Altercasting:  The Best Persuasion Technique You’ve Never Heard Of

Altercasting: The Best Persuasion Technique You’ve Never Heard Of

As an astute businessperson, you’re always up on the most powerful ways to persuade people to act in their best interests (and yours). So, of course, altercasting is among your top techniques.

Wait. What’s altercasting? Why don’t I know about this? I need to know about this! Tell me more.

You’ve just been altercasted, friend.

I’ve persuaded you to read this article using altercasting.

Altercasting is a persuasion technique in which one person characterises another as a certain kind of person – casts them in a role – and then gives them the opportunity to live up to that role by taking a desired action.

I justifiably cast you, dear reader, as a shrewd entrepreneur who’s always learning the best ways to improve your results. You agreed with this characterisation. It’s who you are. It’s how you want to perceive yourself and how you want to be seen.

Then I offered up an assumption:  that you already know about and use altercasting.

This caused a pang of cognitive dissonance. You are a smart entrepreneur. But you didn’t quite know about altercasting. So you acted immediately to bring this situation into alignment.  You’re learning about a technique that many successful people do know about and use daily.

Altercasting works. But why?

Most people want to live up to others’ expectations. Especially when someone shares admiration for one’s talents, character and industriousness. We don’t want to let anyone down, including ourselves.

Altercasting makes use of this natural tendency, this need for consistency between who we perceive ourselves to be, and our actions.

Here’s how to use altercasting as a positive force in your business.

Altercasting to Win New Clients

Think about what’s most important to your prospect’s identity – what role would be most appealing? How could your business feed that part of his/her ego?

A few common self-perceptions and ways to align your pitch:

  • Bravest, most innovative, always pioneering – you’d want to be the first to experience our new way of doing XYZ
  • Uncompromising when it comes to quality, performance – you can see how our product clearly outpaces the competition across every metric, you need not compromise
  • Leader, achiever, avid competitor – you aren’t going to wait around for everyone else to get a clue, you’re willing to move ahead and take advantage of what our XYZ can do for your enterprise

Remember, pacing and structure matter when altercasting.

You must first let your prospect know that you are interested in doing business with them precisely because they are this kind of person. Then you can position your offering in alignment with that self-perception.

This isn’t about blanket flattery or fawning. It’s about understanding your prospect at his/her core, authentically recognising that identity and setting up a situation where doing business with you can only enhance their performance of that positive role.

Altercasting to Motivate Your Team

You, as their leader, have an obligation to cast your employees in roles that encourage them to aim high and act accordingly.

Imagine the lift in their spirits when you recognise that glimmer of potential just waiting for an opportunity to shine.

The key word to get them to rise to the occasion? Willing.

Studies have shown massive increases in compliance when people are asked to be willing to live up to an altercasted role…

  • Dave, your presos and emails are always so on-point and clear. Beyond being our project manager, you’re also a gifted writer. Would you be willing to take a crack at this e-newsletter?
  • Miranda, you’re our go-to foodie, always adventuring into new neighbourhoods. Would you be willing to partner with our real estate agent to evaluate locations for our next retail shop?
  • Sally, I saw how you took charge of the chaos last week when Tom fell ill. I need a leader like you to train the new clerks before launch. Would you be willing to get everyone properly onboarded?

Altercasting can help to effectively delegate tasks, expand someone’s responsibilities, renew enthusiasm for the overall mission, show appreciation for as-yet underutilised talents and get more done with greater satisfaction for all parties.

You know a valuable strategy when you see it. Surely altercasting is now part of your persuasive repertoire.

Right? 😉