When talking with a customer, or anyone else who you want to influence:
People don't like to be criticized, and if they don't like what you are telling them then they won't like you, and if they don't like you then they won't want to do whatever you are trying to get them to do.
The game is to somehow get them to say they want it.
The example I use on training courses is the difference between me saying "You ought to give up smoking" (you immediately start to argue back, in your head at least) and somehow getting you to say you ought to give up - which must be true to you if you say it.
So how can I get you to say it? Easy! By questioning. For example "Have you ever thought about giving up?" followed by "Why would you want to give up?" From this I get them to say they want to, and also I learn about why they want to. Very useful to know!
Would this apply to other areas?
Suppose you wanted to persuade someone to keep their desk tidy. Attacking them with "your desk is untidy because you are a disorganized person" will just encourage resistance. Much better would be to say "Your desk looks incredibly busy at the moment!" or something like that, which will hopefully get a reply like "Yes, I really ought to tidy it up" and then off you go with offering to help, suggesting how to do it, finding out when they plan to start, or whatever.
That's all from the dodgy world of sales!
onwards and upwards!
(though I'm finding it a bit difficult to be optimistic right now, what with the demise of John Peel and then the re-election of George W Bush. The world has got a little bit darker this week. But at least the autumnal trees are looking great this year)..
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