Today I witnessed a brilliant piece of hypnotic persuasion skills where a friend of mine accidentally turned an angry customer into a raging fan.
Accidently Creating Raging Fans using NLP Persuasion Patterns
In this case it not only happened by accident but it created the wrong result for my friend. Imagine the possibilities if you can take someone that is angry with you, your company or your service and turn them around effortlessly. I can’t see this technique in every situation but when the context is right this is incredibly powerful.
For some reasons that will become more obvious the various parties need some anonymity so I have changed names and roles but not the significant elements of the situation.
Tim is running an internet marketing consultancy and is very focused on getting people first page rankings. He establishes himself as an authority and expert right from first contact with a prospect. If you have read some of my recent articles you will have seen a lot about mind-set and pre-framing. In any sort of consulting role this is an important thing to do. Before the sale if the prospect does not recognise your expertise you cannot establish a relationship where they will respect your guidance and advice.
Creating Double Binds
For a number of reasons that aren’t relevant to explain Tim got himself into a situation where he has taken on a new client and agreed to change the client’s website for well below his normal fees. The result for Tim is that he is doing this as low priority work and the work keeps getting put back.
From the client’s perspective he got a great result because the initial work Tim did very quickly put the (old) website on the front page of Google. Since then it doesn’t appear as if anything has happened for a couple of months. Tim has done some work behind the scenes but the most visible thing that the customer would be able to see is a shiny new website. This has not been forthcoming. Understandably the client has been getting increasingly annoyed and frustrated.
Tim has been in contact with the client to get him to fill in a questionnaire that will eventually generate content for the new website that will differentiate the client from his competitors. Unfortunately because all of this has taken so long and Tim is asking him some hard questions about his business the client has looked elsewhere for the same services.
Where you have an industry with lots of cowboys and uneducated buyers you will find dodgy advice. The client was told lots of things including; getting onto the front page of Google took little effort, the content of his website wouldn’t make much difference so long as it looks right and that he has missed huge amounts of conversions because his website didn’t look right. You can probably already guess the agenda of the person saying these things and how much truth there may be in any of it.
The client has a legitimate complaint about how long the service is taking. So armed with that and the (mis)information he had been given the client phoned Tim. Frustrated at getting an answerphone message he got even angrier and left a stinging message on the phone which included an interesting double bind…the work doesn’t have great value and I am going to be unhappy about it if you get it done now or give me my money back and I will be really angry with you because I could have had someone else do the work two months ago.
Activity vs. Results
I returned with Tim from lunch to his office to hear the voicemail. Tim decided that he wanted to give the client his money back and remove himself from the situation. From Tim’s perspective the problem was being created because his high value clients took priority and therefore this client wasn’t getting the attention he needed. Tim was unwilling to give him anymore because it would interfere with his high value clients. The easiest way to deal with him was to then apologise, give him his money back and let him go with good grace. That was Tim’s plan. What happened was nothing short of amazing.
Accidental use of NLP Sales Techniques to Create Raving Fans
Tim phoned and after the intros and initial screaming from the client they settled down to talking sensibly at each other. The client pointed out that it took little work to get him to the front page of Google and that he was losing customers because his website didn’t look right. Tim gently reframed him to look at results rather than activity. Tim showed him that he was getting customers now because the website ranked highly on the front page and that his current website was creating that for him.
The client moved on to getting a quicker service from someone else. Tim explained how the issue was not about having a new website but was about having a website that converted customers better than the existing site. Tim explained how he could use the words on his website to differentiate himself from the competition and provide a unique service that would make his customers want to phone him. Tim took the time to explain how a nice looking website doesn’t actually mean a high converting website and that the client needs to take the time to get that part of the process right.
Since the client had not been served well Tim suggested that he keeps the ranking service going for a couple of months and gave all the money back in full as an act of good faith. Tim was even giving the client advice on how to find a replacement. Somewhere in all of this the client was wavering.
In short the client very quickly started cutting across Tim to apologise for not filling in the questionnaire properly and how he would spend more time thinking through the answers. The more Tim tried to push him away the more the client clung on until the call ended with the client adamant that they will continue working together. The client went from extremely angry and wanting to leave to desperately wanting to stay with the service despite Tim’s best efforts to get rid of him.
How Does this Happen?
I think there are lots of things that when taken together added up to the client realising that it was in his best interests to stay with Tim. I could detail all my ideas but I think there is more value to you thinking through this and coming up with some answers of your own. I’ve tried to highlight a few things without making them completely overt.
In the Advanced Persuasion Patterns programme you will learn how you can use these ideas across many different contexts. For example:
A parent encouraging their children to do their homework
A manager running a team
A musician or performer building a following
A teacher or trainer developing commitment from their class
A leader creating buy-in for their vision
And obviously sales professional creating a legion of raving buyers
As an added exercise have a read through this article thinking about how you can use these ideas in a context where you are currently wanting to motivate yourself or others in some way. Spending ten or fifteen minutes running through this as an exercise will really play you dividends.
You can find out more about the Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme here: