The first rule of three is to apply the three P's of persuasion. Persuasion is a process. You perfect it. The word perfect is not just an adjective to describe The Coaches, it’s a verb that describes what you are trying to do. You are learning to perfect the process of persuasion.
Whether you are a leader getting ready to address a group or meet with a stakeholder you need to influence, or you are an “inside sales” professional greeting a customer walking into your store, or you are an “outside sales” professional entering the office or store of your customer, success can rest on a simple list of habits.
Many leaders and speakers or salespeople focus nearly all of their attention on the persuasive encounter, that is, a speech, a presentation, or a sales pitch. The three Ps of persuasion are a reminder that preparation and persistent follow-up are often just as important, or in some cases more important, than the presentation itself. Within each phase—preparing, presenting, persisting—there are three lists of three, as illustrated below.
Not only do you prepare for a specific meeting, leadership presentation, or sales encounter, just as important, you are constantly preparing yourself for success. The best practices for teamwork and learning discussed in Chapter 3 apply throughout the careers of people at every level. They can be thought of as the basic components of a Skillset Resume for you as a professional, and following those best practices is basically the first step in the preparation process.
If you are a leader, not only are these best practices candidates for your personal Skillset Resume, you can lead by example and provide the same goals to everyone in your organization. That overall professional readiness manifests itself in the confidence and, yes, charm, you exhibit in persuasive encounters.
Now we come to what is actually the second phase of the persuasion process, the “persuasive encounter” itself. This is where you present the idea or product and persuade someone them to buy it. You must totally control this process while making sure the customer believes they are controlling it, because they are. This may seem paradoxical, but the fact is, an effective persuasion professional takes responsibility for the process but the customer is responsible for the outcome.
Sales professionals are sometimes criticized for being “too persistent,” i.e., pesky in some annoying way. Stereotypical used car salesmen or telemarketers come to mind.
Yet, look up the definition of persist on Google and you will encounter a more noble definition of the term: to continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure. Just as noble are the word’s Latin origins in persistere, from per- (through, steadfastly) and sistere (to stand).
Thus, to persist is to stand, and continue, steadfastly. The great leaders discussed earlier were persistent in this original sense. If you are mindful of an obligation to take the needs of others into account, persistence is not only a useful habit, it is an admirable quality. Particularly for sales professionals, it involves follow-up, moving forward after failure, and a commitment to growth and success.