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Irresistible Persuasion: The Secret Way To Get to Yes Every Time by Geoff Burch

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121
CHAPTER 11
A.I.D.A.
OLD BUT STILL LOVELY
In which we learn about A.I.D.A., the classic
sales formula that can still be used in every
aspect of modern persuasion
O
ne of the ancient formulas will give us a good skeleton
on which to flesh out the idea of the structured sale.
The one I have in mind is A.I.D.A. This acronym stands
for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It isnt the whole
picture, in fact there is a very large piece of the puzzle miss-
ing, but for now lets just examine A.I.D.A.’s logic.
Pay Attention
Pay attention to persuade someone you really need their
attention. In the early days of door-to-door selling it was
soon realized that knocking on someones door and saying
something like, “Do you need a vacuum cleaner?” meant
that the potential purchaser lost their attention very quickly
indeed. It is a simple fact that no persuasion – or in fact
any communication – can take place unless you have the
other persons attention. What really frustrates me as a
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IRRESISTIBLE PERSUASION
122
professional communicator of persuasion techniques is all
the professionals who start the we’ve done that!’, “Poo, not
rotten old A.I.D.A. again!” or, if they are being charitable,
Well, its always important to be reminded of what you
already know.” When coaching one-to-one I then see the
whole thing fly out of the window. In a written test they
can quote A.I.D.A. chapter and verse yet they fall at the
first hurdle. Do they have the other persons full attention?
How often, when on the telephone, do you notice a sort
of vagueness that you cant quite put your finger on? Then
you hear the clickety clack of the keyboard or the Microsoft
jingle…yep, they are doing their emails. Talking at people is
a sure way of losing their attention but we do need to get
our point across.
Child’s Play
When considering the mechanics of persuasion I did
wonder why such a cheesy old acronym as A.I.D.A. was so
important and why even the most elevated of persuaders
found such a simple old technique so difficult to stick to.
Let us examine our map analogy again. With every jour-
ney there has to be stages which physically cannot be taken
out of order. Where our persuasion journey comes to bits
is that it can be taken out of order with fairly disastrous
results.
Kids are the greatest persuaders I have ever seen. They
lack the sophistication of adult guile so they make the
fundamental error of asking for their goal and then trying
to post-justify it if turned down. This can work but it takes
the brass neck of a child to pull it off. In my book Resistance
is Useless, I suggested a six-year-old child can do a better job
of persuasion than us.
“Dad, can I have a lolly?” This is not A.I.D.A. Attention
is not guaranteed. But what am I saying? The kid knows
by instinct so a lot of sleeve-tugging and “Dad, Dad, Dad,
Dad…” will take place until there is indeed attention.
Dad, “No.”
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