How To Persuade Customers To Buy – 10 top tips

To persuade customers successfully, you need to know how to win customers. But winning customers is complex.

The biggest problem you have when trying to persuade customers is that nobody knows if your solution will work. That means your customer cannot be sure if their decision will be successful. For this reason, their buying decision will not be  rational.

I will repeat that: The most important thing to understand about selling is that a buying decision is seldom rational.

Instead, you will only convince customers to buy with a careful mix of logic and emotion. And that is why persuading customers is so complex and so interesting.

Customer persuasion is both a science and an art.

  • Persuading customers is a science because it has been studied and we can see what works and what does not work.
  • It is also an art because every customer is different and every customer pitch is successful in different ways.

To help you convince customers to buy , our pitch coaches have here given you ten of their top lessons for creating winning customer presentations. These tips are equally valid for B2B product sales and for pitching professional services. This is based on over 15 years of successfully supporting companies and teams when they sell to customers globally.

Top ten tips for persuading customers to buy

1. Help your customer like you

2. Make your customers feel comfortable during your pitch

3. Understand that logic alone will not persuade customers

4. Convince by giving your customer a simple story

5. Speak to your customer using their language

6. Be a teacher, not a sales person

7. Acknowledge where your story has weaknesses

8. Use stories, examples and anecdotes to persuade customers

9. Persuade by showing you know what will be difficult in executing your plan

10. Make it easy for your customers to tell your story and convince others

1. Help your customer like you

It’s a truth in sales that customers in search of great solutions will work with people that they like. So, what do you do to become a more likeable supplier? Three behaviours that we coach people to adopt when we work with them to prepare persuasive pitches include:

Listen more than you speak. If you are good at listening and good at asking questions then you are on your way. A good customer presentation should be more like a conversation than a one-way pitch. That means you need to ask good questions when pitching to customers. Then, carefully listening to your customer will help your customer like you more.

Be curious about your customer. This means showing that you really care what your customer says and thinks. What your curiosity will give you is a better understanding of how your customer sees the world. For example, you’ll hear what they speak about, what words they use and what’s top of mind. This will allow you to be better liked by your customer.

Find common ground. We all like people who are like us. If you read the research it tells us that we like people with whom we share something in common. The link could be a school, a hobby, friends, past employers or even nationality or first name. Find that link and you’ll find it easier to persuade people.

2. Make your customers feel comfortable during your pitch

As well as helping your customers like you, to persuade customers you want to make your customers feel comfortable. There are many ways of making your customers feel comfortable, and this will depend who you are talking to. One simple idea is to avoid Death by PowerPoint when speaking to customers. You have many presentation techniques that you can use that do not involve flicking the pages of a PowerPoint presentation. Read more here.

Another way to help your customer feel comfortable is to avoid contradicting their beliefs. For example, if you start your presentation by stating that the world is flat, you will alienate most customers. Instead, you want to get your customer nodding along with you towards the start of your presentation. This will help you convince your customer.

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3. Understand that logic alone will not convince customers to buy

“Don’t be a logic bully” is a favourite phrase of our coaches. That’s because logic alone does not persuade. If logic alone was persuasive, then we would have no need for new business pitches. We’d all be persuading customers with spreadsheets.

Two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle wrote about how to build a persuasive argument. He said that to be persuasive you needed a good balance of logos, ethos and pathos. You can translate these Greek words as Logic, Credibility and Emotion. What this means is that to persuade customers your presentation needs to have a healthy balance of logic, credibility and emotion. To understand this in more detail, have a look at this article.

Another aspect of persuading beyond logic is to “Show, don’t tell”. What this means is that you can be much more convincing by demonstrating your success rather than just claiming success. You can read more about this here

4. Persuade by giving your customer a simple story

One of the most common mistakes people make when pitching to customers is to make their presentations too complex. They assume that because their customers are smart that they will be most comfortable with complex ideas and complex presentations. This is wrong. Complexity is off-putting. Our brains love simplicity. A great customer presentation should be made simple for your customer.

Having worked on hundreds successful customer presentations, we often surprise ourselves how simple the best presentations become. But making complex presentations simple is hard work. Anyone can pack a presentation with bullet points. It takes real skill to convince customers with just a handful of words and diagrams on a page.

