Persuasion is the key to recruiting, job-hunting, and influencing others
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17 July 2013 01:14AM
Lou posted a few articles on LinkedIn last week that are useful for recruiters, job-seekers, hiring managers, and just about everyone who needs to influence someone in some way or another. In one of the posts he offered a series of persuasion techniques based on foundational recruiting and selling techniques. Many of these are included in his new book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, which is now moving up the best-seller charts at Amazon. We thought you’d find these tips especially useful:
Don’t treat life as a transaction. Consider that there are two broad categories of selling models: transactional and solution-based. Transactional selling is short-term focused with the price determined by the options selected and some discounts for quantity ordered. This is the typical catalog, commodity, or store sale. Solution selling is far more complex and involves developing a custom solution matching the customer’s needs. Making a bunch of short-term transactional decisions and expecting them to collectively lead to long-term positive consequences is unlikely.
For any important decision, don’t make long-term decisions using short-term information. Using solution selling techniques can enable a person to avoid transactional decisions, by putting emotions in the parking lot and thinking of the long-term consequences of any decision.
For understanding another person’s point of view, listen 4X more than you talk. This is a variation of Stephen Covey’s principle, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” This is solution selling in a nutshell. For doctors the rule translates to diagnose before prescribing, and for everyone else it’s figure out the problem before offering a solution. Regardless of the role you’re playing in any interchange, listening is a critical skill, and the 4X rule is a useful one to follow in all situations.
Don’t ask questions that include the answers. This is a variation of the transactional salesman’s close (e.g., “Would you like the product in red or blue?” or “Will you be using cash or credit?”) The in-life variation involves a person asking a serious question, but then offering only their desired solutions for consideration. This is called a forced-choice question, and while okay for pushing a client into a decision, it’s not so good if you’re trying to have people consider all of the options available.
When meeting anyone for the first time, whether it’s a business meeting, an interview, or a social event, measure first impression at the end of the conversation, not the beginning. The point of this is to keep an open mind. Once you form an opinion about someone, you tend to seek out information to support that viewpoint. Once you know the person you’ll discover that first impressions aren’t very predictive. Too many sales people are hired because they make good first impressions, not because they’re hard-working people who have deep product knowledge and seek out win-win solutions for their clients.
In most interpersonal situations it’s best to not be too hungry or play too hard to get. This is especially important in dating. Whatever the situation, desperation is easy to spot and it’s always a turn-off, except when your pet dog welcomes you home after a hard day at the office. The opposite is equally as offensive. Being aloof is one way to turn off every conversation and close down every potential buy/sell opportunity. Instead be open-minded, express reasonable interest, and engage in a sharing of ideas.
Is life a sales job? I guess it all depends on who’s the buyer and what you're selling.