Instead of Persuasion, Work on Alignment with Prospective Clients
In selling, it is typically assumed that you must learn persuasion tactics.
Persuasion strategies do work… but only for the short-term.
Do you enjoy having to convince or persuade people to buy from you?
The idea of “persuasion” sets up an arms-folded, you vs. me dynamic.
When a buyer has to be persuaded, they often regret the purchase later. As the seller, you lose a long-term customer, and probably get some negative word-of-mouth, whether you become aware of it or not.
As consumers, all of us have been tricked by persuasive selling, and we have felt buyer’s remorse. Persuasion tactics tend to short-circuit our own natural buying process, which has its own rhythm and timing and needs to be respected.
Our conscience is saying, “There’s got to be a better way.”
Here’s an alternative that I enjoy much more:
Instead of trying to sell, let’s do our best to align with our potential clients.
We can work to align what we offer with the people who actually need and want what we have.
1. We are in sales alignment when we offer the right thing to the right person, at the right time, for the right price. When we fail to align on any of those, we might become needy or desperate, and fall back into persuasion tactics.
2. To find alignment, we need to talk with enough prospective customers in the right way — to understand what problems they really want to solve that our service can help with and to discover what they and their friends buy that is similar to our service.
3. We need to keep improving our services and understanding of whom it’s best for, so that we can talk about our services honestly and transparently. When we know what our services do and whom they help, we feel energized to take our services to the people who really need it.
4. To allow our selling to be much more heart-centered (and easier to do!) it helps a lot that the people we’re selling to are already open-hearted to us. Sellers usually try to do this by using instant charm or storytelling meant to sell right away. Instead, I prefer a more organic path: open their hearts naturally via long-term interaction with them through netcaring or content as ministry. To understand marketing not as a means to an end (to sell stuff!) but rather, to reframe marketing as a worthwhile activity in and of itself.
When we approach selling from this service-oriented way, with care and love for our ideal audience, we find sales alignment. We no longer need to persuade. We can just whisper our offers, and our ideal customers love to buy from us.
Let’s say that what you sell is a healing service for migraines. If you’re presenting your service to someone with migraines, or who has a friend that suffers from it, then you don’t have to do any selling or persuasion. If the price is comparable to other similar services they’ve seen, and they (or their friend) has that problem, then there’s alignment between the buyer and the product.
However, if you are talking to someone who doesn’t have migraines and doesn’t know anyone with that problem, but your goal is to make the sale, to meet your numbers, then you will become desperate or otherwise use persuasion tactics such as “Listen to these scary stories of people who had migraines… you might develop it too, so you better sign up now to prevent it. Last chance at this price! You’ll never see this great offer again!”
Bottom line: In your marketing, selling, networking, and copywriting, remember that persuasion is only necessary when you haven’t adequately aligned with the other person.
If however you want to build business from a space of caring, then work instead on finding alignment.
by the author.