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Imagination: How it helped me persuade

Many of us are familiar with visualization techniques in achieving goals.  Many of these techniques were popularized by the book “The Secret” published in 2006.  Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about the power of imagination in his book PsychoCybernetics first published in 1960.  Dr. Maltz explores the science of self image and has set many of the widely accepted self-help techniques in use to this day.  One of the quotes from his book is this:

Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.

If we accept this fact to be true then let’s explore how we can use this to improve how we communicate with others and more importantly how we can use this principal to sell more effectively.  Let me start by sharing a story with you about an experience I recently had that outlined the power of this to me.

I was speaking at one of our industry conferences on the power of having a sales process.  During my presentation I went through the advantages of having a well defined sales process.  One of the advantages I highlighted was the ease of adding and testing new things within your sales cycle.  I went on to highlight something that my team had been doing for years, sending a box of cookies to the clients workplace at the time of approval, as a thank you.  Now this is something I have talked about with my team for many years and there were a few of them in the audience as I spoke.  I went on to explain why sending something edible to a workplace was far more effective than a simple thank you gift at closing.  I carefully took them through the scene using many descriptive terms.  “Imagine your client sitting at their desk receiving a gift wrapped box of cookies.  Picture the scene… What happens when someone gets a delivery at work?  That’s right, everyone gathers around to see what it is and who it came from.  Now imagine them opening the box of edibles.  What do you think they likely do with a dozen cookies?  That’s right.  They share! “Who are those cookies from?” “My mortgage broker” “Your mortgage broker?  Hmmmm… my mortgage is coming up for renewal soon…” ”  I painted a very vivid picture of the scene and walked them through a couple of potential scenarios to demonstrate the power of adding this one step to their sales process.

It was the week after that the power of this technique hit me.  I was out for a beer with one of our team recapping the conference experience and discussing what we had learned and the quality of the content from all the speakers.  She went on to comment that she thought the gift to the workplace was a brilliant idea and had never fully understood the power of that.  Now keep in mind that this is someone who has worked with me for several years and has heard me talk of this idea many times and has seen it implemented.  I was surprised that they had just opened up to the strength of this idea so I asked what it was that had made the difference.  What was it that I had said differently that caused that “light bulb” moment.  They went on to tell me that it was really when I had described the scene at the workplace and had them imagine what that would look like that really made the difference.  It was really interesting for me to watch a concept that I believe in, the power of imagination, shed light on a tool that I always took for granted and thought everyone saw the same way I did.  Again, this is someone who has been involved in my sales process for years that was just seeing things in a new light.  Very impactful.

So let’s talk about how we can use the power of imagination in our sales process with our clients.  Ultimately we want our prospective clients to imagine either how much better things might be if they take our product or service or we want them to imagine how much worse they will be if they don’t.  One of the most effective ways of doing this is to use questions during the sales process.  “What would things look like for you in 6 months if you did not use my services”.  “What would things look like for you if you DID use my services.”  Now, as mortgage brokers we may want to paint a little bit of a picture for them before we ask those questions.  If we are talking to a client we may want to have them imagine six months down the road when they have some questions about their mortgage and can’t get a hold of anyone at the branch.  We may want to describe the scene as they go to the lawyers office and we have already contacted to ensure instructions are there and accurate.

For our REALTOR referral sources we may want to have them picture driving a client around, showing them houses for 2 months, writing an offer then having the bank turn their client down because the pre-approval wasn’t done right.  There are dozens of scenarios that could both highlight why life would be better working with you and why it could be worse if they choose not to work with you.  Use descriptive words to paint the picture and ask questions to force them to mentally visualize the scenario in their head.  The more effective you can be in provoking them to use their imagination the more powerfully you can make your point.

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Liann Camastro
6 years ago

I just started reading The Secret yesterday and it is great! I like how you suggest to use the visualization technique to help clients imagine life ‘without us’ in 6 months. Also something great to use when helping clients with debt consolidation and helping them decide what is best for them now and in the future… many different places this can be used! Thanks Michael!