24

This person would be called upon when, say, a potential partner or client is still doubtful and having a difficult time making a decision. The specialist is paid to find just the right words, arguments, and tone, and has enough natural charm, to persuade them.

The word persuader has a number of meanings and tons of ambiguous connotations.

  • 7
    Do such people even exist? I am not aware of their existence outside of political lobbying and organized crime. – michael.hor257k Oct 25 '18 at 10:16
  • 3
    A persuader, being a large wooden mallet, can still be considered appropriate. – Andy G Oct 25 '18 at 15:02
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    This seems to call for the answer "liar". – Joshua Oct 25 '18 at 15:50
  • 2
    @Joshua: Lying may, but does not have to be, part of that person's skill set. – Ricky Oct 25 '18 at 16:02
  • 5
    Note that "closer" is a casual term, it wouldn't be an official job title. (the officla title might just be "Sales Manager", "Lawyer", or indeed sometimes "Negotiator." – Fattie Oct 26 '18 at 8:38

16 Answers 16

49

In the situation you are describing, the person is called a Closer.

From Dictionary.com a closer is:

a person or thing that closes

Which isn't terribly helpful at all, until we look for the correct disambiguation of Close:

to arrange the final details of; to conclude negotiations about

and

to complete or settle (a contract or transaction); consummate:

These definitions are probably the best fit for the term "Close" in the context provided.

Could also be a lobbyist, or if talking about a group of lobbyists just a lobby. Also from Dictionary.com:

a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest; a member of a lobby

34

Especially in business, this person is often called a closer.

Closer: A person who is skilled at bringing a business transaction to a satisfactory conclusion.

Example: Harvey Specter in the TV series Suits is called the best closer in New York because of his ability to come to agreements with his clients.

  • 2
    With his clients, or with the clients of opposing counsel? He doesn't like to go to court; I had taken "closer" here to mean he always settles, and does so in ways favourable for his client. – Mathieu K. Oct 25 '18 at 16:52
  • 3
    @MathieuK. He's called a closer because he closes cases. Who's on the other end of the deal ranges from his clients, his client's opponents or opposing attorneys. – Valrog Oct 26 '18 at 11:26
15

I would suggest negotiator

A person who has formal discussions with someone else in order to reach an agreement, or a person whose job is to do this

14

Not exactly what you are looking for but a closer word is Evangelist, meaning a zealous advocate of something.

It was earlier associated with people who seek others to convert to Christianity by preaching.


Nowadays we have the Technical or Technology Evangelists. From the page about it on Wikipedia:

A technology evangelist is a person who builds a critical mass of support for a given technology and then establishes it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects.

  • 2
    The primary meaning in my experience is still the conversion to Christianity one. – Justin Oct 25 '18 at 15:31
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    @Justin I guess you don't work in Management Consultancy. Plenty of evangelists, but not much Christian ethics! – alephzero Oct 25 '18 at 18:20
  • 1
    I'm not disagreeing with the new definition, just saying the earlier definition is certainly not obsolete (at least not in predominantly Protestant parts of the US). – Justin Oct 25 '18 at 23:07
  • I'm seeing this a lot lately. I don't really like the usage, but can't dispute it's common! In the mainstream language world though it definitely is still associated with religion. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 29 '18 at 10:39
13

It depends on the context of the situation.

Negotiator is probably the closest general word in common usage for what you are describing. That, however, carries implications that the final result will be some sort of deal and that there may be some give and take. That would not be the ideal word without those connotations.

You have essentially provided the job description for a Lawyer, but that word implies there will be some interaction with legal institutions or other lawyers. It may also imply that the person being referenced has a license, depending on the jurisdiction being discussed.

A Lobbyist will perform those functions, but that term is almost exclusively used in connection with politicians or similar bureaucracies.

A Consultant may play a similar role. Normally, a consultant will be brought in to help determine the best course of action rather than to persuade a person that a previously chosen course was correct. However, the end result may be the same.

Another answer suggested Influencer. I agree with this, but influencer is a relatively informal term and also one that carries connotations of influencing large groups of people. I have never yet heard of an influencer being brought in to target a specific individual.

Closer was also suggested. Again, I agree but this is also a fairly informal term that carries some significant connotations. In the contexts I am familiar with, Closers are usually involved in sealing a deal and the word would sound odd used in a context that was not expected to end with a contract or transaction.

Rhetor or (with credit to Ooker) rhetorician also come close in their literal meanings. The words refer to someone who is an expert in rhetoric which is essentially the art of persuasion. However, those words are not in common usage and many native English speakers may be unfamiliar with them. They now mostly comes up in discussing historical teachers of rhetoric which was common in some time periods of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

(With Credit to Brian Drummond) Evangelist has a similar meaning. Originally, it was used almost exclusively in religious contexts, but the meaning has been broadening. It comes up often in technology now. However, like influencer and some of the others, evangelism is more often associated with trying to sway large numbers of people rather than trying to persuade a specific individual.

