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Get a quick, enthusiastic “yes” from anyone

Tags: Leadership | Sales | Influencing

17th March

You have to be good at persuading others to say 'yes'.

These 'yeses' could be big (“please invest £millions in X”). They could be small (“please do Task Y”). But, the better you are at triggering them, the quicker you’ll succeed.

There’s no proven way to get a 'yes' 100% of the time. But some techniques significantly increase your chances. One is to use 'BO':

  • B – Benefits – explain why your proposition will help the other person in ways they – not you – perceive to be valuable. This shows them a 'yes' is in their interest
  • O – Options – give them 2-3 choices as to how they can accept, and ask which they’d prefer. This helps turn their thinking from “should I agree?” to “how should I agree?”

So sentences like “you’ve heard our proposition. Would you like to invest £X?” contain no benefit; and also allow ‘no’ as an easy answer. A more compelling script is:

(B) “We can help you achieve your objective of doing X this year. So how would you like to proceed? (O) “We could either do the full programme we discussed; or start by doing Phase I, then deciding next steps?”

BO works on anyone – even the boss:

(B) I want to get your report out before close of play. I just need five minutes to run through a few questions. (O) Have you time now, or shall I come back in an hour?”

And, remember the Golden Rule of Persuasion: when they say 'yes' to one of your Options, stop talking!

Action point

  1. Identify your next key communication where you need a 'yes'
  2. Script your BO: explain why a 'yes' will Benefit them, and devise 2-3 Options that both you and they will feel comfortable with
  3. Practise your BO, so it flows naturally on the day

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