A Small Step, then the Big Kill
Don’t go the whole hog right at the first instance. Yes, if you are trying to persuade someone to listen to you, subscribe to your service, buy your product or just endorse you on social media, the right way is to take a small step first.
If you are able to get a small favour done, chances are that they will agree to a bigger favour later.
This is called the ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique and has been used by us several times without us being aware of the nomenclature.
An interesting study was done on a sample of housewives in California in which they were just asked, on the phone to respond to some questions regarding the household products they used. Three days later, another request was made by the same callers — that they allow a team to visit their homes to take a physical stock of their cleaning products.
The researchers found that the women who had agreed to the smaller request were more likely to allow the team in than the women who had not been approached for the tele-survey.
Yes, persuasion is progressive.
It may make sense to now try for the big kill in one go. Even children practice this very often: they’d ask for a small favour, like a toy, and then try to persuade for a bigger one, like a play-date.
You have to funnel commitment.
At the workplace, make your move in a balloon-ed manner.
The key is not to get frustrated when a budget sanction or approval is declined. Review your approach. The magic is in learning to be persistent in persuasion, by getting the approver to sanction a small favour first.
A political candidate is likely, to begin with just asking people in his rally to wear a pin with his symbol. Later, he might seek donations to the party fund. A sample of women may agree to take a health survey, and then put their hands up for breast cancer screening. A group of website visitors may click on the ‘give donations’ for a flood relief effort, and later be persuaded to volunteer at the site too.
It works! Try it!