You don’t have to be in sales to participate in persuasive behaviour. We use persuasion all day long, in every walk of life. We encourage someone to go to lunch with us, to marry us or to buy our products and services. In its simplest form persuasion is the art of convincing someone to believe or act in a certain way. Why then, are we persuasive in selling our ideas in some situations and not in others? Aristotle had some thoughts about this.
Aristotle defined persuasion in four words: Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Agora. The purpose of this article is to integrate those four words into any sales situation and offer some tips to achieve greater success by using elements of persuasion.
Logos – the words and the logic
Steven Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, says habit number one is “Start with the end in mind”. If you can’t clearly describe the objective of your presentation, and your key points you will run the risk of fuzzy focus. Lack of clarity leads to overwhelm and confusion for both you and your audience. Having a clear structure with logical flow makes it easy for people to follow your train of thought.
Ethos – personality and character
No one wants to sit through a presentation given in a dry and boring manner. The energy and confidence a presenter brings to the presentation conveys the degree of confidence he or she has in the products or services. People still buy from people they like and with whom they feel comfortable. A customer can quickly make a judgment about the character of a presenter from the opening handshake or introductory comments.
Pathos – sincerity and passion
We find we are easily passionate about that new boat we just purchased but not as passionate about the annual report we must present. Passion in a sales presentation is a two-way street. The presenter must be sincere, authentic and excited about the topic and he or she must know what emotions and concerns might motivate the customer to action.
Agora – the gathering place for the discussion
In Aristotle’s time this was the ancient Greek marketplace. In sales, we must be aware of our marketplace – the context of our topic, the actual environment in which the information is delivered and its timing.
Aristotle added one more word to the above four mentioned: Syzygy - the rare alignment of celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, and earth during an eclipse, influencing the earth’s gravitational system. In sales terms, Syzygy is the delicate balance of each of the four areas of Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Agora that can ultimately conclude in a sale. It’s important for sales presenters to create an engaging environment for the interaction that is balanced with logical flow, authenticity and passion and this winning approach will convince your customer to behave or act in a certain way.
About the Author:
Judie Knoerle is an executive coach, sales trainer and author of UPFRONT Persuasion Through Presentation, a globally branded program used by Fortune 500 companies.
Judie and her partner Tanja Parsley (CSP) of Partners in Performance will be co-facilitating the new UPFRONT webinars series co-sponsored by the Canadian Professional Sales Association.