You cannot be among the best leaders without mastering the art of persuasion; yes, it’s an ART! Some of us have it naturally – looking at these masters doing their magic is impressive, the charisma of convincing others to do as they ask. The frustrating part is that this skill is difficult to teach or pass on to your team; these masters are far better at doing it than explaining it. As executives, we know this frustration, so what do we do? How do you get everyone in your team to master this art?
I have learned a few behaviors that lead people to concede or change, and you get what you want! But it eventually comes down to cutting deals for successful business growth. So, you are always better off controlling the negotiation before it begins. But how do you persuade without sounding like you’re persuading? Well… it’s truly an art form. Here are a few things that helped me with my negotiation tactics:
Starting the meeting
Let’s start with prepping before you go into the meeting. Think about the outcome you’re expecting before you go in. Keeping your mind on a set outcome will help you steer the discussion in the right direction. If you know what you want, start and lead the meeting and set the anchor for the rest of the discussion. It shows you’re confident and you mean business. Make sure to remain in control of taking the meeting in the direction you want to take it in.
Share your successes
It’s crucial to maintain a positive image of yourself. Don’t be afraid to be personable but remain humble; this will help them develop a liking towards you. No one wants to invest in an a**hole. Do not hesitate to share your success; after all, your successes could potentially be their successes in the future, and everyone wants to be affiliated with the successful ones. If you’re an organization—gifting branded content to each individual could be an anchor to share your success story. Telling them about the journey of how you got to where you are, whether it is personal or in business, will help them create an emotional investment in YOU.
Create a connection
This is an excellent time to turn the discussion to the other party. Praise the other party on a professional achievement or success. It shows you have done your research. If you have a mutual connection, bring it up, this makes you less of a “stranger” and gives them a foundation of trust. Showing support for them regardless of the outcome goes a long way; establishing good faith is very important – you need to look like an honest broker.
Negotiating the deal
Overall, don’t spend too much time with small talk. It’s time to convert these feelings into action and commitment. Persuasion is not only about making people feel toward you but showing action. Your target is to end your negotiation with actionable items and commitments. When moving into negotiation, it’s best to make the first commitment, proposal, or offer, going back to the importance of exactly knowing what you want and what you can give. Showing that you believe in what you’re asking will help them feel more confident in making a decision.
Remember, the goal isn’t to force them to make a decision. The goal is to get them to WANT to make a decision. Once they make a decision—it’s always best to get it in writing as a tangible commitment. At a minimum, say it out loud in the meeting. If it is spoken aloud to witnesses, they are more likely to follow through.
Posing authority with scarcity
Establishing that you know what you are saying always goes across strong. Your education, experience, industry know-how, certifications, and accreditations all work. Presenting the deal from a position of authority and adding some scarcity to the deal is a powerful tool; use it!
It starts from framing the whole conversation; that’s where the importance of prepping is. Persuasion is not a few things that you can say to win a discussion; it is a recipe of these things sprinkled in the whole conversation and the timing of these persuasion tactics when needed. There is no order in using these tactics; it is the art of using few or all when they matter the most.
I hope this helps you when going into your next high-stakes meeting. The art of persuasion can take years to perfect. You need to win at least 6 out of 10 of your negotiations to keep growing successfully. If you are losing the majority of your negotiations, you’re not doing something right and probably heading towards a permanent failure. Don’t forget to think and plan your desired outcome days before your meeting, overall making execution much easier. Know what you want and go for it.