These Are the 4 Most Powerful Words You Can Use to Influence People

Sales

These are The 4 Most Powerful Words You Can Use to Influence People

Help your customer understand what you expect from them by using these four magic words.

CREDIT: Getty Images

This one isn’t that complicated. If you want to influence people to do something, you should, at some point, tell them what you want them to do.

Here’s the catch; most people don’t like being told what to do. Well, actually they do–but we’ll get to that in a minute. What people don’t like is feeling like they’re being told what to do. Those are two different things completely.

It means that your job is to tell them what they should do, without them feeling like you’re telling them what to do. 

It turns out that it’s not that hard. The key is to create the right set of expectations for the customer. In fact, expectations are everything. The good news is that you can do that with one simple phrase. Here’s how:

Whenever you’re having a conversation with a customer and you want to help them make a decision, or manage their expectations, use four magic words:

"Most of my clients (or customers)…"

Then follow this phrase with whatever it is you want them to do.

For example, "most of my clients find that the premiere service plan is the right combination of value and features, and saves them the most time." 

"Most of my customers are looking for a way to better manage their employee benefits, which is why they really like our managed services option." 

By the way, whatever you tell them has to be true. You can’t use this to just make stuff up and get people to do stuff. Well, actually you probably can, but you won’t end up with happy customers since what you sold them is a lie. 

The reason this phrase is so powerful is that your customer is looking to you to guide them in the direction that people in their situation should take. These four words help you do that with credibility.  

Here’s why–when you use those four words, you tell your customer that you understand their needs, and have helped solve similar problems before for other customers. It takes something unknown and scary and normalizes it by putting it in the context of "this is what people like you chose–you should do the same." Using those four words gives them confidence that they’re making the right decision. 

Not only are they not the first person to feel this way, but they can see that they aren’t the first company to try this solution. You’re connecting their needs and your expertise by demonstrating that you understand what it’s like to be in their situation. You’ve done this before and just like you did for other customers, you can meet their needs.

Which leads to something else you might not expect.

Despite the fact that we all like to think of ourselves as unique, most of your customers want to be like most of your customers. That’s why they walked into your store or came to your office and are having a conversation with you. 

Your customers aren’t just buying your products, they buy into your brand. By the way, your brand isn’t your logo or your marketing. Your brand is the way people feel about your business. 

It’s your brand that causes them to trust that the product they buy will solve whatever problem they have. And it’s your brand that they are associating themselves with when they purchase your product.

Your brand also represents the "club" that your customers join when they hire you, or buy from you, or sign the contract. 

Most of your customers want to be like most of your customers. The reason they’re talking to you is that they’re waiting for you to tell them how. The trick is that they don’t actually know that that’s what they want. Your job is to tell them without them feeling like you’re telling them what to do. 

These four words work every time.

Published on: Jun 17, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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