Hypnosis is a century-old psychological tool used by many doctors, dentists, psychiatrists and therapists to achieve everything from anesthesia without anesthetics, to stomach stapling without staples.
Hypnotized people are like robots. Actually, you can’t make someone under hypnosis do anything they don’t already want to do. Sure, their subconscious mind is “exposed” in a state of hypnosis, so they’re more willing to have their emotions—and ultimately their decisions—directed. And that’s good for us as marketers and salespeople—assuming that we’re in this for the right reasons: i.e., helping people.
Two factors are at work here.
Firstly, you may have noticed that if you ask a stranger to do something—especially to buy something—they tend to balk. Their natural reaction is to question the instruction. To find a reason to disagree with it. The critical mind throws up objections.
What’s interesting, though, is this doesn’t happen if you just ask someone to imagine something. Especially if you ask them to imagine the outcome of the sale, rather than making the purchase itself. There’s no resistance to that.
So by asking your prospect to imagine something, you bypass that critical part that throws up objections, and “sneak in” to their mind through the back door of their imagination. And bypassing the critical mind is the second of three crucial steps to achieving hypnosis. (The first is attracting the person’s attention, which I’ll assume you’ve already done.)
The third step is to stimulate the unconscious mind. That is exactly what imagining something does. As strange as it may sound, the brain literally cannot tell the difference between imagining reality, and actually experiencing reality. As far as your brain is concerned, there’s no difference between visualizing a tree, and seeing a tree.
This makes your prospect’s imagination a deceptively powerful ally to you. Remember—the fear of loss is far stronger than the desire for gain. So if you can get your prospect to feel a sense of ownership for your offering, you invoke a much stronger desire than by merely offering benefits. By getting them to imagine owning it, they become as if they already have it. As if you have already given it to them. And the natural thing to do then is to keep it…which means making the purchase.
This sense of ownership over what we imagine is surprisingly deep-seated. It should be. Our youngest years are ruled by our imaginations. Kids are highly possessive of their make-believe ideas and characters and worlds. They don’t like to be told they aren’t real. And although as adults we’ve managed to conceal that affection for our fantasies under a veneer of pragmatism, the same effect still governs our behavior at a subconscious level.