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25 Tricks of the Selling Trade

As a speaker you are a salesperson, and the item you're pushing is information. Your audience might be temporarily captive, but it isn't converted. You can sell your information more effectively if you remember that people buy for emotional reasons, not factual ones. When you do give facts, try to tie them to the emotional needs of your audience.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered that all people have a hierarchy of needs, which rank from the most basic to the loftiest: physiological (sheer survival), security, social, self-esteem, and self-actualization (those rare moments when what we are doing and who we are seems exactly right). To sell through your speech or presentation you should keep these needs in the back of your mind, for they underlie the more obvious reasons people make decisions.

Here is by no means an exhaustive list of 25 reasons why people are persuaded to buy or say yes to something. You'll see that most relate directly to one of Maslow's steps in the hierarchy. Ask yourself if your speech ties in to at least one of these emotional needs:

  1. To make money.

  2. To save money.

  3. To save time.

  4. To avoid effort.

  5. To gain comfort.

  6. To improve health.

  7. To escape pain.

  8. To be popular.

  9. To attract the opposite sex.

  10. To gain praise.

  11. To conserve our possessions.

  12. To increase our enjoyment.

  13. To satisfy curiosity.

  14. To protect our family.

  15. To be in style.

  16. To satisfy an appetite.

  17. To emulate others.

  18. To have beautiful things.

  19. To avoid criticism.

  20. To avoid trouble.

  21. To take advantage of opportunities.

  22. To be individual and unique.

  23. To protect our reputation.

  24. To gain control over aspects of our lives.

  25. To be safe.


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