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Car Salesmen, Preachers and the Art of Persuasion

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of August 2006 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Have you ever wanted to be more persuasive in your writing? If so, this is the first post in a series that is designed to help you achieve just that.

Warning – Tangent Ahead


Lessons from a New Car Salesman

A few months back, in the lead up to our little Xavier’s arrival, we decided we needed to upgrade our two door hatchback for a larger ‘family wagon’. Outside of buying our home the year before this was the largest purchase I’d ever made and so I entered it pretty cautiously and wanting to find the best deal. As a result I did a lot of research and visited a lot of car show rooms.

Over a few weeks I met and interacted with quite a few car sales guys and was fascinated by the different approaches that they used in attempting to convince me which car to buy and that I should buy it off them. Their attempts to persuade me to go with them were wide and varied – some did great jobs while others were in the vicinity of appalling.

Of course as I shopped around I couldn’t help but draw what I was observing back to blogging and think about how there were some similarities (and differences of course). While most bloggers are not in the business of selling cars to their readers – most of us are are in attempting to be persuasive in one way or another.

Persuasive Blogging

This goal of persuasion varies a lot in intent from blogger to blogger depending upon their topic – for example:

  • political bloggers might attempt to argue cases on that front
  • corporate bloggers might attempt to persuade people to give their company a go
  • entrepreneurial bloggers might attempt to convince people to buy affiliate products or hire them as consultants
  • personal bloggers might attempt to convince readers to see their favorite movie or read a certain book
  • religious bloggers might write hoping to convince people to a certain way of living or belief – etc

Sometimes we are very intentional about arguing a case – but sometimes it happens almost subconsciously.


Lessons from a Preacher

I don’t talk a whole lot about my days as a Baptist Minister – but before I was a blogger I’d been working in churches as a youth minister for almost a decade. My weekly rhythm had all kinds of things in it but one of the favorite aspects of what I did was preaching.

I loved working up a sermon in the lead up to giving it. Researching, looking at what others had to say on the topic, piecing together thoughts, looking for illustrations and examples (tangents) and then practicing giving it and making the last minute tweaks and additions in the day before Sunday arrived.

In many ways it was similar to blogging.

No one ever taught me to ‘preach’ as such. I was largely self taught from observing others and having a go myself. The only ‘training’ I really had was a number of sessions with a group who did some teaching on public speaking.

The Five Challenges of Communication

Part of what they taught was what they called the ‘communication wheel’ – a tool that identifies five stages that those people communicated to go through and the corresponding challenges that communicators need to tackle along the way.

I’ve written about this process before (two years ago) but have wanted to retackle it as my previous posts didn’t quite click for me (or my readers by the lack of interaction there was around them).

Over the next five days I’ll tackle the five stages/challenges. While some readers might not feel each of the five challenges are completely relevant for their particular type of blog I hope that in walking through the process we’ll all learn a thing or two about the art of communication and the task of persuading our readers.

I invite your comment and participation over the next five posts.

Read the rest of this Series at:

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Please, be careful with casting any similarities with a blogger and a car salesman.

    These people (car salesmen) are despicable! :)
    They use dirty tricks, mind games, gimmicks, to try to make you sign the contracts of doom.

    These people are your enemy. You have to fight against them.

    Personally, I do not really like their way of behaving with their customers. They think of “us” as preys, not business partners.

    brem, hater of car salesmen.

  2. LOL at the comment above me. I was a car salesman and never used tricks or mind games to sell and i was very successful.

    So what kind of car did you buy?

  3. haa haa I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see that the discussions already started on car salesmen. Talk about a religious issue LoL.

    Brem, I understand your dismay … I’ve run into a few nasty guys myself, but hating is a lot of work, distracting to the rest of your life, and gets you nowhere. I bought my last car from a young fellow in a semi-high pressure dealership but neither he nor his boss were pushy … I knew from research what I ought to pay and I paid just abut that … I think both sides were happy. If you don’t deal with car salesmen, do you only take public transpo?

    Anyway, back to the subject: I think this is going to be a worthy series, Darren. I’ve read many a blogger who probably has a good message, but can’t convey it. OTOH, I have bloggers in my personal A list who aren’t the ‘best and brightest’ but they convey a message to me that I like. We can all use the education, review, practice.

