Tag Archives: isabel parlett

Are You Crossing the Line from Persuasion to Manipulation?

We are at a fascinating time in history, where more and more people are looking to integrate honoring their calling, their passion, their soul’s work with making a living or having a successful business. One sign of this shift is that more and more people are teaching others how to achieve this integration of heart and business. We now have the chance to learn about Authentic Promotion, Permission Marketing, Soft Selling, or Heart Selling.

Let’s face it, to be in business, we need to persuade people to buy our services. We need to use our words and actions to move people to give us money for our work. If we don’t make some deliberate effort in that direction, it’s unlikely that we will actually have a profitable business. But in reaching out to make a sale, we face many choices about how we persuade. We are going to constantly come up against the question of where the line is between earnest persuasion and manipulation. At some point, we may all be tempted to use techniques that may not be in alignment with our message in order to make more sales. I face this all the time, and I see a lot of business owners around who are clearly struggling with the same issue. How can we be savvy, smart business owners without losing our integrity?

What I’ve seen is that many heart-based, soul-oriented business owners err on the side of doing too little too persuade. In this world, a call to action might sound like “Maybe if it’s not too much trouble, you could possibly consider using my services. And if you do want to use my services, I’ll be over here in the corner, so let me know.” And it’s not real effective for creating profit. I believe in attraction, in drawing to us the people who resonate with our message but part of that attraction is inviting people to play. Most of us need to challenge ourselves to be more powerful, more authoritative, and more persuasive in offering our services.

On the other hand, we’ve all experienced hard sells that left us feeling upset and uncomfortable. I’ve heard the concept that as long as your product or program is good, any technique you use to get more people to buy is justified. But I don’t buy it. Hard sells don’t feel good. They don’t build connection. They don’t build trust.

One client of mine went to a weekend on selling from a place of alignment, and then felt assaulted by a hard sell at the end for a longer program. She said she had to shower when she got home to get rid of the slimy feeling. A colleague of mine invested thousands of dollars in a marketing summit, only to find that part of the “curriculum” was an upsell to a more in-depth program that was positioned as available to only a small portion of the people in the room but later opened to a bigger group. She said it took a week of bodywork to get her back into balance.

So, when do we cross the line from persuasion to manipulation? Here are a couple of guidelines that emerged from a recent discussion on this topic that I hosted:

1. No surprises

One of the biggest objections people raised on the call was the surprise sell. That’s when you’ve paid for a program and suddenly you’re being sold, and sold hard on the next step or the next level. You’re a captive audience. On the other hand, most people said they didn’t mind hearing about the “next step” if they were told in advance, and the “next step” was presented as an opportunity to go deeper rather than the only thing between you and certain failure.

2. Whose urgency is it?

One of the truisms of copy writing is to create a sense of urgency – to give people a reason to buy now, and not later. What was interesting was that several people remarked that in “hard sell” approaches it comes across as the seller’s urgency not the buyer’s. What worked better was to tap into the prospective buyer’s sense of urgency, their desire not to put things off any longer. Most people respected reasonable deadlines for getting bonuses or qualifying for special prices, deadlines that allowed some room for careful thought and consideration before making what is often a sizeable purchase.

3. Are you creating more connection or less?

What really came into focus for me as a useful measure of being persuasive vs. manipulative was the degree to which my words increase my prospects’ sense of connection to themselves. The most manipulative techniques, we agreed, encouraged people to disconnect from themselves and their own wisdom. Techniques like tight deadlines that demand you decide to buy before you leave a web page, or before you leave a call. Techniques that invoke scarcity or invite competition between buyers. Ideally, we ask questions, and create time frames that encourage our prospects to think deeply, check in internally, and make an educated decision about working with us.

Part of being a successful business owner is being able to share your message with the world and express your genuine conviction about the value you offer. When you can persuade people to take action on their own behalf from a place of love, everybody wins.

© 2010. Isabel Parlett. All rights reserved. Isabel Parlett, The Sound Bite Shaman, helps spiritually-oriented business owners to say what they do, when what they do is deep, powerful, and hard to describe. You can get a free email mini-course on communicating with more power by clicking HERE and signing up in the upper right corner. (http://www.soundbiteshaman.com)


Putting Power In Your Message

By Isabel Parlett

The power of your communication lies in the depth of your message.

As a business owner, you want the words you use to write and speak about your products and services to be compelling and engaging. You want your audience, when they hear or read your words, to jump up saying “I have to have that!”

The challenge is you may not know how to find the right words or put them together in a way that creates that emotional power. When your message itself lacks pull, you may be tempted to create that urgency and intensity through hyped-up language — the best, the only, outrageous, cutting edge, out of this world — but if not used carefully that language can put off your audience rather than engage them.

So, here’s what I see are three often-overlooked keys to adding depth and power to all of your business communication:

1. Go beyond the benefits of your product or service to the concept or idea behind it.

The truth is that it’s not your product or service that excites people, it’s the idea of belonging to something meaningful as a result of using your product or service. Seth Godin calls this the story you tell, I call it your Message. Your message might be that your body is amazing, and if you listen, it will always tell you the truth. Your message might be that your children will thrive when you nurture their basic sense of wholeness and trust in themselves. Your message might be that words are magic, and when you use them consciously, you unlock the power to transform yourself and others. When your audience connects to that bigger message you share, you harness that energy when you introduce and sell the products and services that embody that message. The biggest reason business owners have weak communication is that they haven’t yet put words to this deeper message.

