How To Appeal To People’s Self Interest


How to appeal to people’s self interst

At some point in our lives, we all want something from someone. Maybe you need a colleague’s help or you come up with a beautiful idea and you tried to sell it to people only for them to turn it down. You wonder why they are not interested in such a great idea.

After all, this idea will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs. It will bring in lots of money. It will elevate the society. Who cares?

Let’s take away the fact that your idea might not even be great in the first place which could be a possible reason why they don’t show interest.

I don’t care what you need from people or what kind of idea you’re trying to sell. Maybe to start a business, to form a drama group, to establish a charity foundation or you want to run for a political office and you need someone’s support.

When you go to meet someone and try to convince them to buy into your idea. The first question on their mind is ‘what’s in it for me?’ Why should I buy into your idea? Why should I give you my money? Why should I give you my time? Why should I abandon my own project and support yours. Why should I risk my life for your cause?

These are some of the questions anyone will ask when you try to sell your ideas to them. Mind you, most of the time, people will not ask you these questions directly. This is when you see someone turn you down without giving you a reason. This is because you failed to answer the obvious questions that they did not ask you.

They don’t have to ask you. But you must give them the answers anyway. That is where you must make your research before you approach anyone. Find out what motivates each person so you don’t approach the wrong target.

Below are some of the things to consider before approaching anyone.

1. Money

Money is one of the biggest motivations in the world. Everyone wants to make money. At the same time, you should understand that we want it more than each other. While everyone wants money, some people get fired up the moment they hear there’s lot of money to be made. Money is what drives them.

When you know this kind of people, then you understand you should not go and sell your charity idea to them. They’re most certainly not interested. If your idea has to do with business and there is high probability that money will be made, this kind of people will have your ears more than anyone else.

2. Publicity/Praise

Some people just want people to talk about them or praise them for what they’ve done. They do not care how much they’re giving away to your cause as far as their name will be attached to the success of the idea. These kinds of people are best sold the idea of a social project. Something a community will benefit from. Something that will bring praises to the benefactor. Just remember, people must know the man who made it happen.

3. Power & Title

Some people are motivated by power. Often money is not their problem. They most certainly already possess money. Now they want their money to bring them power, well, which can still bring them more money in the future, just on another level.

These are the kinds of people you want to approach with a political ambition. But you should understand that there is one thing people like this don’t take for granted; loyalty. After all, how can your success bring them power if you’re not loyal to them.

4. Love

Love is definitely one of the top motivations for doing things. Can you remember how many times you’ve done something for someone out of love? Take away money, take away power, take away humans’ greed, take away ambition. What else could make someone do something for someone if not love. This applies to everyone, partners, siblings, children, parents, even leaders.

Why love is so strong as a motivation for doing something is because love itself is self-interest. After all, the subject is the one feeling the love. They want to help you because they love you, not because you love them.

Can you possibly go and meet someone to do something for you because you love them. No. It’s the other way round. They do it because they love you.

Learn to appeal to people’s love for you and you will be surprised at how willing they are to be of help.

5. The Need To be Successful

You should know that some people just want to be successful and they will jump onto any project you brought before them, if only you’re convincing enough. Go beyond the big picture. Show them the pictures but break down the figures. These kinds of people are result oriented and you must convince them that you know what you are doing.

6. Passion

Passion, just like love, is natural and it is a big motivation for doing something. When people do something they have passion for, they feel happy. This is what you’re appealing to. Look for people who have passion for what you want to do and there is high probability they will come on board.

The more you appeal to people’s self-interest, the more you will convince them to buy into your idea or to do something for you.

You should understand that everyone has something they want for themselves. Nobody does anything for free. It could be money, fame, need for success, happiness or power. You will only be deceiving yourself to think that some people do not want anything.

After all, there are several religious people who will render help to you and not make it public. They don’t want to publicize it, saying they did it for God. But who does something for God without wanting a reward. They also want something, only that what they want is not here on earth.


Do you have more ideas to add on how to appeal to people’s self-interest, feel free to contribute through the comment below. I look forward to reading from you.

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