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How do you feel about persuasion?

How do you feel about persuasion? When selling, is trying to persuade someone ethical, immoral, what? - by Agent Smith
How do you feel about persuasion? When selling, is trying to persuade someone ethical, immoral, what?
I looked up the dictionary definition of "persuade":
To induce to undertake a course of action or embrace a point of view by means of argument, reasoning, or entreaty
My feeling: if you are listening to someone's needs during the sales conversation, and what you are offering truly satisfies those needs, the prospect will persuade themselves (assuming you can adequately and accurately describe the product or service.)

Persuasion as a tactic isn't ethical, unethical, moral or immoral -- it's just not effective, in my book. - by Terri Zwierzynski
I looked up the dictionary definition of "persuade":
To induce to undertake a course of action or embrace a point of view by means of argument, reasoning, or entreaty
I prefer this definition:
"Cause somebody to adopt a certain position, belief, or course of action."
Persuasion as a tactic isn't ethical, unethical, moral or immoral --
I feel the same way. - by bridger480
I looked up the dictionary definition of "persuade": Persuasion as a tactic isn't ethical, unethical, moral or immoral -- it's just not effective, in my book.
I agree with the first part of your statement, but not necessarily the lattter. If you have a strongly held belief whether it's political, religious, or you like the dandruff shampoo that you use. It's only natural to try to persuade others to your point of view. We do this because we think it will enhance someone elses life. Even under hypnosis you can't make someone do anything that would be against their will. With that said though, persuasion does work. If your offering or belief is valid, and your argument is sound. Then they will convince themselves. You just need to be an effective communicator. - by klozerking
I agree with the first part of your statement, but not necessarily the lattter. If you have a strongly held belief whether it's political, religious, or you like the dandruff shampoo that you use. It's only natural to try to persuade others to your point of view. We do this because we think it will enhance someone elses life. Even under hypnosis you can't make someone do anything that would be against their will. With that said though, persuasion does work. If your offering or belief is valid, and your argument is sound. Then they will convince themselves. You just need to be an effective communicator.
That rings true with me. I would also point out that salespeople use agents of influence every day to persuade. For instance;
  • "Social Proof" in an assurance.
  • "Scarcity" in an offering (exclusive access, deadlines, etc.)
  • "Authority" when letting the client know you are an expert in your field.
- by Agent Smith
That rings true with me. I would also point out that salespeople use agents of influence every day to persuade. For instance;
  • "Social Proof" in an assurance.
  • "Scarcity" in an offering (exclusive access, deadlines, etc.)
  • "Authority" when letting the client know you are an expert in your field.
I agree. Salespeople "persuade" through agents of influence every day whether they know it, intend it, or not. ;) - by SalesGuy
How do you feel about persuasion? When selling, is trying to persuade someone ethical, immoral, what?
If it's raining , I might be persuaded to carry an umbrella. If it's raining and I'm in Seattle, I might be persuaded by my daughter to not carry an umbrella so as not to look like a tourist.

We are stimulated persuasively constantly. In selling, persuasion is not a moral or ethical issue. It's a choice in methodology. Some, like myself, believe there are more effective methodologies. That does not preclude a respect for persuasive techniques. Nor does it imply that persuasion can be eliminated in selling. It's unrealistic to think that, in my opinion. However, you can found a selling system on a nonpersuasive philosophy. - by Gary Boye
What would be an example of unethical persuasion and what render persuasion ineffective? - by Mikey
We are stimulated persuasively constantly. In selling, persuasion is not a moral or ethical issue. It's a choice in methodology. Some, like myself, believe there are more effective methodologies. That does not preclude a respect for persuasive techniques. Nor does it imply that persuasion can be eliminated in selling. It's unrealistic to think that, in my opinion. However, you can found a selling system on a nonpersuasive philosophy.
There is something in the word "persuade" that triggered a thought and a reaction in me, that may be different for others. To me, to persuade is to try to get someone else to see things MY way. By that definition, it feels counter to selling -- which should be about the customer, not me.

