The following will be heavily revised. This is just a rough draft, so if anyone has anything to add please make a reply to this thread.
Below is a quick and dirty collection of information jumbled together about mastering the art of salesmanship. When you're discussing politics, and persuading someone to vote for a candidate (Ron Paul YEEEEEEEAH!), you're a salesman. You're out there to get people to buy (vote) for your product (Ron Paul 2012).
Walking the Walk
When approaching someone about a product, or a candidate, you need to look and feel confident. Since this is highly personable, you need to approach people with a smile. A smile helps break down the barrier between a stranger-to-stranger conversation and makes you look friendly, even if you're as creepy as JosephTheLibertarian.
Immediately announce who you are and why you want to engage this person in a friendly conversation. A first and last name is great, it shows that you're transparent. You goal here is to solicit a response, something to which you can reply and continue the conversation.
“Hi, I'm Jim James campaigning for Ron Paul. Do you know who you're going to vote for in the upcoming election?”
Yes and No questions are preferred, since either answer gives you a reason to continue the conversation. Plus, since it is a Yes or No, they're going to either answer with a Yes or No. They might say:
“Yeah, I'm voting for X” or “No, I'm not sure.” Both of these answers are great, you can reply to each!
Someone who says Yes, but someone other than Ron might be “Well what is it that makes you support X candidate?” For No, you might respond with “Well, what issues do you really care about?”
From there, you can take it how you'd like. I can't write a response to every outcome, but everyone on this forum should be well versed enough to offer a rebuttal or answer to every response.
Remember, do not be confrontational. Your goal here is to be as agreeable as possible. People vote for who they like, the issues, of course, are secondary. As a salesperson for liberty, you need to be someone that prospective voters can like. You are a derivative of the final product, the candidate.
Engaging in a Conversation
1. The most important part to being a good salesperson is to listen. Listen to what they're saying. Listen to the kind of person they are. Listen and take note of why they're focused on the issues.
2. A younger person is likely more interested in foreign policy and ending the wars. An older voter is probably more interested in healthcare and fiscal matters. These are just two examples.
3. You'll also need to be engaging. You'll want to nod when they speak, make consistent eye contact, but don't launch a staring contest. Smile when they crack a joke. Never, never, never, finish their sentence. LISTEN. A conversation is a two way street.
4. When you go to make a point about a certain policy, or Ron Paul's principled track record, lean forward. Sell this point with your words, and your gestures. Leaning in shows confidence, and projects that this point is important. You're boldening that point.
5. Lulls in a conversation do happen. There is no such thing as an awkward silence. Often, attempting to end an "awkward silence" only makes things more "awkward."
6. Be loose and open. Crossing your arms is one of the worst things you can do. You're putting a physical barrier between you and the person you're engaging in conversation. Also, it shows that you're not in agreement and being confrontational about the conversation, even if that isn't your goal.
7. Yawning. Don't do it. I don't care if you're up all night putting 12on Paul signs all over this planet, a yawn shows disinterest. It is one of the quickest ways to say “I don't care about this conversation or what you're saying.”
8. End the conversation on a high note. Even if you can't bring yourself to agree with some Romney supporting moron, at least find one last point of agreement before closing the discussion. “Well, whoever is president, let's just hope they _______________” <--throw in whatever that person says is important to them. Balancing the budget, for example.
9. One of the best ways to get someone to remember the conversation is to make physical contact. A handshake at the end of the conversation is perfect. Offer your hand and make a firm grasp of theirs, eye contact is also very important here. Don't look at their hand, look at their eyes.
9A. If you encounter someone who is particularly amiable, a pat on the back at the end of the conversation is a very intimate way to sign off on the conversation, and a great way to make a connection. Granted, this will not work with all types of people. However, a friendly smile and a small pat on the back of someone who is receptive to the message will really get some mileage out of the conversation. It is a scientific fact that physical contact makes a conversation more memorable.