16 Powerful Principles to Influence a Sale

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do anything to get it? That feeling does not happen overnight; a sales process created that yearning inside you.

In their ground-breaking book, “Rainmaking Conversations” Mike Schultz and John Doerr list 16 research-based and field-tested ways to make your customers reach that level of desire so you can secure new deals, and maximize profits.

  1. Attention– People are preoccupied and the first step in any sales process is to get their attention. Read my blog post called “How to Use Stories to Create a Great First Impression” to learn how to use the four emotional appeals to snap a person out of their preoccupation and focus on you.
  2. Curiosity– Once you get the prospect’s attention, you must make them curious enough to want to know more. I recommend you develop a WOW statement to pique their curiosity. The WOW statement comes from the premise that after you deliver your statement, the other party has to respond with “Wow, tell me more.”
  3. Desire– Desire is the gap between where your prospect is now and where they want to be. This is where a discussion of their return on investment (ROI) comes into play so the customer can see what is in it for him. To intensify their desire, a good salesman knows that he may have to fan the flames of dissatisfaction with the present situation and point out the possibilities your product or service will provide.
  4. Envy– Envy is the desire supercharger. Envy is when the customer wants something and wants it more when he sees that others have it. He feels an intense desire to obtain it out of the fear that without it, the gap between him and others will widen. It will continue to eat away at him day and night until he gets it.
  5. Emotional Journey– A goods salesman is a storyteller who can trigger deep seated emotions and images in the other person. You need to be able to deliver a story that will create a lasting image and emotion in your prospect. In his ground breaking book, “The Magic Power of Emotional Appeal,” Roy Garn explains that emotional appeals come in four irresistible flavors: moneyself-protectionrecognition, and romance.
  6. Belief– The customer can’t remain skeptical on whether or not your product or service will work for them. They have to believe your product or service can and will do what you say it can. They must believe in you. To reinforce this, you must show them that you consistently do what you say you will do and that your brand has a history of success. One way to accomplish this is to provide demonstrations so your customers can see that your product does what you say it will. Another way is to provide testimonials from others as proof of the quality of your services.
  7. Justification– People make decisions on emotion and justify them with logic. Even if your solution makes logical sense, it needs to be tied to an emotion. The promise of a Return on Investment (ROI) is the reason the customer listens to you. It is not the ROI of making more money that will get them to buy; it is the image of how much happier they will be with more money that is the emotional key.
  8. Trust– The customer must trust you. He must know that you know what you are talking about, have a history of reliability, and are not a risky bet that will come back to bite him. Finally, he must know that you will not take advantage of him if it suits you.
  9. Stepping Stones– People are more interested in things they are familiar with. A good salesman takes the customer from something he is familiar with to the solution the salesman wants the customer to embrace by going through a series of steps. Sometimes this process is called the Domino Strategy. In essence, you are trying to shorten the customer’s leap of faith by peeling away the layers of an onion one by one so he can make the journey to the solution.
  10. Ownership– Until the customer takes ownership of the solution, your influence is limited. A customer that says “OK, let’s try it” is not yet on board. The customer must want to own the solution. Without ownership, the customer will not devote themselves to the solution and others may talk him out of it.
  11. Involvement– When the customer has a hand in the solution, he is more likely to be a passionate advocate. Make your customers part of the solution. Ask them their opinion and have them help in coming up with answers.
  12. Desire for Inclusion– People may say that they are not influenced by the actions of others, but they are. In the blog post, “How to Harness Peer Pressure for Effective Marketing,” we discussed how when a person’s perspective is not shared by most others, they are more likely to accept the perspective of others. They assume that the other people must know something they don’t. The use of social proofs in the forms of testimonials and statistics, like “25% of Fortune 500 companies use our product,” help stroke the customer’s desire for inclusion.
  13. Scarcity– “Buy it now! Only 2 left!” is a phrase we often hear. Scarcity is the most commonly employed persuasion technique. People value things that are rare even if that rarity is manmade. The Debeer’s company artificially keeps diamond prices high by controlling supply. Moreover, people fear loss more than gains as we discussed in the blog post, “Harness the Power of Keeping Options Open and Fear of Loss.”
  14. Likeability– When it comes to being liked, we are talking about the customer having an affinity towards you. However, your desire to be liked by the customer should not be overshadowed by the need to make the sale. People pay attention, listen, and buy from people they like.
  15. Indifference– Desperation is not a good influencing strategy. You need to be OK with not making the deal. Be happy with walking away if the situation warrants.
  16. Commitment– When someone makes a public commitment, they are much more likely to keep them. I once made a public announcement that I was writing my first book and because the announcement was public, I was more committed to getting it done. Once the customer signs off on the deal, make a public announcement to keep them committed.

How can you employ these 16 principles to create a powerful yearning in your customer to buy from you?


Sales IdeasPractical Sales Ideas For Your Small Business is a wisdom-packed book that was written for the entrepreneur looking for ideas and tactics to improve sales. Weather selling face to face or online the reader will discover tips and tricks to close more deals. Sales are built on relationships and the author has created bite-size nuggets of sales knowledge the reader can easily apply.

As a serial entrepreneur and mentor to thousands of small businesses, the author has distilled critical business sales lessons designed to make the customers fall in love you and your product or service.

Practical Sales Ideas For Your Small Business is a concise and easy to read guide packed with solid advice that will help you convert leads into customers.
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