Everyone has wondered in life how they can be more persuasive. This is because everyone feels like they lost out on a deal. Whether it’s negotiating a raise, selling something, or romancing your object of desire, persuasion is the lynchpin of all of them. The importance of this skill is why I’ve wrote about it for so long, and now I’m happy to share with you a book that will take your persuasive abilities and rocket them to the moon. That book is Unlimited Selling Power.
You probably recognize it as being from my list of 10 books you should read in 2017.
Unlimited Selling Power came out in 1990, but the language patterns it shows the reader are timeless. Throughout, Donald Moine and Kenneth Lloyd apply the tools of clinical hypnosis to the field of selling, which was quite new at the time. How did they do this? Naturally, they followed the people they call “sales superstars” – people who were making six figures or more a year. What did they discover? Sure enough, it was that they were all using hypnotic language patterns.
In other words, it was the hypnotic selling skills that separated the superstars from the paupers that come into work miserably every morning.
So, what are these important tools, the ones that separate the winners from the losers? Unlimited Selling Power has chapters full of them! Some of the tools of Unlimited Selling Power are obvious. Some of them are so subtle that they appear more like Dark Matter – you know it’s there because of its gravitational pull, but you can’t see them so well.
What’s in the toolbox and how do you use what you find?
One thing to understand at the outset is that when doing hypnosis, you’re making suggestions. At the end of the day, it’s that relative simplicity to keep in mind.
Mindset shift: it’s far more powerful to goad someone into acting on your suggestion rather than telling or asking them directly, because that way your goal will seem to come from your prospect. As Unlimited Selling Power says often, people cannot resist themselves or their own actions. Make your persuasion appear to come from your prospect’s point of view and it will be practically irresistible.
So the name of the game is to increase suggestibility to start out with. Here’s one way you can:
Pacing and Leading
One way to increase suggestibility is to get on the same wavelength with your prospect. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably heard Scott Adams talking about this concept, or saw my recent post concerning it. The central idea behind pacing and leading (and all unlimited selling skills) is building trust fast.
Persuasion requires a certain rapport between the persuader and the persuaded. It’s very hard to be persuaded by those we don’t like or trust. Think of all those times you saw a salesperson or somebody on the street handing out petitions. Did you want to talk or get the hell out of there?
The obvious answer is because the salesperson just came on too strong and too hot. Unless the prospect was looking for the exact thing he was offering, there was no way to generate interest because there was no trust or rapport.
Trust and rapport are the keys to unlimited persuasive power.
Pacing and leading builds rapport by the use of the mirror. You’ll probably recognize this as Robert Greene’s 44th Law of Power.
By mirroring the prospect, or even the environment, you can build trust fast. How is trust established? By telling the truth!
Everyone dreams of being successful. Few manage to get there. A lot of this lack of success is actually a conscious choice! You choose to be unsuccessful by refusing to learn new skills, and that situation will be remedied for you when you read Stumped.
Read that last paragraph carefully again. Did you notice the pattern? I began with saying things that were undeniably true (everyone wants success and few manage to get there). I then began to make mild, debatable suggestions that sounded pretty true (most people can choose better habits if they wanted). Then I made the small suggestion (you choosing not to be successful) followed by the larger one (about Stumped). Throughout, I “picked up the pace.”
Unlimited Selling Power explains it like this:
You can feel yourself sitting deeply in the chair,
and you can feel your arms moving across the armrests,
and you can feel your feet resting firmly on the floor,
and you can feel yourself breathing… in… and… out…
and you can feel your eyelids beginning to drop down just a little
Each of these statements is a pacing statement except the last one. When the hypnotist says, You can feel your eyelids beginning to drop down just a little bit,” he is picking up the pace. He is leading the patient.
It is much more effective to pace someone by using subtle matching and mirroring techniques before you begin trying to influence them. “Picking up the pace” too early, before trust is established, can be disastrous. It is usually safest and wisest to pace, and pace, and pace and then pick up the pace rather than to start by rushing the pace. People resist when you pick up the pace too quickly.
What you just saw was only the most basic application of this technique. Even so, you’ve now learned something that most salespeople lack, big time (as evidenced by their continuing to come on so strong and so directly). Unlimited Selling Power will tell you far more when you read it.
If pacing and leading sounds a bit complicated to you, other mechanisms of influence in Unlimited Selling Power are far simpler. The choice of word can make all the difference in the world. Consider the following two sentences:
“Once you understand the persuasion system in Stumped, you’ll get to the next level in life.”
“Once you take hold of the persuasion system in Stumped, your life is going to soar to a higher mountaintop.”
It’s essentially the same sentence, but your emotions are engaged far differently in the second one, aren’t they? Unlimited Selling Power will tell you this:
There are literally thousands of action words in the English language. When you analyze the speeches of powerful orators such as Ronald Reagan or Reverend Robert Schuller, you will see that they use these action-based words much more frequently than less-successful politicians and less-successful religious leaders. To acquire the power of great speakers, use the same verbal techniques they utilize. Here are some power-packed action sentences you can start using today:
Do you grasp the many benefits of our product?
