Optimize Persuasiveness Series (2 of 4)

Author: Steven Zolman

Relationship based persuasion is usually strategically intended to win others over, not to defeat them. Thus it is very important to be able to see the topic from different angles in order to anticipate the reaction of others to a proposal.

To be successful in this pursuit, we recommend the following 4 steps:

  • Step 1: Survey your situation. This step includes an analysis of the situation of the persuader, his goals and the challenges he faces in his organization.
  • Step 2: Confront the five barriers.  There are five obstacles that pose the greatest risks to a successful influence encounter:  relationships, credibility, communication mismatches, belief systems, interest and needs.  You must confront these issues and overcome them if you are to be successful.
  • Step 3: Make your pitch.  People need solid reason to justify a decision, yet at the same time many decisions are taken on the basis of intuition. This step also deals with presentation skills.
  • Step 4: Secure your commitments.  In order to safeguard the longtime success it is vital to deal with politics at the individual and organizational level.

Many clients we work with underplay or overplay their ability to persuade their supplier to bring them to their way of thinking.  In this four part blog series, we will discuss the four most effective strategies we have seen clients use to optimize their persuasiveness with their suppliers.

Strategy 2: Leverage the Power of Justification

Optimizing persuasiveness

  • Don’t forget “Because”.

    • Even if your rationale is less than perfect, the justification that follows the word ‘because’ should increase the odds that your counterpart will agree to your request
    • At the very least, the justification will reduce the risk that your counterpart will perceive your request as illegitimate or offensive
      • We need a 60% discount
      • Vs.
      • We need a 60% discount because any less than that puts this deal over budget and this initiative will get shot down by the CFO
  • Choose the right justification.

    • Take time to choose the justification that best suits the desired outcome.
      • Last time you went through a similar situation with this supplier, you noticed they were responsive to your internal hurdles.  When you told them you couldn’t get started due to some other work that needed to get done first, they offered to help you get that other work done, so as not to delay their deal.
      • Using that same approach this time, might be the best way to go about it.  If your supplier is working internally on deal reviews and approvals, they have established a willingness and ability to help you overcome internal obstacles, and just may do so again, if you use the right justification.
  • Tell a Story.

    • Never let an offer speak for itself.  Instead, justify the request, then tell a story that legitimizes the justification.  Tell someone a fact, and they will learn.  Tell someone the truth, and they will believe.  But tell someone a story, and it will live in their heart forever.
      • We need a 60% discount because any less than that puts this deal over budget and this initiative will get shot down by the CFO
      • Last year, when your team collaborated with us to meet our requirements, we were able to get your deal started on time for the forecasted amounts.  The results of that deal benefited us greatly, and as a result, we have provided positive customer references; which has helped you get additional sales.  If we can work together to overcome this obstacle, we will likely enjoy additional benefits.

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