Dan Naden

Hungry to persuade and motivate? Try this recipe.

The words we use are very situation-dependent.

What you tell your friends on the green of the 18th hole on a recent golf outing will most likely be different than how you respond to someone’s question during a job interview.

The same holds true for your voice tone.

Yelling at a teammate to hustle on a basketball court is expected just as whispering is between the stacks of books at a library.

But how about what you say? Can certain words persuade or motivate us to act?

Go ahead, tell me about your most popular dish.

I don’t do it often, but I recently visited a few ‘very’ fine-dining restaurants. Outside of the delectable, mouth-watering food, my favorite part was listening to the waiters announce the ‘specials of the day’.

“Our chef has specially-prepared this dish for you: It’s always one of our favorites. We’ve trolled the deepest part of the ocean to find the thickest, most meaty red snapper. We top the snapper with lime juice, capers and the sweetest organic tomatoes straight for our own garden. The perfect pairing for the red snapper is the wild rice combination with finely-cut almonds. Delicious!”

“We offer you the freshest ocean salmon, drizzled with light cream sauce, nestled under a bed of organic orzo. Accompanying the salmon is gently fire-roasted asparagus.”

Hungry? I didn’t need much more convincing. Typically, I ordered the specials that were so brilliantly communicated by the skilled waitstaff.

So what’s their trick? It’s a trick that you can use in your marketing.

Notice these words:

  • Specially-prepared
  • We offer you
  • It’s always one of our favorites

Now, you may not be selling high-quality seafood, yet you are trying to make your prospect feel as if your product or solution is directly geared to his/her need. I always like to know that a company is doing everything they can to make me happy (see: ‘specially-prepared or ‘we offer you’). I want to know that others have made a similar choice (see: it’s always one of our favorites), whether it’s trying the red snapper or spending big money on the latest storage technology.

It’s easy to over-complicate, pushing every single feature through a face-to-face demo, meeting or Web site copy. Stick to the basics: you’ll convince them every time.

Bon appetit!

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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