As each day brings us more things to fear from the financial and banking world, it’s hard to believe that there could be any light at the end of the crisis. However, if we remember to learn from our mistakes and adapt to the new world around us, when we to look to the future not everything will seem so bleak.
"Persuasion must be mastered before it is needed, or the opportunity is lost forever," says Kurt Mortensen in his book, Persuasion IQ: The 10 Skills You Need to Get Exactly What You Want (AMACOM, May 2008). So, before you walk into that next client presentation, take a look at these 10 common obstacles that Mortensen says can limit your persuasion success.
A term coined by Garrison Keillor, the "Lake Wobegon Effect" means that we all see ourselves as better than average. According to Mortensen, this affects our persuasion abilities negatively because it makes us "numb to reality and we fail to see exactly where we stand and what we need to improve."
Tip: Ask a trusted friend and advisor to offer some constructive criticism on your presentation before you present to your prospect or client.
Keep your persuasion attempts low key and non-threatening. "The moment people sense you are attempting to persuade them, the brick wall increases in size and strength, and they will resist you," says the author.
Mortensen says we all need to proactively seek to enhance our skills and knowledge to see an increase in opportunity and income.
This goes beyond talking too much because sometimes we are determined to highlight every benefit and feature. It's great to have passion, but you need to realize your customers passion and speak to that. Ask questions and listen to your audience - they'll tell you what you need to talk about.
"Desperation leads to poor decisions, forces unwanted choices, reduces options, and spawns regret," says Mortensen. Is that how you want your customers to feel?
It's going to happen sooner or later, but don't take rejection personally, says Mortensen. "Great persuaders think through the reality of the situation in a rational, unemotional way," he says. "Great persuaders have the ability to erase the negativity from their minds at will and move on with a clean slate in a matter of minutes."
Mortensen says that there are four areas in which great persuaders prepare - knowing their product or service inside and out, knowing their audiences' needs and wants, finding out how to customize their presentation to those needs and wants, and always having a variety of tools in their toolbox so they can present with options.
Don't judge a book by its cover - you never know. "Give your audience the time and attention they deserve each and every time," says Mortensen. "Wouldn't it be a shame to lose a deal because you judged someone wrongly only to learn later that he ended up going to your competitor with a big order when you had exactly what he needed all along?"
Sure, it's great to have closing skills, but what good are they if you lose your audience at the beginning? Connect with your audience first, and then close.