How to persuade a client, a stranger or your mom..

I will give the summary of article away in 3 sentence.

When you are out to persuade, give them something and oblige them to give something back to you. Also, while you are at it, figure out the perfect way to not ask what you want, make sure that you show that you are the credible, knowledgable expert and play on what they lose if they dont buy your product instead of just features and benefits. Also, you are wrong about how you think you make your decisions.


At this point, you are thinking that while you make a decision, you consider all the information at hand.

Okay, here’s the best part. The way you think you make your decisions is Wrong.

With information overload, your brain looks towards what we call as short cuts or thumb rules.

Wait, it gets better!

There are only 6 short-cuts/thumb-rules and research has proven that if you use either or combination of these short-cuts/thumb-rules, you can remarkably impact a person’s decision making ability. Here they are.

  1. Reciprocity:

  2. Scarcity

  3. Consensus and

  4. Consistency

Lets briefly look into each one with examples.

Reciprocity: You are obliged to give back something when you receive.

I received this mail a couple of days ago. I signed up for Mixpanel when I was trying to figure out the correct analytics tool for Gridle. I forgot to go back to my mail and click on the registration/confirm link and this is the one I received today. I want a T-shirt for less effort and no money, but once I get it, I would go back to the website and check out with much more attention than I usually would have.

Scarcity: Its not how much you give, its about how you give.

Me and my Co-founders regularly go to one restaurant that is close by when we’ve had too much to work on. We have our dishes fixed, we have our table fixed and we have our waiter fixed. Whenever we went there, the waiter would give us 2 mints while he brought the bill to the table. The last time we went, the waiter we knew wasn’t there. I casually asked the new one his name, where he’s from and he was more polite than our usual one. But, this time around, when he gave us the bill, he brought only one mint. I was giving this a brief thought while he was turning back and before I could finish my thought, he returned and said “Oh, I have another one for you nice people.”

A simple statement from him while giving us a mint made us tip higher than we usually do. Persuasion works even when you are looking forward to something and not ask.

Lets take a more business approach now!

Consensus: People follow the lead of a credible knowledgeable expert.

Come-on. You have experienced this yourself! When your mother asks you to administer a medicine, you dont. But when the same medicine is prescribed to you by a certified physician, you run down perspiring in your shabby old night-suite to the pharmacy store with your forehead reading 105 degrees .

How this is related to persuasion? There are numerous studies which indicate that while you are selling something, it is necessary for the other party to know that you are a credible source of information. If they understand/respect/like you when you tell them about yourself, they are more likely to buy what you are selling.

Never start your sales pitch with “We are the best in-class ….. and it is available at a great price.”

Before you reach that slide, you need to persuade the other person to listen to you, attend to you and understand who you are. Credibility matters!

Consistency: Its about what they lose.

You may be a good persuader but you are not great until you achieve this last quality. You may be required to talk again with the same person you sold to last year and at that time, if you are not consistent, you fail.

Fear is one of the driving factors for many industries.

Insurance, banking, security solutions run, grow and prosper on fear. All of them have this quality. They understand that when you are selling, it is not about features of the product or benefits of the product; it is about what they will lose if they dont buy your product. Let me say it again.

It is about what they will lose if they dont buy your product.

Its not as simple as mentioning this. This part has to be induced in your blogs, your stories, your content, everything that your company produces to get customers. This is an approach to better selling.


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©2021 by Yash Shah