This framework is a tool you can freely use to help speak or write more persuasively. To get started, first notice a series of questions (Framework) followed by color corresponding example answers (Examples). Study the correlation between the color coded questions & answers before using the same questions yourself next time you aim to be more persuasive in your communication. The ultimate goal is to see the commonalities in empathy used to communicate so that you can gradually rely on this tool less and less.
Choose an option:
“My audience is…
Answer the following questions about the product, service or idea you’d like to communicate the value of.
What do the pain points of the status quo look like? What problems might I face if I don’t take action?
Paint a clear picture of how your audience may continue to suffer, perhaps unnecessarily, without some sort of change. Help your audience understand clearly how the current system isn’t working so that they can more effectively & confidently move away from it.
Is change even possible? Is striving for change worth the effort? Is this solution just another band-aid that doesn’t fix the underlying system?
It’s natural for all of us to sometimes feel cynical about proposed solutions. It’s natural to even have a defeatist attitude toward making a big change. What confidence do you have that this solution is even worth considering? How does your solution uniquely inspire hope?
What if this change ends up being worse? What if change isn’t good for the system?
We need to acknowledge that nearly all change comes with inherent trade-offs. What’s good for some may be bad for others. How do you believe this change will increase the utility of people and how will it mitigate negative externalities.
How is your solution congruent with my beliefs? How is this change in pursuit of an ideal that I already hold? How is this solution “the right thing to do” in my eyes?
People want to feel that their actions are congruent with their beliefs. For this reason, your solution may feel at political odds with your audience’s beliefs. Is your solution actually at odds?
I believe that we as a species have some universal principles and values that everyone identifies with. These values explain things like our endless pursuit of fairness, our idolization of heroes who sacrifice for others, and our belief in working on systems to reduce human suffering. Is your solution congruent with universal ideals that we all share?
Start with “why”.
Why do you do what you do? Why are you offering this to me? What is a set of values through which you filter all of your decisions? What is a premise or ideal outcome we both agree on?
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek
What are the benefits of your proposition, not just the features?
Help your audience understand not just the ‘specs’ of your solution, but instead how their lives will be improved. What will they be able to do now? How will they feel now? What does the ideal outcome actually look like?
For example, consider how Apple marketed their original iPod as ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’, not as a ‘5GB external hard drive’. See the difference? The later is a feature. The former is a benefit.
What do I have to do to get started? How easy is the first step? How convenient is this whole process?
Help your audience understand, in simple terms, how to implement. A product or solution has both a monetary cost and an implementation cost. Explain how your solution may be uniquely convenient or have great support to walk them through the process.
What are your credentials? What is your experience? How many years have you or the maker of this been in business? Have you used this solution yourself with success? What is the reputation or expertise of whomever developed this solution? Do you have work samples or case studies?
Help your audience understand what unique expertise backs this solution. We rely on expertise because we can’t spend all of our time vetting every piece of information we encounter. How does your audience know this solution is coming from a reputable source?
In circumstances where price is appropriate to introduce, here is a good place.
In other circumstances, like when price will be negotiated or when price is determined after some consultation or evaluation, use this opportunity to instead explain the cost of next steps. For example, are the next steps a “free consultation” or does the solution have a “money back guarantee”?
What are some customer stories or testimonials? For B2B, what companies have you worked with? Or how many customers, like me, have you served? How else can you give me a 3rd party’s perspective of this product or solution?
Understand that most people do not want to be early adopters of an untested idea. Instead, your audience wants to see how others like them have used this solution–and with what degree of success.
For killer customer stories, consider interviewing your most avid customers using this testimonial framework which helps outline their unique customer journey using your solution.
What independent, third-party testimonial and external resources can you share with me? What do you recommend I research for myself if I wanted to vet and have more confidence in this solution?
Give your audience ownership over the collection of facts. Build trust by showing your audience that you don’t want to control the story, and that your solution is legitimate in ways that can stand up to scrutiny.
In what ways will I be better off if I move forward with this solution?
Paint a picture for your audience. What does it look like if everything goes as planned. How will your audience’s circumstances have improved?
Do I need to schedule an appointment? Submit a form? Call my representative? Tell me what to do.
Be specific. Lay out the steps of the entire process if appropriate.
Explain what the ideal outcome looks like, not just the pain points.
Address pain points, but consider how you can use words to paint a picture of the ideal outcome. Prime your audience to be chasing an ideal instead of running away from a pain point.
Subtext: “If all goes well…”
Suggest ways to “See for yourself…”
In what ways can you ask your audience to “See for yourself…”? Consider how you can allow your audience to take ownership over the collection of facts.
Subtext: “Here’s how you can verify me…”
Show how this doesn’t contradict this person’s identity.
How do you believe what you are saying identifies with your audience’s identity? More simply, how can you show this is consistent with this person’s past self (or ideal self)?
Subtext: “It’s just like you’ve always said…”
Offer and display “anxiety reducers”.
For your convenience, here are a list of some common anxiety reducers I recommend to use where appropriate: “Money back guarantee”, “No down payment”/”No money up front”, Security badges (especially for ecommerce websites), License numbers (for trade professionals), Organization badges, “Free trial”, “Free estimate”, “Free quote”, “Free consultation”, Privacy statements/”We won’t share your information”, customer testimonials (including customer pictures), B2B partner logos, transparent business contact information, employee photos & bios.
Start With ‘Why’
5 Steps To Powerful Persuasion