The Ultimate Guide to Persuasion for Marketers

July 15th, 2021 | Andres Lares, Managing Partner, Shapiro Negotiations Institute

Marketing experts understand that influencing is as much art as it is science; what many do not know is that there is a process to persuade others successfully. Whether you are writing persuasive copy or influencing someone internally for more support on a marketing initiative, the four steps outlined in my forthcoming book Persuade will make you more successful.

The process is as follows: Build Credibility, Engage Emotion, Demonstrate Logic, and Facilitate Action. Let’s take a closer look at each step.

Begin with building credibility

You can’t convince someone who doesn’t trust you. Marketers seeking to persuade others must begin by establishing their credibility. Building trust and credibility quickly is a critical success factor for converting managers or the C-Suite, as well as for any B2B and B2C marketing.

In a one-on-one situation, give yourself opportunities to demonstrate reliability. Promise to send an email summarizing your call and to follow up in two weeks to get another meeting on the calendar – and then make sure to follow through.

In mass marketing, statements against self interest are a powerful way to build credibility – think of Buckley’s “It tastes awful. And it works.” This is a perfectly executed statement against self-interests. It signals that Buckley’s is trustworthy because they employ modesty.

Engage their emotions

We like to think that we’re logical, fact-driven creatures. In reality, we make decisions emotionally and then justify them rationally. Catching someone’s attention and appealing to their emotions is the most likely way to influence a customer.

Think about how retailers consistently use scarcity (“Only 2 left!” or “Sale ends tomorrow”) to use fear when selling more products. Another example can be seen when charities send free address labels within envelopes that ask people for money – thereby tapping into a sense of obligation and reciprocity.

Harness the power of logic

Knowing when to employ logic is important. We often hear the phrase “the right place at the right time;” the ancient Greeks had a word for this – Kairos – which was about taking advantage of an opportunity. Once you’ve established credibility and engaged their emotions, offer logic that can help convince them they’ve made the right choice.

Try using logic to tell a compelling story. Don’t simply cite data – use it to paint a picture. Make sure that the story is relevant and relatable, and ensure it is as specific as possible.

Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions

Facilitate action

Agreement without action is just conversation. Working through the first three steps of the process primes the other party, but you often need to give them one final push. A simple way to do that is to give them options.

Dr. Sheeya Lyengar of Columbia University conducted research by setting up a jam booth in a grocery store and offering between 6 and 24 varieties. She found that offering many jams led to more customers stopping for a sample, yet offering fewer jams led to more sales overall. Essentially, people want to feel in control and therefore like options, but too many choices can be overwhelming.

The next time you want to influence someone, provide your prospect with three to five options that are all acceptable to you and let them decide. Follow this four-step process and you will surely be more influential and persuasive both in the boardroom and in your marketing efforts!



Andres Lares is Managing Partner at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute and an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. His professional focus is on coaching clients in the areas of sales, negotiation, and influencing, especially within sports and Fortune 500 organizations. Andres’ expertise in the field has led to being featured in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, CNBC, FOX, and Entrepreneur, and guest lecturing at universities all over the world.