Being perceived as an authority helps you win influence … according to science.
Influence and persuasion, of course, help you connect and convert more effectively.
But many sales professionals have yet to unlock their authority and, therefore, miss valuable opportunities every day.
His recently published follow up, “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade,” revisits the drivers of influence, including authority.
Read Time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds
Video Length: 3 minutes, 43 seconds
Logic Links: Video-Expertise-Authority-Influence-Sales
- Video increases your perceived expertise.
- Perceived expertise unlocks your authority.
- Authority enhances persuasion and wins influence.
- Influence and persuasion help you win more sales opportunities.
Learn more about the links in this influence chain and find out how a little more video communication can help.
Using Video to Unlock Authority and Win Influence
If you’re like many people, you probably don’t give yourself the credit you deserve.
Insights, tips, observations, stories, analysis, processes, advice … you’re sitting on a mountain of hard-earned and hard-learned information of significant value to prospects, clients, colleagues, and others.
You’ve likely built some level of expertise and have a lot to offer prospects, clients, colleagues, and others. But you overlook it, undervalue it, and keep it locked away.
Instead, recognize, celebrate, and exercise your expertise.
Use it to serve as a trusted advisor. Put it to work to increase persuasiveness and win influence.
- Reaching out to new leads for thoughtful diagnosis
- Replying to inquiries with specific and nuanced answers
- Keeping clients informed and updated about what’s going on in your market
- Updating team members about trends, projects, decisions, and goals
Opportunities like these to build rapport, demonstrate expertise, and win influence with the people who matter most to your business by mixing in some simple video communication present themselves every day.
Influence wins sales. Let’s accept that as true.
Below, we’ll look at the role of authority in winning influence, the role of expertise in feeding authority, and the role of video in demonstrating expertise.
Authority As a Principle of Persuasion
In “Influence,” Cialdini outlines his 6 principles of persuasion:
- Social Proof
- Commitment and Consistency
In “Pre-Suasion,” he recaps these principles and drives into authority through three simple models of persuasive messages on page 164 …
- The merit is the message – “strong evidence, sound reasoning, good examples, and clear relevance”
- The medium is the message – Marshall McLuhan’s theory that “the channel through which information is sent is a form of consequential messaging itself”
- The messenger is the message – “Of the many types of messengers – positive, serious, humorous, emphatics, modest, critical – there is one that deserves special attention because of its deep and broad impact on audiences: the authoritative communicator.”
From here, Cialdini asserts that in some circumstances a message can be persuasive exclusively because its source is an authority.
In one experiment he cites, authority elevates messenger over merit.
That’s to say: in the experiment, people “not only followed that (expert) advice, they did so without thinking about the inherent merits of the options.”
When you’re perceived as an authority by the person with whom you’re communicating, you “induce assent by way of recognized expertise.”
Increased authority lowers the merit-based message bar.
You, as the authoritative communicator and as the messenger as message, pre-suade people toward an outcome. They’re predisposed to like and agree with your message because of the authority status they’ve assigned you.
Two Ways Authority Helps to Win Influence
According to Cialdini, an authority “possesses the combination of two highly persuasive qualities: expertise and trustworthiness.”
Expertise, not to be confused for experience, is obviously based in advanced and specialized skill and knowledge. So, let’s take a quick look at Cialdini’s take on trust.
“If there is one quality we want to see in those we interact with, it is trustworthiness. And this is the case compared with other highly rated traits such as attractiveness, intelligence, cooperativeness, compassion, and emotional stability.”
Presenting information honestly and impartially is key to trust. You should “depict reality accurately rather than to serve self-interest.”
In a future post, we’ll share Cialdini’s shortcut to building trust.
Video for Expertise and Authority
Influence wins sales. Authority wins influence. Expertise feeds authority.
So how do you demonstrate expertise often and widely?
Provide tips. Offer analysis. Answer frequently asked questions. Break down pros and cons. And do it through video to enjoy the combined benefit of merit, medium, and message.
Merit is straightforward. Tap into your wealth of knowledge, insight, and value to help your prospects, customers, and business partners. Speak honestly and often with people in a face to face way by communicating with simple video.
Even as 2016 draws to a close, the medium is the message when it comes to video. Your decision to communicate with video says something about you. It differentiates you. It helps you stand out. And you’ll see that in the replies and responses to your video sends.
Above all, though, the messenger is the message and the authoritative communicator wins influence.
Video delivers your very best sales asset … you. Face, voice, personality, expertise, enthusiasm, sincerity, gratitude – no medium delivers you more effectively.
Unless you’re an exceptional writer, you’re going to be much more clear, effective, and persuasive in video than you are in your typed-out messages. Video allows you simply to talk to people as if you’re there in person – the format in which you’re at your best.
Because they’re fellow humans, your recipients are going to understand what you’re trying to communicate more clearly because your message is infused with all that rich non-verbal communication that emails, text messages, and voicemails strip away by stripping away the messenger.
When you put yourself back into your messages through a human, yet novel medium and deliver messages of merit, you’re building propinquity, a psychological nearness even in the absence of physical proximity. It’s built through frequency of and familiarity through exposure to you.
The more people see and hear you, the closer they feel to you. This familiarity has also proven to breed liking, another of Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence.
When people feel psychologically proximate to you, they perceive, greet, and treat you differently – more favorably. You’re also more top of mind and, therefore, more available for repeat and referral business opportunities.
One way we describe this dynamic: “internet famous in your own sphere of influence.” You’re perceived as expert.
The first two? Own your expertise and declare your expertise.
When you’re sending out video emails, declare your expertise at the open of your videos as you share your name and introduce yourself. Declare it again at the close along with your call to action.
The merit in your message between the open and close will reinforce your expertise.
Bonus: the benefits of this practice are conferred on both you and your recipients. Your own confidence grows as you own and declare your expertise. In turn, your declarations are increasingly sincere and meaningful to your audience.
Links You’ll Love
Video Email Research by a Team from Harvard Business School:
Deep and Surface Acting in Your Sales Process
Framework for Better Communication:
Empathy, Value, and Calls to Action
Reducing Image Quality to Build Trust
Pre-Suasion by Dr Robert Cialdini
Influence by Dr Robert Cialdini
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