The world has changed drastically. We no longer lead with trust or “benefit of the doubt”. In business there is not a single person in an organization that has the power, knowledge, expertise, or capability to do everything on their own. Small business’ in particular fall prey to the notion that they can do it all by themselves because in the first stages of conceptualization, they can. Once they get past that they are dependent upon others whether it be customers, clients, friends and family or employees. If they are not prepared for the next steps, healthy growth in the business becomes nearly impossible. How then can small business owners better prepare themselves for moving into a leadership role with sustained healthy growth? It requires trust. How do you reliably, repeatedly build trust with customers? Learn, practice, and master the art of persuasion.
To quote Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, “Every dream, hope, and aspiration you have depends on others. Your ability to persuade is critical to your success.” The ability to empathize is the cornerstone to persuasion as it is the cornerstone to trust. Finding a way to invest in your stakeholders and care about the quality of experience of those interactions wins hearts and minds and depending on how effective one is, builds trust instantly or over time.
So, what exactly is persuasion? Persuasion is a process. It is an art and science that enables one to influence, change or strengthen behaviors, thoughts and perceptions. The art is in the ability to earn trust through effective communication and the science are the well-established principles of human behavior. This is a critical skill for business owners and managers due to the nature of organizational relationships, modern high-speed transactions, low tolerance for error, and the diverse array of situations arising from those interactions.
If this is a crucial skill how can I master this? Practice and time. Just like leaders, persuaders are not born but made. However, it does not take years of study to begin honing the skills necessary to be a master persuader. There is a secret formula: Trust + Expertise = Credibility, Credibility x Right People = Success. The more credible one is the more likely one is willing to commit time and resources to the idea, product or service. So, here are a few tips and tricks to get started on the persuasion formula today:
- Sincerity. A genuine belief that the idea, product or service is worth others’ time.
- Proven Trustworthiness. Behave in a trustworthy manner by establishing a pattern of following through on everything committed to.
- Respect, Explore, Listen. Genuinely value others input and listen to concerns. Be open and do not dismiss.
- Best Interest. Convince and believe that the idea, product or service is in the best interest of others.
- Don’t be perfect. No one is and acknowledging flaws up front not only pro-actively heads off potential conflict and setbacks, it establishes a deeper layer of trust immediately.
- Be Consistent. Do what you say and say what you mean. Inconsistency leads to confusion, conflict and questionable intentions.
- Know your target audience. Who should you be addressing? Decision makers? Stakeholders? Influencers? Knowing who, when and where your idea, product or service fits is crucial.
- Overlap. Sometimes these groups or individuals overlap. Be sure not to leave anyone out.
Seems simple right? It is, however, why hasn’t everyone mastered this art then? Same reason people fail to follow through on New Year’s resolutions, eat healthy, or take that vacation—a failure to create a sustained behavior. Thought to action repeated over a period of time will foster consistency and eventually mastery. These are the tools, it’s up to you to take the steps.
Armour Martin Consulting LLC provides premium online content to help business leaders grow confidently in their business and see results in 90 days.
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