When we think in terms of creating persuasive communication, it’s really important to consider the flow. What is the flow of the communication? In what order are you asking these questions and having these conversations? Are you leading with the pitch? Because if you’re leading with the sales pitch, then that’s not going to work well at all.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing creating persuasive communication. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Thanks, David. You mean all communication is not good communication? I just thought sending out emails and random texts, that’s the way to go.

David: Yeah, random communication is often different than persuasive communication.

I guess sometimes it can line up, but the stars have to all be in alignment for that to happen.

Jay: Yeah, I see this. I get emails saying, Hey, just following up. And I’m like, Oh, you know, I don’t know that that’s really how you want to approach a potential customer. There’s no energy, there’s no urgency, there’s nothing persuasive about it.

It kind of feels meh. And, I recognize that now cause I’m in that business, right?

David: Exactly. And I think if we start from the premise that different prospects have different needs, that’s a really good way to start. Because I think a lot of salespeople tend to think in terms of persuasive communication, meaning saying things that will get them to buy from you.

And that’s only the case if and when we’ve determined that we have a good fit with the person that we’re talking to, right? Persuasive communication doesn’t just mean getting them to buy. It’s about seeing if they buy into what it is that we do, seeing if we’ve got enough of a fit to have it make sense.

What I think in terms of persuasive communication, it’s the kind of thing that’s going to get people engaged. It’s going to pull them into the conversation rather than repel them from the conversation. So while the term persuasive sort of implies that we’re trying to persuade them to do something, that is true, but it’s not just about that.

It’s not just about trying to get someone to do something. It’s about seeing if what we’re talking about to begin with even makes sense.

Jay: Yeah, and I think we talked about that a lot in our last episode, getting to know that customer so that you can build loyalty. How do you expect to send out persuasive communication if you haven’t taken the time to get to know them?

And for example, I’m in the tax business, which is hard for me to say, I can’t believe that happened. But my communication is very different right now in the summer than it is in March, right? In March, there’s a built in urgency, and so it’s a lot easier to communicate to them what they need. This time of year, very different.

David: Right, and the things that you need to persuade them of now are different than the things you have to persuade them of in January, February, March, right? Because what you need to persuade them of now is perhaps thinking in advance about what they’re going to need to do rather than trying to cram it in at the last minute.

So that’s going to change the languaging. If you think in terms of who do you need to appeal to, that’s going to be happening throughout the year. What type of prospect am I looking to bring in the door, and how can I help that person to make a decision based on what we’re doing as opposed to what someone else is doing?

You know, what are they likely to want? And we can’t always know that. We can assume, okay, well, I think they’re going to want to pay less taxes. That’s probably a reasonable assumption. And for some people, for most of them, that’s probably going to be the case, but there might be some sort of extenuating circumstance that plays into that as well.

And if you’re not touching on that, if you haven’t taken the time to understand what it is they’re actually looking for, then your ability to persuade them to choose you is going to be greatly diminished.

Jay: Yeah, and in my case, a lot of times, I mean, we have other products and services we can identify or we have identified that they can use during the year. But in my case, can I be persuasive enough now so that when they’re trying to choose a tax professional, that I’m the first one that comes to their mind, that it’s already a no brainer, because I’ve been persuasive enough, or will they forget about me when the time comes?

And that applies to so many businesses when, you know, they may not be ready today, but when they’re finally ready Are you the first person that comes to mind or have you just faded into oblivion?

David: Yeah, that’s such a great point. And that really ties to the whole idea of branding, in addition to just selling, which we should actually do in a future podcast.

Maybe we’ll do that in our very next podcast. In fact, that’s a really good topic. But, when it comes to that, trying to determine what they actually need and whether or not we can deliver it, the best way to do it is simple. It’s about asking them, finding out what they want, and then adapting it.

So if we assume we kind of know, or we think we know what they’re likely to want, we can then ask them, is that your most important priority? And then they’ll tell you yes or no. And if it is, Then great, you’re on track.

And if it’s not, they’ll tell you something that you might not have heard before, at which point you can add that thing to your repertoire so that you can ask your next prospect, Hey, is this something else? is this something that is a concern for you? Is this something that you’re trying to resolve as well? And, the more of those type of things that you get from different customers, it just makes you sound smarter and smarter with every person you talk to, because you develop this big list of potential issues they could be dealing with that they might not have even thought of.

And you never would have thought of them if you hadn’t asked the other people that you talked to prior to that.

