Science of Persuasion: Using Authority to Influence Your Clients
What is Authority in Persuasion?
Authority is the idea that people will listen to and follow the lead of knowledgeable and credible experts in their field. It’s the idea that people will respect those in a higher position of power or expertise; think law enforcement, lawyers, professors, or personal trainers.
How does authority persuade?
Establishing your authority or your credibility allows for a more exceptional ability to influence. Authority is a powerful part of persuasion because it can influence shape behavior and influence decisions. For example, consider driving down the street and seeing a police car; how does your behavior change? If it were me, I would perk up a bit and check myself.
Or let’s take this marketing example. Have you ever seen a Sensodyne commercial? Their commercials usually are narrated by a dentist. Sensodyne uses Dentists intentionally to persuade viewers to trust their products more. Think about the influence of a real dentist talking about the product versus just an everyday consumer. We trust a dentist to care for our teeth and lead us to the right decision more than we do a stranger. Thus, the credibility of being a dentist influences our decision to purchase that product. We trust in the dentist’s education, licenses, and years of experience that they will take care of us.
The point is, just with the presence of law enforcement or watching a toothpaste commercial with an actual dentist, our decisions and behaviors are changing; the power associated with a title is influencing us.
How to use Your Authority as a Personal Trainer:
As fitness professionals, many of us have gone through extensive training and certifications to get where we are today, and we should leverage that. People hire us because of those certifications; they trust our knowledge. We can make a couple of simple changes to leverage our authority to develop our relationships with existing clients and market ourselves to potential clients.
Find Your Specialty: As a fitness professional, you could take your career in many different directions. So find your niche, become an expert in it, and keep progressing in that specialty.
Keep Learning: Again, people hire us for our knowledge; without our expertise, we have nothing. Keep developing in your specialty. Your years of experience mean nothing without the ability to back it up. Clients need to stay constantly challenged. Clients should never stop learning from you, and you should never stop being able to teach them.
Display your credibility: This is the most crucial piece of advice. Display all your degrees and certifications in office, gym, social media, and website; basically, anywhere your clients and potential clients interact with you.
Benefits of using authority as a persuasion technique:
Now that you understand the power of establishing your authority to persuade your consumers and some ways to implement it let’s consider why it’s worth your while. First, the effort that comes with implementing this persuasion method is minimal; there is not much physical work to be done. As a fitness professional, you should constantly want to continue your education, and you already have the certifications, so the easy part is showing them off. Second, it’s free. You don’t have to pay to display your credentials or your expertise. So why not leverage what you already have to persuade your target audience? The investment is small, and the risk is minimal.