What The Creator of Conversational Hypnosis Can Teach us About Sales And Seduction
Every time you open your mouth, you have an intention. Whether this intention is conscious or not, planned or not, automatic or not, realized by you or not, this intention is there. Perhaps if somebody asks you the time, your intention is to behave in a socially appropriate manner without drawing undue attention to yourself.
If a homeless person walks up to you and asks for change, your intention is likely to end the uncomfortable conversation as quickly and painlessly as possible. For some this means to ignore him. For some it means giving him a dollar. For some it means an automatic physical altercation. As politically incorrect as it sounds, unless you set out specifically to volunteer in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, most people feel uncomfortable (for many, many different reasons) when approached by a homeless person asking for change.
If you are a guy, and you approach an attractive girl in a bar, your intention is likely to get her to like you, and perhaps more.
Most of these intentions are extremely vague, and largely unconscious. Very rarely do we stop and plan an outcome when somebody stops us on the street to ask us for directions or the time. Even though our response is automatic, we are trying to achieve an outcome of maintaining safety. Our automatic responses are largely based on protection, or defense.
Even the guy approaching the girl in the bar, although he has a somewhat conscious intention of getting her to like him, he is still likely operating from a frame of protection at the same time. He would love to be able to walk up to her, be as open and expressive as possible, make her laugh, show her his stunning personality and conversation skills. However, most of us guys are terrified of the public shame that the rejection of our advances would bring. So we hedge our bets, so to speak. We engage, but protect at the same time. This can prove extremely difficult.
The same goes with salespeople. Rejection can be awfully painful, even for the most seasoned veterans. Many times they approach the prospect with the same mindset of the guy approaching the girl in the bar. They’d love to proclaim how wonderful their product is, and clearly suggest that the prospect buy the product, but many are afraid to do so. One main weakness of almost anybody who has even been in sales is an inability to simply ask for the sale.
Most sales people beat around the bush, hoping the prospect will come to the conclusion on their own to buy the product. This rarely works. As most prospects usually need a nudge in the right direction.
However, there is another way. Actually a couple of other ways. Well, actually, lots of other ways, but I will only talk briefly about two of them. These were all “invented” by Milton Erickson, the father of conversational hypnosis. He came up with all kinds of powerfully persuasive conversation tools to help people overcome large life issues in a relatively short amount of time.
These two are very powerful ones that you can go out and use today, in a bar, with a girl, or with a prospect, or with your friends.
One is an indirect way of asking for the sale. This requires you be pretty good at reading body language, and facial expressions. The way you do this is to use what’s called an embedded question. Whenever you present a question to somebody, they will answer it, either verbally or not. But when you embed it in a sentence, then they don’t feel the pressure to answer it openly. But their body language and facial expression will give them away. Here’s how:
Say you are selling cars. You’ve been on the test drive, and your back in the office with the customer. They are still there, and they’ve been paying attention to you so far. You haven’t started talking about actual finances yet. You are still discussing whether or not they liked the car. You can say:
“Well, I don’t know whether or not you want to buy this car today, but before we talk about any kind of financial issues, let me talk to you about the extended warranty.”
Watch closely as you say the “buy the car today” part. If they seem like they are about to have a heart attack, you should probably hold off on asking them to sign a contract. If they seem to show any positive response at all, you’re in pretty good shape.
Same goes with the girl in the bar. You could say:
“I know we’ve been only talking for twenty minutes, and I don’t know if you feel comfortable giving your phone number to a guy you just met, but I think it’s important to be open when meeting new people. You never know when you are going to find somebody that could turn into a lifelong friend.”
Again, pay attention to how she responds when you say, “giving your phone number.” If she briefly lights up like a Christmas tree, she’s been dying for you to ask, and she’s into you. Proceed, and get her number. If she steps back and puts her hand protectively over her throat, you should politely excuse yourself.
That’s the “embedded question” method, and can be very powerful in testing how you are doing.
The other way is a bit more aggressive, and can be used by itself, or after you’ve successfully tested for a close. This trick is called the double bind. It involves giving them the illusion of a choice, when in actuality, both choices are the same thing.
For example, with the car example, you could say (as you pull out the contract):
“So were you going to use your current car as a trade in, or did you just want to make a down payment?” Either way they answer, it presupposes they are going to buy the car. This is, of course tough to do on a big-ticket item like a car. It can work better with smaller issues. You can use this for every part of the sales process, when you want to escalate to the next level.
“So did you want to test drive a blue one, or a red one?”
“So were you going to finance through us, or your own bank?”
“Would you rather test drive before or after we talk about financing?”
This works really well with phone sales when setting up appointments:
“I am going to be in your neighborhood next week, would Tuesday at 4:00 PM be OK, or is Thursday at 6:30 better?”
And you can also use it on the girl whose number you got:
“Say this is George from the other night, we talked at Flankies. I enjoyed our conversation, and I’d like to see you again, for a cup of coffee. Which is easier for you, Tuesday evening at 8:00, or Thursday at 9:30?”
You can use both of these together for a powerful increase in your closing percentage. Test their “buying temperature” with the embedded question, and then “close” them with the double bind. You’ll be amazed at your results.