5 Ways To Become More Persuasive

My first real foray into the world of sales, selling, and persuasion (outside of game) came a few years ago at a seminar from one of the most successful real estate salesmen in the world, Craig Proctor. One thing that was made very clear at the start of the event was that if you’re in any kind of business for yourself, you are also a marketer. This is non-negotiable. So I devoted myself to learning the tricks of the trade.

After some time of trial and error, I’ve learned a few things about using language to persuade.

1. Pace Before You Lead

One of the biggest mistakes a lot of people make is coming on too strong. Unless your prospect needs what you’re offering quickly, this isn’t likely to go over well. We all know this from game, but it’s true in sales also. A relationship of trust and likability is integral to persuasion and beginning your push too quickly doesn’t allow you to establish that. The best book I ever read about persuasion, Unlimited Selling Power, shows in detail how to build trust and rapport fast. One of the most powerful and simple ways is through pacing and leading.

People trust people that are like them. People also can’t resist themselves or their own actions. Arguing that someone is wrong rarely persuades them that you’re right, but reframe something through that person’s lens and suddenly it becomes a lot more persuasive. This is the psychological underpinning of pacing and leading.

When you pace and lead, you mirror your prospect. You speak his language. You share his values. If you’re persuading in person, you might even try to mirror his body language or breathing patterns. Yet, the simplest way to do this is to say things that are impossible to disagree with.

Start your conversation by talking about things that are undeniably true and guards come down. You’ve gotten your prospect used to agreeing with you.

From here, you can begin to “lead” your prospect, or “pick up the pace” as Unlimited Selling Power calls it. It’s from here that you begin to make your suggestions and lead the sale along. Now that trust and rapport have been established, your prospect is far warmer to your leads. The authors of Unlimited Selling Power studied the most successful salespeople and orators in politics for years before writing the book, and found that they all used forms of pacing and leading. In March, I implemented this on the lead-in page to my book on my blog. Sales increased significantly. I’m not sure if this was precisely the reason, but it’s peaks apart from the previous copy on the page.

2. Provide A Reason

Narcissus mirror

Astute readers will also recognize this as being the narcissist’s mirror from The 48 Laws of Power

There’s a funny thing about the word “because.” If any word can be described as a magical one, “because” is it. Web Copy that Sells, written by Maria Veloso, one of the most successful web copywriters in the world, describes at length the psychological phenomenon of people loving to have a reason for doing something, even if that reason makes no sense.

“Because” is the shortcut word for a reason why. One notorious study famously found that people would let their co-workers cut in front of them in line at the Xerox machine “because they needed to make copies.” The breakthrough finding of this is that people will do things for a fake reason far in excess over no reason given at all.

So embed in your sales (or frankly seduction) pitch one reason, any reason, for your prospect to take further action, and the easiest word to use this with is “because.”

You can also use this with yourself. If you find yourself unfocused for instance, try using the word “because” to hack your own brain into doing what you should be doing instead of more frivolous pursuits.

3. Use Presuppositions

Another trick I learned from Web Copy that Sells. This is a great way to command action without ever looking like you’re being overbearing. It’s also a great way to lead your prospect without looking pushy. I’ve used this extensively in my email signup forms, and conversions increased rapidly after I implemented it.

For instance, to promote a free ebook, my signup form asks the question “what will you do with your new power?” The hook here is the assumption that the prospect will have new power, and the body copy is the lead in following that question.

Asking these questions can go a long way to increasing your conversion rate. They are especially potent in building a large email list.

4. Use Action Words

Henry V orator Shakespeare

Action words flow better and are more easily comprehensible than passive voices. They also, to quote Unlimited Selling Power, make your prospect an active participant in the sales pitch rather than a passive observer. For instance:

Notice the difference between the first sentence and this passive equivalent: “Does this make sense to you?’ This passive sentence fails to deeply involve the client. Compare the third sentence with its more passive equivalent: “Can you make a decision today?’ When you use passively-worded sentences, you get minimal customer involvement and you risk boring your prospect. Pace the customer with action words to call him or her into action!

Contrast Donald Trump’s slogan, “make America great again” to Hillary Clinton’s “stronger together.”

There are many reasons why MAGA was a much more powerful slogan, and this was one of them. “Make” is a call to action, a call to be a participant. “Stronger together” is entirely passive. It was telling of the basic psychology of the Clinton campaign from its start – “I’m with her.” It was all about her.

Hillary Clinton should’ve known this before running, but no one ever accused her of being good with people.