Jay: Yeah, I love it. And I will tell you two or three times a month, I find myself adjusting the questions that I’m going to ask. I have a list of them and oftentimes people are afraid to ask probing questions and I found it just the opposite.

I, before they even start, you know, before we even start the back and forth of how I can help them, I have a list of qualifying questions and I’m constantly working on that, constantly changing and updating based upon customer feedback.

David: Which is perfect. It’s exactly what needs to happen. And you kind of ask yourself as you’re going through that process, okay, what gets a response and what gets the best response?

What gets the most positive responses? What gets them most engaged? And each time you do that, when you’ve got that list and you’re asking lots of different people, very similar questions, it’s going to direct you to sort of what to say next and what to focus on.

Jay: Yeah. And the other power that we’re finding is, I can market based upon answers to those individual questions, right?

When an idea comes up, I can go back to those questions and I could say, Let’s zero in on this type of customer who was asking about this or who answered this way. And I’ll tell you, David, because my systems are so much better now, I’ll go back to a client back in December or November. And I’m like, crap, I wasn’t asking this question back then.

And, so I can see how much I’ve evolved over the months.

David: Yeah, but that also gives you good fodder for follow up with some of those people. The ones that you didn’t ask that question of originally, you can then go back to them and say, Hey, you know what? It just occurred to me, I don’t think I ever asked you this.

And then you ask them the new question, and it’s just another opportunity to get them engaged, and to eventually, you know, persuade them, or at least find out whether or not they are still worthy of persuasion, whether or not you want to continue to interact with them.

Jay: Yeah, and I think we’ve also talked about after the interaction.

Do they get some type of survey? Do you have an assistant who calls them back whether you close the deal or not? Hey, how was this interaction? Did we answer your questions? Those types of things. And certainly after the sale, you want to do that as well.

David: Absolutely. think also when we think in terms of creating persuasive communication, it’s really important to consider the flow.

You know, what is the flow of the communication? In what order are you asking these questions and having these conversations? Are you leading with the pitch, right? Because if you’re leading with the sales pitch, then that’s not going to work well at all. In a previous podcast, you had mentioned the whole idea of if you go to a doctor and they start trying to get you to do stuff. You know, the diagnostic approach to sales, just like in medicine, is the same when it’s done correctly.

It’s you examine the patient first, examination, diagnosis, and then prescription. So we’re asking those intelligent probing questions up front to make sure that we’re on the right track.

We’re then diagnosing the issue. We’re saying, okay, based on what you told me, the problem you have is this, this, and this, is that correct?

And then once they’ve agreed to that, Then you can make your prescription and say, yes, listen, I have something that can help. Would you like me to explain what that is? And they’re going to be a lot more likely to want to hear your answer than if you lead off with, oh yeah, I can help you and here’s how much it’ll cost.

Jay: Yeah, and I’ve got an idea for a future podcast as well, but I’ll kind of bring it up here. I have this fear. Everybody’s worrying about AI taking their jobs, artificial intelligence, and I feel like a lot of people are going to use AI for their communications, not voice to voice, but for their emails and things like that.

And I would just caution against that, especially in light of what we’re talking about. They’re never going to get real world experience. I’m sorry. They’re never going to get the sum total of your experiences, both with other customers and your personal experiences. You’re just not going to replace that.

And I think we talk a lot about using technology in your favor. I think you have to be aware of using it to your detriment.

David: Yeah, it’s certainly no replacement for your own experience and your own feel for what is likely to appeal to people. And you’re right, we should say this for a future podcast, but if it’s being used to help you generate ideas, but it’s still going through your cognitive processes first, then I think it can be helpful as an assistant, but not as a replacement.

Jay: Yeah, perfectly said, and I do want to dive into it a little bit more, but for now, how do people find out more?

David: You can go to TopSecrets.com/call, schedule a call with myself or my team. If you’re in a situation where you are having to create persuasive communication, and you may be struggling with how to do that more effectively, or if you find that your messages are not getting responded to, if you post a lot of stuff on social media and you’re not getting a response, if you’re leaving voicemail messages that are not being returned, That’s a strong indication that your communication is not persuasive enough.

And very often, there are small things that we can do, minor changes that we can make, that will actually turn that around and get people to respond to the things that you’re putting out.

Jay: Yeah, I totally agree. David, as always, it’s been a real pleasure.

David: Thank you, Jay.

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