A potent tool of persuasion is learning to install in other people certainty and doubt.
For instance, with one of my clients, a CEO whose job is principally to sell, it is imperative he is able to get sales prospects to doubt their existing solution and have more certainty as to his.
A powerful way of doing this is deliberately utilizing the inflection in your voice
Imagine you are at brunch with someone and as they reach for another doughnut you ask: “You are going to eat another doughnut?”
Ask this question aloud and you notice it will have an upward inflection at the end.
Said this way it sounds like a question that requires an answer, and you are at the least encouraging the other person to consider their choice.
On the other hand if you say to them, in a commanding tone, a flat tone like a statement: “You are going to eat another doughnut.”
It sounds more like a comment on what they are already doing, and you are likely adding more certainty to the decision they have already made. Add a chuckle and a head nod and watch their delight in you vigorously supporting their choice.
You see by simply altering your inflection you can make the other person more or less certain of their existing decision.
When my client is in a sales meeting and a prospect says to him, “I am already happy with my existing solution.”
If he responds in a certain commanding tone, “You are already happy with your existing solution,” it sounds like he is saying, “Yep, I got it.”
This will be far less persuasive than if he says, with a look of surprise, in a questioning tone with an upward inflection, “You are already happy with your existing solution?”
Just by changing the way he asks the question he has opened the door for the prospect to re-evaluate his decision.
At the least he has invited him to justify his choice or to think, ‘Why wouldn’t I be happy with my existing solution?’ which opens the door for my client’s sale process.
And at the most he has started the process of him doubting his existing solution and getting more certainty about my client’s.