Why Money Matters in Persuasion Situations

It’s time to revisit you persuasion priority: Who is the one person you want to say “yes” to what? 

In other words: If, in your professional endeavors, you could flick a switch and convince one person to do just one thing, what would that be? Remember that your persuasion priority must be specific, significant and meaningful to you and your organization, and realistic enough to be attainable. It also must be set with others in mind, because if you can help them get what they want, you’ll ultimately get what you want.

Is Your Persuasion Priority Really a Priority?

Occasionally, professionals spend inordinate amounts of time, energy and effort on persuasion campaigns that aren’t worth all that hard work. Discretionary time is wasted, political capital is squandered and relationships are sometimes damaged irreparably in the pursuit of an ill-advised strategy.

Thus, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking an objective is worthwhile. We feel the opportunity is scarce (I’ll never get another chance to work on a project in Germany!) or fall prey to base rate neglect (I know a person who tried this approach to product marketing and it worked for him! [But maybe it failed for everyone else…])

The carpentry rule applies here: Measure twice, cut once.

What Will Be Your Personal Financial Return?

There are many questions to ask when crafting your persuasion priority, and I will cover them in a series of posts beginning with this question: Is there a personal financial gain at stake?

In other words, if you are successful in achieving your persuasion priority, will you make more money? I’m talking about individual compensation or group compensation, as well as short-term compensation and long-term return. 

An example of individual compensation is when you earn an individual sales commission for closing a deal. Group compensation involves receiving additional dollars when the sales team as a whole meets a particular sales objective. Short-term compensation is reflected in your next commission check, while long-term return may refer to quarterly or yearly returns. 

Typically, people place their highest priority on individual short-term financial gains, such as an increase in hourly wage or salary, so they can enjoy immediate gratification. 

In reality, the more-powerful financial return might be long-term group financial gains, such as stock options, deferred compensation and royalties.

The question of potential personal financial gain is the first one to ask because, well, money is important. I chuckle when someone tells me it isn’t. My mind immediately jumps back to my earliest days working for Harley-Davidson at the company’s Milwaukee headquarters. Rich Teerlink, then president and chief executive officer, gave me a piece of advice I’ll never forget: “Mark, if someone ever tells you they are not interested in money, watch them, because they’ll lie to you about other things, too.”  

That said, while money is important, it’s far from the only thing that matters. I’ll cover more of those things in future posts.

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