Unlimited Selling Power continues:

There are literally thousands of action words in the English language. When you analyze the speeches of powerful orators such as Ronald Reagan or Reverend Robert Schuller, you will see that they use these action-based words much more frequently than less-successful politicians and less-successful religious leaders. To acquire the power of great speakers, use the same verbal techniques they utilize.

Powerful persuaders create a team and then involve everyone as a participant in that team with action words. My favorite example was the famous speech in Henry V. Even if it probably wasn’t real, it was a fantastic piece of perfect oratory. Henry created an in-group, then called it to action with the appropriate words, then referred to it in the past tense, presupposing that great action had already taken place.

That’s some powerful stuff.

5. Beware The Zeigarnik Effect (And Potentially Use It)

Zeigarnik Effect uncompleted tasks

I haven’t tried this one out very much to date, but I am looking into it.

The Zeigarnik Effect is the phenomenon that human beings tend to put greater weight on uncompleted tasks than on completed ones. They stick out like a sore thumb. This means that during your sales pitch, you should take heed to minimize any distractions that might call for action other than yours. For instance, if you have a lead-in page, eliminate anything that can beckon your reader’s attention elsewhere.

You can also use this to end your own procrastination. Starting a task will make you more likely to complete it.

There is also the possibility of using the Zeigarnik Effect “offensively.” Give your prospect something to complete mentally, continue on, then get back to it at the end of your sales pitch. Say, for instance, you have to settle for a phone number with a girl. Having her start a task, then pitching that you have some surprise in store later related to its completion could potentially make her less likely to flake. However, I haven’t tested this yet, so it’s just speculation for now.

If any of you have tested something like this, I’d love to hear from you.

Read More: How I Launch My Books For Amazon And Direct Sales

63 thoughts on “5 Ways To Become More Persuasive”

  1. Very interesting. Thank you for your hard-earned insights! I can see the upside of using these techniques for benevolent purposes more so than demagoguery or fraud.

  2. So, basically it’s not what you do but how you do it.
    Like everything in life……

  3. Yes ‘Unlimited Selling Power’, and indeed any of the works in the Richard Bandler Canon, will give powerful advice in the art of Persuasion…
    I would suggest a point 0….
    0. Believe, *passionately*, in the point you wish to persuade on *yourself*.
    With this, everything else falls into place much more easily… persuade *yourself first*!

        1. Awesome! I love this stuff!
          Hypnotic language, NLP, persuasion…. the applications for a Man are absolutely front and centre, whether it be Game, building a Business, Social connections…. it’s all core!
          And of course all self-development is basically self-hypnosis.
          Looking forward to your articles Sir!

    1. In hypnosis, we call it the principle of going first. You ever hang out with a really energetic person, and you find yourself more energetic than usual? Or you hang with a major downer, and it drags you down?
      It’s the same exact thing. If you are unshakably persuaded, others will follow naturally.
      In Game, of course, we call it “frame.”

        1. I have studied and practiced hypnosis in an entertainment setting (because doing anything useful is illegal in most states without permits). It is fascinating how simple it can be to add a few easy to learn techniques into your communication to make your words simply carry more weight than they ever have before.
          Now, I don’t know if you’re interested in hypnosis for persuasion, or therapy, or improving your confidence and abilities, but whatever your reason for wanting to learn more, it is a valuable thing to learn. If you would like, a man named Igor Ledochowski has put together some extensive courses on the subject to help you fully immerse yourself in the principles of hypnosis, which means that it would be the fastest way to absorb the techniques.
          You may or may not be interested in that level of detail, or maybe you find the courses and you’re not prepared to spend money on them. And that’s fine, because simply knowing that these techniques exist and recognizing that I’m applying some of them in these comments will help you realize the power of simple persuasion techniques, which are derived from hypnosis.

        2. i’ve studied that for about 12 years by myself, mostly by reading a lot of books. My interest lies in seeing how far the brain could go for self improvement purpose (apart how a brain can be hacked too). I just lack practice about stuff like inductions and speech patterns for using it on somebody else than me (i’m very cooperative to myself , so it does not count). Great to know another people here who’s into that stuff too !

