The Key Component of Persuasion Without “Selling”
Content is rarely received in a vacuum. The source of the message is always taken into consideration, and it influences the impression the message has on us.
Jim is a salesperson for a company that sells expensive residential fire protection systems. He happens to be the top salesperson in the company by far.
The strange thing is that Jim gives the same exact presentation as every other salesperson. The product he sells is what it is; he makes no special modifications or price concessions.
Plus, Jim is a bit absent-minded. At every single in-home appointment Jim gives, he forgets to bring in the book of materials that demonstrates the superiority of his company’s system.
While the prospects are completing a written fire safety test, Jim remembers he left the book in the car. “Please excuse me,” Jim says. “I left something important in the car. Please keep going with the quiz, and I’ll be right back.” Sometimes, this requires the family to give him a key to get back in.
Thing is, Jim isn’t being forgetful. He leaves the book in the car on purpose every time.
He uses this technique to create an association of being someone the family finds trustworthy. People don’t generally allow strangers to walk in and out of their houses unescorted, and by allowing Jim to do it, an aura of trust is created that changes the frame in which the family perceives Jim, his company’s fire system, and the offer.
It’s not the most ethical technique, for sure. It’s certainly fascinating, though. And if this kind of non-substantive trick can boost trust, just imagine how powerful people find valuable free information that mirrors their values, changes their perspectives, and motivates them to pursue meaningful change.
Great offers are important. Great products and services are crucial. But how the messages about those products, services, and offerings are received and perceived matters more.
You can’t expect someone to trust you at the point of a request or offer. It has to happen before. And that’s why top salespeople and other compliance professionals spend more time perfecting what they do and say before making a request than they do on what most people think is the “persuasive” part.
So it is with a Leading Expert. You take the time to create a psychological frame that makes your audience more receptive to your eventual offer. This is the true power of the right content for the right people at the right time.