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.
Persuasion in Business | Importance & Examples
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.
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.
|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.
While persuasion is a natural and positive component of business dealings, manipulation is not. Manipulation involves seeking unhealthy control over others, perhaps even pressuring, blackmailing, or bribing them into certain behaviors. Manipulation is ethically wrong and, at its worst, could lead to serious legal matters.
Persuasion Examples in Business
There are some situations in the workplace in which persuasion is a likely component. The following are common occurrences where persuaders play a key role.
- Sales Calls
- Perhaps the most obvious example is sales calls. Salespeople use their talents in persuasion to tout the features of their product lines or the benefits of their services to their prospects. It is through persuasion that they win loyal customers and the profits that come with them.
- Business leaders use one-on-one and group meetings to persuade their employees to work toward company goals, to conduct themselves in certain ways, and to adopt other mindsets and behaviors important to business success.
- Those meetings might include more formal presentations that lay out a new business plan, rally employees to buy into a new business initiative, or convey other persuasive messages with the intention of winning approval and participation.
- Casual Interactions
- Life in the workplace also has an informal side, but even these scenarios are not immune to persuasive tactics. For example, a simple gathering around the water cooler may result in an employee being persuaded to cover for another employee's day off.
The process of persuasion involves convincing other people to change their minds or behaviors in order to adopt another specific mindset or behavior. Persuasion provides the motivation or the reason why they should change. In business, leaders persuade employees to accomplish company goals, work on specific tasks, and buy into other directives. Persuasion in business is important in increasing employee productivity, getting customers and investors, and negotiating contracts.
Successful persuaders are:
- Competent: Demonstrate proven expertise in their subject matter.
- Trustworthy: Possess a good reputation for keeping others' best interests in mind.
- Confident: Stand strong in their positions and requests.
- Succinct: Deliver messages efficiently to hold people's attention.
- Eloquent: Tell stories and use other communication techniques to maintain the interest of their audiences.
- Attentive: Listen to and adjust their messages according to people's reactions.
Measurable gain is how they determine how well they may have persuaded other people; their audiences might experience a slight shift in mindset or become full-on customers, with either scenario being measurable gain. Persuasion is used in a variety of business scenarios, including sales calls, meetings, presentations, and casual interactions.
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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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