How to Influence Without Being Pushy

When it comes to influencing people, a few key strategies will lead you to more effective interactions and more positive results.

How to Influence Without Being Pushy

Getting an individual or organization to buy your product or service can create a lot of pressure. You want to ensure you’re approaching each prospect the right way, however you don’t want to be perceived as pushy and potentially lose sales.

Depending on where in the buying process you enter, some leads are already interested before you start your pitch. As a result, how you influence them will make or break the deal. Your audience is less likely to be impacted by what you say if you come off as pushy, rehearsed, or “salesy.” So, how do you close the deal without being overbearing?

When it comes to influencing people, a few key strategies will lead you to more effective interactions and more positive results.

Build Trust

In order to build trust, start with building rapport. By reaching people on a personal, yet professional level, it will be easier to speak with them. An easy way to begin this process is taking your time, not immediately jumping into business or rushing straight to the sales pitch. Start off by getting to know the other party. Ask questions that get them talking about things they care about and just listen. Find common ground and work from there. The more comfortable your prospect is, the more they will grow to trust you and increase your chances of earning their business. Give them your full attention, carefully listen to their concerns and, if you feel they have shared plenty, then begin to look to address their concerns.

Choice Architecture

The more persuasive people always make the default(s) move in the direction they want. As an example, organ donations occur much more in places where the default is that your organs will be donated and people need to opt out. Equally, set the expectations that you want to occur and you will find more often than not people will follow.

Focus on Positives

There are givers and there are takers. This also occurs in conversations as it relates to negative and positive energy. People that are positive are much easier and enjoyable to talk to. So, be realistic, but focus on the positives so that you are more likely to build rapport; you’ll also find that your positivity is contagious.

How you say it is even more important than what you say. Surprisingly there is a lot of research to indicate that how you communicate something – whether you come off as warm or cold, confident or tenative, etc – has more impact on than what you say. Essentially, this is what people use to judge if you know what you are talking about and if they can trust what you say. As a result, consider scripting out a few of the key points you wish to make and rehearse them to get comfortable. This will help you feel confident, which makes a big difference. What should you say? It’s hard to provide any hard fast rules on this except consider using simple straightforward language that is easy to understand – it is the most persuasive – and try to imagine a friend on the other side, even if you do not know the person – this should help provide a positive and friendly tone.

Be Adaptable

While a script can help to tighten up the key points you need to make, there is nothing worse than a salesperson with a rigid personality and approach. This is the fastest way to tell the other side you don’t care about them or don’t have enough interest in their situation to invest the time necessary to tailor your approach. The best tip in this area is to always have questions ready when you are not sure what to say. Rather than delving into a pitch, ask them what’s important to them, what their current business challenges are, what the hardest part of their role is, etc – and you’ll find that gets the other side talking and provides you with more information and time to adjust your pitch. One point of caution, these questions need to not feel like an interrogation and need to be combined with genuine curiosity around what they say, otherwise you risk sounding completely tone deaf and being perceived as wasting their time.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your next critical conversation with a potential client. Remember that influencing is all about getting other people to want what you want – not hammering them until they see things your way.

For more information on developing your persuasion and communication skills, visit or feel free to check out SNI’s newest book, “Persuade,” which will be released on July 7.


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