An effective way to persuade others (and be persuaded ourselves) is to have them create mental pictures of the past, present and future and of places.
A simple way to do this is by using a “magic” word: “Imagine!”
A customer, client or patient is seeking a desirable outcome or result. The product or service that we offer is intended to help them to get that outcome or result. We can help them “see” it, using their imagination.
“Imagine owning this beautiful new car. You will be the envy of your friends. Imagine enjoying the clean, comfortable interior and listening to the stereophonic sound in air-conditioned comfort.”
“If you don’t decide to go ahead with owning it, what would that look like?”
The fancy name for this imaginative process in neuro-linguistic programming is future pacing. We can imaginatively experience alternative futures. We can also experience alternative pasts, presents and locations. The human imagination is truly amazing.
A great story that uses this process is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Ebeneezer Scrooge looks back at the past to see how he became a miserly, selfish, ruthless businessman. He looks at his present situation to see how his behavior is affecting others, including the suffering of Bob Cratchit’s family and the suffering of the poor in society that he is contributing to by not having compassion for others. Then he projects the likely future if he continues his current path: his early death alone, and the death of Tiny Tim from the lack of medical care. Thanks to this exercise, Scrooge changes his path and achieves a rewarding life, with great relationships, including with Tiny Tim, who becomes healthy and loves Scrooge as a second father.
This method is engaging because our customers, clients and patients are vitally interested about improving their health, providing for their families, enjoying pleasurable possessions, having great relationships, being admired, having rewarding jobs, having successful businesses, and having great experiences.
Lead them to imagine having these outcomes using legitimate products and services that you provide, and selling becomes a much easier and rewarding service. Like sales trainer Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything you want in life by helping enough other people get what they want.”