Developing a Persuasive Argument A.K.A. Selling 101

Have you ever tried to persuade your parents, your friends or your colleague and completely failed? This is one of the things most people never learn. In school, they teach us how to develop an argument, but that’s where it ends. They often don’t teach us how to sell our argument (in a non-written form). And if you’ve ever learned how to pursue an academic argument, do you think the same applies in real-life conversation with people who might have never been introduced to that way of thinking? Have you ever felt in your day-to-day life like people just don’t get your point? It’s like the elevator doesn’t go all the way up if you know what I mean. What if I told you that the mistake might have been on your side? In this article, I’ll show you how you can appeal to the other and make them feel as if your argument was theirs.

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Understanding People

The first step is to really think about the way people think and what they value. We hate to be marketed to, we hate to be sold something. What we love is to buy stuff. The number one mistake most of us have been doing all along was that we were trying to sell stuff. We were not trying to make our counterparts buy our arguments. What do I mean? Throwing a few reasons at others as to why they should accept your argument will only make them more distant. Why? Because they feel like you’re trying to pressure them, you’re trying to sell something to them. That is reaaaaly annoying!

So What Should I Do?

What you need to do is to develop a connection with this person’s values and principles. First, work on figuring out what is the number 1 objection that person has. Then, you want to start developing and asking questions around that point that will lead towards a mutual understanding of the benefits of your argument. In short, by making the other person answer these questions, you are making them feel like your argument is theirs as they are developing the positive side of the conversation. According to Frank Bettger, there are 6 major things you can gain by asking good questions.

#1 Helps you avoid arguments

#2 Helps you avoid talking too much (number 1 mistakes most people make)

#3 Enables you to help the other fellow recognize what he wants – then help him decide hot to get it.

#4 Helps you crystalize the other person’s thinking – the idea becomes theirs.

#5 Helps you find the key issue – the closing sale

#6 Makes the other person feel important

 

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In a very short summary, what you want to do in a conversation where you’re trying to persuade someone or to sell something to them is to find their basic need and then their main point of interest and stick to these using open-ended questions. Talk about them, not about you!

The Game of Life

The Game of Life (which is my personal way of calling this concept) is an idea I have observed in many popular talks from Simon Sinek. Simon is an author of many extremely successful books, such as Start With Why, a motivational speaker, and a marketing consultant. In his book and later a talk called the infinite game, he looks into the decision-making of the modern companies. He talks about their vision and the way they prioritize their goals. He differentiates their perspectives through the use of two core concepts – a finite game and an infinite game. In my personal view, this is a very useful theory we can also apply to our personal lives, which will be my major focus in this article.

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A Finite Game

As you can see in the lovely diagram above, a finite game is a state where there are known players, defined rules and objectives of the game upon which everyone agrees. A very good example that is also represented above is baseball. In baseball, teams (check) compete based on fixed rules (check) and aim to win the game by beating the other team through reaching the objectives of the game first (check). Taking this concept and applying it in real life, we are all brought up in the environment of a finite game. In school, we perform in a very defined environment, with defined rules (you can’t cheat) and we aim to achieve a very specific objective we all agree upon (get an A, get into uni, etc.). This then reflects into our adult lives, where we all aim to look at everything around us as a defined environment, we develop a sense of tunnel vision. The tradition is very clear – get a good education, find a stable job, have a family, bring up kids, keep working the job, retire, done. Very defined rules, very defined outcomes, very obvious players. We are lead to perceive our life as a finite game. But is that really the right way to look at life?

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An Infinite Game

As opposed to the finite game, an infinite game has both known and unknown players, its rules change and the objective is to keep playing the game as long as possible. An example that is used above is a business that focuses on the long game. Their aim is continuous improvement. This is an example that very few businesses understand, which is also the reason why Simon’s work is so famous. More and more business owners and executives understand that the business framework from the 80s or 90s where you want to outcompete other players (businesses) and be the first does not make much sense in the present world. You want to be the leading business in the world – based on what rules? What objectives? How is it measurable? Who agreed to these rules? According to Simon, the business game is clearly an infinite game. I would argue that this is also the case for our lives. Although we are brought up to perceive the world as a finite game, does real life really fit that description? What are the rules? What agreed-upon objectives really are there? If we really look at our lives, do we all define success in the same way? Yes, we are told that there is a very defined way which we should all follow. But is that really the correct way of seeing how things are? Do you think Steve Jobs played the same game as the general population does? No, he clearly understood that he was building a legacy. The goal of Apple was never to beat Microsoft, it has always been to help its customers (more specifically students, teachers, and professionals) to bring efficiency into their lives through the convenience and simplicity of the Apple products. Now think for yourself, are you playing the finite or the infinite game? Are you trying to achieve a specific objective in your life? If you achieve it, what happens then? Are you trying to build something (a family, an asset …) that will outlast you? Give it a thought and adjust your actions accordingly.

