Extract from Katya Andresen
Do you want to
A benefit exchange is the heart of persuasion. It answers the WWIFM question, “What’s in it for me?” for the person you are seeking to influence. In other words, it’s a benefit you promise in exchange for someone taking your desired action.
Good benefit exchanges focus on what your audience wants – not what you want. Think from the perspective of those you want to influence and speak to that world view.
What attributes of the product or service will benefit a colleague or customer.
Don’t talk about the process, talk about how the process will benefit the customer
- A proposal addresses a problem in workflow is citing an attribute; demonstrating how it saves money or increases efficiency is showing a benefit.
- Rack and pinion steering is an attribute of a car; responsiveness that makes you feel safer on the road is a benefit.
Here are five ways to build a strong benefit exchange and win hearts and minds in the process.
1. Make the Benefit Immediate: Few of us take action based on a benefit that we expect to receive in the far future. It is human nature to seek instant satisfaction over distant gratification. How can you make your case that if someone does what you want, they will reap immediate rewards? Answer the question: what will be better tomorrow.
2. Make It Personal: A compelling benefit needs to make people feel their lives will be better as individuals or within their tight circles of friends, family, community or work. At the end of the day, the personal connection, not the grand concept, grabs our attention. Make sure you’re focused on why your agenda is specifically relevant to the person you wish to persuade.
3. Speak to Your Audience’s Values: We can’t easily change what other people believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set, we unleash great power behind our message. Make sure the benefit you are communicating is something others seek – not just what you want. Those two things are rarely the same, but we often imagine they are.
4. Know What You’re Up Against: Think competitively about your benefit. Is it better than what people get for doing nothing – or something else instead? Don’t forget there’s a reason people aren’t taking the action you seek. They may be deriving benefits from those alternate behaviors. How can you shape a benefit better than sticking to the status quo?
5. Be Real: Last, you need to make sure your benefit exchange is credible and honest. People need to believe in what you communicate. Ask someone who is respected to back you up. Or show other people gaining the promised benefit. Or tell a good story that is a true example of the benefit in action. You want to persuade by keeping your promises.
If people aren’t doing what you want, you may find out why by reviewing this list. Is it time to better focus on what you deliver? It may well be, because a great benefit exchange makes it far easier (and faster) to get to yes.