There are quantitative and qualitative aspects to any persuasive argument, and you can’t afford to omit either dynamic.
In previous posts, I wrote about the importance of building your business case. It all begins with such quantitative actions as doing due diligence, then measuring return on investment and knowing how much you need to sell.
Mastering that synthesis of both quantitative and qualitative reasoning will place you far ahead of the other persuaders at the table and down the block.
In this post, I’ll focus on the importance of qualitative reasoning. As a result of your persuasive efforts, will your organization establish higher morale, for example? Or will communication be enhanced and problems more easily solved? Will silos disappear or at least be altered? And might the organization’s image or brand also be enhanced?
Get In Touch With Emotions
Qualitative reasoning is much harder to measure and report than quantitative reasoning, but it’s worth the effort. With a bit of cognitive effort, practically any element of qualitative reasoning can be constructed to present meaningful numeric data. Two of the most common types of such data are customer and employee satisfaction indices.
Every organization — public and private, large and small, product or service — seeks the following if it is of sound business mental health:
- Sustained high morale
- Efficient and effective teamwork
- Rapid and accurate problem-solving
- Positive repute and community “citizenship”
- Decreased distraction and disruption
- Accurate and unbiased communication
These “emotional” factors (sometimes referred to as “soft factors”) are usually the most important when it comes to presenting your case and persuading your target. Because, as you already know, logic makes you think and emotion makes you act. All the new plant cost calculations in the world are useless unless current customers are providing the repeat business and referral business to drive the expansion.
Thus, your emotional appeals should deliberately and fastidiously involve soft factors, without exception. (Steve Jobs adamantly mandated that Apple’s engineers and software experts accommodate matters of style and design. I’ve seen million-dollar construction vehicles, capable of traveling at speeds up to 1.5 miles per hour, with rounded and streamlined sides! Why? Aesthetic appeal, of course!)
Determine which emotional factors best appeal to the other person. Don’t attempt to please yourself or choose to fulfill yourself and your needs, quantitatively and qualitatively. Rather, ensure that you address the other person’s emotional needs and push the appropriate visceral hot buttons.
This is not manipulative; it is the essence of sales and persuasion.