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Here is another diagram that might help you undestand the difference bewteen a finite and an infinite player.

What’s There To Be Scared Of?

We’re all born with one tremendous quality. We are all born unafraid. As weird as it might sound now, you were not afraid of anything when you were born. Fear is a completely learned emotion. According to Brian Tracy, we are all born unafraid and spontaneous. Brian Tracy is the author of a very successful book called Million Dollar Habits, where he talks about many aspects of a positive and successful personality and traits that can lead you to your success, no matter how you define it. In this article, I want to give you a brief overview of how fear works. This will help you understand that you can control it and revert it, however bad it might seem.

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Starting in early childhood, we pick up on many behavioral habits of our parents as well as we create our own reactions to the behavior they direct towards us. In most cases, we begin to learn the two negative behavioral patterns that then affect our lives.

Inhibitive Negative Pattern

The first habit is the fear of failure, risk and loss. This is very interesting because a great part of this is dependent on the way we are treated when we’re growing up. Many people use threats and punishment when their children misbehave or when they do something dangerous like touching a pot with boiling water. Naturally, children are programmed to seek love from their parents.  Now if they do something bad and their parents punish them or criticize them, they start feeling nervous and frightened. This is very important because many psychologists say that most, if not all, adult problems are rooted in the phenomena they call “love withheld” in early childhood. Understand that children don’t know that their parents are doing this to keep them safe. They will think something along the lines: “Oh, every time I try something new my mom gets angry, it is probably my fault, it is probably because I am incompetent, it is probably because I can’t do it.”

This starts transforming into your habitual behavior. Soon, when you start thinking about doing something new, your habit of fearing failure kicks in and you end up talking yourself out of it. Napoleon Hill once said something along the lines – The number of trials an average person takes before giving up on something new is less than 1. That basically means that most people give up even before trying.

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According to Brian Tracy, the best way to overcome this fear is a frequent repetition of the phrase “I can do it!” This starts reprogramming your subconscious mind and after some time, you will reduce that fear to the degree that allows you to try out practically anything new without any greater feeling of fear.

Compulsive Negative Habit Pattern

The second fear we develop through our lives regards the fear of rejection or criticism. When we’re young, parents often use rejection and criticism to show us that we did something wrong and that they don’t like it. Since all children are programmed to last for the love of their parents, they immediately pull back from the behavior to regain the love of their parents. According to Brian Tracy, this often turns into the use of the carrot and stick method by the parents.

They alternate with approval and disapproval, with compliments and criticism, to control and manipulate the child’s behavior (Million Dollar Habits).

This leads to the creating of a habit that forces the child to conform its behavior to the standard, to the mainstream in order to gain approval from others.

When the fear of rejection becomes extreme, the individual becomes so hypersensitive to the opinions of others that he or she cannot make a decision until he or she is absolutely convinced that everyone in the world around them will approve and support the decision (Million Dollar Habits).

The worst scenario that many people experience is the combination of the two. When people feel like they have to do something to gain the approval of others, but they can’t because they’re afraid of failure since it is something new, they turn into their caves and try to escape the situation through stuff like procrastination or even worse, drugs, alcohol and other detrimental stuff.

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The root cause of negative habit patterns can almost always be traced back to “destructive criticism” in early childhood. Often, destructive criticism is accompanied by physical punishment. In either or both cases, the child very quickly loses his or her natural spontaneity and becomes fearful and hypersensitive to others (Million Dollar habits).

The Solution Is Within

The most effective and appropriate solution to these issues is prioritization of your self-esteem growth. You basically need to like yourself enough so that you can conquer these fears. The greatest habit you can ever develop is the habit of deliberately building your own self-esteem and self-confidence on a daily basis. 

The very fastest way to build your self-esteem and self-confidence, and to neutralize the fears that may be holding you back, is to repeat continually the words “I like myself!” Whenever you feel doubtful or uneasy, begin repeating these words to yourself, “I like myself! I like myself! I like myself!”

A Question that Says It All

Yesterday, I have made a post on Instagram that involves a question I’ve been looking into in the last few days quite intensively. I have not only been thinking about my own answer to that question, but I have been also trying to observe some external examples around me or in the history of the humankind. I’ve been actively talking about this question with the people around me and I think that writing about it here and providing you with this philosophical idea can help you understand the kind of person you are and the kind of influence the environment around you has on the way you make your decisions. The question goes: “If you were the only person who knew the truth, while everyone else would follow another path you knew was incorrect, would you still choose your way?” This question involves a few different core aspects to which I will dedicate the next couple of hundred words.

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What Do You Base Your Decisions on?