Advocate refers to someone who presses a specific position and comes very close to your description. However, advocate is sometimes used a synonym for lawyer (along with many others including counselor, attorney, barrister, etc.) When it is not being used in the sense of being a synonym for attorney it does not necessarily carry an implication of skill or training the way that negotiator, lobbyist, and consultant do.

  • 2
    Perhaps it's more common to use rhetorician than rhetor. The academic field rhetorics usually goes along with composition (writing) to become rhetorics and composition. Freshmen in colleges are usually taught this to construct concrete arguments. – Ooker Oct 26 '18 at 7:41
  • 4
    +1. The only answer to explore context. Good list of words but missing "evangelist" where the context is religious (or the passions involved are similar), "zealot" (similar) and "advocate" (originally legal, but now more widely used. – Brian Drummond Oct 26 '18 at 10:22
  • @Ooker I might have to look into that when I have time. Rhetor is the word I have seen in discussions of history. Sophist also had a related meaning. I have not seen rhetorician before. Thanks for pointing it out. – TimothyAWiseman Oct 26 '18 at 15:13
  • @BrianDrummond Good point, regarding evangelist and advocate. I think zealot refers more to someone who passionately believes in something and doesn't necessarily imply advocating for it. In fact, I've seen zealot used more often in connection with violence than speech. Thanks. – TimothyAWiseman Oct 26 '18 at 15:15
  • Lawyers iron-out deals; others make them. – Lambie Oct 26 '18 at 17:58
11

influencer noun

[​MARKETING] a person or group that has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others:
The influencer is the individual whose effect on the purchase decision is in some way significant or authoritative.

See also:

Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers. In business to business (organizational) buying, internal employees (engineers, managers, purchasers) or external consultants act as influencers. (BusinessDictionary)

  • 1
    Convincer! Is it not possible? – mahmud koya Oct 25 '18 at 9:06
  • @mahmudkoya It is not so specific and not widely used today in this sense. It is true that convincer is a word and some marketing literature did use the term, though, e.g., Dorothy Leeds, Smart Questions: The Essential Strategy for Successful Managers, 2000, pp.63-64. – Kris Oct 25 '18 at 9:17
  • Interestingly, Dr. Larry Iverson seems to believe that the only person who can convince you is yourself (The Secret to Persuasiveness, 2011.) and uses influence instead of convince. – Kris Oct 25 '18 at 9:24
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    Influencer is someone who is already in position to influence others. I am not aware of a mechanism by which you can hire a freelance "influencer" to come in and persuade someone in your organization (other than a mob persuader). – michael.hor257k Oct 25 '18 at 10:14
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    I am talking about real life. – michael.hor257k Oct 25 '18 at 10:30
6

In politics, that would be a lobbyist.

From the English Wikipedia article,

Lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in their daily life, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.

His (or her) job is specifically as you describe, with politicians as the intended target.

  • This is exactly what I was thinking. However, you could improve this answer with a definition and/or example of use. You can also use "Lobbyist" outside a political context, but admittedly that's more rare. – BruceWayne Oct 25 '18 at 18:15
  • @BruceWayne - How's that? – WhatRoughBeast Oct 25 '18 at 19:23
  • 1
    +1 That should really be the perfect answer, except that the word is used more in the political context than in commercial parlance, as BruceWayne already noted. – Kris Oct 26 '18 at 5:28
4

If it is a job, that would be a "spokesperson". They do it on behalf of someone else.

If it is a self-motivated activity it would be an "advocate".

  • 2
    Welcome to EL&U. This is the start of good answer. Ideally you should use dictionary definitions and add some reasoning as to why these answers are correct. – Skooba Oct 25 '18 at 20:28
  • "advocate must be a strong contender. The word comes from a legal background but is more widely used where persuasion has to be thorough, generally logical and fact based rather than emotional. For an interesting use in a religious context, see "devil's advocate", whose role is to persuade holy men that another holy person was evil, and therefore should not be elevated to sainthood. – Brian Drummond Oct 26 '18 at 10:30
4

I feel like shouting my answer... I wonder why?

