Every business wants to increase sales, but this comes at a price.
You can’t grow sales and generate revenue if you bust every sales call that you participate in. So, how do you ensure success in sales? Simple. Persuasion.
There are many ways to become a persuasive force but one technique is to embrace the principle of authority. You can significantly increase your persuasive prowess by emitting an aura of power and authority from within you.
Because customers are likely to trust your opinions and advice when they perceive you as an expert or authority figure. On the other hand, if you come off as unsure or inexperienced, customers will doubt your credibility. This forces them to consider competition that exudes confidence and a sense of control.
For this reason, you should know how to become the authoritative figure in your industry. But how exactly do you do that? Sit tight and relax because we’re here to share six ways to help you master the principle of authority. Keep reading.
Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Principle of Authority
As we’ve briefly touched on above, there are many techniques to become persuasive. These principles were outlined in a book published three decades ago. Authority is a strategy you need in your quest to become persuasive.
The principle of authority was popularized by Dr. Robert Cialdini. It is one of the 6 core principles in the psychologist’s list of persuasion devices he wrote in his book. His book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” outlined six principles you must follow to become persuasive.
The six principles and their quick descriptions are as follows:
- Reciprocity – You give, they give
- Commitment – Get their word, they will keep their word
- Social proof – Do what you see others doing
- Liking – Make a friend
- Authority – Establish credibility
- Scarcity – Limited access urgency
Among the list, embracing the principle of authority is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects you have to consider. Why? Simply put, people have a natural inclination to buy from people they believe can do the job right the first time.
Having authority gives you an edge over the competition. In the residential home service industry, this is powerful. When your business has authority in the trade area, it will be the frontrunner in customers’ minds. Customers are looking for reliable solution providers and nothing speaks to reliability more than being authoritative.
Mastering the following tips is helpful if you want your business to become the authoritative leader in your industry. However, every business model varies from one to the other. There are aspects where you may lack authority. An expert business strategist can help pinpoint these weaknesses and limitations and help you strengthen those areas.
How to Apply the Principle of Authority to Increase Sales?
The principle of authority latches on to the fact that people always instinctively pay attention and yield to authoritative individuals. While Cialdini’s book provided valuable insights into embodying the persona of authority. He argued that there were three core aspects that make people exude authority:
- Use titles
Notice that as kids we have been taught to respect people with titles. For example, individuals that are branded Dr. or Prof. has a ring that makes us esteem them. Other qualifications like Ph.D. tells us that the person has undergone years of studying to attain such a label. In the workplace, we are also trained to respect positions of power like President or CEO.
- Dress to the occasion
Look at our men in uniform. They are highly respected in society and a reason for this is the authority they assert through their uniform. In fact, that is one primary motivation behind wearing their military attires.
The point is that whatever we clothe ourselves can make or break our authoritative branding. Therefore, dressing for the occasion is necessary.
- Reinforce your authority with possessions
Indeed, uniforms or titles could speak layers of authority but exterior items reinforce and strengthen that assertion. For example, police brandish their badge, CEOs wear expensive clothing, and people in power drive expensive cars. Your possessions must complement your personal brand.
What Robert Cialdini is pointing out in his principles above is that you cannot fake the principle of authority (for long). People are the ones who perceive your sense of authority. Make sure your outward disposition reflects the level of authority you want to convey.
In the case of sales, here are the ways you could apply the authority principle:
Align the Entire Aesthetics
The way you look is a prominent feature of authority. Embodying one means that it’s necessary to look the part.
One way salespeople and entrepreneurs could do that is by being well-prepared for meetings. All your possessions must follow suit too, like a decent-looking vehicle, pristine clothing, and immaculate hygiene. Taking care of personal hygiene is a must. If your breath comes in hot and smells like chopped garlic, your not leaving an authoritative mark.
The purpose of strong aesthetics is to make a great first impression. You on.ly have one chance. How well you fare the first time influences your long-lasting perception. Be confident during sales calls, look people straight in the eyes, and smile. All these small details matter in the principle of authority.
Take the Lead
During negotiations, it’s always important that salespeople hold their ground and remain finesse when facing prospects. Potential clients often set traps and put up six defense mechanisms on the way to the close:
By taking the lead, you are addressing their concerns while reclaiming control of the conversation. Using argumentative tactics like the Closing ARC helps you guide prospects into your desired action. In other words, you don’t allow customers to bully you in a corner. You assert your authority and lead them to your ideal outcome – that’s how you close deals.
Use the “Top-down” Approach
The culture within your company extends to the story or the image perceived by the public. Using the top-down approach means establishing a positive and strong work culture first before you deal with prospects. For example, fixing flaws within the organization. This could be in the following terms:
- Improving intra-company and inter-employee communication
- Developing strong guiding principles
- Ensuring everyone is on the same page with simple clear systems and processes
When there is a misalignment between your internal culture and external story, it compromises your authority. It’s like a pretty building collapsing from the inside. Cohesiveness and competence within the company reflect in how your salespeople interact with prospects. In other words, the better the culture, the stronger your authority.
Be a Good Example
As business leaders, your constituents look up to you for guidance and direction. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Show your team what it means to be authoritative by leading with competence and integrity. These two characteristics must also be the elements present in every touchpoint of your business.
The only way your salespeople and employees can serve at the highest level is when they share your ideals. Make sure your team shares your vision and mission. Ensure that they are with you through every step in serving those goals. You can do that by setting a good example.
Teach them your ways and walk them through how to be authoritative in their endeavors.
Make Your Yeam Visible
Do you know why uniforms are powerful? Because it gives your people a sense of identity.
When your Techs wear uniforms and your trucks are wrapped in your brand, you increase visibility. And visibility paves the way to authority. Urge all employees to be a part of that authoritative circle by dressing their part.
Moreover, authority is a function of confidence. Your team must know that you see their potential and have full confidence in their skills. Doing so amplifies their confidence and improves the level of authority they showcase in their daily operations.
Support Career Growth
As we’ve mentioned above, titles, training and educational attainments build a person’s image of authority. One way to do this is to provide opportunities for your team to continuously enhance their skills and knowledge. The more information and skills they have, the more confident and authoritative they become on calls.
Buy them books and give them training. Whatever it is, build their career up. Always keep in mind that your employee’s growth is synchronous with your company’s growth.
Being Authoritative = Increasing Sales
People are naturally and instinctively inclined to listen and yield to authoritative individuals. That’s the persona you must establish in your business. Your Techs, admin team, and salespeople must exude authority in their actions. When salespeople take the lead and control the negotiations, they have more leverage to close the deal in their favor.
That’s where the principle of authority comes in.
Learning and mastering authority does not come easy. There is a fine line that separates being authoritative and being cocky. If you’re not careful, you can compromise your quest for authority for the worse.