In a world with infinite options, how can we convince people to choose us? Philip Hesketh knows the secrets to influence and persuasion
Choice. It’s as exhilarating as it is exhausting, but if you’re on the other side of the table how do you convince someone to pick you, your business or your products? Persuasion truly is an art, but motivational speaker and author Philip Hesketh has distilled the seven routes to decision-making in a new book.
He’s an expert on the subject, having studied psychology at university and having subsequently built a hugely successful advertising agency with a turnover of more than £48m. During that time he pitched against 92 agencies to win one of the largest advertising accounts at the time, worth £80m over a decade, for a government body.
The secret to success? “Asking the right questions,” responds Hesketh.
In his book, he lists 50 questions to influence and persuade and these are key to directing people to our point of view. “We don’t like a fait accompli,” says Hesketh, “Rather than try to persuade people, it’s better to ask people questions and reinforce that they are free to choose and make the final decision.”
Indeed, empowering others to feel that they are in control and you are simply guiding them through the thought process is far more likely to be successful than applying a blunt pressure.
“Find out what a client really wants,” says Hesketh. “It’s never about the pitch, and creative can always be redone, but asking and understanding what the most important thing to the decision-maker is crucial to winning.
“Even when there is a problem or objection, drill down to understand what’s worrying the client – ‘Help me to understand your problem,’ is a great way to create empathy and connect directly with the client. Instantly you’ve shown your on their side, and they are more likely to respond to you.”
Indeed the need to be loved, important and belong are the three primary drivers of motivation, says Hesketh. It’s exactly why we feel good when we connect with someone in business, and the building of a relationship is so vital to success. “By and large, it comes down to psychology,” says Hesketh. “We are indoctrinated when we are young to believe that we can, or can’t, break the glass ceiling and be successful, and so we self-limit. But if we are serious about using the drivers that motivate us we can all develop the skills to achieve more from life.”
Philip Hesketh is author of Persuade: Using the Seven Drivers of Motivation To Master Influence and Persuasion published by Capstone Wiley