Back in 1981, Personal Selling Power became the first business magazine in America to feature full length articles on the new science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) applied to sales and marketing. Many people at that time said NLP was a fad and that it would soon be forgotten. However, NLP has gone on to become one of the most popular new approaches in the world to enhanced performance, and is being used in one form or another by most modern sales and management training programs.
What many students of NLP do not know is that many of the most powerful Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques were actually derived from the field of indirect or conversational hypnosis. This form of hypnosis has nothing to do with tricking anyone or putting them to sleep. It is simply a fascinating “mesmerizing” way of speaking. Conversational hypnosis has the following three characteristics: 1. It grabs the listener’s attention; 2. It focuses the listener’s attention; 3. It greatly increases suggestibility.
These are three skills that are obviously important for any salesperson to develop. While NLP uses some of the techniques of conversational hypnosis, there are many more that still remain to be discovered. If you are one of the first to master these techniques and strategies, you’ll gain a major competitive edge.
Conversational hypnosis is completely ethical. It is what sales superstars have been doing for years, but they have not known how to explain it or teach it to others. Here are ten of the most powerful hypnotic sales techniques you can immediately put to use to increase your sales effectiveness and your income.
One: Master Self-Hypnosis
Sales is a stressful profession and even the greatest salespeople get a lot of rejection. When times are tough and sales are few and far between, negative thinking and pessimism abound. Negative thoughts (“our prices are too high… we’re in a recession”) that are repeated over and over become hypnotic and can drain your energy. The good news is that if you learn self-hypnosis, you can easily replace negative self-destructive thoughts with positive thoughts. I have telephone clients all over the United States who buy an hour of my time each week. Many of my clients have experienced dramatic increases in sales and significant reductions in their level of stress by learning self-hypnosis.
Two: Sell Them On Their Dreams
Find out your prospect’s innermost dreams and desires, and piggyback whatever you are selling on those dreams. When people talk about their dreams, they are going into an imaginary future world. They are leaving the mundane here-and-now and are entering a hypnotic state. You don’t have to induce hypnosis when people talk about their dreams — you only have to make use of the hypnotic state they are already in.
Encourage people to talk about their dreams. If you show them that they can achieve their dreams and their ideal state (or part of it) through buying your product or service — they are likely to buy it! This is a technique used extensively by Tony Robbins, Charles Givens and almost every other supersalesperson in the world today. Remember, people cannot resist their own dreams.
Three: Paint Vivid Word Pictures
Much of hypnosis is based on mental imagery, which is essentially vivid word pictures. If you go to see a clinical hypnotist, he might have you imagine you are floating down a river on a warm afternoon, or that you are sitting on a beach in Hawaii, or floating in the clouds. Such imagery gets people to leave the present moment and present concerns and it frees up the human imagination. It activates the creative, emotional part of the mind and quiets down the critical part of your prospect. Our research on sales superstars shows that they use much more imagery than do average salespeople. Don’t be afraid to use mental picture after picture after picture in your sales presentation. To do so is positively mesmerizing and gives you a true competitive edge.
Four: Learn The Instant Replay Technique
If you are selling cars, find out how your prospect bought his last car. If you are selling houses, find out how he bought his last home. Ask questions and listen to learn every mental step he or she went through, the order of those mental steps, and who else was consulted during the decision-making process. When people talk about how they have done things in the past, they get mesmerized by their own stories. And, since we are all creatures of habit, we are very likely to buy today in the same way we have bought in the past. Sell him a suit today in the same way he bought his last suit and the only way he can resist you is to resist himself. Most people find it nearly impossible to resist their own thinking and their own values. He won’t know why, but he will find it fascinating (and mesmerizing) to buy from you. Your customer will find that the whole process is almost effortless since it fits in so perfectly with the way he likes to buy.
Five: Use Hypnotic Affirmations
We all talk to ourselves all the time. Scientific research has shown that many people talk to themselves at the rate of up to 500 words per minute! Since you are going to be talking to yourself, why not say something positive? Many of the old-fashioned approaches to positive thinking neglected the all-important role of affirmations in self-programming.
What is your attitude towards selling? Whether you are aware of it or not, you are talking to yourself every day about what selling means to you. Are you saying, “Selling is a drag?” or “How did I get into this field?”
I’ve taught many of the clients in my private practice to use hypnotic affirmations to squeeze out almost all negative thoughts. Repeat these affirmations 1,000 times over the next two weeks: “I love to sell.” “Selling is easy for me.” “I love to meet new people.” “I represent a great company and a great line of products.” The constant use of these and other affirmations creates a positive mental state and self-confidence that no competitor can shake.
Six: Utilize The Power of Repetition
Much of hypnosis is based on the power of repetition, whether it is the repetitive swinging of a shiny gold watch or the repetitious use of a word such as “sleep” or “relax.” Sales superstars are not afraid to repeat themselves, especially if they are making an important point or a new point. To keep what you are saying fascinating, each time you repeat it, say it a little differently. Use your hypnotic repetitive statement, then talk about something else, then use the hypnotic repetitive statement, then talk about something else, then use the hypnotic repetitive statement again. I supported myself through ten years of university studies by working as a salesman and I developed certain phrases which I repeated hypnotically to set new sales records. Here is just one example: “You will love this product.” “You will absolutely love this.” “You will completely fall in love with this.” “You will love this forever.”
