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Persuasion seems to be the most powerful tool in the business world. Companies urge their representatives to undergo additional training in the art of guiding the customers toward the adoption of certain ideas or attitudes so as to make a successful deal. Thus, in order to observe and analyze various persuasive techniques that are used in contemporary market, my parents and I visited a Brownsville real estate company and a Tipton Ford car dealership. Even though the companies are from different areas of sales business, the strategies of persuasion that they used were much alike.
On the basis of my observations, the first stage of persuasive interview is a non-verbal communication established right after the customers – in this case, my parents and I – entered the building were the bargains are made. Salesmen of both the companies seemed to first evaluate the general look of the customers (e.g., age, gender, nationality, physical appearance, an apparent degree of wealth, and social status, etc.), creating an estimated image of a potential buyer and choosing the right strategy to start the conversation with. Only then they approached us with introductory words regarding the services that they offered and asked a couple of questions to create a picture of what we were looking for and to try to satisfy our needs. The real estate agent was very polite asking each of us what kind of a dwelling we were looking for, our preferences on this matter, and what was the estimated sum of money budgeted for the purchase/rent. In the Ford dealership, on the contrary, the salesman needed less information to start offering us different models of vehicles to buy. He never inquired about the amount of money we were ready to spend (probably, another sales strategy aimed at urging the customers to spend more, not letting them set their mind upon a certain price limit) but simply asked which of us needed a vehicle before making any suggestions. It is worth mentioning that in both cases, the interaction was a little different when salesmen addressed my mother or me than when it was addressed to my father. What is more, the values and emotions that the interviewers tried to appeal to were also different in each of the cases. For instance, when speaking to my mother, both the salesman in the car dealership and the real estate agent were emphasizing more on the general look of the car/house, its color, and some peculiarities thus appealing to her emotions. Since women are believed to make purchases being controlled by their impulses and emotions, the salesmen never approached my mother with incomprehensible numbers and statistical data. However, the interaction with my father was much of a different nature. Dry and factual information prevailed. Besides, the interviewers tried to appeal to fear – which is another rather effective marketing strategy – stating that discounts on certain offers were available only for a limited period of time, thus encouraging my father not to lose a good bargain. They also appealed to reason, convincing my father that it is absolutely logical to make a deal before prices go up. Concerning my part in the interaction, the salesman in the Ford dealership, when trying to persuade me to buy a certain car, used an appeal to authorities, providing numerous examples of famous people owning this or that vehicle. The real estate agent, on the contrary, was more focused on addressing and trying to persuade my parents rather than me since they were the ones financially responsible for the bargain. In addition, the representatives of both companies tried to use a bandwagon appeal in order to bring us toward making a deal. I believe it is the most evident strategy of persuasion, however, it almost always works since most of the people aspire to be the part of the majority. Therefore, they try to buy everything they believe to be lacking in and what the other members of the society already have.
What concerns other personal characteristics such as age, race, culture, social status, and physical appearance, they seem not to affect the interactions between the customers and the sellers. Today, salespeople are usually trained not to express any favorable or unfavorable attitudes on the basis of one’s nationality, gender, or age, etc. as it might be perceived as a direct discrimination. To sum up, persuasive interview is widely used in different spheres of business today. On the basis of my observations, I may draw certain conclusions regarding the main persuasive tactics that are used by salespeople when trying to make somebody take their offer.
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