2. Link your personal purpose or spirit to the product or service you offer.

More and more consumers are demanding the personal touch in business. As David Meerman Scott says “we want to do business with people.” One of the things I see over and over again in my Work on Words Communication Training is that one of the richest sources of language to apply to your business comes from the themes and threads of your personal story.

Rather than simply describe the features and benefits of your product and service, dare to explore the question “Why is this important?” Why do I love serving this audience? Why is it important to me that they succeed? Why is it meaningful that this group find their purpose, or improve their efficiency, or reach their goals?

When you look below the surface of the key stories of your life, you find powerful clues that connect the themes of your life to the product or service you are offering now. The more your audience can see and hear that connection, the more they’ll want to choose you over someone else.

3. Connect what you offer now to what you’ve been focused on throughout your life.

Business owners are often focused on accurately explaining the particular product or service they are offering now. But the truth is, if your work is aligned with your purpose, then what you are doing now is merely the latest expression of a theme that has been running throughout your life. When you see that your current work is an extension of your life’s work, it gives you confidence. When you communicate, even indirectly, that your work is something you’ve spent a lifetime perfecting, it gives your audience reassurance that you can deliver.

© 2009 Isabel Parlett. All rights reserved.

If you want to experience a process for developing your message that allows you to find the maximum power in your message, Parlance Training can help. Isabel Parlett is a business communication expert who helps innovative professionals create the market for their services by tapping into the emotional power of their words. Get a free e-mail mini-course “The New Language of Business” at http://www.parlancetraining.com/ezine_optin.html.

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Putting the Lift Back in Your Elevator Speech

When I ask business owners about the situations where it’s hardest to communicate, I often hear “the elevator speech.” Somehow, that moment you are asked “what do you do?” can bring up a host of fears and tie the tongue.

Some business owners tell me they worry about sounding “canned.” Others aren’t sure where to start. Others shy away from saying anything out of the fear that, once again, they won’t be understood. The cost of not communicating your value easily in any business situation is high. It zaps your confidence, hinders your ability to draw in new clients, and limits your willingness to step out in the world to be seen and to be heard.

You can get into trouble with the elevator speech right out of the gate when you forget about the difference between the Language of Information and the Language of Connection. Yes, it’s important to include clear, practical information like who you work with, and what kind of challenges your work addresses, but remember that it’s not the facts and data you share that will move people to work with you.

It’s your ability to paint a picture with your words that evokes a feeling and awakens something in your listener. And the key to finding that more emotional and resonant language is going beyond the practicalities of your work and finding words to express the deeper meaning and importance of the work you do.

Here are some tips to give more life to your verbal introduction.

  • Develop your message. Nothing will do more to enliven your introduction that you getting clear what the deepest most profound message is that you are here to share, and then finding words to refine how you express that message. With your message in focus, your elevator speech becomes an opportunity to talk about the concepts and ideas that excite you, not just a test of how well you can sell yourself. If you aren’t sure how to do that, go to www.parlancetraining.com/Catalogue.pdf for information on our innovative trainings that help you bring your message into focus.
  • Talk about the experience your work creates, not what you do. One common trap is focusing too much on explaining what you are or what you do (coach, consultant, writer, hypnotherapist) rather than the experience your clients have as a result of you doing the thing you do. If you’re a coach, don’t get detoured trying to explain what a coach is, describe what becomes possible for people as a result of your coaching. When you try too hard to explain what “a ____ (coach, hypnotherapist, feng shui consultant)” is, you risk selling your audience on hiring someone LIKE you, rather than bringing into focus why you are the one to work with.
  • Start with one simple sentence. Look for signs of interest before you add more information. If your initial sentence gets some positive reaction, then move into sharing an insight or belief about the challenge or situation that your work helps address. E.g “What I’ve seen is that new business owners are often missing two critical skills that are crucial to their success.”
    Be willing to reveal yourself. It’s all too easy to hide behind a label or title “I am a coach, I am a consultant” rather than sharing your passionate beliefs: “I help leaders find more courage” or “I help women to embrace their messy, luscious, wonderful lives.” Your perfect clients cannot resonate with you and your message if you aren’t willing to put that message out in the open.
  • Don’t sweat the exact wording of your elevator speech. Focus on the ideas and concepts you want to share rather than stress about memorizing an exact combination of words. This keeps you from sounding canned.
  • When your message is in focus, you’ll start to relish being asked “what do you do?” Instead of worrying how you measure up, you’ll look forward to opening a conversation about the principles and ideas that matter most to you.

© 2008. Isabel Parlett. All rights reserved.Isabel Parlett is a business communication expert who helps professionals harness the power of language to attract the perfect clients and create powerful change in the world. Get a free e-mail mini-course “The New Language of Business” at http://www.parlancetraining.com.



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