How to get what you want – and still be able to look at yourself in the mirror
At some point, selling got a bad rap. Maybe it was the stereotypical used car salesman. Or maybe it was the guys who sold aluminum siding in the 1960s like those Richard Dreyfus and Danny DeVito portrayed in the movie, “Tin Men.” Or maybe it’s the unending flow of emails that assault our inboxes every day trying to get us to part with our hard-earned money.
Whatever the cause for that perception, the word “sales” got segregated in our business vocabulary to those jobs in which selling is an explicit part of the job description. Others might consider themselves involved with “business development”, “recruiting”, or “negotiating,” but not selling. In truth, all of us sell in some way, and we shouldn’t feel bad for that.
In fact, we can feel good about it if we persuade with principle – principled persuasion.
The term might sound like an oxymoron. But principles allow us to feel good when we try to persuade others because we act ethically. And these principles help us earn people’s trust. To persuade other people and gain that trust, follow these principles:
Honesty – Tell the truth. That may seem like an obvious suggestion, but many struggle to do it. If you tell the truth, even when it’s not to your advantage, you earn respect. And that respect breeds loyalty because people tend to trust and rely on someone they know will give them an honest answer.
Sincerity – Be real. If you’re honest, you’re truthful. If you’re sincere, you’re also genuine. You believe what you say, and you come across as authentic. Others will listen to you more freely if they sense they get the real you.
Empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Without this virtue, blunt honesty can sometimes damage a relationship. When we think about what another person experiences, it helps us say something in a way that shows we care about them and not just our own interests. That willingness to put yourself in someone else’s shoes shows them you get where they’re coming from.
- Generosity – Give before you get. What do you give when you’re trying to persuade someone else? You could simply give respect. Or you could give the other person the chance to talk. Whatever you do, it should be all about them. Think about what the other person needs or wants. How can you make that happen? How can you make their lives easier?
- Creativity – Think differently when necessary. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you struggle to persuade someone else, you need to change what you do to get a different result. People will feel stronger ties to you because you treat them like they’re unique.
- Curiosity – Keep learning. Even if you’re the best at what you do, if you don’t continue to learn and grow you will not be the best for long. By constantly learning and updating your skills, you get better and regularly offer other people a new and improved version of you.
- Motivation – Release your passion. Show how seriously you take your job. Let others know that meaningful work relationships matter to you. How do you do that? Care about what they want to achieve. Tell them you want to help – and then follow through. And double-down on your motivation. Show true enthusiasm for what you do in how you act.
- Optimism – Find the possible and the positive. How many of us are persuaded by a person whose first response to most new ideas is, “No?” Of course, we’re not. Find ways to give others at least some of what they want. Look for alternatives. Show them you’re willing to try. A positive attitude attracts more loyalty than a negative one.
Follow these principles to reflect that you’re others focused – and see how much more trusted, and persuasive, you are.
All the best,
Sean Romanoff – Exec|Comm Consultant
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