        3. Now, right quick, I want to highlight a few things I did there. It sounds different from my usual comments, and that’s because I was layering some principles in there.
          In the first paragraph, I was trying to layer the “easy” concept. Look at that sentence – “simple it can be”, “easy to learn techniques”, “simply carry more weight” – whether you’re resistant or not, the number of unique concepts combined with the repetition ensures that, on some level, you associate “easy” with hypnosis and persuasion techniques.
          In the second, I opened with the word “now”. It’s subtle, but your mind will tie it to the rest of the paragraph. Next, “I don’t know” focuses your mind temporarily on my ignorance, so you aren’t focused on filtering the rest of the sentence as readily. The rest of that sentence is giving you benefits of hypnosis under the cover of a tacit question, so you’ll likely pick an answer (forcing your hand a bit).
          When I talk about the courses, I use some words to imply depth of coverage – “extensive courses,” “fully immerse”, “fastest way to absorb” – to make you draw the connection that this one option is both full of useful information and perhaps the most effective way to learn.
          Then, I use “may or may not” to lift the tension of the following commands, making you relax (as I’m not telling you to do anything – you may or may not do whatever I suggest, after all). I use this to reinforce the value of the course, and subtly plant the idea that you only wouldn’t get his courses because you’re “not prepared”.
          Finally, I affirm any decision you make and give some final commands. I essentially tell you to know the techniques exist, and I tell you that you now recognize the techniques I’m applying, which I then tie to the command to realize the power of simple persuasion techniques.
          It’s all about layering it together. I recommend work like Ledochowski’s because I just have to think in his voice to write all that naturally. It’s imitation to develop skill, and it seems to work.

        4. Another big fan here… and self improvement is one of the finest uses of hypnosis…

        5. Igor Ledochowski’s the name to look for. I…acquired some of his materials a good while back, when I was first taking the red pill.
          Look for his conversational hypnosis audio course. I think it’s his best work.

  4. These people I know from Australia went to Thailand to get married, but the wedding is now off he fell in love with a bar girl, and white land whale she’s going home alone. Just another story about how western woman cannot compete in anyway with South American, Eastern euro, and Asian girls.

    1. You couldn’t pay me to date an Asian woman. And a svelte Viking Princess puts any of those runts to shame except, maybe, EE girls and the occasional really hot Brazilian chick.

      1. Asian pussy is actually very tight, and they don’t complain too often..I actually prefer my girls to be totally deaf and dumb if possible…Thailand has lots of disabled ones that don’t talk best fuck I ever had.

        1. So…you’re basically a prank account? Ok, that’s cool, I thought for a hot second that you were actually being serious. Never mind. Sally forth!

        2. Im just stating reality…fact is most men like stupid woman…they don’t put pressure they just shutup and sit there like a statue to look pretty. Good girls should only talk when spoken too.

        3. You should go for a legless, deaf and mute. What a trifecta bonus that would be. Give her the wheelchair back when you want her to go and just point to the door.

        4. Guess that’s still better than to pamper a entitled, arrogant, bitchy, whorish, slutty and ungrateful whatever_color_pussies !!

        5. Thailand !? Err ! Isn’t it the same country where pussies/wives “chop off” their MEN while they are in sleep, and can go “un-punished” !?
          Isn’t it the same country where there are “specialist” re-attachment surgeons for MEN !?
          To hell with the double standards and pussies victim card tactics !

        6. 300 attempted reattachments a year in my town up north.
          I’ve survived two machete attacks (last gf, current wife), but they were swinging for my big head.

        7. OMG !! 300 attempted re-attachments in a year ! And you were attacked two times with machete ! Bless You !

    2. Too many Asian women look too much like children IMO. Especially in Japan, where childlike cuteness determines attraction.
      Youthfulness = attractiveness for females the world over, but too many Asians take it too far.

    3. It’s gonna end badly ……. but ‘during’ will be more fun than the land whale.

  5. The Greeks were the first to systematize persuasion. Aristotle broke it up into ethos, pathos, and logos.
    Those amphorae of olive oil weren’t going to sell themselves.

  6. I like that you included one of the magic words, because “because” is a very powerful word. I just want to drop a few more: and, which means (same as “because), and “so.”
    If you speak to someone slowly and calmly, and you have a strong frame, then because you use words like “and” and “because” and you put pressure on your point, you are able to become amazingly persuasive, which means people listen to you and take in your words more deeply than ever before.
    Speak that big paragraph aloud, and you may be able to better appreciate how it can work.

        1. As he learned from Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls…
          His early stuff was really, really clear…

  7. Wait, Louis Stuart has attended a real estate seminar and read a couple of blog entries at Web Copy that Sells and Louis is set to teach all about persuasion?

  8. I was thinking -to never answer email. Its how real leaders set the power tone.
    Except when your dealing with a liberal- then just foam at the mouth and become a social justice warrior.

