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Aristotle Had it Right! Tips for Giving Persuasive Sales Presentations

You don't have to be in sales to participate in persuasive behavior.  We use persuasion all day long, in every walk of life. We encourage someone to go to lunch with us, to marry us or to buy our products and services. In its simplest form persuasion is the art of convincing someone to believe or act in a certain way.  Why then, are we persuasive in selling our ideas in some situations and not in others?  Aristotle had some thoughts about this.

Aristotle defined persuasion in four words:  Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Agora.  The purpose of this article is to integrate those four words into any sales or marketing situation and offer some tips to achieve greater success by using elements of persuasion.

Logos - the words and the logicSteven Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", says habit number one is "Start with the end in mind". If you can't clearly describe the objective of your presentation, and your key points you will run the risk of fuzzy focus. Lack of clarity leads to confusion for both you and your audience. Having a clear structure with logical flow makes it easy for people to follow your train of thought.

TIPS:
  • Know what is important to your customer.
  • Clarify your purpose around those needs.
  • Know what points you want the audience to remember and speak to those.
  • Build a presentation with a strong open, body and close.
  • Integrate convincing elements such as examples, analogies and third party testimony to bring your points to life
  • Include benefit statements that answer the question, "So What?"
  • Connect your ideas with strong transitions.
  • Be concise in your wording. - Avoid repetitive filler words ("um's, uh's, o.k's).

Ethos - personality and characterNo one wants to sit through a presentation given in a dry and boring manner.  The energy and confidence a presenter brings to the presentation conveys the degree of confidence he or she has in the products or services. People still buy from people they like and with whom they feel comfortable. A customer can quickly make a judgment about the character of a presenter from the opening handshake or introductory comments.

TIPS:
  • Smile and be confident
  • Stand tall and move intentionally
  • Broaden your gestures - keep them varied
  • Project the voice without yelling
  • Make strong, random eye contact around the room

Pathos - sincerity and passionWe find we are easily passionate about that new boat we just purchased but not as passionate about the annual report we must present.  Passion in a sales presentation is a two-way street.  The presenter must be sincere, authentic and excited about the topic and he or she must know what emotions and concerns might motivate the customer to action.

TIPS:
  • Anticipate questions on the minds of the customer and address them.
  • Use emotionally laden words - feel, embolden, challenging, extravagant, lurid
  • Involve the audience - invite comments and feelings
  • Use your body language to convey emotions
  • Modulate your voice to emphasize specific words
  • Be natural and conversational

Agora - the gathering place for the discussionIn Aristotle's time this was the ancient Greek marketplace.  In sales, we must be aware of our marketplace - the context of our topic, the actual environment in which the information is delivered and its timing.

TIPS:
  • Whenever possible, know the room set up prior to the presentation
  • Ensure everyone can clearly see you and the screen when showing slides
  • Know who's in attendance
  • Make the environment as comfortable as possible to encourage the easy exchange information.

In ConclusionAristotle added one more word to the above four mentioned:  Syzygy - the rare alignment of celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, and earth during an eclipse, influencing the earth's gravitational system. In sales terms, Syzygy is the delicate balance of each of the four areas of Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Agora that can ultimately conclude in a sale.  It's important for sales presenters to create an engaging environment for the interaction that is balanced with logical flow, authenticity and passion and this winning approach will convince your customer to behave or act in a certain way.

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Categories: Tips
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