Sales and Sales Management Blog

October 30, 2009

Guest Article: “Ten Secrets of Persuasion,” by Nido Qubein

Filed under: Closing Sales,Handling questions,Persuasion,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 10:14 am
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Ten Secrets of Persuasion
by Nido Qubein

Do you want to boost your selling power?  Then, add power to your persuasion.

But how can you add power to our persuasion?  How can you become more effective at persuading your customers to buy?

Let’s look at the way the skilled professionals put power into their ability to persuade.

Let me share with you ten secrets I’ve learned from some of the most persuasive salespeople in America — ten ways to add power to your persuasion.  I call them the 10 P’s of persuasion.

(1) Be positive.

One of the most successful insurance salesmen in America is a country fellow from South Georgia, who says, “You can no more sell something you don’t believe in, than you can come back from some place you ain’t been.”

Successful salespeople are positive people.

They have positive mental attitudes about themselves, the companies they represent, the products or services they’re selling, the prospects they’re attempting to persuade, the country they live in.  They’re positive about everything.

Enthusiasm is contagious.  When you’re excited about life and the work you’re doing, you can persuade with power, because you can get other people excited.

(2) Prospect. 

Successful salespeople have learned to direct their persuasive power toward people who have the resources to buy and have good reasons to buy what they are selling.

Professional salespeople pinpoint prospects who are likely to provide long-term profitability.  They analyze the possibilities for cross-selling.  They know that it takes an average of three calls to cross-sell an existing customer but seven to sell to a new customer.

In short, the powerful persuader targets all efforts at the person who has the resources, the motivation, and the authority to buy, and the potential for profitable repeat sales.

(3) Prepare. 

Red Motley, who started Parade magazine, said that the average salesperson will work like crazy to get an appointment, then blow the opportunity with a poor presentation after the decision-maker has agreed to the interview.

You don’t make sales to busy people by rambling on for 40 minutes about features and benefits.  Usually, after such disjointed presentations, neither the salesperson nor the prospect can summarize what’s just been said. 

Professional salespeople always do their homework.  They know that the better they’re prepared, the more persuasive they’ll be when they walk in to make a presentation. 

They research to find out everything they need to know about the prospect.  They plan what they will show and what they will say.  And they practice, practice, practice.
(4) Perform. 

Amateur salespeople complain furiously when they are beaten out by a competitor.  How could that customer buy that overpriced, poor-quality product? He must be an idiot!

The customer was no idiot.  The complainer was just outperformed by a more competitive salesperson. 

Remember: People don’t buy; they’re sold.  In fact, nothing is ever bought.  Everything has to be sold.  If you don’t make a strong presentation, you can’t persuade your prospect to buy.

Powerful persuaders are like stage actors playing to a full house.  They are artists at making their presentations.  They’re entertaining and informative to watch and hear.

To succeed in business, you have to make every second of every minute of your “action time” count.

(5) Be perceptive. 

Powerful persuaders are alert to everything that happens during a sales interview. 

They are not preoccupied with personal problems, with airline schedules, or even with the next call they are going to make.  They know that reaching a sales goal always begins with making the sale at hand.

Powerful persuaders tune into their prospects and look for the motivating forces in the life of each.  Once they discover that motivating force, they play to the motivation.

To add power to your persuasion, learn to read your prospects and to discover the motivations they have to buy or not to buy.

(6) Probe.

Average salespeople do a lot of talking.  They can give you a 30-minute speech on any subject you want to name.

That’s why silence is so threatening to most salespeople.  The instant a prospect pauses to take a breath, the amateur will jump in with a sales spiel, just to break the silence.

But powerful persuaders use questions to diagnose the needs and concerns of a prospect much as a skilled physician uses them to diagnose the problems of a patient.

They become masters at asking penetrating questions, and they use those questions to draw prospects into the selling process.
(7) Personalize.

The most powerful word in selling is you.

The emphasis on you marks the difference between manipulative and non-manipulative selling.

Manipulative selling is self-centered.  It focuses on what the salesperson wants and needs.

Non-manipulative selling is client-centered.  It focuses on the needs and desires of the prospect.

A person who is looking at the business proposition you are offering wants to know just one thing: What’s in it for me?

If you want to add power to your persuasion, personalize every part of your presentation to meet your prospect’s own personal needs and wants.

(8) Please. 

Powerful persuaders seek to close sales by pleasing their clients.  When prospects become excited about the idea of owning what you’re selling, they become customers.

Professional salespeople know that they can’t force their prospects to buy.  Their challenge is to make them want to buy.  So they seek to please them in so many ways that they create the desire to buy.

(9) Prove.

Salespeople with selling savvy don’t make statements they can’t back up with facts. 

And they don’t expect their clients to accept at face value everything they say.  They are always prepared to prove every claim they make — to back up those claims with hard data, with test results, and with performance records.

One of the best ways to persuade by proving is to give proof statements from people who are happy with your products or services.  Third-party endorsements go a long way in building credibility for your claims, and for your products.

Facts and testimonials are very persuasive.  Learn to use them, and become a powerful persuader.

(10) Persist.

Call on good prospects as many times as it takes to sell them.  About 80% of sales are made on the fifth call or later.  Yet studies have shown that:

·  50% of America’s salespeople call on a prospect one time, and quit.
·  18% call on a prospect twice, and give up.
·  7% call three times, and call it quits.
·  5% call on a prospect four times before quitting.
·  Only 20% call on a prospect five or more times before they quit.

It’s that 20% who close 80% of the sales in America.

You don’t have to become a dynamic personality to sell.  You don’t have to put pressure on people, or out-talk people to sell. 

The most effective thing you can do is to apply your own selling savvy to these ten ways to add strength to your persuasion.

Learn how to persuade more effectively and you will boost your selling power.

Nido Qubein is president of High Point University, an accredited undergraduate and graduate institution with 3,000 students from 50 countries and 44 states. He has written numerous books and recorded scores of audio and video learning programs including a bestseller on effective communication published by Nightingale-Conant and Berkley. Qubein’s business  savvy led him to help start a bank in 1986 and today he serves on the board and executive committee of a Fortune 500 financial corporation with 115 billion-dollars in assets and 25,000 employees. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 218 stores in 42 states. He serves on the boards of several national organizations including the La-Z-Boy Corporation, one of the world’s largest and most recognized furniture retailers. Learn more about Nido Qubein at



  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul McCord: Nido Qubein’s 10 secrets of persuasion

    Trackback by uberVU - social comments — October 30, 2009 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  2. Fantastic read! I was just delivering an introductory sales training and this would be a great follow up. We all need to be encouraged and responsible for keeping our minds in shape for every new opportunity.

    Comment by Sales Training — October 30, 2009 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  3. Nice post. Can you tell me where you got the statistics in point #10? I’ve searched the internet and I can’t find the source anywhere. I have found references to one study presenting a variation on this information by the “National Sales Executive Association”, yet when I search for this organization all I get are articles referencing this study. They don’t seem to exist. These figures have the signs of being an urban legend.

    Comment by Joe — May 15, 2010 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

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