How to be convincing

From the birth of the iPod in 2003 to the iPhone 11, Apple’s revenue grew from $8 billion to $260 billion. Famous ad campaigns like “Think Different” and the silhouette “iPod People” are still recognizable today. Netflix changed an entire industry by convincing customers streaming was the next big thing. Queen Elizabeth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi all changed the world with just one speech.  

Persuasion is powerful. You won’t get far in business or life without knowing how to convince someone to do something. 

Tony says, “When two people meet, the person who is most certain will always influence the other person.” With the right tools in your toolbox for how to persuade someone to do something, you’ll always be the most prepared, confident and certain person in the room – and get your way without seeming pushy or demanding.

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The science behind how to convince someone to do something

You can implement the basic tenets of human behavior to learn how to convince someone to do something: pain and pleasure. Every decision a human makes is either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Since the days of cavemen, the human brain has evolved so that things we need for survival – food, reproduction – bring pleasure, while things that endanger us – heights, predators – bring anxiety and fear. 

The world has changed: We’re no longer running away from lions. Food is abundant. But the modern human brain remains hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. This is why we have irrational fears, like public speaking, spiders or dentists. It’s the reason it’s so hard to put down that chocolate ice cream or overcome other self-destructive habits. On the positive side, it’s why growth is addictive and habits like volunteering or meditation feel so good. It’s also the foundation for how to convince someone to do something.

The three elements of persuasion

In our quest to avoid pain and feel pleasure, we are constantly answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Will this action help me avoid pain? Will it bring me enjoyment or fulfillment? Why do I need to do it right now? The answers to these questions fall into three categories – and they’re the key to how to convince someone to do something.

DRAB: Dominant reasons to avoid buying

Humans may want to avoid pain and maximize pleasure, but we also don’t like being told what to do. It’s so common, it has a name: psychological reactance. When we sense “threats to freedom” – like the freedom to choose what to do with our money, our time and our lives – we often do the opposite. It’s part of the reason people always seem to be able to come up with reasons to avoid buying your product or otherwise doing what you want them to do. DRAB can also include logical reasons, such as not having enough time or money. You can overcome all of these reasons using the next two elements of persuasion.

 how to convince someone to do something

ERBN: Emotional reasons to buy now

Emotional reasoning is pathos, from the Greek word for feeling or experience. Emotional pull is the most essential part of how to persuade someone to do something. With a friend or partner, you might explain how meaningful a certain action would be to you. In advertising and sales, this includes techniques like using cute animals, inspirational music and great storytelling, like beating overwhelming odds or finding true love. ERBN leaves prospects with a “want” – they want to feel the way you’re describing.

LRBN: Logical reasons to buy now

Have you employed all your best ERBN, but you still haven’t uncovered how to convince someone to do something? It’s time for LRBN. Logical reasoning is known as logos, from the word for reason or plan. It appeals to prospects’ “needs” by explaining directly and logically how they will benefit from your product, plan or idea. It’s often a great antidote to DRAB, because this reasoning speaks directly to real concerns. Will your product or idea save the person money or time? Will it help them lead a healthy lifestyle? Appealing to logic can be an influential component of persuasion.

how to persuade someone to do something

How to persuade someone to do something

To learn how to convince someone to do something, you must tailor your argument to speak to their DRAB, ERBN and LRBN. In his program Mastering Influence, Tony dives into eight questions that every prospect – or friend, relative or coworker – has on their mind as you’re persuading them.

Mastering Influence is a 10-day program t

  • What is this? 
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Can you prove it?
  • Will this really give me what I want and need?
  • If I do this, will it be worth it?
  • Can I justify it? 
  • What will other people say?
  • Do I really need it now?

Answer these questions for your prospect using ERBN and LRBN, and you’ll ease their DRAB and make the sale. That’s how to convince someone to do something in an ethical, empowering way.

Want to learn more about business mastery?

The art and science of persuasion are vital to building a thriving business – but that’s not all you need. Discover Tony’s free resources on the7 Forces of Business Mastery.