May 23, 2018
Hi again and welcome back for another episode of The Art of Business English. In today’s episode we are going to be looking at some fantastic language to make yourself sound more persuasive. At the moment I am reading a fantastic book. I will put the book in the show notes, I encourage you all to buy a copy, it is very interesting and helpful. It is also short and easy to read, so definitely a great book for English language learners.
If you need to negotiate and be persuasive in your job, then this episode will definitely be for you. The art of persuasion is indeed a very powerful skill set to have. Luckily it is not as hard as you think. Most people interpret things that are said to them on a subconscious level and in many cases are unaware of the reasons why they say yes or no to certain suggestions.
In today’s episode we are going to look at part 1 of a 2-part series on persuasive expressions that can help you to know exactly what to say next time you are trying to sell or promote your products and services. Today, we will be looking at the following:
So, let’s not waste any time and get straight into it.
The reason why most people have trouble selling to others or getting their ideas accepted is because they are fearful of rejection. This quite ironic, because if you are trying to sell a product or service, then you are more likely to be rejected than accepted.
If this sounds like you then the following magic words will help you greatly. The best thing is, they can be used at practically anytime or with anybody.
These magic words are, “I’m not sure it is for you, but…”
This structure is effective because it instantly does a number of things. Firstly, it triggers the subconscious brain to think, “There is no pressure here.” If you do the opposite, pushing the person telling them they must try something, then instantly they become defensive. Here we are making them feel comfortable. However, it also does something else. By telling someone that “something” is not for them, you instantly spark their interest. They want to know what it is that they may not like. They become intrigued. Finally, it also triggers the brain into decision making mode. People instantly know that a decision has to be made, however, without any pressure.
The second part of the sentence is also incredibly important. The three-letter word “but” is usually a dangerous word to use. Why? Because it negates everything you said before it. If I tell you that the dinner you cooked was amazing, but I think it needed more salt. Then you only here the negative part and think I didn’t like the dish because it didn’t have enough salt. Therefore, in our scenario, if I say “I’m not sure this is for you, but…”. Your brain instantly thinks, hang on a minute, there could be something here for me.
Let’s look at some examples:
I’m not sure this is for you, but would you be interested in developing a passive income source that would give you more free time to spend with your family?
I’m not sure this would be for you, but we are thinking of investing in a new venture with projected annual returns of 10% and currently only a select few people are being accepted.
I’m not sure this would be for you, but we currently have a special deal running for the month of June and it would be great if you could take advantage of it.
Again, the purpose here is to spark the person’s interest and get them listening to what you have to offer in a more open and non-defensive way. We want our prospects to be open to our ideas and feel that they are making decisions freely.
Let’s take a look at the next expression.
Most people consider themselves to be open-minded. We want to be modern and forward thinking. We think of ourselves as open-minded because this makes us feel young and cultured. The best part here, is that the alternative to open-mined is, well, closed-minded. Nobody wants to be labelled close-minded. It has such a negative connotation, it makes you sound old and angry at the world. OR worse, racist and a simpleton.
So, if we want to take advantage of this subconscious need to be considered or viewed as open-minded then we can use the following expression when introducing a new idea to a stranger or potential client. “How open-minded are you about…?” From here we would paint a picture of the scenario that we are trying to have adopted. This helps to increase your chances of having your idea accepted, as everyone wants to be seen to be open-minded.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
How open-minded would you be about trying this new product? It has several innovations that set it apart from current models.
Would you be open-minded about at least trying my idea for a week?
How open-minded are you about increasing your monthly salary without doing any extra work?
Would you be open-minded to the idea of us meeting for lunch to discuss this further in person?
Using this technique makes it difficult for people to straight up reject your idea. People will be more open to taking a look at what you are proposing. The subconscious mind thinks it is being given a choice but really you are heavily influencing people to accept your proposal.
Let’s look at the last expression in today’s two-part series.
One of the worst things that can happen during a discussion is trying to convince someone about an idea when they think they know everything. This person will often enjoy the feeling of superiority as they try and lecture you about something, giving you little chance to put forward your ideas. this often happens when someone doesn’t even really know what they are talking about. Trying to convince them with logical counter arguments can actually make things worse.
The first thing we can do to retake control of a conversation is to try and move a person’s position from certainty to doubt. The worst way to do this is to counter with a challenge and end up arguing with them. You often here this on radio interviews. Both people argue their point and talk over each other and the interview turns into chaos.
This can also occur when we are trying to convince someone to adopt our ideas, they think they know best when in reality, they are not even willing to listen to what you say. The best way to overcome this situation is to question people’s knowledge of the topic. The ideal outcome is that they accept that their views are based on insufficient evidence, however you must never make them feel like an idiot. By saying “What do you know about…”, you are softly challenging their opinion and making them give you evidence to support their opinion.
OK, let’s take a look at some examples of this in action.
What do you know about my company, the services we offer and our products?
What do you know about everything that has happened since our last meeting?
What do you know about how this product really works in real life?
What do you know about our company culture and how we deal with our clients?
There are two outcomes from using this. Firstly, the person calms down and reflects on what you have asked. They quickly realise that their opinion is unfounded. Or secondly, they tell you exactly the foundation for their argument and opinion which gives you a chance to contrast your ideas with them and verify if their views are in fact correct.
Remember, if you argue with someone, then everybody loses. You will unlikely convince the person to adopt your idea, product or service, so it is best to go softly.
To finish up today, I am just going to give you some tips on how to implement the language. Remember, you can use these expressions in both English and Spanish, the theory is the same, so you just need to translate. If you feel more comfortable starting in Spanish, you can see how they work. When you are ready, you can start by using them in less formal situations. Try them on your English-speaking colleagues.
The secret is to start using them frequently so that they sound more and more natural when you use them. Once you have adopted them as part of your vocabulary, they will be a powerful tool in any negotiation.
So, there you have it, three simple expressions that anyone can use to help them have their ideas adopted by others. Remember, this is part 1 of a 2-part series, so make sure you all join me again next week for some more persuasive expressions. As always, if you enjoyed this episode head over to iTunes and give us a rating. This helps us greatly. You can also share this episode with your friends and family. If you do have any questions, then don’t hesitate to let me know. I have also put a link to the book on persuasion in the show notes, check it out. Till next week take care.
Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and
de Phil M Jones