5. Speak to your customer using their language

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to listen to your customer. But what should you listen for? One aspect of listening it to hear what your customer is talking about. For example, what do they speak about? Is it growth, is it profits, or is it market share? If you know what matters to them, you can you can talk about that. That’s how you persuade customers.

What metaphors does your customer use when they speak?  Do they talk about driving the business? Do they talk about nurturing and growing the company? Or do they talk about battling the competition and fighting market conditions? If you can pick up on your customer’s metaphors, you will better understand how they see the world and then you can respond using their language. In this way you subtly become more persuasive.

Then, how do they describe successes?

  • Does your customer discuss increasing market share and the competition?
  • Do they talk about cutting costs, or cash flows and margins?
  • Or does your customer talk about the way they help their customers with better service?

The more you can get into your customer’s head and speak their language, the more you will persuade customers.

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6. To persuade customers, be a teacher, not a sales person

Generally, customers don’t like being sold to. Customers prefer to feel they are reaching buying decisions on their own. On the other hand, customers love learning new things. One of the joys of being a buyer is that you are constantly meeting new people with different views of the world. Every now and then you get real insight that helps you become better at your job.

  • How can you help your buyer see the world in a different light?
  • What can you teach them about your industry or your approach?
  • If your customer comes away feeling they have discovered something new, they are more likely to feel persuaded they have a reason for buying from you.

7. Acknowledge where your sales story has weaknesses

Every solution has challenges. The weakest solution stories paper over those cracks and say that everything is fine. If you want to be convincing when you pitch your customer, then you want to be clear that you understand your solution’s weaknesses and that you have plans to overcome those weaknesses.

And if you can’t see any weaknesses? Then create some sacrificial lambs. Identify something that’s a bit more difficult in your business where your solution might suffer if you don’t get it right.

By showing that you can see the problems in your solution, and demonstrating how you will deal with those problems you make it apparent that you are good at running a business and forecasting problems. That is how you become more persuasive when talking to customers.

8. Use stories, examples and anecdotes to sell to customers

One of my favourite sayings for new business pitches is “Facts get forgotten, but stories get repeated.” A good story is more compelling than the most convincing numbers. Yet, too many new business pitches fail to harness the power of a compelling story.

A good story in your customer presentation can be like one of those multi-tools. It can do many jobs at once. A powerful pitch story can help bring a complex idea to life. An story can make it easy for someone to understand what drives your customers and a strong story will help the listener. A good story can show how you deal with adversity.

We’ve written a few good articles on business storytelling and this is one of my favourite

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9. Persuade by showing you have a clear plan for creating value

When you are selling a solution you are on a journey. And a journey has many steps. For that journey to be successful, you want a plan. And a plan always has certain features:

a. Your plan has a clear destination
b. Your plan has your first steps mapped out
c. Your plan foresees the obstacles you might face
d. Your plan has measurable waypoints

If you can describe these four aspects of your solution clearly, it’s much more likely that you will be able to persuade customers.

10. Make it easy for your customer to tell your story and persuade others

For you to be successful in persuading your customers, your customer usually needs to convince other people. These may be colleagues, these may be members of the buying committee, it may be external advisors. They may need to present to the board. Whoever it is, you need to equip your customer with the tools to pitch for you.

How do you sell to customers?

The tools above will all help.

  • Your story must be simple.
  • Your story must be engaging.
  • You need to include case studies and anecdotes to bring it to life.

With these characteristics your customer will find it much easier to persuade others.

Contact us for a free consultation on your coaching needs

Of course, not everything about persuading clients is easy. If it were, our firm would not exist. Every day we help firms and teams put together compelling stories, pitch books and sales meetings. With advice and coaching we add value by making new business pitches compelling. We’ve been transforming new business pitches for 15 years and we do it for some of the most successful businesses in the world.

If you want help persuading customers to buy your solution, then get in touch. Call Louise Angus, our client services director for a no obligation chat about how we can add value to your business.

How to make a stand out new business pitch

About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates  Presentation skills coaching team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help our clients to communicate better. You get presentation coaching for executives.

Over 15+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of presentation skills & techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately, and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email to find out more and discuss transforming your speeches, pitches and presentations.

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