We all have goals, ambitions, and desires.

In other words, we all want things.

Maybe we want them for ourselves, maybe we want them for our loved ones, and maybe we want them for our society, or the entire world.

Whatever it happens to be, we all want something.

And usually, we need other people to help us or cooperate with us in order to get those things.

The question is, how do we get them to help out? How do we get them to stop what they’re doing, care about what we’re describing, and get what you want?

Get What You Want: The Naked Truth

Hardly anyone will help you just for the sake of helping you; there needs to be something in it for them.

This isn’t wrong, and it isn’t unkind, it’s just human nature. Strangers don’t typically help strangers unless there’s a benefit to be had.

That benefit could be an outcome that they desire, information or knowledge they want, or they could have some kind of personal interest in your success.

There are occasional altruistic, kind-hearted exceptions, but for the most part, getting someone to take an action that you want them to take can be a challenge. The thing is, though, that there are many occasions when we need to do it; from shopping, to our social lives, with our families, and with our businesses.

Does this sound a little sleazy to you?

Well, it certainly can be, but it doesn’t have to be, and really, it SHOULDN’T be.

So before I get into the nitty gritty of how to convince people that they want what you want, let’s talk a little bit about how NOT to do it…

Not About Pick-up Artistry or Manipulation

If you got the impression that you have to trick people into thinking that they want what you want, you got it wrong.

This is a common misconception in the world of pick-up artistry – pick up artists help people justify doing things that they feel like, but don’t really want, and will probably regret in the morning.

This is completely unsustainable in the context of any serious relationship. We’ve all that that friend who always had their hand out – for your time, your advice, even your money, and never returned the favor, or even made any pretense of doing so! It may take a while, but sooner or later you’re going to cut that friend loose!

You’ve had that experience, haven’t you? Maybe not just with a friend, but in another context?

We’ll use the example of a purchase (to avoid dredging up last Thanksgiving’s family theater!):

Think about a time when you hemmed and hawed and finally bought something, maybe against your better judgment, and then learned that it was really, really a mistake. When you went to the snake-oil salesman who convinced you to buy in the first place – they barely took the time to listen to you.

Did you feel alienated? Angry? Disgusted? Hurt?

The same feelings crop up, albeit sometimes more slowly and under the radar in less formal relationships; maybe the Homer Simpson-esque neighbor who forever borrows your lawn mower, but lets his dog do its business on your front yard. Someone who uses and takes advantage of the people in their lives is a swindler, the same way the snake-oil salesman and the pick-up artist are.

No one wants to help a swindler, and you’ll find yourself going it alone sooner than you’d imagine if you manipulate and abuse people.

All About Seduction and Persuasion

Seduction and persuasion are a dance – they happen when two people arrive together at a common goal.

If you want to seduce and persuade, you have to understand why something is good for you, but also why it’s good for them.

And I’m not talking in terms of the warm fuzzies someone will get from helping you out (although never underestimate the power of a warm fuzzy); I’m talking about the real, solid benefits a person can get from being able to align their wants and needs with yours. There are several steps to powerful persuasion:

  • Spending time developing a relationship with people first.
  • Listening to what they say and responding honestly.
  • Backing off when you’re goals aren’t aligned – with no hard feelings.
  • And once you get what you want, whether it’s a ride to the mall or a donation to your charity, you take the time to thank the person who helped you.

You see, seduction and persuasion aren’t always bad – they can be fantastic when the process is transparent. Seduction, when employed correctly, is a pleasure for all parties involved.  Persuasion is the same – it’s the method by which you encourage someone to make a decision that will be good for you both.

Sexy to You isn’t Sexy to Me!

What’s sexy and seductive to me, after all, may not be what’s sexy and seductive to you. People respond to different things – that’s what makes the world such a wonderful, fascinating place, and part of what makes human relationships so exciting and rewarding.

There are “best practices” to be sure: honesty, listening, empathy, etc. — but there is no one best way to engage in the dance of seduction and persuasion.

The first step in starting the dance of seductive persuasion is getting to know the person you want something from – what makes them tick, what they need and what they value.

In business, you do this by creating a comprehensive customer profile – a crib sheet on the heart of your ideal customer. Once you know what makes that person tick, you can use the information to give them what they want, when they want it.

In life, in your relationships, it’s more subtle. You have to spend time thinking about what motivates the person you want something from.

If you’re looking for donations to a food bank, you might appeal to a neighbor’s sense of civic duty. You know they have one because they run the flag up every day, make a point of being polite and friendly to passersby, and scrupulously bring out the recycling on the appointed day at the appointed hour.

Every person has different things that motivate them, and if you take the time to figure out what those things are, and then frame your request in that light, your chances of success are much, much higher.

And the person you wanted something from will be likely to thank you for the opportunity.

Now that doesn’t sound too sleazy, does it?

I’ve done my best to compile this idea into a framework, in a way that is both fun and informative. I call it the Naked Marketing Manifesto, and it will help you identify those motivators in the people you deal with, and then tailor your activities with them so that you end up with happy, loyal, long-term relationships – and not broke and alone and despised by everyone you used to be friends with.

(Photo credit: Truth Road Sign via Shutterstock)

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, and the co-author (with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and many others) of Engagement from Scratch! (available on Amazon, or as a free download). The latest and greatest thing you can get from him (for free, of course) is his Naked Marketing Manifesto, about marketing that really works!

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