I’ve finally found that magic bullet that we’ve all been looking for: that one-liner that gives you an upper hand in business, or even settles an argument with someone for goodYou’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right!” but let me tell you this one-liner is rather powerful!  You, too, can be persuasive, because I am going to show you how.

Marketing expert and author Blair Warren coins this one line the “One Sentence Persuasion.”  In one sentence, he was able to distill 5 of the most important, persuasive arguments to use in your personal life and business endeavors.

I don’t always persuade people… but when I do, I use this sentence.

This one sentence is so convincing because it taps into the human emotions that affect decision-making.  Knowing this secret also makes you aware of when people are using it to persuade you. I recently shared a book by one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, called Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know.  It’s all about how we think we know how to read other people, but we’re actually more often than not dead wrong.  If, however, you know tools like the “One Sentence Persuasion,” you’ll be more equipped both to persuade and recognize when you’re being persuaded.

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you have probably failed more than once in your efforts to persuade others.  I know I have, and I now recognize when others fail, too.  This is especially rampant in marketing specifically, which is a tough, unscientific venture at best, and most of the time it isn’t successful for even the best marketers.  I used to encounter all sorts of salespeople selling solutions for TV, newspaper, radio, SEO, and social media, insisting that they were absolutely sure their proposals would work for my businesses… only for us to spend thousands of dollars for nothing or very little in return.  My favorite situation is when you tell the sales rep you are not getting any responses from your advertising with them and they say, “You have to give it time (translation: spend more money) before you will see results.”  Any marketing that you can’t measure to know you are getting a return on your investment is usually a waste of money.  That’s when the “magic marketing trick” — meaning, this one very effective sentence — cuts through the noise and seals the deal instead. 

Since you’ve been waiting so patiently to know what it is, here you go:

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

It is worth reading it again.  Isn’t that great?  We use this all the time when we make marketing material so our message will sound as persuasive as possible to our target audience.  But it’s also a good framework for how to relate to others, because most people are looking for others to validate their life experiences.  This approach can be used in conflict resolution as well, because it addresses the primary human emotions that affect the way people think and react.

Hopefully that’s what I did to you as you read this article.  Did it work?  Here’s how I did it, step-by-step, by referencing what I wrote above:

  1. I encouraged your dreams.  You, too, can be persuasive, because I am going to show you how.
  2. I justified your failures.  Business, marketing, and the art of persuasion can be tough unscientific ventures at best, and it’s OK if you don’t always know the perfect way to negotiate the exact right path.
  3. I allayed your fears.  You’ve probably tried to read people, had confidence in your assumptions and responses, and still been wrong.  So have I, but in knowing the psychological basis by which people make decisions, we can avoid making those mistakes again.
  4. I confirmed your suspicions.  The more you know how people try to persuade you, the more aware you’ll be during business and personal dealings.
  5. I threw rocks at your enemies (in this case, ours).  The sales reps that contact my team offer hollow promises.

Of course, like anything that involves the nebulous science of “human emotion,” there’s no perfect sentence that helps you seal the deal every time you talk to someone, but this multifaceted sentence at least points you in the right direction.