We all live in some kind of a community. There are different people around us doing their thing, living their lives with their own views, values and principles. The core question we’re talking about today makes you really think about the extent to which you base your decisions on the opinions of others and even more, on the opinions of the crowd. When you see a line for lunch on the meal choice #1 nobody standing in the line #2, do you automatically stand in the first line, or do you still consider the second line? When you went to uni, did you go because you wanted to, because you really wanted to learn lots of academical stuff, or did you go because everyone else also went? Did you go because you wanted to learn or because you didn’t want to be the outcast, the so-called failure? Understand that this tag is only put on you by our society, by the mainstream. It has nothing to do with you actually not having the chance to succeed in your life.

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How Confident Are You in Yourself?

The core question also makes you think about your own capability and confidence. Do you trust yourself to the degree that would allow yourself to make the decision based on what you know to be the truth? Do you doubt your decisions simply because someone told you that you’re wrong, or do you seek factual evidence? This is a very important aspect of our decision-making, as it allows us to understand how much value we put on our own ability to seek facts and how much we depend on the people around us. Can you be the one leading the crowd, or do you need someone else to lead you at all times? Of course, you need to be led in order to be able to lead, but can you make the decision to submit (so you can learn and then lead) on your own or do you also need to be led to do that?

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How Do You Know that You Are Really Correct?

This question comes up in one specific case. In this scenario, you have already started doubting yourself. You have started thinking: “Oh, so since I am the only person who is going this way, there must be something I have missed, I might be wrong.” When you assume that you are wrong because the others are going in a different direction, you automatically delegate the responsibility of your decision-making to the crowd. Can you really succeed in what you want to succeed in if you do that? Even more, can you actually think of your own dream if you submit to the crowd instantly? On the other hand, do violent extremists think in this way as well? Do they think they are making their own decision based on their own truth, or are they following the crowd (the organisation they cooperate with)? Is there a danger of you becoming an extremist if you take this stance? Is being an extremist always the wrong thing? What if you are extremely dedicated to love and respect? You are also an extremist – is extremism always negative? How can you tell that what you’re doing does not hurt the people around you, if you are trying to make the decision purely based on your views? Questions like this follow me these days and I hope you will share your opinions with me, as I am very interested in your perspective on these.

This might have been a bit more philosophical than it usually gets, but it is also very important to think about these issues from time to time to make your stance on certain things a bit clearer. Please do leave a comment below to help me make my stance clearer as well. Thanks!

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3 More Ways To Improve Your Relationship

When you’re 80, thinking back about your life, you won’t think about how much money you’ve made, how many companies you’ve grown or how much you’ve travelled. You will think about the relationships you’ve created throughout your life. You will think about the people you’ve spent your time with. Relationships are arguably the most important aspect of our lives as human beings. This is due to the fact that we are social beings, we love to be around other people. This also means that your number one regret will be connected to the relationships that have not worked out, what you will regret the most is that you have not spent more time with the people you love. Because of that, I decided to minimize that regret in your life and write our second article on this topic. If you want to take a look at the first one, here is the link. Listen to the next audio (start at 1:40) before we begin.

 

Learn To Communicate

Communication is the most important aspect of your relationships. In fact, your relationships are built on your communication with the other person. If you can’t communicate how you feel, your relationship will be full of misunderstandings and misinterpretations that will drive you nuts and eventually lead to an end of the relationship. Learning to communicate is a long process that requires lots of practice. We have already posted an article on how you can connect with anyone. You can read about that here. In communication, being sincere and straight-forward is a must. You don’t want to allow any kind of misunderstandings step between you and the other person. Another important factor in communication is timing. You might have the best intention to talk to the other person, but there are times when it is simply better to give them more space. This is especially the case if the other person is of the opposite gender. Men and women find it very hard to understand when they should give each other more space and when they should be more intimate. It is a skill that requires practice. If you’d like to read more about this specific issue and many more regarding the relationships between a man and a woman, I suggest you take a look the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. It is probably the best piece out there that talks about issues of such kind.

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Build A 100/100 Relationship

This is quite straight-forward, yet many fail to understand it. According to my research on Instagram, most people think that relationships should be 50/50. That is a huge mistake. The only way your relationship will grow and prosper is through a constant effort of both parties. You both need to go all in. What does it mean from your perspective? It means that you should give it your all without expecting much in return. There will be times when you will feel like you’re giving more than the other person, but that will be only temporary. If not, that relationship was not meant to stay. It is as simple as that, but you should not hold back just because you’re afraid that the other person won’t try as much. Go all in and what’s meant to be will be.

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Create A Growth Environment

We are here to grow. Growth is something we are all looking for inherently. We might not understand it at first, but one of the major reasons why we look to create relationships is to grow personally alongside someone else. Thus, we should also strive to create a growth environment in the relationship. Help each other, support each other and strive to grow together. It is the most beautiful feeling when you learn what the other person needs and how you can help them. Each relationship is different in this sense because we’re all looking for something else. However, it is a fact that once you figure it out, lots of positivity and momentum will step into your relationship.

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We give your feedback a very high value! We also love discussion!! So don’t be afraid and share your opinions with us through the comment option below, or on our social media!!