14 Persuasive Words And Phrases

Here is another interesting post from our friends at Tenfold.

Its an interesting list of 14 words and phrases that can be used to help with a sale, but I think could be used in more general when trying to be persuasive to someone. I’ll have to give it a go in the new year.


Show the advantage of your offering over competing offerings, how it can improve and help. People like to gain an edge generally. You need to show the value and back it up with case studies or statistics.


Everyone wants to be amazed. The word tugs on the emotional strings and encourages action. People don’t generally want something ‘good’, they want something that will ‘wow’ them, especially if they are paying a premium. But remember not to oversell it. Its better to under promise and overachieve then over promise and over achieve. So use the word sparingly.


There is always something people try to avoid. Be it loss, complexity, the unknown or trouble. We want to avoid risk. So show how risk can be avoided. People are more interested if you can show protection against going backwards from the status quo.


This is an interesting one. An experiment (See the post on Tenfold for the link) was done where the experimented wanted to use a copy machine first to make copies for himself before the person who wanted to use the machine at the time.

The experimented made a request using 1 of 3 scripts.

  1. Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the photo copier?
  2. Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the photo copier, because I have to make copies?
  3. Excuse me, I have 5 pages, May I use the photo copier, because I’m in a rush?

With the first line, they got 60% compliance. With the second, they got 93% compliance with the request, and with the third line, they got 94%. The study concluded that the word ‘because’ was the key differentiator in getting a stranger to comply with the request. The mere fact that a reason was conveyed, even if no information was given is enough to receive a specific outcome.


People love new things, and having exclusivity can grab peoples attention. The first look at a new product. Just look at how much interest rumors of  the new iPhone spread. If someone believes that being first is in their advantage, they are likely to listen.


People want solutions to their problems,, When you suggest you have a “fix” for their issue, you can have a captive audience. But remember, in order for them to have loyalty, you need to live up to their expectations, otherwise things can backfire.


Dan Ariely insists that zero has a special price. People become more interested in free. They just have to have it. I’m no exception. I have a Udemy account full of free courses. Most of which I probably will never get around to starting, yet alone completing. But I must have them – just in case. Free gives a no or little risk option, so why not grab it – just in case.

I don’t know

I lot of people try to avoid this phrase. I know that I was taught never to say this phrase, but being honest and simply saying “I don’t know” can be used to build trust for the simple reason you are being honest rather than trying to guess or make something up. Simply admitting although sometimes embarrassing, that you have a gap in your knowledge eliminates the risk of having to backpedal on your words at a later point if you are wrong.


If someone has an understanding on how they will implement something, they will be more likely to agree to having or using that something rather than not. If you imagine the need for something, you are more likely to want it rather than be persuaded if you don’t.


Everyone wants something sooner. Time is too short to wait. By creating a sense of urgency without aggressive pressure, people are more likely to agree sooner rather than weeks or months later.

Just by simply asking for example “What would you do if you had this now?” or similar, you are planting the seed of urgency.


Everyone is cost conscious. So, showing how you can save money, save time or trouble can be seen as a win for the person. This can be similar to “Free”


When you think of simple, you think that there is a small or non-existent learning curve. When it is simple, people are more open to the idea, but be careful if there is a sting. For example, Scrum is simple to Understand – but difficult to Master.


Sometimes people want to try something different. Some on the other hand do not like to deviate from the status quo. A lot of people like to show their individuality, if you show them how they would be different to the rest, some people are willing to listen.


We is a very powerful word. It shows that we are all in the same situation. We share the same, we are together. It puts in a team oriented mindset. Other words like “our”, “together” and “us” also have the same meaning.

Words like “I” or “Your” or “You” take on an adversarial structure. “You should do this” for example. This invites aggression type tendencies back making it hard to be more persuasive.

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