From Merriam Webster:

dealmaker noun

deal·mak·er | \ˈdēl-ˌmā-kər \
plural dealmakers
Definition of dealmaker
: someone who is given to or skilled in negotiating deals or agreements : one who makes deals

Her reputation as a hard-driving dealmaker was known to heads of state and corporate CEOs all over the world.
— Johnnie L. Roberts et al.
He's a dealmaker, a power broker, a convener of interests—in short, the living definition of the career politician …
— Douglas Foster

  • Most famous one probably being Monty Hall. Google it if you don't know. – Michael Fever Feb 27 at 22:45
4

Almost all the suggested answers relate to business deals: a dealmaker, a negotiator, a closer (this last carrying the implication of closing the deal). Doesn't strike me as answering the question that was actually asked.

In the UK, a specialist who is hired to convince people (really, I ought to say the people), who might once have been called a politician, is these days more commonly known as a spin doctor.

When your job is to convince, you are talking about selling an idea, in the way that an ad man might try to sell a new product. Convincing people of something is very, very different from closing the deal. It is about convincing people to want to buy (something), not about negotiating the terms of the deal, and definitely not merely about getting the buyer's signature to close the deal.

In the advertising business, the ad agency's job used to be to convince the public to want to buy their client's product. In politics, the politician's job used to be to convince the public to want to "buy" their party's policies. Selling the people on the product - that was the concept.

So an ad agency's executive was called an ad man, but the more modern term, usual in politics in England, was spin-doctor, the man who puts a positive spin on all political news: i.e. construes everything in the best possible light.

His job is to convince people that the party is doing a good job, and thereby to convince them of the soundness of its policies, and hence to convince them to vote for it.

3

Since ages, middlemen have been doing this and sometimes they are the ones making the most in the deal.

ODO:

middleman
NOUN

1.1 A person who arranges business or political deals between other people.

‘In that role he was the key middleman responsible for arranging the £40 billion deal in 1986.’

‘There are now technological middlemen who mediate how we even see each other.’

  • For ages, since the Middle Ages – Lambie Oct 27 '18 at 15:07
2

The obvious avocation is public relations (PR). The trouble, of course, lies in the word public. Only the very wealthy individuals can afford such specialists.

When it comes to private or personal disputes, there is the role of ‘mediator’. These can even have a formal role in disputes over separation and divorce. But the role of the mediator is one of neutrality between two parties, rather than partisan support or advocacy for one individual.

There is an art of persuasion. It is called ‘rhetoric’. In Western history, this art of persuasion back to the 5th century BCE, when travelling experts in the art of persuasion offered to teach the art of persuasion.

It came to prominence in Athens, where the radical democracy (of law courts as well as political assembly) left the well born and affluent without any source of power other than popular assent.

This seems to have contributed to the popularity of a number of philosophers/teachers, claiming, among other things, to teach the art of persuasion, which for some amounted to convincing people to see proposed actions to be in their own interest. They came to be known as ‘sophists’, from which we derive the pejorative word sophistry, or the use of crafty arguments to manoeuvre people into agreeing to what we want.

I very much fear that any word that becomes associated with successful persuasion, however sweet, will sooner or later be tarred with a similar brush.

  • Hi Tuffy. I'd upvote your answer, except it lacks authoritative evidence such as a dictionary definition for public relations (e.g. to clarify whether "person" is a necessary component of the term). Without this, your answer is merely a comprehensively stated personal opinion. – Chappo Oct 27 '18 at 0:14
  • @Chappo You’re quite right. – Tuffy Oct 27 '18 at 8:21
  • 1
    public relations has zero to do with making a deal. A mediator is a person who settles disputes between parties. – Lambie Oct 27 '18 at 15:09
2

If you want the position to have a bit more sinister feel to it, I would go with 'fixer' or 'mechanic', implying a bit of hit-man action, like "an offer you can't refuse".

1

Some alternatives with a more negative connotation: if he’s paid to say things that aren’t true, he’s a bullshitter or bullshit artist. (This might be Bowdlerized to BSer or BS artist.) If he’s a true believer in a cause and promotes it no matter what, he’s an advocate or activist. If they’re annoying about it, fanatic. If he’s doing it for a political party, he’s a spin artist or perhaps spinmeister. Apologist originally meant a type of religious evangelists who studied other religious traditions, but has come to mean defending the indefensible. A disparaging slang term for someone paid to defend anything their employer does is a flack or PR flack. Someone who writes advertisements (especially if they’re insincere, poorly-argued or unoriginal) is a hack. A lawyer who’ll say anything to win a case is a shyster.

