Convince Me (If You Can)

arm twistingSometimes it takes strong communication skills to convince someone of something – but it’s not so hard if you know their convincing pattern.  So if you really need to convince someone of something that’s important to you, now’s your chance to learn how!

Here’s an example – this really happened to me.  Back in the day I was driving my family friendly van, turned a corner and the transmission died right there in the middle of the road.  So I had it towed to a transmission specialist who charged me about $1500 to rebuild the transmission. The rebuilt transmission lasted 10 days and broke down again!  I marched back down to have them stand behind the repair, which they did, and we went through the full song and dance routine another lap around the dance floor.  Then within a month of the second rebuild, the car actually died a third time from the same disease!  I was beyond annoyed to have to go back, plus adding insult to injury, the garage guy starts questioning me about what I was doing to the transmission!  (Huh?  I was driving it.) He offered to go half with me on the cost of the third repair; I counter offered to take him to the Better Business Bureau if he didn’t cover the third repair 100%, which he reluctantly did.

When I got the car back for the third time do you think I was convinced that the repair was going to hold?  Was it a) ‘third time’s a charm’?  Or b) ‘those bums can’t do anything right – I’ll never trust their work’? Or maybe c) ‘I’m sure this is the final time – they know what they’re doing – the other two times were just flukes’?  Then there’s the possibility of reaction d) ‘I have to give it a few years before I decide whether to recommend their work or not’.  All of these choices represent convincing modes.

Convincing modes are what it takes to convince us of something, with 4 representative styles

a)      Number of times – it takes a set number of times and then you’re convinced (i.e. “I’ve gone to that restaurant 3 times now and it’s been great each time, so I can recommend it to you.”)

b)      Repetitive – never convinced, each time is a new evaluation (i.e. “Sometimes that restaurant is good and sometimes it’s off, so I don’t know what to tell you; check it out yourself.”)

c)       Automatic – is easily convinced, with little information, assumes the rest is positive (i.e. “I heard that the new restaurant is good; we’re trying it Friday night and I’m sure it will be great.”)

d)      Period of time – it takes a set period of time to be convinced (i.e. “We’ve gone to this restaurant for a several years now and I recommend it.”)

In addition to convincing mode, there are also delivery channels to convincing:

1)      Visual – “I need to see it to believe it.”

2)      Auditory – “I heard it directly from the source, so I believe it.”

3)      Kinesthetic – “I need to play with it to believe it does what it says it does.”

COMMUNICATION TAKEAWAY:  Once you know how a person is convinced, the mode they use and channel they prefer, you can use this knowledge to convince them of your goal.  How do you find out?  Ask them about the last time they made a major purchase.  By listening carefully to the response you will get all the information – the language they use will tip you off to the channel and the details of how the purchase came about will tell you the mode. 

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