A lot has already been written about persuasive selling, or simply how to persuade people, and it’s been rehashed to death. Or so I thought…
Author Steve Martin (no, not the banjo-picking comedian, but the NYTbestselling author of YES! & The Small Big) put together another strong article for Harvard Business Review called “How Doctors (or Anyone) Can Craft a More Persuasive Message.”
In it, Martin doesn’t create and run down a long list o
f tactics. And truthfully, I rarely leave reading those articles feeling good about myself (read: “Um, no I don’t do that well,” “Well, that’s another area in which I really need to improve” and “Wow. Those 3 would really expose me if anyone knew I am poor at doing those as well”). Am I the only one?
Instead, Martin puts the focus on the Messenger of the message. I absolutely agree with this. Connecting the right messenger with the right message at the right time puts you in a position to win big.
There are lots of reasons why well-crafted messages fail to persuade, but one of the most common is because the communicator focuses too much on constructing the content of the message rather than choosing the right messenger. The distinction between the messenger and the message is an important one.
In today’s information-overloaded world, in which we’re exposed to lots of conflicting messages, people will often act more on the basis of who is communicating the message rather than the actual message itself.
But then, we hear these 3 traits mentioned (and we’ve heard them before):
Persuasion researchers have long known that the most effective messengers have three key attributes: expertise, trustworthiness, and similarity. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Don’t give up on the article. Martin helps us, on a very nuts and bolts level, determine what research tells us about these traits. It’s worth reading to observe the connections he makes in just a few paragraphs.
I’ll go as far as to say that, in the next 5 minutes, you can grow stronger in at least 1 of the traits by simply reading the article. Just look for the possibility of yourself in the examples, make some connections as to how they would play out in the sales world, and put some part of it into use today.
QUESTION ::: What stood out to you in this article, and what can will you put into action today?
Let’s talk about it…
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