You have to get someone to like you and believe in you

Imagine that you need to buy a pen to write an article in The ­Grocer. You see a lovely Mont Blanc in a ­jeweller&'s window with the price tag of a small family saloon. It&'s sleek and shiny and gorgeous, and you dream about how smoothly the ink will flow along with the words and it will surely be the best prose what you ever wrote - er, what you ever writ. Well, something like that.
The bottom line is that we all buy emotionally and justify logically. The justification can be terribly logical but the decision to buy is definitely emotional. Why else would you be salivating at the sight of five inches of stainless steel, albeit with gold trim, and that familiar logo?
The banking and credit industry would be structured very ­differently if we only bought logically. That is to say, if we only bought what we actually needed and could afford. There would be no such thing as &'retail therapy&' and a lot more room in my wife&'s side of the wardrobe, for starters.
So the question is: how do you persuade someone to buy something emotionally rather than logically? Well, first you need to know how they feel about you and your product. Because, until you do, you&'re stuck in logic and simply turning features into benefits. And that&'s not enough; people buy emotionally.
Effective persuaders listen more than they talk. They absorb useful information that can be used to devas­tating effect later. And the funny thing is, the more you let ­people talk to you, the more they like you. You&'re a good listener. And nobody was ever accused of listening too much. Talking, yes; listening, no. ­People buy people first and the first stage of persuading is to get someone to like you and believe in you.
They must believe that you&'re more concerned with their situation than you are about getting your own way. They must believe that you&'ll do whatever is in their best ­interests. Without trust and the ­belief that you&'ll do what you say you&'re going to do, all the benefits, added value or discounts don&'t mean diddly squat. (I meant to write &'a thing&' but this Mont Blanc has a mind of its own. It&'s great.)
So to be a top persuader you have to be sincerely interested in their situation. After all, most people don&'t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Bit of an effort? Sure. But then, ­being professional is an effort too. It&'s not what you do, it&'s the way that you do it. And that&'s what gets ­results, as Bananarama once put it - and they didn&'t even use a Mont Blanc.

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on &'The Psychology of Persuasion&' and the author of &'Life&'s A Game So Fix The Odds&'