Increasing Consulting Sales and Decisions
with Pre-Suasion 

Dr. Cialdini is a world expert on Influence, Persuasion, and Pre-Suasion. His books, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, and Pre-Suasion, have sold over 7 million copies. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. 

This video is excerpted from Robert Cialdini on What is Pre-Suasion and Why You Should Use It (07:24) in an interview with Roland Frasier.
The commentary below is from my 30+ years of consulting.


Pre-suasion positions consulting clients so they are receptive to a message before encountering it.

According to Dr. Cialdini, the author of two mega-bestsellers, “Influence” and “Pre-Suasion,” what we present first changes how people experience what we present next.

Pre-suasion is all about preparing someone to be influenced.

As a consultant, your job is to help clients make the best decisions for them. This can mean you may need to ethically use pre-suasion to guide them to a decision they are resisting.

As a consultant, using pre-suasion means setting the stage for your recommendations. You can do this by by creating the right emotional climate for your message and by building up to your main point with supporting evidence.

Pre-suasion is a powerful tool, but it requires careful and ethical use. Always ensure that your methods are transparent and that you provide genuine value to your clients.    

Case Study: Using Pre-Suasion to Win Clients and Influence Decisions    

John, an experienced consultant with over 15 years in the industry, was approached by a mid-sized tech company, TechFusion, looking to implement a new software solution across their organization. Some company leadership members were skeptical about the change, fearing resistance from employees and potential disruptions to their operations.

John's goal was to build consensus within TechFusion's leadership team to adopt the new software solution, ensuring them of its benefits and the smooth transition it would bring.

John decided to employ the pre-suasion principles outlined by Dr. Cialdini to set the stage.

  1. Setting the Right Emotional Climate
    Before diving into the specifics of the software solution, John shared success stories of other companies that had made similar transitions. He highlighted the positive outcomes, the increased efficiency, and the long-term benefits they enjoyed. This created an atmosphere of optimism and possibility.
  2. Building Up with Supporting Evidence
    Instead of directly presenting the software solution, John first discussed the challenges TechFusion was facing with its current system. He provided data on time wasted, inefficiencies, and the potential risks of not upgrading. When he introduced the new software solution, the leadership was aware that he understood their problems and there was a common consensus in the team for change.
  3. Highlighting Shared Values
    John emphasized the values TechFusion prided itself on - innovation, growth, and employee satisfaction. By aligning the software solution with these values, he made it seem like the obvious choice for a company with TechFusion's aspirations.
  4. Interactive Demonstrations
    John organized a hands-on workshop where the leadership could interact with the new software. Experiencing its user-friendliness and advanced features firsthand removed any lingering doubts.
  5. Addressing Concerns Transparently
    John openly discussed potential challenges and his strategies to mitigate them. This transparency built trust and showcased his commitment to TechFusion's success.

By the end of his presentation, TechFusion's leadership was convinced about the new software solution and enthusiastic about its implementation. The pre-suasion techniques had effectively shifted their mindset from skepticism to eagerness.

Take-Aways Critical to Success         

  • Pre-suasion prepares recipients to be more receptive to your message.
  • You can do this by building up your points with evidence, creating the right emotional climate, or building a cohort of influencers.
  • You need to use pre-suasion responsibly, ensuring transparency and value.

Take-Actions Critical to Success     

Scenario 1

You're about to deliver a key recommendation to a client, and you aren’t sure if the recommendation will be accepted.


Start by analyzing how the decision-maker thinks,

  • Do they understand best by hearing case stories from similar situations?
  • Do they make their decisions based on the “tribal” judgments of a trusted cadre?
  • Are they highly analytical and base their decisions on critical thinking and scientific business judgments?

Based on how the decision maker thinks, you may want to present solutions with their preferred thinking style, following it with rational, analytical data that justifies the decision.

Scenario 2

You are presenting a proposal to a potential client. How can you pre-suade them?


Use the methods we teach in the Critical to Success consulting courses. Begin by proving authority and building liking and trust.

Once you have built a base of authority and trust, use a conversational Discovery Session to discover their defined and hidden needs and obstacles. While doing this, you can strengthen your personal bonds by showing common unity on topics and build trust by sharing stories of how you helped clients in similar situations.

Once you understand their situation well, use your personal bond to recommend an executive (or decision-maker) briefing where you can outline your discoveries and proposed solutions. When an executive briefing is done well, the written proposal is just a minor follow-up, as you have already won the project.

Your Call to Action     

Your Call to Action
Pre-Suasion: The Game-Changer in Consulting.

In the world of consulting, the battle isn't just about presenting the best solutions; it's about ensuring your clients are receptive to them. Pre-suasion is your secret weapon. It's the art of priming your clients to be more open to your recommendations even before you present them.

Take a moment to reflect on the following steps, then grab your planner and strategize how you can integrate pre-suasion into your consulting approach:

  1. Ethical Considerations
    Pre-suasion is a powerful tool, but it's essential to use it ethically. Ensure that the solutions you recommend align with the client's best interests.

  2. Understand Your Client's Thinking Style
    Before you present solutions, dive deep into the psyche of your client. Are they story-driven? Do they rely on trusted opinions? Or are they data-driven? Tailor your approach accordingly. Remember, it's not just about what you say but how you say it.

  3. Set the Right Emotional Climate
    Before diving into the specifics, share success stories, paint a picture of the possibilities, and create an atmosphere of optimism. Your clients need to feel the potential before they see it.

  4. Build a Cohesive Narrative
    Start with your client's challenges, provide evidence of the inefficiencies, and then introduce your solution. When you present your recommendation, they should already feel its necessity.

  5. Showcase Shared Values
    Align your solutions with the values and aspirations of your client. Make them see that your recommendation isn't just a business decision but a step towards their company's vision.

  6. Engage with Interactive Demonstrations
    Let your clients experience the solution, whether software or a strategy; a hands-on approach can dispel doubts and build confidence.

  7. Be Transparent and Ethical
    Address potential challenges head-on. Discuss your strategies to overcome them. This not only builds trust but showcases your commitment to their success.

  8. Continuous Learning
    Dive into resources like Dr. Cialdini's works and the Critical to Success consulting courses. Equip yourself with the latest techniques and strategies in pre-suasion.


When used ethically and strategically, pre-suasion can be a game-changer for consultants.

Pre-suasion helps win clients and ensures that the solutions are more likely to have genuine buy-in and implementation.

Pre-suasion isn't about manipulation; it's about setting the stage for genuine value. It's about ensuring that your clients hear your recommendations and are primed to embrace them.

Today, identify a client session or a new prospect's Discovery Session where you can employ pre-suasion. Strategize your approach, tailor your presentation, and watch your influence amplify. 

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