How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?

This is a question that I heard Jacques Werth ask many times, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

In a selling situation, Jacques knew that attempting to convince someone was not a good use of a salesperson’s time.  However, he was usually in a marketing situation when he asked that question, and he passionately wanted salespeople to become more successful.

Now that Jacques is retired, it’s my turn to ask, “How can I convince you that convincing doesn’t work?”

Here are some answers to think about:

  1. I could try to convince you by giving you logical arguments and reasons why you can’t convince someone.
    • Pros:  I’m very comfortable with creating and presenting logical arguments, and I’m good at it.  It works just often enough for me to keep trying.
    • Cons:  It hasn’t worked as well as I think it should.  Too many people resist being argued into a new belief.
  2. I could give you evidence of how other people have become more successful when they stopped trying to convince people.
    • Pros:  Some people can be influenced by evidence.  In this case, the evidence is available and doing this seems logical.
    • Cons:  Many people don’t trust evidence, because it is too often twisted and used to manipulate people’s beliefs.
  3. I could give up the idea of trying to convince you, and focus instead on finding someone who already believes that convincing doesn’t work.
    • Pros:  This is less stressful than trying to change someone’s mind, and can be a lot more effective (when done right).
    • Cons:  Working with people who already believe is tricky.  It is too easy to fall back to old habits, and turn them off by saying something persuasive.  Also, sometimes you don’t have the option of choosing who you are going to work with, and can’t just go find someone else.
  4. I could list some options for you to consider, providing my understanding of the pros and cons for each option, and without trying to steer you in any direction.  I could then ask you what you want to do.
    • Pros:  More people follow my advice when I present it objectively and don’t tell them what to do.
    • Cons:  Presenting advice this way is a lot more work.  It is frustrating to know that it would be so much quicker and easier if I just told you what to think.

What do you think?

How Can I Convince You That Convincing Doesn’t Work?