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Persuasion Through The Competitive Spirit

Nov 15, 2007
My life has changed dramatically as a result of my commitment to exercise, and in particular, my routine at the gym. And I noticed something interesting one day as I was working out.

Despite this not being your run of the mill gym, I can't help but notice on occasion, when I'm riding the stationary bike or elliptical machine, that someone will get on the one next to me and I very unconsciously begin to pick up the pace a little. It's possible this is my other than conscious wanting to show off or not be out done. I was never an athlete as a young man, but I can really understand now how that athletic drive courses through you.

I've also noticed the opposite to be true. If I step on to a machine next to someone else, they pick up their pace slightly. There is a very high desire for competition in some folks. It may or may not be something that we wholeheartedly embrace, but it is there nonetheless. Me, for example, I embrace it. When I was working in sales, I loved challenging myself by using other's benchmarks--and not just beat them by one or two or three sales, but to double or triple what they were doing.

As resources become limited, competition escalates. Watch any show about animals and how they compete for water and food and mates. In the U.S., especially, we have managed to build our entire economy on the survival of the fittest. We don't care about trade or cooperation, but compete for recognition, for money, for mates, for parking spots, for first in line. Ironically, when we're done competing out in the real world, many of us enjoy watching other's compete--sports, game shows, reality contests, political debates, beauty competitions. WE LOVE A GOOD COMPETITION.

Competing can be incentive for self improvement, if my observation at the gym has any merit. I tell myself, work out harder, ride that bicycle to nowhere faster than they can. This will only do myself good (unless I pedal so hard I hurt myself).

How can this drive be most effectively utilized in selling our products and services to our affluent clients and prospects? Well, take the example of competing gas stations across the street from each other. Their prices may vary. Perhaps the owner of the lower priced gas got a better deal, or maybe they just are willing to accept less. This is not advice to lower your prices, because through framing we can display our products and services as THE ANSWER, in the minds of our affluent clients and prospects. Here's one of my favorite frames for that: 'You know, I'm not the cheapest by any means. In fact, I may be one of the more expensive realtors (or advisers or what have you), but you really are going to get what you pay for with me.'

What is your relation to competition? Do you embrace it or shy away from it? What ways can you see competition through a positive frame in order to skyrocket your persuasion skills?
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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