People’s fear of change can make it difficult, if not impossible, to persuade them to your point of view and move them to take action. Business, education, and real estate writer Stephanie Vozza (@StephanieVozza), the author of “How To Get People To Agree With You,” believes that adopting a hard sell approach to overcome fear of change and new ideas doesn’t work very well. Instead, she offers six tips, based on the ideas of respected writers in the field of human behavior, to get people to say yes.
- Be clear. To be clear, you need to know what you want. So write that down and what you’re willing to compromise on. If you don’t, it will be a lot harder to be persuasive when dialogue heats up.
- You’re really interested in getting your ideas across. But you need to ask questions and really listen to the answers. One expert says that people tend to own a problem when—by answering your questions—they can articulate it. And if they feel your interest, their resistance goes down.
- Create a foundation for agreement. Do that by creating or removing social tension. Create social tension by giving a gift others feel they must reciprocate. One example I can think of is charitable solicitations accompanied by money attached to the response form. Remove social tension by stating a position that allows your target to strategically retreat. An example is the Patagonia “Don’t buy this jacket” ad campaign, which essentially tells consumers that the company is not trying to hustle them.
- Be inclusive. When you use words like “we,” you establish that you and your prospects are “in it together,” which makes it more likely that they will agree with you. I add that you should not only sound sincere, you should actually be sincere.
- Timing is everything. People will be more inclined to agree if they’re relaxed and not on the defensive. If those you wish to persuade are stressed—up against a deadline or passed over for a promotion, for example—they will probably back away from youe.
- Be open-minded. The more rigid you appear, the less likely people will be to engage with you. That means your success in persuading them goes way down. If you’re perceived as being open to different ideas, then the greater the possibility your persuadees will come around to your way of thinking. Of course, you also need to acknowledge that others may have better ideas than yours.
In my opinion, this article is about selling. We all need to develop the skills that will allow us to sell our ideas to others, whether we sell for a living or are simply functioning in the normal, everyday commerce of life.