  • 1
    "Whitehouse Spokesperson" if doing it to convince people that everything the President says or tweets is not malarkey, but in fact, everything the President says or tweets is tremendously wise, obvious, and great. – geneSummons Oct 26 '18 at 21:02
  • @geneSummons That works, but with slightly different shades of meaning. Spokespeople literally speak for their employers, saying whatever they are told to say. They aren’t expected necessarily to agree with it themselves, although old-fashioned people like me might say that if they have a strong moral objection to something they’re told to say, they should resign. The person at the White House who’s supposed to take questions from the press and explain the Administration’s position as well as they possibly can has the job title White House Press Secretary. – Davislor Oct 26 '18 at 21:52
  • @geneSummons Anpther word often used for people who might or might not be formally employed as spokespeople, but who are so close to a candidate that they are assumed to speak for them, is surrogate. Cable networks in the US now call the partisan talking-heads who argue with each other on TV strategists. – Davislor Oct 26 '18 at 21:56
  • 1
    A hack is, or was in my youth, an abusive term for a yellow-sheet journalist (as a certain category of newspapers was known way-back-when), not specifically a term for an ad-man. In fact I don't recall the term ever being used in connection with advertising: the definition offered is exactly right, but it referred to a certain type of newsmen, not to ad-men. – Ed999 Nov 12 '18 at 4:29
  • 1
    No one (outside of a lunatic asylum) would advertise a job with the job description "wanted: a bullshitter". No specialist would be called by such a description. And it really is a description of the job, not a job title. But I feel a job title was what the o/p was asking for. – Ed999 Nov 12 '18 at 4:35
-1

This doesn't actually have anything to do with closing a business deal or reeling in a doubtful customer but I think you're looking for The Mentalist, from the show... The Mentalist.

In the show, and in real life, mentalists can perform extraordinary feats of mind. They're not actually doing magic or even performing magic tricks though, so they don't necessarily need tools. You can think of a kind of Sherlock Holmes but also with excellent social and people manipulation skills.

Mentalist has many meanings in the dictionaries I've looked at but I think this quote from yourdictionary.com summarizes the dictionary meaning pretty well:

mentalist is a mind reader or magic person who can perform extraordinary tricks that rely on mental powers.

But wait! This part from wikipedia.com is actually, in my opinion, a much better explanation:

Mentalists generally do not mix "standard" magic tricks with their mental feats. Doing so associates mentalism too closely with the theatrical trickery employed by stage magicians. Many mentalists claim not to be magicians at all, arguing that it is a different art form altogether. The argument is that mentalism invokes belief and when presented properly, is offered as being "real" be it a claim of psychic ability, or proof that supports other claims such as a photographic memory, being a "human calculator", the power of suggestion, NLP, etc. Mentalism plays on the senses and a spectator's perception of tricks.

I understand this is an out of the box idea but I really like this word instead of the other suggestions like "influencer" or "closer", so I just wanted to bring this one to attention.

  • I believe the word you're thinking of is mesmerism, actually: the ability to convince an audience of something through the use of hypnosis or mind control. – Ed999 Oct 29 '18 at 1:49
  • @Ed999 That is an entirely different word and the manners used are also entirely different. – John Hamilton Oct 30 '18 at 6:30
-1

This is very simple

salesperson

A salesperson does not need to have detailed information on what they are trying to "sell" or "convince". As the sayings go, "a good salesman can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo"

A good salesperson doesn't sell the product they sell the person. They find common ground, find what their target cares about and then they work it until they get it.

  • 1
    Hi Michael, welcome to the site. I don't think a lobbyist would normally be called a salesperson, except as an insult. In any case, your answer is too "simple": the system has flagged it for deletion as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on this site is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. You can edit your answer to avoid deletion - e.g. adding a dictionary definition. For further guidance, see How to Answer. Make sure you also take the Tour :-) – Chappo Oct 27 '18 at 0:06
  • 1
    +1. You are completely right @MichaelFever. Only sane answer in this thread. :) – mathreadler Oct 28 '18 at 15:20
  • +1 What else does a salesman/salesperson do other than try to 'sell' something to someone by convincing them to 'buy' or agree to it. I can't understand why this hasn't had more votes, and I certainly don't agree with @Chappo. Brevity can be a virtue. – Bobble Oct 30 '18 at 20:54
  • @Bobble on ELU brevity is not a virtue, which is why this answer (along with our comments) will soon be deleted if it remains unedited. I recommend you read the guidance in the Help Centre to get a better understanding of how SE works. – Chappo Oct 30 '18 at 21:08
  • @Chappo By definition, a lobbyist is "a person who takes part in an organized attempt to influence legislators (government). That is a very narrowly defined role where the question was "What would a specialist be called whose job is to convince people?" Now let's do a reversal test. Could a salesperson be considered a lobbyist? No of course not. But could a lobbyist be considered a salesperson? Absolutely they can. Examine the roles. Both are acting out of financial gain, not out of a personal reason. They are both doing a job. Lobbyist does not work for this answer, salesperson does. – Michael Fever Nov 15 '18 at 6:33

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