Last week during a talk to the Glasgow Branch of Women in Business and Finance I was asked how I would deal with a, “Can’t be bothered to deal with that now”, objection. My answer is a specific language pattern designed to destroy this sort of objection.
Objection Busting Hypnotic Language Patterns
The person I was speaking with, I’m going to call her Sally, told me that she routinely faced a particular annoying objection in her job. Sally works as a recruitment consultant and she is often faced with HR people telling her that she has to be on the “approved supplier” list to do business with the company. When Sally asks how to get on the list she is told that the suppliers are reviewed and new suppliers are added at some time in the future (normally between one and six months) and that she should contact them company closer to that date.
Assumptions Based in Behaviour
On the Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme one of the things I drum into the students is to hold a particular question in mind when dealing with people.
“What does this person have to believe for them to say or do what they are doing?”
The answer to this question gives you a huge insight into what is driving them and how you can change it. Based on the behaviour of the person Sally was talking to I would guess that they consider Sally to be equivalent to their current supplier. I would also suspect that they are procedures orientated or at least prefer not to change things for the sake of it.
To cut it down even further what this person is saying to Sally is, “We have some that supplies us what you supply. They are good enough at it because they have passed all our criteria and we don’t need to go through all the bother of finding a new supplier until we have to in (x) number of weeks’ time.”
How Does Knowing This Help?
If you can understand what people are really saying on this level it is then easy to sway them. In this particular case it would be fair to say that the easiest way to switch this person around would be to make the pain of maintaining the system worse than changing. So for example if Sally knows that her service routinely saves or makes an extra thousand pounds every month for this size of company and their approved supplier process is reviewed in three months the company will have lost three thousand pounds before they have even looked at the problem. Now the question is only about how you present the information.
Can I Check I Understand this Properly?
Normally people tend to be routed in the subject they are discussing and not necessarily in the consequences. So when I am looking to make an impact and I want them to really get into the consequences of their actions I will use a pattern that is designed to let you throw them into the aspect of the situation that you want them to look at. It is the simple phrase, “Can I check I understand this properly. What I think you are telling me is…”
For example in this case I would say, “Can I check I understand this properly. What I think you are telling me is that your company is prepared to routinely throw away three thousand pounds on a whim?”
The reaction I am looking for is shock and then a question asking me to explain. This opens up the conversation enough for me to start making a pitch and if I have the right numbers, installed some confidence in me and the product I have probably got onto the approved supplier list and made the sale as well.
Why does it Work?
It tends to work because the front end of the phrase is not confrontational, it is just about checking your understanding. If you start with the issue it can be quite confrontational. For example:
“You are willing to throw away three thousand pounds rather than talk to me?”
“Can I check I understand this properly? I think you are saying that you are willing to throw away three thousand pounds rather than discuss solutions with me?”
How Else Can I Use This Pattern?
The concept is easy. Just look for what is the underlying truth that is creating the belief, comment or behaviour. Then look for something that makes it more painful to stay the same than to change. Then just present the pain using a “Can I just check I understand?” phrase.
Here are a few I’ve heard or used. You will find that in each of the examples I have contrasted what I “think” they are doing against a solution. This is another effective way of using this as a pattern.
Parent: Can I check I understand this right, you would rather spend the next hour moaning about your homework instead of getting to finish it right now in time to watch your favourite programme?
Complaint: Can I check I have this correct you would rather that I very publically and visible complain to the department of trade and industry and you lose not only my custom but also everyone that I speak to rather than go and find a manager who can sort the issue out right now?
Manager with a company facing difficult times: Let me check that I understand. You would rather face redundancy rather than make the effort to turn the company around and save our jobs?
You may already see that there are multiple uses for this pattern and the reality is that once you start thinking in a systematic way about what is actually going on the conversation there are a whole range of ideas, concepts and strategies that you can use to develop the conversation to where you want it to go. If you are studying hypnotic language patterns re-read the three examples and notice the embedded commands. This sort of pattern is great for inserting embedded commands.
To develop this properly you need to consider personality profiling from both verbal and non-verbal behaviour. You might also consider NLP language patterns that move the conversation forward as well as patterns that change the direction. On top of this you need to understand how your emotional state impacts the situation. If you want the inside track on how to develop these skills quickly to the point where you are using them unconsciously and without having to think about it then you might want to click through and learn more here.