Are You a Persuasive Communicator?
By Ibby Smith Stofer
Whether you are talking or writing via email, text or instant messaging, the tone of your communication and use of persuasive tools is fundamental to the sales process. You’re communicating even when you don’t think you are.
The truth is that over 90% of the time, we are actually selling something in our everyday communication. We want another party or parties to take some kind of action or provide something of value to us.
But successful persuasion requires us to invest time in planning the message (including organization and analysis), choosing the method or medium, and selecting the right audience.
Think about the last spam message that came into your email inbox. Do you think the sender was selective in the audience? Did the subject catch your attention or ask you to do something?
Often these messages barrage us after we have browsed search engines or done some online shopping. The thinking is that if you bought one item, you might want a similar item too. Sometimes all you have to do is browse a site and your inbox is hit with suggested items just for you.
I don’t find these emails or the unsolicited telemarketing calls welcome. Perhaps it is because in today’s world of immediate gratification these companies or individuals think they are actually helping us by eliminating our need to think or choose what we want to see or hear. Who knows? Nonetheless, it certainly doesn’t hit the mark with many of us.
So, what if you want to test the waters with past, present or future clients? Or you want your LinkedIn connections to provide an introduction for you to one or more of their connections? Will you choose to send them an email or make a telephone call? What if your message, regardless of method, goes unanswered?
Persuasive messaging includes a balance of emotion and logic. It also relies on use of powerful words, good timing and having identified the correct audience for your message.
Let’s take a moment to look at the keys to persuasive messaging.
Attention: grab the other party’s attention and to do so quickly.
Interest: develop the listener’s or reader’s interest within the first moments. Answer the “What’s in it for me?” dialog that is resonating in their head.
Desire: build their desire to take the next step.
Action: give a clear understanding of what you want the listener or reader to do to fill this desire you have built within them.
We all know people who are known to be very good at persuading others. In fact, we all learned the basics early in life. Small children often implement the AIDA model intuitively when they are upset and crying.
The increased pitch of their voice as they call out for their Mommy or Daddy will grab ATTENTION.
Their physical stomping or crying builds INTEREST in what they are saying or wanting.
Our DESIRE to calm the situation and avoid an embarrassing situation is as natural as the sunrise and sunset.
Their desired ACTION is usually very clear. I WANT IT and I want it NOW!
While I hope you have chuckled at this elementary scenario, it is intended to remind us that we too can be persuasive, albeit with perhaps a bit more maturity and by relying less on the other party’s emotional reaction.
Let’s look at an example of how we can apply AIDA to a request for a referral of a targeted individual.
First, let’s look at an abbreviated message that does not consider the points of persuasion we have covered.
We pick out a group on LinkedIn that we belong to and have identified as having great potential to increase our opportunities.
Here is the message we post as a discussion:
"Hi all, I am wanting to connect with others in this group who require our service. Can you help me? Please take a look at my profile and refer me to your friends. Thank you."
Now with a little AIDA:
Free Consulting (ATTENTION Grabber)
Achieving unprecedented success using simple and low costs processes improve results for over 80% of my clients (INTEREST)
I will offer a 30-minute consultation that will explain how I have helped others achieve their desired results. (DESIRE)
Be one of the first 50 respondents and we will schedule your personal free consultation. Visit my website at www.persuademe.com. (ACTION)
It takes a little bit of practice and time to think about AIDA before we pick up the phone or send an email or text message. But which of the above might you be inclined to respond to?
This technique works well for marketing and sales, as well as our personal messaging. A short article that I used as inspiration (no, not my child’s temper tantrum) can be found at a site I often read and think you might enjoy as well: www.mindtools.com.
If I follow the AIDA model, I will tell you to go there, but I would rather you desired to know more and choose to go there on your own. So my request for ACTION is to continue your investment in improving your communications. Good luck.