The quotes pattern is a powerful and very useful and sneaky tool from NLP that you can use in many situations to help you covertly gauge the interest level of a client, customer, or potential lover.
If you are a salesperson, and you have a potential customer sitting in front of you, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to find out exactly what their interest is in the product you are trying to sell? Of course, if you blatantly ask them, like “So, Mr. Customer, are you ready to buy this product yet?” You’ll likely scare them off, never to return.
Similarly, if you are in a bar talking to a potential date, and you ask them “So are you interested in me enough to go out on date?” you’ll likely come across as creepy, or needy. Even if you don’t, and they answer negatively, it can be a serious blow to your ego, not to mention putting all the power in their hands, as they now are absolutely clear of your intentions.
There is a better, sneakier way. It’s called the quotes pattern. What you do is take the question you’d like to ask them, and quote somebody else saying the same thing. Then just sit back and watch their response. If they give you some good buying signals, your good. If they don’t, that just means you need to do a little bit more work in promoting yourself or your product.
Lets say you are a car salesperson. You have a client sitting in front of you. You’ve been on a test drive, and you’ve managed to get them inside. It’d be great if you could just say, “Ok, now you should buy the car.” And have them passively agree. But you can’t. Here’s what you do. Start talking about a friend or colleague of yours that works at another dealership. His sales method is much more direct, and you give the client an example.
“I have this friend, and he works at a dealership on the other side of town, and he is probably the most aggressive salesperson I know. He’ll look a customer right in the eyes, and tell them that they really should buy this car today. That if they don’t buy this car today, they are going to lose this opportunity, and they might not get it back. And the funny thing is, this guy sells a lot of cars this way. I could never be that direct to a customer.” And then share a laugh about how direct your friend is.
In this story, when you say “buy this car today,” say it directly to the client. Because you are quoting some other person, they won’t react to you as if you’ve said it. But if they are interested in buying the car, you’ll know. You’ll also know if they think the car is a piece of junk, or it’s too expensive by their reaction. If that happens, just continue to demonstrate the value of the car.
You can also use this technique during job interviews, and during seduction attempts. For example, if you are in a bar talking to somebody you might be romantically interested in, tell a story about a friend that is absolutely fearless with the opposite sex. Describe how they will ask a person right after meeting them if they want to go someplace quieter. For example:
After you’ve broken the ice, and started talking about how people meet in bars, try something like this:
“I know this guy (or girl) who has absolutely no fear. He’ll start talking to somebody in a bar, and after only a few minutes, look them in the eye (as you are looking them in the eye) and say I think you are really beautiful/handsome. Lets go someplace where we can be alone. (Pause.) Do you believe that? I could never say something like that.”
Of course, when you say the “you are really beautiful/handsomeâ€¦” part, say it directly to them without breaking eye contact. Pay close attention how they react. If they smile, or if their pupils dilate, or if they take a deep breath, you’re in. Proceed accordingly.
Have fun with this.