I was driving home with my wife from visiting our 5 month old granddaughter. By the way, she is really cute. My cell phone rang and this pleasant voice on the other end called me by name and says who she is. Since I get a lot of calls from people and I do not know who they are, they may be clients or potential clients, I try to listen and interact enthusiastically. The lady’s name was Karen. As I said Karen called me by name. But, I did not recognize the voice. She could have gotten my name off my web site. Or it could be I knew her and simply had not recognized the voice yet. Karen then told me I was going to receive a free quote on some health insurance so I could compare costs. As politely as I could I informed Karen that I was not interested in switching insurance carriers and thanked her for her call. I really was not thankful for the call. I was just trying to be polite.
As I mentioned the call came in while I was driving and as a result it went over blue tooth in my cars to my car speakers. That meant my wife, Patricia, heard both sides of the conversation. Now, my wife is not a sales person. She is very introverted and never likes being brought into the spot light. That’s a lesson I keep have to relearn. Her only involvement in sales is a purchaser. And as a purchaser she had some very interesting insight as to the sales process. After I hung up, she said, “I think sale peoples tactics are going to have to change.” I agree with her. Of course, I’ve found when I don’t, I am usually wrong. I mean that sincerely. Her insights are pretty accurate.
Let’s look at what happened when Karen called.
When Karen’s called she had my attention. I thought she might be a potential client or past client whom I did not recognize. However, Karen never gave me a reason to be interested in her or her product. She only said she was going to send me a price list so I could compare prices. She never established the fact I needed or even wanted her product. Consequently, I didn’t want it. The only thing she did was to allow me seeing myself taking time out of my busy day to accomplish a task that would only benefit her. Comparing prices!? That’s an activity which may or may not provide me any benefit. In fact, my belief that all reputable providers are going to be pretty close to the same price causes me to not believe I will receive any benefit at all. It’s only cost me.
Persuading someone to do something you need to have done is real leadership. Every executive, manager and salesperson, mother or for that matter everyone has to answer the question, “How can I convince someone else to do something I need to have done.” Mothers have to convince little Johnny to clean up his room. Sales people are trying to convince a buyer to purchase their product. Managers try to convince employees to accomplish a task within a designated period of time. Employees try to convince their manager they need more resources. Everyone needs to persuade someone else about something.
Fortunately there is a proven successful 5 step approach. It was developed in the 1930’s by Alan Monroe. Dr. Monroe was a professor at Purdue in the 1930s. Monroe created what is known as the Monroe Motivated Sequence. The sequence is a logical progression of steps to motivate someone to take action.
These steps may seem a little trite to you. You’ve seen at work so many times in so many places. You’ve seen them used in everything from infomercials to presidential elections. Why? Because, they work. Here they are:
- Attention – You need to grab and hold the attention of your audience. Use a story, shocking example, dramatic statistic, and quotations, something that will capture the imagination.
- Need – Show that the problem is real. The problem is truly significant, and it is not going to go away by itself. Use statistics and examples. In this step, you’re convincing your audience that there’s a need to take action.
- Satisfy – Now you need to provide a solution to the problem you have just outlined. Be specific and give solutions that can implement. And once implement, the problem will either be solved or improved.
- Visualization – Tell the audience what will happen if the solution is implemented. Draw word pictures let them actually see in their mind the result.
- Action – Tell the audience what specific action they can take personally. No this is not obvious. Without this step the conclusion your audience will draw will be, “Yeah, that’s a great idea. Somebody should do that.” You want them to be that somebody, so tell them what they can do.The next time you need to give a presentation, write an article or make a sales call or convince little Johnny to clean his room. Think about what you are going to say. Think about the other person. How do they understand their needs? How does your proposal or product satisfy that need? If they see how they benefit they will be a willing participant in you proposition.
Learn the steps in the Monroe Motivate Sequence and put them into action. If you do you will be a better persuader which means you will be a better leader.