In advertising sales, they say that nothing sells like repetition. In selling radio ad spots, for example, you never sell one or two advertisements. No one ever buys a product after hearing about it in one radio ad. Instead, you sell a company a set of 50 or 75 radio spots. Why is repetition so important? Most people are terrible listeners. They miss much of what you are saying, and within one hour they forget about 80 percent of the little bit they did hear. If you don’t use hypnotic repetition, you take the risk that your client or prospect might not hear some of your most important messages. Remember that hypnotic repetition works powerfully with both factual and emotional messages.
Seven: Tell Hypnotic Stories
Some of the most powerful hypnotic techniques of all are story and metaphor techniques. When people listen to a story, they tend to let down their guard and become less critical. They “go see a movie” in their mind. When you tell a hypnotic story, they think you “aren’t selling,” yet you might be making the most powerful sales points in your entire presentation. The subject of sales metaphors and sales stories is too complex to cover in depth here. You can learn the most powerful sales stories by reading Unlimited Selling Power by Donald Moine and Ken Lloyd (Prentice-Hall, 1990). As a starting point, collect, write down and practice the most effective sales stories that are told by the sales champions in your company or industry. Simply mastering these stories could increase your sales by 20 percent or even more.
Eight: Use Hypnotic Sales Scripts
Hypnotic scripts are organized collections of words that are unforgettable: Here are just a few hypnotic scripts we are all familiar with: “To be or not to be…” “Four score and seven years ago…” “Ask not what your country can do for you…” The problem with many salespeople is that they speak in a way that is boring and banal. It is no wonder that they can’t get appointments and that customers avoid them. Other salespeople have a way of speaking that sparkles and is fascinating and mesmerizing. The salespeople who mesmerize use powerful collections of words (scripts) that are impossible to ignore.
I’ve recently done over 30 talk radio shows in cities all across the United States. The reason I have been featured on more talk radio shows in America than any other sales trainer is that I have figured out a way of talking about selling that absolutely mesmerizes talk show hosts and big audiences. I have scripts of powerful word combinations that I use that positively open up people’s minds to the world of selling. I use other proven scripts when I give sales training seminars across the United States, Canada and Australia.
Objections are predictable. You should be able to predict every objection that a prospect might raise to buying your product or service. Most important, you should have dozens of mesmerizing, heart-stopping, mind-blowing scripts to use to totally take the power out of these predictable objections. Hypnotic sales scripts are the best guaranteed way to eliminate objections and successfully close sales.
Nine: Build Trust
All of the research on trust points to the fact that we trust and like people who are like we are. The most rapid way of building trust is through the use of pacing techniques, which are matching or mirroring techniques. When you become like the other person by pacing him, you minimize and dissolve differences. When you are like the customer, the only way the customer cannot like you is by not liking himself — which for most people is difficult to do.
To build trust and rapport rapidly and to send the subliminal message, “I am like you are,” pace and mirror the following: speech rate and speech volume, body language, moods and emotions, and opinions and beliefs.
When you completely pace someone, the effect is positively hypnotic. You can get to the place where you can almost predict what they will say next, and that gives you tremendous power and self-confidence in selling.
Ten: Use Intraverbal Suggestions
Intraverbal suggestions come from intonations and voice inflections. When a hypnotist uses the word “sleep,” he usually pronounces it in a soft deep voice and extends it out into “sssllleeeeeeppp.” The special intonations and voice inflections he uses give the word extra power. In the same way, we have found that top sales professionals turn certain words into action commands by changing their intonations: “Think of how haaapyyy your wife will be when you give her this new sports car!”
In this example, a long resonant intonation on the word “happy” triggers strong positive feelings in the customer. He has an immediate positive experience of his wife’s happiness. If the salesman just said the same words quickly and matter-of-factly, they would have little effect. It is the intraverbal suggestion that gives them all their power. Your voice inflection can actually trigger happiness in the listener in the instant he hears such a suggestion!
I encourage clients in my private practice to bring in or mail in tapes of their sales presentations or telemarketing calls. We then identify key words that can be made more powerful through the use of intraverbal suggestion. Finally, we practice using different forms of intraverbal suggestion until we find absolutely the most powerful combination of intonation and inflection.
I am often able to significantly increase a salesperson’s closing ratio simply by adding the proper form of intraverbal suggestion to the words he or she is already using.
These ten techniques of hypnotic selling have helped individuals and companies sell billions of dollars worth of products and services. If you use them and practice them, they will work for you. The art and science of hypnotic or mesmerizing selling, while little known today, will soon become as well known as NLP in selling. If you are one of the first to master these powerful persuasion techniques, you’ll have a significant edge over your competitors and you will be able to successfully close more sales with less effort.