As we explain in the Personal Selling tutorial, selling is a form of promotion in which one party “uses skills and techniques for building personal relationships with another party … that results in both parties obtaining value.” While we present this as a definition of selling, the fact is, this definition applies to any situation in which Party A seeks to get Party B to see the value in something Party A is offering.
Of course, most people equate this situation to a seller trying to persuade a prospect to buy a good or service. Yet, in marketing the need to be persuasive is not exclusively about selling something in exchange for money. Convincing someone to make a decision applies to many marketing (and business) situations that are outside of the sales area. For example, it may be an advertising manager attempting to convince a client to accept a new direction for their next advertising campaign or a retail store manager attempting to convince an employee to restock store shelves using a more efficient method or a not-for-profit marketing manager attempting to convince a group of volunteers to stay at an event for more time then they committed.
No matter what the situation, the “skills and techniques” required to get to the end goal of convincing another party to do something almost always requires the use of methods of persuasion. So what does it take to be persuasive? Certainly the steps involved in selling outlined in The Selling Process tutorial are a good place to start but for more specific examples check out this story in Time. The article provides seven attributes that are commonly found by those who are considered persuasive. What seems most noteworthy here is that persuasive people exhibit all these attributes, not just a few. As might be expected, most of the skills discussed revolve around effective communication and also being able to understand human behavior. Fortunately, all the skills mentioned can be learned, practiced and refined by almost anyone.
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