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Both sales and leadership rely on ‘soft skills’ of persuasive communication.
Both sales and leadership rely on ‘soft skills’ of persuasive communication.

Mastering the art of persuasive communication

Being able to understand, convince, and in uence others is an essential skill – both for improving sales and managing a workplace, writes RYAN ESTIS.

How much time do you spend every week presenting new ideas, motivating your staff, or winning over new customers?

We spend an increasingly significant portion of our workday drawing on our persuasive communications skills to build relationships, earn trust, and accomplish shared objectives.

Your ability to communicate effectively, and influence directly, affects your success.

Here are five ideas that will help you develop your persuasive communication skills.

Abandon negative stereotypes

When people think about sales, they often recall a bad buying experience – usually an overly eager or aggressive sales representative.

We can also associate sales with ‘manipulating’ people into making decisions they’re not comfortable with when, in fact, professional selling is all about understanding another person’s needs and helping them solve problems or seize beneficial opportunities.

If you believe in what you’re doing and that what you’re doing is right, you’re not just selling – you’re being helpful.

Your natural reaction may be to give up or shut down, but so often, resistancecan be an opportunity to move the exchange to the next level of engagement.

When you start thinking about sales as a collaborative, problem-solving effort, you expand your perspective and advance your relationships.

Meanwhile, when it comes to improving your team’s performance, influence is critical. No matter your function within an organisation, the ability to communicate your ideas in a compelling way that resonates and helps challenge people’s assumptions is valuable.

Without persuasive communication, you can’t lead effectively.

Focus on being helpful

When your goal is to convince or persuade someone, don’t focus on what you want them to do – instead, focus on how you can be helpful to them.

I call this the ‘service mentality’. Think about the other person’s goals and objectives and how you can assist in achieving them.

When trying to understand where someone else is coming from, seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

Leaders are active listeners, while the best salespeople are both helpers and teachers. They’re trustworthy, likable, collaborative and curious, and make an effort to uncover and articulate someone’s problem and demonstrate their solution.

Provide context

Context closes sales. For example, if you were an employee presenting a new concept to a manager, you would come prepared with a detailed business case, research, projected return-on- investment, and any additional insights to convince them to sign off on the idea.

The point is that ideas need context to be relevant. Providing context to your ideas means being credible, well- researched, and able to produce examples that will convince others to jump on board.

Overcome resistance

In any exchange of information, you should prepare to meet with resistance – I’m talking about that dreaded ‘no’.

Your natural reaction may be to give up or shut down, but so often, resistance can be an opportunity to move the exchange to the next level of engagement.

Understanding concerns, objections and barriers is critical to making progress.

Great sellers view resistance as an opportunity to learn, understand and advance the dialogue.

Prepare to meet the resistance when challenging the status quo; think through what you expect the resistance to be and how you will respond when it occurs.

That level of preparation may just provide you with the level of confidence and conviction to help evolve the perspective.

However, it’s also important to recognise that once a decision has been made, even if it isn’t in your favour, you should still move forward.

Change is a process, not an event, and having the ability to disagree and commit is critical to getting things done.

Ask open-ended questions

Asking good questions is one of the most important ways to communicate more successfully. It’s possible to skilfully guide a conversation by asking the right ones; you can open up possibilities by having the other person examine their plans and goals through open-ended questions.

That way, you can see the big picture together and figure out how your product or service can best fit into their idea. Prepare yourself with intelligent questions – this beats ‘winging it’ every time!

Developing your persuasive communication skills will help you navigate your work more effectively, build better relationships, and ultimately, thrive.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Estis

Contributor •


Ryan Estis helps companies to embrace change, attack opportunity and achieve breakthrough performance. Learn more: ryanestis.com

Duraflex Group Australia
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