Convincer Strategy: What Does It Take to Convince You?

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“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” — Ken Blanchard

Have you ever had a  hard time trying to convince somebody of something?  

Maybe you’ve told the person the same thing over and over, or at least feels like it, but they still don’t get it. 

Maybe you’ve shown them data and facts, but they still don’t believe it.

It starts to feel like they are arguing just to argue, and it feels like they aren’t even listening to whatever you say.

You might be bumping up against their “Convincer Strategy”. 

If you want to make progress, you need to match their “Convincer Strategy”.

In Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins writes about how to learn somebody’s “Convincer Strategy” so you can influence more effectively.

What is a Convincer Strategy?

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a “Convincer Strategy” is how a person comes to believe something to be true. 

For some people, they need to see it with their own eyes. 

For others, they need to hear something multiple times from multiple people before they believe it.

We all have a Convincer Strategy, but many of us aren’t aware of it.  And we aren’t aware of the Convincer Strategy of others so we waste our time and butt heads when we don’t need to.

Or we think we just don’t know how to frame an argument or pitch an idea, or use data to make a good point.  But really we are just not paying attention to somebody’s Convincer Strategy.

And so we pay the price.  And the price is usually lost chances or at least lost tempers and frustration.

Figure Out Their Convincer Strategy

You can figure out somebody’s Convincer Strategy so that you can work with them versus work against them.

Robbins writes:

“The convincer strategy has two parts. To figure out what consistently convinces someone, you must first find out what sensory building blocks he needs to become convinced, and then you must discover how often he has to receive these stimuli before becoming convinced.

To discover someone’s convincer meta-program, ask, ‘How do you know when someone else is good at a job? Do you have to a) see them or watch them do it, b) hear about how good they are, c) do it with them, or d) read about their ability?’

The answer may be a combination of these. You may believe someone’s good when you see him do a good job and when other people tell you he’s good. 

The next question is, ‘How often does someone have to demonstrate he’s good before you’re convinced?’ There are four possible answers: a) immediately (for example, if they demonstrate that they’re good at something once, you believe them), b) a number of times (two or more), c) over a period of time (say, a few weeks or a month or a year), and d) consistently.

In the last case, a person has to demonstrate that he’s good each and every time.”

Basically, the “Convincer Strategy” comes down to whether you need to hear it, see it, or read about it, and how many times you need to see or hear it, and over what period of time before you believe something is true.

Match Their Convincer Strategy or You’ll Waste a Lot of Time

In my experience, the “Convincer Strategy” is one of the most important things to figure out when it comes to influencing people. 

If you don’t, it can seem like you’re banging your head against the wall. 

You might have all the facts and figures or all the right data or really know your story, but if somebody is not hearing it in the way they expect it or, more specifically, in a way that matches their “Convincer Strategy”, then you will be wasting your breath.

Sometimes Buy-In Takes Time

When I would pitch my projects, I used to run into resistance from one of the directors.  I couldn’t figure out where the resistance was coming from given that I had good answers for their tough questions, I had the relevant data, and I had done my homework. 

Eventually, I figured out that their buy in process takes time.  All I had to do was meet with them three times before the Vision Scope meeting.  

By the third time, the story didn’t change, no new data, but hearing it a third time matched their “Convincer Strategy.”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Good one!
    someone told me once – the difference between explaining and convincing is that convincing it is explaining many times 😉

  2. Thanks, J.D., for the reminder that we all need to be convinced in different ways. Definitely speaks to casting a wide net of “convincing strategies” at once- whether you’re trying to turn prospects into clients, or just trying to change one person’s mind.

    Good stuff. I’m new around here but I like your angle.

  3. @ Alik — It’s a huge time saver. When saying the same thing multiple times isn’t sticking, it can be a sign to change. Other times, that’s exactly the right approach, and that’s the surprise.

    @ Travis — Thanks for stopping by. Perfect metaphor — it is about casting a wide net so you can then start to narrow down on what works.

    Thank you. The goal of this site is to share and scale the world’s best insight and action for work and life. Let’s all stand on the shoulders of giants.

  4. Hi JD,
    Indeed, learning to become a “noticer” is essential to business success. In any endeavor, when we stop insisting on “being right” and focus on the good for all concerned we continually win at life. NLP is a great tool for establishing rapport and creating harmonious relationships.

  5. Hi JD .. being pushy with your thoughts .. doesn’t help – taking a leadership role and setting your sail helps – people will join as they see you progress – lead by example .. always the best & you’re doing not worrying about those that may or may not follow on .. or the consequences to their life .. in a team environment .. it’s asking fellow team members how they would achieve the goal you want, without saying that’s what you’re asking them!

    Thanks – Hilary

  6. @ Hilary — Asking the right questions and leading by example work well in just about any scenario. Questions are a great way to direct attention and to put the focus where the focus counts.

  7. […] a fancy term for what has to happen and in what format for a person to be convinced that something (such as “he loves me”) is true. He says the words “I love you” to you each and […]

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