Have you ever been explaining to someone how they can solve their problem… when you realise their eyes have glazed over?

They’re not listening.

Your plan is probably brilliant. After all, you have all the knowledge, the experience, the qualifications to provide the perfect solution.

But no matter how excellent it is, it’s just not getting through.

It’s very frustrating – you’re probably feeling a little of that frustration even now, as I remind you of the experience.

And perhaps you wish you could find a better way to persuade people to do the right thing and to take your advice on board…

Interestingly, there is another way.

I saw a fantastic example yesterday. We were in the Rohan shop in Kensington, where my husband was getting his gait analysed, free, as part of a promotion for a new walking club they’re launching.

There’d been a bit of queue and he had been frustrated to have to wait. But as soon as it was Steve’s turn, things switched. His feet were being magically assessed on a computer screen.

The guy was telling him all about what could be seen – how he put more weight on his heels than on the front of his foot, how this meant that certain muscles were acting in certain ways, that there would be these or those pressures and forces acting… Steve was entranced.

The thing is, they were talking only about the current state of affairs. The problem. And this went on for probably twenty minutes.

I’d just been listening to Robert Grant talking about really understanding customers as part of the NLP Mindfest (his talk goes out free on Tuesday) and it struck me that this was a perfect example. The gait-assessor, John, was building more and more trust, the more he demonstrated that he really understood Steve’s problem.

John was not only observing closely. He was not only listening well. He was demonstrating that he understood Steve’s unique problem.

Classic stuff. Clearly observable from the outside.

And then it was my turn. And I, too, was entranced by a description of my own problem.

I, too, became convinced that John really understood me, even cared about me and my health, the more he talked about my feet, my gait, my body.

I was hypnotised by the process.

Luckily, John wasn’t selling expensive orthotics, because we’d undoubtedly have bought them. It’s as if his understanding of the problem was enough – we didn’t need to hear the details of his solution. We just assumed it would be effective.

This technique just works, at a very profound level, even when you understand it. It works because it effectively bypasses the conscious, critical faculties and goes straight to the unconscious mind – the part that really controls the purse strings. And successful people use it because it works.

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