Everyone should assess their own personal influence style. Once a person is conscious of his or her style, they are able to vary it depending on the situation.

Everyone has a natural style of influence.

Truly effective influence doesn’t just happen!

So how do you get people to buy into your ideas?

Being able to accurately read situations, individuals and groups, and applying the appropriate type of influence behavior are key to becoming successful at influencing.

Influence is the ability to have others take a desired action while building and maintaining the relationship.

To be successful, the ability to influence others over whom you do not have direct control is a must.

Everyone should assess their own personal influence style. Once a person is conscious of his or her style they are able to vary it depending on the situation.

This allows them to become more effective in accomplishing their goals and the goals of the team.

Successful influencers Set Themselves Apart in Four Ways

  1. Learn as much as you can about the people you want to influence.  Ask well-designed questions to get a sense of what issues your peers and counterparts believe are important and must be addressed.  Use this information to tailor the presentation of your ideas as potential solutions that address those issues.
  2. Emphasize common goals, enthusiasm and excitement to build a relationship with your coworkers, rather than just arguing reasons and data.  This strategy is very effective when working on teams because it helps bring people together to focus on problem solving.
  3. Involve others in your plans.  Ask questions about what your colleagues are thinking.  Listen to their responses and incorporate their ideas and needs into your solution.
  4. Map out your goals and select a strategy that will be effective in influencing the other people involved.  Think about your contingency plan in case your first attempt is not effective.

Always remember the importance of maintaining the relationship by using positive forms of influence!
When you need to influence someone, whether it is a colleague or a customer, learning how to handle resistance is a key skill.

It is important to understand the most common reasons why people resist and then be able to overcome resistance in a constructive way.

The 5 Most Common Reasons for Resistance

  1. Resistance to Change – “I like the current system (or process, product, service, etc.).”
  2. Time Pressure or other Priorities – “I’m too busy”.
  3. No WIIFM or No Perceived Benefit – “What do I gain from this?”
  4. Argumentative by Nature – “No.”
  5. Conflicting Goals – “Our goals/objectives are different than yours.”

Three Ways to Respond Constructively to Resistance

Because there are so many reasons that people may resist, you should not be surprised if you encounter resistance when you attempt to influence customers and colleagues.

Here are three general guidelines on how to respond to resistance in a positive way.

  1. There is no single best way to resolve conflict or resistance.

    The most important initial step that you can take is to assess or diagnose the underlying reason for the resistance. In other words, once you have identified the root cause for the resistance, you can then develop an appropriate response. Use the above list as an example: Your response to “too busy” would be different than your response to “no perceived benefit”.

  2. Cite areas of commonality.

    It is easy during a disagreement or argument to focus on the differences between your two positions or opinions. However, research on successful influencers and successful negotiators has shown that an effective response is to highlight areas of agreement to the other person. This helps to defuse the tension and the sense that the two of you are so far apart.

  3. Sometimes the resistance is minor and easily resolved.

    In other cases, the resistance is more substantial and requires more effort on your part. For example, what should you do if the other person becomes nasty and confrontational?  Those situations require both more effort and control by you. In these extreme cases, you need to avoid the natural temptation to sink to the other person’s level and to “play the same game”. Don’t respond in kind! Take a break, let the other person vent, table the agenda item, show empathy…but don’t become adversarial in response.

About the author

Bill McCormick

Bill McCormick is the founder and president of Sales Training And Results, Inc. (STAR),…

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