The Art of Persuasion


The art of persuasion – not to get confused with manipulation- lies in simplifying something down to its core, and communicating to others what they really care about. Manipulation, however, is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in his or her own interest.  Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.

Another basic of persuasion is understanding context and the appropriate timing. Context creates a relative standard of what is acceptable. You pick up context clues with conversation, and more specifically, by listening.  Knowing and understanding your customers’ current dissatisfaction and “pains” will guide you to persuade them when they delay a leasing decision. You can then move them forward with this “magic” formula.

Current Dissatisfaction x Future Promise > Cost + Fear.

What is their current dissatisfaction? Commute, noise, size of community, maintenance, neighbors, access to lifestyle? Every purchase decision begins with a buyer’s current dissatisfaction. Feeling dissatisfied with something automatically makes a person a buyer, and the greater the dissatisfaction, the higher the urgency. As soon as that dissatisfaction sets in, buyers begin looking for a way to right the wrong. As a sales person, it becomes your job to discover that “wrong” and lead buyers toward the new “right.”

How will you create a future promise? With a well-defined idea of what is wrong in your prospect’s world, focus next on what “right” looks like. Future promise is the mental picture prospects carry around in their heads that helps to move them forward. When you clearly establish a buyer’s current dissatisfaction and future promise, you create a fantastic recipe for buyer motivation. Define a buyer’s future promise using questions such as these:

“What motivated you to start looking for a new apartment?”

“What do you dislike about your current home?”

Know the inhibiting factors: cost and fear.  While current dissatisfaction and future promise both serve to motivate prospects, cost and fear are big challenges to overcome. Prospects focus on price, perception of value, fear of a bad buying decision, negative past experiences, market conditions, and anything else that holds them back from leasing an apartment or even making a decision. Discover the specifics of their inhibitions by asking things like this:

“What is holding you back from leasing?”

“When you think about moving, what is your number-one concern?”

“What stresses you out when you think about moving?”

When prospects begin to delay a leasing decision, either their current dissatisfaction and/or future promise is too low or their cost and/or fear is too high. Focus your sales presentation on maximizing current dissatisfaction and future promise while simultaneously minimizing cost and fear. And if you really believe in what you do and what your community offers, you will always be able to persuade others to do what’s right for them, while getting what you want in return.

Misty Sanford
Social Insight Thought Leader
Renter’s Voice