In today’s ultracompetitive marketplace, succeeding in business has never been more difficult. “Every professional needs something that gives him a leg up on the competition and allows him to come out ahead in any situation,” says author and executive coach Mark Jeffries. In his latest book The Art of Business Seduction (John Wiley & Sons; $22.95), Jeffries writes that one’s power to attract, entice, and win over others can be the difference between success and failure in this current business environment. Business seduction, he says, is the process of convincing bosses, clients, and co-workers that you are the professional they want to do business with.
“Every interaction–sharing information, exchanging ideas, guiding opinions, and influencing direction–is an opportunity to be seductive,” he states. “Seduction is consciously putting the needs of your audience first by understanding what they want and giving it to them,” he adds.
Here’s how you perfect the art:
Don’t network, netseduce. Unlike the rote card collecting and name dropping associated with traditional networking, netseducing is predicated on establishing trust, making the sell, offering a promise, and committing to the follow-up, explains Jeffries. He recommends leveraging commonalities, selling how your skills may assist them, offering information or an opportunity that is of value, and following up to deliver on your promise. “This focused attention provides you with an ability to connect with contacts–even forge friendships–well beyond the boundaries of a standard business relationship,” says Jeffries.
Employ the L-WAR strategy.
L-WAR (Listen—Watch, Anticipate and React) is the driving force behind all business seduction activities, insists Jeffries. “[It] enables you to be persuasive in a way that is not offensive or imposing.” His four-step approach is outlined in his book:
- Listen: “It’s not about what you have to say; rather, it’s about using what the other person has to say in order to get what you want,” he writes. He suggests listening for meaning and paying attention to tone, pace, speech pattern, and choice of words.
- Watch: “When it comes to your audience, their actions speak louder than their words.” Watch body language, such as eye contact, posture and “nods per minute” for helpful insights.
- Anticipate: “Being able to foresee a problem or challenge before it presents itself is the sign of a sharp thinker.” Anticipate needs and objections by conducting due diligence and putting yourself in your audience’s shoes to see the interaction through their eyes.
- React: “This is the culmination of the three previous steps and proof that you not only recognize what someone wants, but can give it to them.” React with an individualized response to what your audience has requested.
Woo them rather than wow them. Seducers are never self-absorbed; they thrive on accommodating others, not showcasing their own achievements. Show your audience how your skills will support their goals and make their life better, suggests Jeffries. “The smartest pitches contain a core of facts that are surrounded by a flexible, dynamic set of sell ideas that can be altered to appeal in exactly the right way to the right person at the right time.”