    BTW, Darren, that’s a great pic of Xavier and your new Holden … gotta love those fins ;-)

  4. PreZ: Never used pressure? Never went back and forth to your “boss” to get pices approved? Each time coming with a few hundreds less? hehehehehe whatever. :)

  5. Darren, that wasn’t a tangent, it was a story.

    A darn fine one at that. :)

  6. I think people put down car salesmen too much. :(

  7. Brem,

    I think that you have been burned by a bad car salesman. Some of them are quite good. I’ve been using the same one for years and have no complaints on 3 buys and 4 leases between my wife and I…

  8. Yes I agree with you, preachers and car dealers have some similarities in their way of speaking. I guess this might be somehow related to the nature of their business, wich is nothing but marketing one single product over and over again.

    Thank you for sharing your helpful tips with me !

  9. Hi Darren.

    I posted a comment that didn’t show up. Do I need to register somewhere or is some other problem. Just wondering.

  10. Overall my experience with the sales guys was pretty positive actually. Perhaps it was because we were buying a new car rather than a used one ;-)

    We bought a Honda CRV Sports L.

    Amrit – not sure what happened to your last comment. It didn’t get moderated but your last one went up fine.

  11. This is the kind of info I need now ;)
    Thanks Darren, looking forward to read the next entries on persuasive blogging.

  12. It’s always interesting when an incongruent juxtapostion of information is held up for analysis. Sorry but juxtaposition is one of my favourite words and I must use it whenever I can.

    Car Salesman

    What do they have in common?

    They are all in the communication business.
    The more passionate they are, the more successful they are.
    If they have no audience they cannot fulfil their objective.
    If they do not respect their audience, the audience will get up and leave.
    They are all in the information business.

    Hmmmm, interesting idea for a series Darren.

  13. […] Car Salesmen, Preachers and the Art of Persuasion Attention Grabbing Blogging – Persuasive Blogging Part I […]

  14. As long as our preaching isnt just that.. … Preaching..

    One of the failings of todays church is spending too much time preaching and not enough doing and walking it out.

  15. […] Preaching and Blogging From Darren Rowse the ProBlogger, where he compared preaching and blogging: […]

  16. Car Salesmen and preachers may not be in the same business but the techniques they use are not so different.
    Offer some intangible benefit. Even better if it’s one that cannot be proved or disproved.
    Now, how do I use that on a blog?

  17. I can’t let this one pass by. Not only do I come from a family of preachers (two uncles, father, and three brothers – all preachers), of which I am the only one who is not; but I also sell cars.

    It’s true, we do have a lot of things in common with regards to how we approach people. However, I would like to say that I set out from the very beginning to respect car shoppers in that the largest percentage of people who come in to see me are intelligent, sincere people who are fully capable of making prudent and frugal decisions and that just want to be respected.

    It is working quite well for me. I could take the “low road” and make a lot of money on less work. But I have found many times that the high road of mutual respect and sincerity, combined with volume sales of smaller individual commissions is, in my opinion, a much more honest way to make a living.

    I hope this helps someone.


  18. Greetings,

    Very interesting blog on sales. Your experience with the different car salesmen’s apporach is very accurate. Some of them shouldn’t be in the business, as they give all a bad name. I’m sensing that you’re somewhat concerned the persuasive blogger may have the same pitfall. Am I correct?


    Greg Deal
    Sales Talk Online

  19. Needadeal says: 10/15/2006 at 6:53 am

    I just started as a car sales business and I am a woman. I what to be honest with my clients 100%. I know I will live off the commission, but I want to get it the honest way.

  20. I’m a car salesman like some who’ve responded, and I run into folks like Brem in our showroom occasionally. He’s been burned by a bad car salesman or two as a result of being gullible, and while he learned to be distrustful it did nothing to improve his judgement or ability to handle himself in a business transaction. Congratulations, Bren. Now that you’ve learned to expect dishonesty rather than owning the responsibilty of finding a respectable dealership, dishonesty is all you’ll ever find.

  21. Well researched site – will look to incorporate some of your ideas into my site.

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