Stage 3 – What is in it for me? Persuading & Influencing

In this Stage 3 of Persuading and Influencing we are going to present our reasons for someone to go ahead with our suggestion. In sales this would be the stage where we demonstrate and present our product or service. In leading and managing this would be the point at which we present our action plan. In relationships this is the stage at which we lay out our suggestion and give the other person the reasons why they should do what we suggest and the reasons why it will benefit them and be in their best interests.

At this stage in the process of persuading and influencing we haven’t yet made our final suggestion. We are only half way through persuading and influencing them.

We have gained rapport – Stage 1. We have got to know their thinking in the general subject area of our suggestion. We have handled any possible objections and addressed any beliefs that may hold them back from being influenced and persuaded – Stage 2.

What is in it for them?

With any obvious objections out of the way and the person or people that we are communicating with firmly on our side our path is clear to start presenting our case for action.

Think of a set of weighing scales. On one side of the scales are the reason for doing what you suggest and on the other side are the reasons not to do it.

Does the upside of accepting your suggestion outweigh the downside in their mind? If so then the scales are tipped in your favour.

Our aim in answering their objections is to melt away the reasons for the objections. The aim is to provide evidence to change their beliefs. The aim is to enable them to see and believe that the value added by following the suggestion you are about to make is greater than the sacrifice. In order to do this we need to explain the value of our suggestion, we need to address the disadvantages and melt them away where possible. We need to explain to them what is in it for them.

To do this we will present our suggestion. In presenting it we will seek to answer four questions each from the viewpoint of explaining what is in it for them. The four questions are Why? What? How? What if?

  1. Why? – Why do it? Why will doing it benefit them? 
  2. What? – What is it? What are the actions? What will it involve? What will they get out of it? What is the downside (if any)? What isn’t it?
  3. How? – How will it benefit them? How do they do it? 
  4. What if? What if they do it? What are the consequences? What will the world look like for them if they do it? How will it benefit other areas of their life?

Example: Using our earlier simple example of persuading our partner to go for a walk rather than paint the front room and then go to the cinema. We present our case using the four step process.


“I was thinking…Its such a beautiful day, isn’t it?” This is a useful question because the chances are that it will be answered positively and it will bring attention to the beauty of the day.

“It would be great to get outside, get a bit of fresh air and sunshine, wouldn’t it?”

“Isn’t it” and “wouldn’t it” are called tag questions in NLP. They don’t necessarily require an answer from the other person. The question merely triggers a thought pattern in the direction that we want to take the conversation.

If we are not in rapport when we ask these questions then we may get a negative answer, however we are in rapport and so the likelihood is that the other person will agree.

We have stated some benefits here – enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

“It would be good for the kids too.” Another benefit.


“I’m wondering if we could fit in a little walk in the countryside today? The kids love going on our little adventures and it seems a shame to miss out on such great weather.” – More benefits and the beginning of the “What?” section.

“I’m wondering” is a really gentle way to start a suggestion. It avoids direct suggestion and when someone listens to the words that follow they are tempted to try on the thought to see how they might feel about it.


“It’s tempting, isn’t it?” – Again it gets them to try on the suggestion. Is it tempting? Yes it is!

“Maybe we could pack up some sandwiches, have a walk for a couple of hours and a picnic? It’d be fun.” – We are firming up our suggestion here. This is “how?” we are going to do it. Also there is another benefit just for good measure “It’d be fun.”

“I know that we have stuff around the house to do but I would love to go out as a family. We can do the indoor stuff when its raining next weekend! Ha ha.” This helps to displace the objection.

“What if?”

“I love that feeling after a nice walk when we get back and feel all fresh and warm and energised. It helps cleanse the soul, doesn’t it?”

“Doesn’t it?” is another tag question. The statement is assumed to be true. This is helping our partner to consider what the positive consequences are of taking the suggested action. Again they are encouraged to try on the feeling and thoughts.

There we have our mini presentation. We have asked them to consider, why it would be of benefit, what it is that we might like them to do, how it will work and what if they do it.

We are now ready for the final stage of our process – Timing and going for the close.


I hope that you are enjoying this series. If you would like to learn NLP in a structured course then we have accredited online NLP training courses available on this website for you to take today.