Influence Tactics

Do you know if you are using the most appropriate tactics to influence your audience and for your situation?

Are you able to use the appropriate influence tactics effectively?

Influence is the process of changing someone's behavior. 
It's about being able to move things forward, without pushing, forcing or telling others what to do. 
It's the ability to work everything at your disposal, both verbal and non-verbal communication, to create the impact you want, rather than letting things just happen.

I have read that there are ten common influence tactics that people can use ethically (some are more valid is sales than others):

  • Legitimizing by referring to or using recognized authority
  • Logical Persuading by using logic to persuade the influencee.
  • Appealing to Friendship and asking friends for favors or assistance
  • Socializing to establish rapport, find commonalities and build a connection
  • Consulting by examining a problem and working with the influence towards a solution
  • Stating, boldly and directly stating what you want the prospect to do
  • Appealing to Values, inspiring cooperation by appealing to values, emotions, or feelings
  • Modeling or setting an example for others to follow
  • Exchanging by giving something of value to the influencee in return for something you want
  • Alliance Building, building an alliance of supporters who can help you influence others

According to Robert B. Cialdini PhD, there are 6 universal influence tactics. Click here for my influence summary of them.
Today, in this field, Dr. Cialdini is the most-cited living Social Psychologist in the world.

But merely applying a tactic will not make you an effective influencer.

Influence effectiveness depends on a combination of factors including: choice of influence tactic, your skill at using the tactic and your personal power.

For years many believed that the ability to influence was a character attribute some had it and others did not. 
It's true for some people; the power to influence comes naturally. 

However, there's been research conducted over the past 30 years that indicates virtually anyone can apply the principles of influence to change the outcome of any personal interaction. 

This research is based upon extensive observation of leading salespeople inside a wide variety of industries. By studying individuals in sales situations, scientists have been able to identify certain patterns of behavior and speech that increase the likelihood of someone saying yes to a request.

So, the first task of a would be influencer is to know the influence tactics that are available for them to use. 
The list above and Cialdini's principles (see my influence summary) are a good start.

Then it's important to practice the application of each tactic because using each tactic is a skill and skills need to be practiced. 
Using influence tactics well requires a healthy combination of interpersonal, communication, presentation, and assertiveness techniques, verbal skills such as asserting, probing, persisting, speaking conversationally, and willingness to ask for favors. 

Yet, equally important are non-verbal skills such as conveying energy and enthusiasm, using a compelling tone of voice, using authority without appearing heavy-handed, sensitivity to others' feelings and needs, and building rapport and trust.

But, there is no right way, nor is there only one way to influence others. Everything is a factor when influencing people.

Our personality and history of success will predispose us to use certain influence strategies. 
As the old saying goes "he who is good with a hammer thinks everything is a nail".

However, each influence tactic requires a unique set of skills, which can be learned if you don't come by them naturally. And different tactics work better with some people and in certain situations.

In choosing a tactic, you need to know how and to what your listener responds as well as what the situation requires. 
For example, does your listener make decisions based on logic or based on people-centred values? 
Do they value affiliation and a participatory approach or do they respond more to legitimate authority?

We must, absolutely, have a proper understanding of people and their nature if we are ever to win others to our way of thinking.
When you gain a proper understanding, then, and only then, can you become a successful person of influence.

Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" gives an incredible insight into human behavior. If you've never read this classic book I highly recommend it.

To best influence people you must also have an understanding of yourself and the effect or impact you have on others. It' s about knowing how others perceive you. 

If there is an underlying principle it's "pace then lead". 
You have to meet people where they are in order to take them to where you want them to go.

You need to listen to your prospect. 
Listen for what they want and what they need. Also listen for who they are and what influence tactic they will respond to. 

Listening to people, really listening to them is very important.

This is one of the big secrets to influencing people;
the more you make the other person feel important the more they will respond to you. 

It's human nature for people to want to be recognized and to feel like "somebody." 

It's been said about recognition, "Babies cry for it and grown men die for it."

As a sales person you gain a lot of ground by first listening to others without judgment and criticism, hearing what is important to them, and hearing what will move them. 

As Steven Covey stated in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" , "seek first to understand, then to be understood".
When you know what will move them, you will then know how to move them because you will be able to tell them what they want to hear. 

You can simply show them how they can get what they want by doing what you want.