How to Be More Persuasive: The Benefit Exchange Principle

The principle of benefit exchange is a key concept that you need to focus on to become more persuasive. This concept revolves around making the the person who you are trying to convince, influence, or persuade understand where you’re coming from and showing them what they will get out of taking your desired action or point of view. Benefit exchange is the center of persuasion and may be the most effective, yet underestimated and misused, concept in the workplace. It is invaluable when you are trying to collaborate with a coworker, motivate an employee, or convince a prospective customer to purchase your product.

Operating from the other person’s perspective, not your own, is imperative to the effective use of benefit exchange. It is important to communicate and emphasize the positive outcome and benefits the other person desires. The most common mistake made when implementing the benefit exchange principle is talking about features instead of benefits. It’s important to remember to communicate not only the features or positive qualities of a product or idea, but how they will translate into benefits for the person you’re trying to persuade. The more you focus on what they want and show them how that will be achieved, the more successful you will be at persuading them.

Here are a few things you can do to make the benefit exchange principle more effective:

  • Be honest. If people don’t believe you or trust you, you will have a hard time persuading them to change their point of view or take action. You will gain credibility by keeping your promises and following through.
  • Know your audience. It’s very difficult to change somebody’s mind, but if you tap into their existing set of values or beliefs, your message will become much more significant for them.
  • Make it personal. Focus on why your agenda is relevant to them. If the benefit is compelling and convinces the individual that their life will improve, the personal connection that they feel will inevitably convince and persuade them more than the grand concept.
  • Emphasize the immediate benefits. People are inherently drawn to seek instant gratification. It’s human nature. You are much more likely to persuade somebody to do or buy something if they will reap the rewards immediately, as opposed to the distant future.

Whether you’re a CEO trying to motivate employees, an employee trying to persuade a coworker, or you’re simply trying to sell a product, remembering the benefit exchange principle will help you to be more persuasive.