Gary's use of the word persuasion (his daughter persuading him to not use an umbrella) is a little different -- his daughter has convinced him of something that is for his betterment (not looking like a tourist :o ).

So I guess it depends on what one means by "persuasion", and what persuasive tactics are taken. For instance, "scarcity", employed on a web site that perpetually says "this offer expires at midnight tonight", is unethical. (I also hate those sales letters that start, "Sunday, 4:07pm" -- you know darn well that it wasn't written today, and it will still say the same day/time next week!) Other more legitimate uses of scarcity would seem ethical.

In summary, it depends ;) - by Terri Zwierzynski
Quote by Eric Hoffer:
"The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders." - by MagicMan
Quote by Eric Hoffer:
"The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders."
That one's going into the rotation. Thanks! :) - by Jeff Blackwell
Quote by Eric Hoffer:
"The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders."
Isn't this what salespeople do? Isn't this the art and science of selling? - by BossMan
Isn't this what salespeople do? Isn't this the art and science of selling?
That is for an individual to decide for him/herself. I think Eric Hoffer would agree with what I just said as he wrote with a caveat toward cults, "true believers, charismatic propagandists, and people influenced by charlatans.

I don't deny that his words in this quote could be framed for a discussion on selling. Personally I don't believe the quote describes the art, or the science, or the business of selling. But we all can decide for ourselves. That would please Hoffer. - by Gary Boye
That is for an individual to decide for him/herself.
Sure. Free choice. I No problem.

With that said, what would the alternative be? Order Taking?

I am being serious by the way. This reminds me of a quote that went something to like of, "If someone doesn't get excited nothing is going to happen." - by BossMan
With that said, what would the alternative be? Order Taking?
Please elaborate. - by SalesGuy
Please elaborate.
Some people know what they want and when they see it they buy it. An "Order Taker" can handle this situation just fine.

Example: "We sell payroll services to companies like yours. Do you want this service too? Great, I'll come over this afternoon and go over the particulars."

Others, many others, don't always know what they want even when they see it. These "others" also don't always connect features to benefits and benefits to personal desires (appetites, fears, vanity). A "Salesperson" is necessary for this situation. - by BossMan
[quote=BossMan]Example: "We sell payroll services to companies like yours. Do you want this service too? Great, I'll come over this afternoon and go over the particulars."QUOTE]

I have personally never heard anybody use an offer like that for prospecting--from either side of the phone line.

Also, I believe most people do know what they want. When making an offer, at least a couple of features should be included so that a prospect would have a chance to match them to their wants.

Do you mean by "order taker" someone who takes no proactive steps with a prospect? If you do, does that necessarily imply that the only valid proactivity on the salesperson's part would be that of persuasion? I know people who are highly skilled in the "sorting" aspect of the sales process, who don't place a high value on persuasion, who could hardly be described as "order takers" in the negative connotation that the term is often used. They make a lot of money and are at the top of their organizations in sales production. - by Gary Boye
I have personally never heard anybody use an offer like that for prospecting--from either side of the phone line.
That was an exaggeration, probably a poor one, to illustrate a point.

Also, I believe most people do know what they want.
I can't agree with you there. I would take this even farther to say that most people go through every day life with only a vague sense, if that, of what they want.

Do you mean by "order taker" someone who takes no proactive steps with a prospect?
What I mean is this... an "order taker" to me is someone who only takes the lay-downs.

A skilled salesperson, among other things, knows what questions to ask, how to present his service so that it stands the highest chance of being accepted, and how to help people negotiate through their resistance. - by BossMan
"I know people who are highly skilled in the "sorting" aspect of the sales process, who don't place a high value on persuasion, who could hardly be described as "order takers" in the negative connotation that the term is often used. They make a lot of money and are at the top of their organizations in sales production." -- Gary

There are people who would describe me in those terms, Gary. I did some sorting yesterday and as a consequence disqualified one from sitting down with me and qualified the other - both were mutual - and I don't know what the outcome will be sitting down but the decision didn't happen because of what people generally call persuasive argumentation or selling.

