to sell on a daily basis.
If you happen to manage a team, you’re spending much of your time trying to get people to do things that you want them to do. You’re trying to get others to buy in to your ideas.
Getting What You Want Depends On Your Ability To Persuade
Your success depends largely upon your ability to influence others. That’s what sales is about. If you take the time to learn how to persuade more effectively, you will have much greater success in your career.
Do you need upper leadership to support an idea? You have to be able to deliver a proposal that will convince them to give you their support. The presentations that you give need to be as persuasive as possible.
What about those times when you need to collaborate with management from another department? You will need to persuade them to make time in their day to help support your initiative.
Are you in a position where you need to negotiate with suppliers? Persuasion skills can help you get the best deal from them.
Some Persuasion Tips
Fortunately, selling is not a skill one must be born with. Forget the myth of the “natural salesperson.”
Sales is a skill. That means it can be learned.
It takes practice and commitment just like any other skill. While there are tons of techniques, tactics, and tips you can use to become a better influencer, there are some key principles that you should remember.
It’s Never About You
The first thing you need to remember when selling is that it’s not about you. Yes, you’re trying to get someone to do what you want, but if you want to persuade them, you have to make it about them.
This means you must realize that the person you’re trying to influence doesn’t care about your needs. They’re not interested in hearing about how great your idea is for you. They’re interested in their own needs and concerns.
This means you have to focus on their wants and desires. Figure out how your proposal will benefit them. Think about how they will be positively impacted if they accept what you’re saying.
When you focus on helping the other person get what they want, they will be far more likely to accept your offering.
Don’t Talk. Listen.
If you want to convince others to do something, the best favor you can do for yourself is to ask questions and then shut up. If your objective is to help the other person get what they want, you must take the time to understand what they need.
You need to ask great questions. Make sure you are asking more open-ended questions than close-ended questions. Open-ended questions get the other person to talk more, which is what you want. The more your prospect talks, the more information you get.
As an added bonus, getting your prospect to talk more also helps you build more trust. When you show genuine interest in your prospect’s situation, they appreciate it. It shows them that you’re not just out to get what you want from them.
Focus On The Relationship
Being an influential person means recognizing the fact that relationships matter. The better your relationships are with the people you wish to persuade, the easier it will be for you to succeed.
It’s a well-known fact in the world of sales that people will buy from those they know, like, and trust. That’s why building relationships is so important.
If you want to get things done, you will need other people to help you. Relationships are key. This is why the previous two tips were so important.
You can’t build relationships when you’re only focused on getting what you want. You also can’t build relationships if you don’t take the time to get to know the other person.
Zig Ziglar said:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
It’s not always easy to get people to do what you want. However, it’s something that has to be done if you are going to continue to move forward in your career or business.
Trust me, life can be pretty difficult if you don’t know how to move others to action.
The key to learning how to become a better influencer is developing your relationships. Focus on the other person and what their needs are.
If you are willing to help the people around you get what they want, they will be willing to help you get what you want.