8 Research Backed Ways to Persuade and Sell More

Want to know how to persuade prospects and sell more? The power of influence is usually all that separates the successful from everyone else. These are some tactics, discovered through psychological research, that you have probably not yet heard about, but have the potential to increase your persuasive abilities. While many of you may be familiar with the concepts of persuasion by master influencer, Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence, I’m going to cover 8 lesser known persuasion secrets to sell more.

8 research backed ways to persuade and sell more
  1. Persuade skeptics with certainty and energy

Want to sell more? Talk with certainty and energy.

Don Moore from Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Behavioral Decision Research has published research showing that confidence even trumps past accuracy in earning the trust of others.

We prefer advice from a confident source. When people exhibit certainty and energy in their presentations are perceived to be more confident. Use body language which conveys certainty. Use a higher volume and pace in your speech. Both these convey greater certainty and energy.

People naturally associate confidence with expertise. Know your product, know the facts about its benefits and believe in what it does – true confidence becomes from knowing and believing what you’re saying. It’s essential that we communicate our confidence to others in order to persuade them.

  1. Get people to agree with you first
 to sell more

If you want to persuade people to buy into your message, start with something they can agree with.

In a research study by Jing Xu and Robert Wyer established, there were lingering effects of messages people agree with.

So when you want to sell more, make statements or represent a world view your customers can agree with first – even if they have nothing to do with what you’re selling. I tend to use analogies and build agreement frames first. For example I might ask a series of three or four questions where the prospects answers will reaffirm a world view that they hold. After that I will introduce my product or service to them.

  1. Repetition persuades

Repetition of words or a visual pattern not only causes it to be remembered (which is persuasive in itself), it also leads people to accept what is being repeated as being true.

Make sure you repeat key benefits or unique serving proposition in your sales copy, ad campaigns and presentations many times. Use friendly repetition to create familiarity and hence liking.

Say to yourself: Great sales people suffer from Repetitis! Great sales people suffer from Repetitis! 😉

  1. Upsell a product that cost 60% less

Once somebody gets to a point that they’ll buy something from you, they have given you their trust and have convinced themselves it’s okay to give you money. In that moment you are able to sell them more.

MacDonald’s made this type of upsell popular by asking the question “would you like fries with that?” This simple question helped them increase by over 28% in the year they introduced this upsell.

Use the 60×60 rule says that your customers will buy an upsell 60 percent of the time for up to 60% of the original purchase price. Any upsell you offer must be congruent with the original purchase.

If you don’t use up-selling in your business yet, it’s a quick way to boost profits.

  1. Frame it in the positive

Emphasising the positive can be more persuasive than pointing out the negative.

An analysis added up the results of 29 different studies, which had been carried out on 6,378 people in total. The finding was that there was a slight persuasive advantage for messages that were framed positively.

This study had to do with the way people relate to disease prevention, such as encouraging people to use sunscreen, and promoting healthy eating habits, but it might have a wider appeal. The researchers hypothesized the reason to be that we don’t like to be bullied into changing our behaviour.

Try framing your marketing message in the positive (“Gain additional hour every day” vs “Stop wasting time”) and see if it makes a difference.

  1. Limiting the quantity or time you can buy makes you buy more

Limiters help sell more! We have all fallen for limiter persuasion tactics because they work. Brian Wansink’s research showed that supermarkets that used limitations with their offers were able to sell 30 to 100% more. For example in one test they tested a sign which said only 12 items per shopper. In the other test the sign read: “No limit per shopper.” The sign with the limitation caused buyers to buy more.

If you don’t want to limit the amount you want to the customer to buy then give a time limit to get a specific price. Recently I used both a time and quantity limiter to launch a new product fast and it worked beautifully well.

So put numbered limitations or anchors on the quantity or time for your offer so that customer can buy from you.

  1. Stories sell more

I always say “Stories sell!” The research backs this up. A Carnegie Mellon University study in 2007 by Deborah Small, GeorgeLowenstein and Paul Slovic compared the effects of story vs data.

Test subjects where asked to collect donations for a dire situation in Africa. The data pitch contained statistics about food shortages in Malawi, lack of rain in Zambia, and the dislocation of millions in Angola.

The second version talked about a particular girl in Zambia, Rokia, who was starving. People were shown her photo and asked to donate to help her directly.


This picture with a story helped get higher donations

On average, students who received the fact-based appeal from Save the Children donated $1.14. Students who read the story about Rokia donated an average of $2.38, more than twice as much.

The plight of Africa, the fight with poverty is too overwhelming and people feel their contribution is just a drop in a bucket, hence feel less inclined to help.

“If I look at the mass I will never act,” said Mother Teresa. “If I look at the one, I will.”

  1. Clarity & authenticity trumps persuasion

Dr. Flint McGlaughlin of Marketing Experiments likes to say this: “Clarity trumps persuasion”. Remember this.

Persuasion tricks work when done subtly and skillfully. Overdo it and you lose the sale. When you’re writing sales copy or doing presentations, the best way to persuade people is to use clarity with authenticity. Give people enough information to make up their mind while being authentic. Clarity with authenticity can help you sell more.

Please leave a comment below and let us know which persuasion tactics do you use to persuade others?


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