Of course I give people the information I need to give them to fit what they tell me they're looking for and if it's along the lines of what they're looking for a conversation continues and more information is given to validate and make precise what I offer BUT in that process I'm asking questions and finding out who the other person is and is looking for and I'm doing it to see if there's going to be a match, if I can trust that person to fulfill a commitment [not 100% accurate obviously] and to give the person the kind of information he or she needs to make a decision.

Most of the people I've met use the word persuasion to mean using every trick in the book, every power of personality and rapport, and every ounce of energy in them to make a sale whether the other person needs or wants it or not. Obviously not everyone in sales works like that but I've seen that kind of sales many times - what you reference Gary isn't exactly that. - by MitchM
What I mean is this... an "order taker" to me is someone who only takes the lay-downs.

A skilled salesperson, among other things, knows what questions to ask, how to present his service so that it stands the highest chance of being accepted, and how to help people negotiate through their resistance.
That sounds about right. ;) - by SalesGuy
A skilled salesperson, among other things, knows what questions to ask, how to present his service so that it stands the highest chance of being accepted, and how to help people negotiate through their resistance.
I agree with that, also. Well put. - by Gary Boye
A skilled salesperson, among other things, knows what questions to ask, how to present his service so that it stands the highest chance of being accepted, and how to help people negotiate through their resistance.
Where does "persuasion" fit into this? - by haggler236
Where does "persuasion" fit into this?
When the salesperson uses questions to focus attention and stir the emotions of the prospect, that is persuasion.

When the salesperson customizes his presentation to appeal to the prospects appetites, fears, vanity, etc., that is persuasion.

When the salesperson offers the prospect a different point of view, one that aligns with the prospect's appetites, fears, vanity, etc., in response to resistance, that is persuasion. - by BossMan
When the salesperson uses questions to focus attention and stir the emotions of the prospect, that is persuasion.

When the salesperson customizes his presentation to appeal to the prospects appetites, fears, vanity, etc., that is persuasion.

When the salesperson offers the prospect a different point of view, one that aligns with the prospect's appetites, fears, vanity, etc., in response to resistance, that is persuasion.
I agree with your point of view. Thank you for the response. :) - by haggler236
I agree with your point of view. Thank you for the response. :)
I agree with BossMan's descriptions but I'm not sure he has clarified his point of view. I would guess that the descriptions would be supportive of a point of view that persuasion should be a primary focus in selling. I think most people believe that. But--it's not fair for me to put words in anybody's mouth.

So, BossMan--am I right in that assumption that you share the majority viewpoint? That's just an honest question--not a prelude to a follow-up or counterpoint.

And Haggler--the same question to you. - by Gary Boye
I would guess that the descriptions would be supportive of a point of view that persuasion should be a primary focus in selling.
I would not say that "persuasion" is the "primary" focus in selling.

However I would say that the activities I've describe [post #18] and how those activities are conducted [post #23] are the foundation of personal selling.

My position on "persusasion" is that persuasion is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so. :) - by BossMan
And Haggler--the same question to you.
I think it's what you make of it.

What is the majority viewpoint specifically? - by haggler236
I think it's what you make of it.

What is the majority viewpoint specifically?
Based on my own observations of countless salespeople, commentary by others in and out of selling, and most expository and instructional writing on the subject (with few notable exceptions), I conclude that selling is largely viewed as an activity focused on persuasion. - by Gary Boye
...I conclude that selling is largely viewed as an activity focused on persuasion.
I believe the posts I provided [Posts; #18, #23] are examples of material found in most selling systems.

Would you please provide an example of a non-persuasive selling system's activities and how these activities are conducted.

A contrast betwen these two approaches would be very informative and a great topic for further discussion. - by BossMan
A contrast betwen these two approaches would be very informative and a great topic for further discussion.
Is there really a viable sales system where this (see quote below) isn't the norm?

