I love the movie business. (You already know that from reading some of my articles in past issues of ETR.) I’ve even produced a feature film. So I happen to know a few people in the “biz.” And a recent encounter reminded of a powerful persuasion technique that can apply to almost any situation.
You see, a few months ago, a couple of independent film producers approached me to help them raise funds for a film they were working on. The movie was almost completely shot. All they needed was about $50,000 for some scenes that they had decided to add.
The producers were willing to give me a piece of the action, as well as a producer credit and a small part in the film, if I could help them find the money. But despite the fact that the film was almost finished and had a few known actors in it, it was still a highly speculative investment. Even so, it was potentially very profitable. And I thought it might be an attractive deal… for the right person.
I knew an investor who was interested in the film business. And it seemed to me that he would be the perfect fit for this particular independent film project.
He was a very shrewd businessman. So, because of the high risk involved, it would’ve been difficult for me to convince him to make the investment based strictly on its profit potential.
I needed to find another way to create intense interest on his part.
The approach I decided to take was to appeal not to his values as a businessman but to his personal values as a family man. I did it by using the “SPV” (stimulating people’s values) persuasion technique.
I knew that this potential investor would do almost anything to help his children. I also knew that he had a son in film school who was studying production. So I checked with the producers and asked if the investor’s son could play a role in the film’s production. They readily agreed. Then I went to the investor and presented the opportunity to invest in the film as one that would give his son’s career a boost.
Was he interested? Of course, he was.
A deal was quickly closed and everyone got what they wanted. The producers got the money they needed to finish the film. The investor got his son some solid experience in his chosen profession. And I got what had been promised to me. Had I approached the investor and presented the opportunity strictly in terms of its profit potential, I’m sure he’d have passed.
Using the “SPV” persuasion technique can be a powerful way to get others to see your point of view and take the actions you want them to take. Here are the basic steps for putting it to work:
Step 1: Analyze the person you wish to persuade.
First, you must get an understanding of the deeply held values of the person you want to persuade. To do that, pay attention to more than what she professes to believe in. You have to observe how she behaves and lives. What kind of clothes does she wear? What kind of car does she drive? Is she always early for work, or does she scramble in 15 minutes late every day? Does she do any volunteer work? The more you know about her, the better.
Step 2: Identify which of the person’s values/beliefs you are going to stimulate.
Let’s say you want to persuade someone to buy an expensive watch. One of the things you notice while studying him is that he wears tailored suits that fit him like a glove and white shirts that are always crisply pressed. So you come to the conclusion that he strongly believes a person has to look sharp in order to be successful. Based on this, you decide to create a persuasion plan that focuses on the way that watch is going to enhance his professional appearance.
Step 3: Create and execute the persuasion plan.
If your target rejects your initial proposal, it is going to be tough to get her to change her mind. (To do so, you’d have to get her to admit that her first decision was incorrect. Not an easy task.) Thus, to maximize your chances, you want to start out with a well-thought-out persuasion plan.
At the very least, that plan should answer the following questions: How will you bring up the matter? Will it be with a phone call, an e-mail, or in person? Will the sole purpose of that effort be to get your target to accept your proposal… or will you mix it with other business or conversation? (In my experience, being direct is the best approach.)
Your target will probably realize what you’re trying to do. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the example I cited above, I made it clear to the investor that I would be benefiting if he put up the money for the movie. It made no difference to him, because he felt that he would be getting so much out of it that mattered to him. In fact, by being honest and up front about what you stand to gain, you’ll strengthen your credibility with the other person. When he understands your motivation, he won’t worry that you might have some sneaky agenda up your sleeve.
As Michael Masterson has pointed out, decision-making is initially the result of a gut reaction, not a rational process. That’s why it’s much easier to convince people to do what you want them to do by using the SPV technique than by simply presenting a logical argument. While this persuasion tool gives them a good reason to say “yes,” it taps into their emotions first. If you can do that, you’ll have the maximum shot at achieving your goal.[Ed. Note: Knowing how to persuade people can get you everywhere. It can help you move up the ranks in your career, get people to buy your products, and so much more. You can become a Master of Persuasion in your own right by learning more of Paul Lawrence’s highly effective persuasion secrets here. ]