To be able to influence others to buy into our ideas is a valuable asset
The PR industry has evolved tremendously in the last decade. Today, we have tools, techniques which make our job a lot easier and way more planned. But there is one thing that can never be substituted with any technology and that is the ‘power of persuasion’. Persuasion is the key ingredient of building any relationship and relationships are the ‘touchstones’ of PR profession.
Irrespective of how others perceive it, persuading others is an art and not bending of the truth, omission of facts and insincere flattery. It’s about understanding the perspective of the other person, anticipating their concerns, and overcoming potential challenges, to ultimately achieve the desired result.
If you too want to win and influence people in your profession, here are some quick tips to be persuasive:-
- Know what your clients’ want – For people working in PR agencies, the thought ‘Client is always right’ comes naturally, isn’t it? But don’t forget that you’ve been hired for a reason. If you want to make a winning strategy for your client, combine your expertise with clients’ knowledge and then sit back and watch the results
- Be creative in your approach – If you’re pitching an idea to your client, simple conversation might not be enough. Try incorporating illustrations, graphics or even videos to make the experience stand out. The aim is to give a visual or sensory experience that makes the idea memorable, something that the client just has to adopt; the brand just needs it to make a difference. That’s how Zoo Zoo’s became legendary!
- Listen Well – Some say it’s a lost art these days. In order to be convincing, you have to know what the other person wants. So, listen well. In fact, sometimes it’s more about listening not just to the verbal but non-verbal conversation as well. It’s much easier to persuade people when already know what they want. So, before talking, listen and ask questions!
- Be Prepared – It is humanly not possible to anticipate and prepare for all the objections and queries that will be raised during a meeting. But it’s always great to do your homework and prepare as much as possible. Even during an interaction, if the person raises a query and you are not prepared with the solution, listen carefully, clarify and offer a solution once you are prepared.
- Close your conversation – Pitching, presenting and persuading in detail might not necessarily translate to convincing the client. So, while concluding the discussion, share a brief recap of the points discussed, get the clients buy-in, and outline next steps with timelines; including a follow-up meeting, if needed.
All of this takes a lot of advance preparation. Persuasion in PR is a handy tool especially when combined with integrity and honesty. Remember, it is not about selling a service; but more about establishing a relationship and earning the trust of your client vis-à-vis your recommendations.