When the salesperson uses questions to focus attention and stir the emotions of the prospect, that is persuasion.

When the salesperson customizes his presentation to appeal to the prospects appetites, fears, vanity, etc., that is persuasion.

When the salesperson offers the prospect a different point of view, one that aligns with the prospect's appetites, fears, vanity, etc., in response to resistance, that is persuasion.
- by haggler236
Is there really a viable sales system where this (see quote below) isn't the norm?
I'm not aware of any selling system where these activities aren't taught. There might be systems here or there claiming to be based on something other than persuasion but who is fooling who? Just because you don't recognize it as persuasion doesn't mean it isn't. My conclusion is that persuasion, in one form or another, is an inevitable outcome of any communication. - by BossMan
My conclusion is that persuasion, in one form or another, is an inevitable outcome of any communication.
No truer words were ever spoken. :) - by Agent Smith
"Just because you don't recognize it as persuasion doesn't mean it isn't. My conclusion is that persuasion, in one form or another, is an inevitable outcome of any communication." -- quote

To equate gathering and presentating information in a neutral, detached and dispassionate way - fully engaged yet offering no resistance - obviously allows one to feel the persuasion of a certain kind of freedom not common in many sales situations - BUT I wouldn't equate that with persuasion as typically defined. - by MitchM
To equate gathering and presentating information in a neutral, detached and dispassionate way - fully engaged yet offering no resistance...
That comes across to me as, "Take it or leave it." Is that what you meant? - by BossMan
I wouldn't phrase it like that but it's also true that everything is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition of some kind. - by MitchM
I wouldn't phrase it like that...
I got the impression that if a prospect developed any type of resistance that this would be okay and the call would be over. Is that what you meant?

What are your thoughts on the idea that by nature of the questions you ask and the information you choose to present you are in effect persuading your prospect to adopt certain points of view? - by BossMan
I got the impression that if a prospect developed any type of resistance that this would be okay and the call would be over. Is that what you meant?

What are your thoughts on the idea that by nature of the questions you ask and the information you choose to present you are in effect persuading your prospect to adopt certain points of view?
If the prospect offers any type of resistance I address the resistance in a nonresistant way meaning that I ask another question and address question and as long as there is conversation that is mutual and engaged we go on - if that stops it's over and we move on.

Obviously to me the nature of the questions and information will be used by the other person who will then persuade himself or herself that what I offer is wanted - but I don't put it in a context of typical persuasion which I find to be coercive many times. - by MitchM
...but I don't put it in a context of typical persuasion which I find to be coercive many times.
Can you expand on this? - by BossMan
Can you expand on this?
Most of the telemarketers who call don't take NO for an answer because they've been told not to take NO for an answer so what they do is continue to ignore what I've said and give me reasons why I should want to produce a credit card - usually I hang up but sometimes I see how far they'll take it and it's usually five or six NOs later - they've got their script AND have been told to BEGIN WITH NO - then I hang up. I call that coersive - it has other names.

A guy in a business networking group I'm in writes insurance and he is a master at putting the Grim Reaper in your life, in your spouses life, in your children and grand children and unborn children's lives - he knows how to push all the fear-of-loss buttons - I also call that coersive and it has other names. - by MitchM
Most of the telemarketers who call don't take NO for an answer because they've been told not to take NO for an answer so what they do is continue to ignore what I've said and give me reasons why I should want to produce a credit card - usually I hang up but sometimes I see how far they'll take it and it's usually five or six NOs later - they've got their script AND have been told to BEGIN WITH NO - then I hang up. I call that coersive - it has other names.
That is an interesting example because that is not what I consider to be professional selling.

A guy in a business networking group I'm in writes insurance and he is a master at putting the Grim Reaper in your life, in your spouses life, in your children and grand children and unborn children's lives - he knows how to push all the fear-of-loss buttons - I also call that coersive and it has other names.
That sounds like "scaresmanship" and I don't consider that to be professional selling either.

Are these two examples how you view professional selling in general? - by BossMan
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