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Persuasion in Business | Importance & Examples

Instructor: Barbara Farland

Barbara Farland is a professional writer with nearly three decades of experience in the corporate, nonprofit, and creative-writing realms. In 2019, Barbara began pursuing another lifelong calling: to encourage others in their learning. She is now best known for serving as a language arts instructor and curriculum writer. Barbara is a graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, and holds a Master in Business Communication degree from the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis.

Learn about persuasion in business. Understand the importance of persuasion in business, and discover how to be persuasive in business with tips and examples. Updated: 02/23/2023

Persuasion in Business: An Overview

Persuasion is a method of communication by which speakers or writers try to convince other people to agree to a certain viewpoint or to act in a certain way. The result of persuasion is motivation, the reason why listeners or readers think or do things differently. Sometimes the use of persuasion may be easy to spot, but at other times it may be less perceptible. Furthermore, sometimes persuasion may be used for very honorable and well-intended reasons, but at other times it may be used to further a corrupt, even sinister, agenda.

In a business environment, persuasion is used to motivate employees to buy into and work toward organizational goals, to take on specific tasks or projects, or comply with any number of thoughts or directives that leaders believe will lead to business success. Co-workers may also persuade their peers to adopt certain opinions or be responsible for certain duties of their shared workloads. Persuasion is a common practice used among customers and other stakeholders as well. Businesses use persuasion to earn favor from their target markets and the general public, in the hope of influencing customers to purchase their goods or services.

For example, Max is the owner and president of a virtual reality business specializing in police training. His business comprises finance staff, tech developers, and sales staff. In the face of societal concern around police brutality, Max persuades his employees to see themselves as important contributors to solving the problem. He tells stories of how the company's training programs have prevented harrowing police/public encounters from escalating into life-threatening conflict. These stories serve as motivation for Max's employees to be more committed to the company mission, innovative in their technological development, and driven in their sales pitches.

Amanda is another example of persuasion at work. Amanda is one of eight event planners at a large pharmaceutical company. It is up to Amanda and her co-workers to divide the responsibilities of planning and overseeing corporate events. Amanda believes that California would be the best option for hosting an upcoming company conference. In turn, she implicitly persuades her teammates to consider the advantages of planning the conference thereby presenting appealing facts about the location and comprehensive budgetary data.

People in business use persuasion in presentations, sales calls, and other scenarios.

Male speaker delivering presentation to audience in conference room

Why is Persuasion Important in Business?

Some people may overlook the importance of persuasion in business, but it has an obvious place and a powerful pull. The following sheds light on why persuasion is important in business and leads to overall business success.

Staff motivation
An unmotivated staff is likely an unproductive staff. Since persuasion is the process that leads to motivation, it should be a seriously considered and well-orchestrated practice within businesses.
Customer Leads
Persuasion in a variety of forms is often needed to generate leads, then to captivate prospects, then gain purchasing customers. Such persuasion may occur through one-on-one interactions, advertising, seminars, and other common platforms for sharing motivational messages.
Investor Buy-in
Organizations need capital to get off the ground and to keep running. Capital comes through investors. Persuasion is used to convince prospective investors that their contributions will result in substantial profit and make some kind of a meaningful difference to the world.
Positive Supplier Arrangements
Negotiation with suppliers often requires persuasion. It is often because of persuasion that companies enjoy discounts and other favorable contractual agreements when purchasing supplies and equipment.

How to Be Persuasive in Business

Persuasive people possess a skill set composed of certain personality traits and behaviors. The following are some of the most effective characteristics related to persuasion.

Trait Description
Competent Persuasive people tend to know—or at least seem that they know—a lot about an area of expertise.

If people appear competent, they earn credibility.
Trustworthy It is also helpful to have a good reputation among those being persuaded. A strong sense of trust between persuaders and their audiences can make a big difference in the success of persuasive tactics.

Dire consequences may follow persuaders who are found out for their lying, bullying or other forms of untrustworthy behavior.
Confident Passion and persuasion often go hand in hand. Excitement even becomes contagious when persuaders demonstrate that kind of energy among their employees, customers, or other constituents.
Succinct It is important to keep people's attention during the process of persuasion. People are more likely to pay attention and absorb key messages if those messages are delivered quickly.

Brevity and clarity are key.
Eloquent Persuasive people are interesting to listen to. They communicate messages with poise and power and sometimes use stories to make those messages memorable and relatable.
Attentive In addition to communicating their own messages, persuaders take time to listen to the feedback of their audiences.

Good listening skills also help persuaders to build their credibility and to adjust their key messages for the best persuasive impact.

It is also possible to measure just how well these qualities come across in the process of persuading others. Measurable gain is the term used to gauge the degree to which those being persuaded receive and act upon the messages being delivered. Measurable gain may be experienced in a slight shift of mindset among leads all the way to big customer sales.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is persuasion used in business?

Persuasion is used in countless business situations. Persuaders are often in action during sales calls, meetings, presentations, and casual interactions to change the mindsets or behaviors of their co-workers.

What is an example of persuasion?

Persuasion is a communication process with the aim to change other people's mindsets or behaviors. For example, a salesperson for a large paper company persuades a longtime client to purchase more reams of paper per month to experience deeper shipping and handling discounts. Since the salesperson is known for his trustworthiness and being knowledgeable, the client agrees to the deal.

What are persuasive techniques in business?

People in business use persuasion to motivate employees, increase sales, gain investors, and negotiate purchasing deals. Persuaders are known for being knowledgeable, trustworthy, succinct, eloquent, and having other positive qualities.

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