Do you have a handle on how this works?
Let’s take the bull by the horns and make a decision on this today.
Let’s run with it.
Don’t stick your neck out with that other company.
Are you stuck in a rut with that old technology?
Notice the difference between the first sentence and this passive equivalent: ‘Does this make sense to you?’ This passive sentence fails to deeply involve the client. Compare the third sentence with its more passive equivalent: ‘Can you make a decision today?’ When you use passively-worded sentences, you get minimal customer involvement and you risk boring your prospect. Pace the customer with action words to call him or her into action!
The 4 Steps to Conversational Hypnosis
Unlimited Selling Power explodes the myth that you need to dangle a pendulum in front of someone’s face to hypnotize him. Instead, hypnosis can be used conversationally (as seen above). Unlimited Selling Power lays out the four basic steps from which other techniques spring:
Step 1: Hold and Fixate the Client’s Attention:
This step uses specific techniques (described in succeeding chapters) to attract and keep the full attention and concentration of the client. Whereas classical (“direct”) hypnosis typically called for a device or stimulus on which the client would focus, such as the crystal ball or shiny, swinging gold watch, indirect hypnosis frequently focuses on events, emotions or beliefs.
Step 2: Present Undeniably Truthful Ideas that are Impossible to Disagree With:
The second step of conversational hypnosis is to present ideas or perceptions which are impossible for the client or customer to disagree with. These ideas or perceptions will also show the client that you understand his or her position and needs, and will help the client recognize that you can help.
Ronald Reagan knows how to move a crowd of people with words. If you listen carefully, you will note that he usually starts his speeches by mentioning certain current events or news items that everyone is familiar with. These are the undeniably truthful facts which start to induce the conversational hypnosis. He starts to talk about them in a low-key non-partisan way that cannot be disagreed with. Whether you like Reagan or not, you soon find yourself nodding your head in agreement over these “minor” points.
Because the earliest words of his speeches match or nearly match the subconscious thoughts of many listeners, Reagan rapidly builds trust. We all trust and like people like ourselves, and through strategically using these forms of conversational hypnosis, Reagan indirectly communicates “I am like you are. We are seeing eye to eye. You are safe with me. We understand one another.
Step 3: Increase the Client’s Need and Readiness to Respond to Take Action:
To increase the client’s desire to take action, it is frequently necessary to free the client from fixed mental habits. This is perhaps the one area which has been most neglected or overlooked in conventional sales training.
One powerful way to build the need to respond is to present the client with ideas that are acceptable, but quite unexpected. This puts the client into the position of “being between decisions.” At this point, as Dr. Erickson stated, the client is in the uneasy position of “teetering.” You can frequently get movement and get a decision made once you get the client teetering.
In our sales training seminars, we describe the prospect at this point as a man floating in a sea of confusion. He will grasp at anything which looks like a life preserver or the solution to his problems. The prospect becomes quite anxious to end the uncertainty. To most people, uncertainty is an unpleasant mental state. The client at this point will welcome a decision-a decision that may well have been rejected in its entirety if made at the outset.
The careful use of a surprising statement can get your customers to take a fresh look at your products or services. If you have a “know-it-all” customer, you need to use mildly surprising statements to re-educate that customer so that he or she will take action.
Step 4: Provide Clear and Direct Actions for the Customer to Take During and After the Session:
You have your customer’s attention. You have used undeniably truthful statements to build a climate of agreement. You have increased your customer’s readiness to take action. Now, you need to guide your client down the desired action pathway.
Use age progression to take your client into the future. Have your client imagine every possible negative situation that could impact on his making the purchase decision. Then, while the client is still “living in the future,” solve every one of these problems. This will remove any remaining anxiety about the purchase and will also insure against buyer’s remorse later.
If you cannot solve every problem surrounding the purchase, this may not be the right product for that customer. Do another needs assessment to make sure you are selling the customer something he needs and something he can afford. If not, then sell him a more appropriate product, following the steps outlined above.
If this review sounds a bit technical, Unlimited Selling Power itself isn’t. What you’ll find when you read it is an incredibly sophisticated system with unlimited potential that is the best sales book I’ve yet read. The beauty of it all is that each part of the system of conversational hypnosis stands on its own. If you need to practice pacing and leading, you can do so. If you need to practice overcoming objections (there’s a chapter on this too!) you can do that, and so on. Unlimited Selling Power invites you take control of the skills on your own time, at your own pace, in your own way.
Though written in 1990 with two chapters that are out of date (mainly regarding the technology of the time), Unlimited Selling Power and its system itself is a powerful lesson plan to take your skills of persuasion to the clouds. If you’re serious about taking your place among the sales superstars, you’ll read it.