Three Elements of Persuasion

Persuasion is  one of the most important traits every b2b sales person must possess. However, it also seems to be one of the most misunderstood success habits in the b2b sales person’s arsenal.

The interesting thing about persuasion is the Greeks figured it out back in the 3rd Century. The famous Greek philosopher – Aristotle – pointed out there are three key elements to the persuasion. When you understand the three elements, you will understand how to use persuasion every day.

So, here is what Aristotle determined back in the 3rd Century… 

Three Elements of Persuasion

  1. Ethos or Character
    In my opinion Character is the most important element in the list. IF you do not possess strong character, then you will take any road just to get your way. During the 80’s I watched people who were having to deal with economic failures due to a localized depression environment. The people who had little character did not fair well during this period. They were into the Blame Game and wanted to sue everyone around them for basically no legitimate or legal basis. Adversity will bring out the true character in an individual. Therefore, it is better to begin focusing upon You Character Building early in life. This will translate well when you are in the ranks of the b2b sales world. It will be easier to sell yourself based upon your inner strengths rather than verbalized claims. In other words, the Customer must know you are worthy of their business.
  2. Pathos or Feeling
    Feelings is a purely personal and emotional topic. Again, most b2b sales people are missing out on higher levels of success due to the absence of emotional or feelings engagement with their customers. In Sales 101 you learned the statement that ALL BUYING DECISIONS ARE EMOTIONAL. How many times will You need to hear this to begin using it in your b2b sales process? Remember, people make decisions and people are emotional bias. Your Goal is to engage and involve your customers in positive and appropriate ways to trigger the emotional buying decision.
    A new footnote to this information is the new wave of Neuro or Brain studies are verifying this key element in the buying process. The emotional brain is heavily involved according to the scientists who study how the brain functions. Their research and information is adding value to the best methods to sale and market to customers.
  3. Logos or Logic
    Here is the favorite element for most b2b sales people and their sales managers. Unfortunately for them, this is the less effective element of the three. I find logic is the most discussed, used (especially in PowerPoint presentations) and hyped of all the elements. However, remember that lesson from sales 101 – here is the second part: “We use Logic to Justify our Emotional Decision.” Got the message? There are more important elements to focus your time and energy upon than logic. Watch and learn from the old pros in your office or industry – logic is the last thing they use. The key to using Logic is the term “to justify” which is the reason for you to keep records for ROI (an after the fact measurement) and any other measurable needed to show past success.

The other interesting thing about the progression of the three elements is they are listed in the correct order of importance. I find most b2b sales people and managers have this reversed – preferring to use logic in all their persuasion moments. The order shown above is the order you should be using if you want to have long term success and personal respect from everyone involved with you.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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