That’s a turn of phrase passed down from generation to generation of people trying — unsuccessfully — to persuade others. And it brings to mind such negative stereotypes as white shoes and plaid pants. But if you look at the phrase intelligently — and apply the psychology of persuasion — it can be transformed into a powerful tool.
Consider this: “Well, Corey, I’ve got time to see you either this afternoon at 2:00 or tomorrow morning at 10:00. Which of those times works for you?”
The thinking here is that you have cleverly crafted your language in such a way that your would-be client will have to pick one of those times, and voilà — you have advanced in the persuasion progression. The problem? That isn’t really what happens.
In fact, a statement like the one above actually makes some potential clients want to resist. Their first instinct is to say, “No.”
Why? Some psychologists call this reactance. They resent the fact that you are forcing their hand, and they want to resist.
Sure, they still may pick one of your options. But they will resent you for it.
So how can you change this approach?
Easy: “Corey, I’ve got time to see you either this afternoon at 2:00 or tomorrow morning at 10:00. Do either of those times work for you?”
I changed one key word. I replaced “which” with “do either,” and it completely altered the complexion of the ask. It’s assertive, not aggressive. It’s subtle and sophisticated, and it in no way creates pushback.
What if neither of those times are convenient for the customer? Simply find another time on which you both can agree.
Your use of language is one of the keys to persuasion success. The words you use and the phrases you choose have a huge bearing on what a client thinks, says and does.
Get smarter, and become more persuasive.