persuasion is a process, which involves changing a group's or individual's attitude (behavior) towards some idea, event, object (product/service) ... Persuasion is influencing. Persuasion includes a sales pitch. Persuasion is a part and parcel of regular business activity. To succeed in business activities, persuasion is vital.
The above book: The Persuasive Manager by M M Monippally (IIM Ahmedabad) is certainly a handy guidebook to improve persuasion practices. Through the above book, we get to know the importance of persuasion at peer level, and when communicating with bosses, superiors, subordinates, vendors, customers, influencers/opinion builders (like doctors in pharmaceutical marketing) and other associates.
Nevertheless, to understand persuasion in action, one has to read the truly inspiring book: THE INSPIRING JOURNEY OF A HERO, by Ms. Priya Kumar - this authoress is a motivational speaker and business person too. Ms. Priya chronicles through a ringside view, of the life of Shri Om Prakash Munjal (Chotte Bauji), and what stands out in her chronicles, is the importance of persuasion for professional life. Success of Shri O P Munjal, who is an architect of Hero group (today he is the Chairman of Hero Cycles - the world's largest manufacturer of bicycles), is a story of tireless persuasion.
The root source power of persuasion is conviction. It is a self-belief with intense commitment that the product offered is genuinely going to help you (ie., the prospect or customer). The conviction is seen in the body language, perseverance, passion for the business activity (which gets displayed), voice, the talk and intensity in the eyes.
On page 47 of the book on Shri O P Munjal, the authoress narrates an incident early in the work life of Shri O P Munjal, where a potential customer insults and shoos away Shri Munjal, in the morning. The irrepressible Shri Munjal comes back in the evening to the same shop, and convinces the prospect, and gets a large order too.
The genesis of such a never-say-die attitude is from a conviction that the product and business service offered is so good that it creates dogged determination in the business person.
Persuasion succeeds when it is associated with growth. Every persuasion creates change. This change should create growth - forward movement. When the prospect or customer is convinced that the change preposition being promoted, helps in securing a robust future for the prospect, and that there is good advancement, then the persuasion succeeds.
The importance of expansion is beautifully explained on page no. 105 of The Inspiring Journey of a Hero.
True persuasion goes beyond competition
Conventional marketing wisdom involves focusing on competitors (direct and indirect), then working out strategies and ground-level tactics, to outwit the competition and gain market share. On page 110, a competitor 'friend' of Hero Cycles, describes how Hero Cycles achieved market leadership based on their vision, unity of purpose and activities rather than targeting competition.
Persuasion involves recognition and reward system
Persuasion is not giving mega gifts or bribing people to obtain targeted behaviors. It is more about a genuine recognition of good behavior and work. On page 124, there is a beautiful example of how Shri Om Prakash Munjal would use a Rs. 10.00 note (just a tenner) to appreciate and encourage good work persuasively. This 10 rupee note, in fact has higher perceived value as chotte bauji ka note, a highly valued gift by workers and other employees.
Persuading through sense of ownership
Instilling a sense of ownership on various assignments or targets among the participating employees is a key approach of persuasion. In the persuasive style of leadership, Shri O P Munjal, helps employees buy-into the target, and work out the ways themselves to achieve the budget. This empowering approach where people get to own the targets and find ways to achieve them, is an interesting approach of persuasion. (Page nos. 132 and 133).
Persuasion involves modeling
Being what is preached is a major method of persuasion. Shri O P Munjal lives the values he advocates, in fact, people learn about him through his actions. His sense of time discipline, activity standards and no-nonsense commitment helped even prevent labour union strikes (page no. 138).
In persuasion process, modeling helps particularly influence peers and definitely subordinates.
Persuasion is a win-win process
Persuasion involves creating happiness (not upset feelings) among all participants. Giving unexpected rewards to associates or employees helps persuade or influence (page nos. 127, and 151 to 153).
Commitment to relationships gives fillip to the persuasion process
Dealers and their promotional behavior is vital for success of Hero Cycles. Shri O P Munjal having understood this fact, went the extra mile to keep his dealers happy, thereby persuading them to work better for Hero Cycles in the market (page nos. 86, 98 and 99).
Persuasion is the life-breath of success in professional activity. Persuasion is the life-breath of doctor conversion. This needs to be done through a value system. Persuasion is an answer to overcome price wars in the intensely competitive pharma market. Persuasion helps improve perceived value of the pharma offerings of a pharma company. The dimensions of the persuasion science and art - are many, while the books cited above do help in getting tips for practice of persuasion, there is another article here from Forbes that gives more tips.
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