  9. I had an econ professor who learned how to negotiate by dedicating Saturdays to negotiating car prices with used car salesmen. He had no intention of buying said car just wanted the real one on one negotiating. He did this for a year until he mastered the skill. Might have been a tad bit dickish to pretend like you want to buy a car without any true intention of doing so, but it was effective.

    1. Seems odd that such a dilettante could, at one day a week, out-negotiate guys who spend all 7 days of the week being directly paid to out-negotiate others.
      …I wonder how often this could be done before the word got out among the car dealers. Is it possible that they learned what he was about and would then put up only enough of a fight such that he’d feel that he’d won and leave ’em be?

      1. That is entirely plausible… Most industries are tiny at the top and everyone knows each other… “Oh crap, professor Arsehole’s on his way to play customer again… Just get him out the door as soon as you can, ok?”

      2. Don’t remember specifics as that was 20+ years ago. But it was a large metro area and assuming he took a few Saturdays off from his hobby he might have no had to double up on dealerships.

  10. Your ‘MAGA’ vs ‘stronger together’ slogan comparison is only part of the meaning. ‘MAGA’ is more than a slogan – it’s an explicit instruction and a green light to roll. I don’t see anyone stopping traffic and saying “Wait – don’t make America great anymore”.
    In February there seemed to be a calm of sorts like waiting to see if the system was going to transform. Of course it didn’t change a bit. The system is a piece of shit. But the green light is still on for us TO MOVE AND SHAKE. I don’t see websites being blacked out as would have been the perogative of the Hillary machinery. There was and still is an energy and spark of vigilence that manifest in every pre election Trump rally and the field is wide open and Trump’s ear is wide open to our voices when we’re loud enough.
    Hillary would have us all shot down or at least try, but Trump was and is a real party, so long as we don’t let him down and go to sleep on him. STIR THE SHIT folks. Right now the rallying starts. The real push begins. Trump thrives on our crowd, the real American lid banging, noise making dynamo.

  11. FANTASTIC article! I’m in sales both professionally and selling myself to attractive young women, specifically on #5 i work over the phone and have prospects “grab a pen and paper, your going to want to take notes, your going to love this!”
    with girls, “at the end of this conversation i’m going to grab your phone number.” maybe the same thing…
    great book recommendations also…i’ll be checking them out.

    1. “Grab” is a good action word, but isn’t quite the Zeigarnik effect, which would get her to start a task and then you help her complete it later over text.
      Or something like that. I have to field test it.

  12. The best thing any young man can do who wants to become great at attracting good people (male and female) is to go into sales. Whether long-term or not, it teaches you about how to perfect your ‘pitch’ and you realise just how minor rejection is. It also cements the abundance mentality into your head.

    1. The risk of becoming a permanent phony is there, to wind up putting people off from a mile away with your unctuous “he comes off like a used car salesman!” persona.
      The world sure doesn’t need any more Lyin’ Ted Cruzes and Hillary Clintons.

      1. Hillary had zero skills in sales, that’s why I wrote in my book Stumped in early 2016 that she’d lose. Ted Cruz was OK, but his way of speaking in particular made him come across as a phony to a lot of people. Covered in depth in the 4th chapter, which discusses voice technique in detail.
        Now, once you internalize and remind yourself that “trust is the most important thing in sales,” and you want to really get good, you’ll realize it’s important to commit yourself to a degree of authenticity to prevent tripping that antennae.
        Because sales is people-focused, you’ll try to “focus on the prospect, not the product,” as the old saying goes.

        1. If the ideas you are trying to sell are the TRUTH, it makes it a lot easier to not appear phony.

      2. The trick is to stay in the sun long enough to get a tan, but not so long that you become sun burned.

  13. I’ve always found, holding a gun in my hand makes me much more persuasive.
    I’m thinking a back pack nuke would work even better (or two dozen tomahawk missiles).

  14. Also, a very important thing to remember if you want to be persuasive: don’t use filler words like umm, ah, er, uhh, etc…If you want to use fillers, it’s better to use expressions like “you know what I’m saying?”, “that’s what I’m talking about!”, “how about that!”, etc… – you will appear more confident this way.

    1. Very true. And unfortunately, a very hard thing to eliminate. Even very persuasive speakers like Bill Clinton and Obama (hey, I will give credit where it’s due) haven’t entirely eliminated those phrases.

    2. “You know what I’m saying?” is very irritating as a filler – I’m tired of hearing it! In my experience, it has been used almost exclusively by ghetto Blacks and those who imitate them in an attempt to get something from me. Based on this, I recommend deleting that phrase as a tool of persuasion.

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