The last time that I went into an auto dealership to buy a car, I was smart enough to keep my eyes open. Because I realized that I was entering into a negotiating “combat zone”, I wanted to see what the dealer would do to prepare me for the inevitable pricing discussions that we were going to be having. Although I came ready to negotiate, what I discovered is that even before we began to talk, the dealer was trying to persuade me to buy a car there. Suddenly the light turned on for me – there’s a whole dimensional to this negotiating stuff that I had not realized was there…
The ultimate goal of any negotiation is to convince the other side to do what you want them to do: sell you the car, buy your house, give you a job, sign the contract, etc. We’ve spent some time talking about what I like to call “classical negotiating”. This includes preparing to negotiate, planning on what you are going to compromise on, and even how to deal with demands and deadlines. Now it’s time to talk about the other side of the coin: persuasion.
Persuasion is one of those words that we all know, but would be hard pressed to define. To put it simply, persuasion is a form of social influence in which one party guides another party to a conclusion or action. This is accomplished by appealing to the other party’s needs and wants instead of forcing them to do something. If taken too far, then persuasion can turn into manipulation where only one party benefits from the interaction.
Why take the time to talk about persuasion when we really should be talking about negotiation? Simple, the two forms of communication are different sides to the same coin. I like to think about persuasion as being the unspoken part of negotiation. In a perfect world, if you could persuade the other side to sell you the car, buy your house, sign the contract, then that would be all that was needed. However, often times persuasion is not enough, and that’s when negotiation comes in to play. No matter how things turn out, persuasion has a role to play before, during, and after a negotiation.
When communicating with the other side, there are two basic forms of persuasion that can be used: logical and emotional. It’s important to realize that both forms are often used together – this is not an either or situation. The logical appeal attempts to use facts, logic, and reason to convince the other party to agree to take some action. The emotional appeal attempts to capture the other side’s imagination, their heart, or simply to appeal to their belief system to achieve the same thing.
Back to that car dealer. The walls of the dealership were covered with facts & stats about the safety and gas mileage of the cars that I was looking at (logical). They had pictures up around the place of past customers with little hand written notes that thanked the dealership for their service and support (emotional/social). Finally, when I sat down with the salesman to talk about pricing, I couldn’t help but notice the oversized picture of his wife and children that was prominently displayed on his desk (emotional). Next time you get ready to negotiate, don’t forget to prepare for the other 50% of your task – persuasion!
Do you use persuasion as a part of your negotiations? Have you ever felt as though the other side was using it on you? Have you ever been manipulated by someone during a negotiation? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.