Persuasion 101 – The “Yes” Commandment

Persuasion 101 – The “Yes” Commandment

The Power of Yes. How cliché, right? Sales and marketing guru’s praise the word “Yes” for its persuasive power. It’s like it was the 11th commandment in the bible: Ye Shall Get Your Prospect To Say Yes.

A crude search on Amazon turned up about three hundred sales and marketing books with “Yes” in the title. Somehow the word “Yes” triggers a magical chain reaction that leads us to buy.

NLP enthusiasts perfected the “Yes” strategy it into a Yes Trilogy. In a nutshell, they say you should ask three questions where the obvious answer is yes. Then they lay on the big question: are you ready to buy (or some variation). Say “No” and they’ll hit you with a contradiction. For example:

Are you committed to improving your finances? Yes
Ready to wipe out your debt? Yes
Do you crave financial freedom? Yes
Are you ready to invest in [insert product]? No
You just said you were committed to improving your finances, wiping out your debt and achieving  financial freedom? Was that a lie?

The prospect feels trapped, caught in a contradiction. You might think any fool would see right through this ploy. It seems like such a clear attempt to manipulate.

The Genius Of “Yes”

Here’s the truth. It works. It works really well. Many marketers use this in print and online. With today’s technology it adapts well to video sales letters too.

A lot of people fall for this. I’ve fallen for it myself.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Does this trickery leave you with an inbox full of refund requests? Not so. After buying, they find reasons to justify their decision. Have you ever felt tricked into buying something? It creates internal discomfort. The vast majority of us refuse to face that discomfort. Instead, we’ll invent reasons to justify our purchase.

I needed this anyway
Even if I don’t use it, the knowledge will help me in the future
I need to learn this just to keep up. 
It adds value to … 

Do The Ends Justify The Means

The business makes the sale and the customer doesn’t complain. Does that make it OK?

Most persuasion tactics are neither good or bad. It’s the intent behind them that determines their virtue. With this one, intent and tactic seem intertwined.  When you make a sale, you are starting or enhancing a relationship. How you win the sale matters. Did  they feel  pressured or backed into a corner? How do you grow the relationship from there?

Even if that justification mechanism kicks in it still leaves your customer with an uneasy feeling. They’ll keep a sharp eye out for anything they can blame on you. Can we use the Yes Trilogy ethically? Sure, it goes back to one of my golden rules.

Lead your prospect down a path so they conclude (on their own) that they desire what you sell. 

In other words, you want them to raise their hand and ask where do I sign up.  So, ask your three questions but avoid the contradiction trap. If putting your prospect in a position where he feels pressured or trapped is the only way he’ll sign up, then maybe he’s just not a good fit for you.  Or, maybe just didn’t do a good enough job selling.

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