This will help you close more sales…
This is one of those core, foundational principles to effective selling.
It’s not a flashy tactic. But, as you’ll see in a minute, it can also be applied tactically or as a technique in nearly every selling situation.
Have you ever had something like this happen?
You’re having a conversation with a prospective client. You’ve established that they have a problem you can help them solve, through your offer. You’re resonating. Everything seems to line up.
Then, you go for the next step. To get a down payment on the project, or a signed contract, or whatever it is for you.
Then, nothing. They either back out, or simply ghost you and disappear.
What if I told you that in a situation like this, there was one thing missing from your sales presentation that could completely change this?
That there’s effectively a chunk of your message missing — that, if added, could suddenly turn that same prospect around and having THEM closing you?
I’ve seen it happen.
And at the end of this article, I’m going to show you what that missing “chunk” is — as well as how to use it in your marketing copy as well as one-to-one selling.
But first, I’m going to show you how this very same technique can completely change your life, make every day better, and help you attract more success in any way you desire.
Successful people vividly imagine the future they desire…
Longtime Breakthrough Marketing Secrets readers know I’ve gone deep into studying Gary Bencivenga. He’s widely considered one of the GOATs of direct response copywriting — Greatest Of All Time. (The royalties from just one of his successful direct mail pieces bought his $5 million house in the Hamptons.)
And Gary had a little ritual he’d do whenever he started a client project.
When he got the project, he’d go inside, into his imagination. He’d zoom forward, into his future, to a few very specific moments that represented success in his mind.
First was an urgent phone call from his client, after reviewing his copy. “Gary,” they’d say as he picked up the phone, “We LOVE it! We love this copy you’ve just written for us, and we can’t wait to test it. We’re sure we’ve got a big winner here…”
The next, another call from the client, “Gary, you’ve done it again! I don’t know how, but you’ve just blown away the control. The response to your promotion is phenomenal, and we’re all going to make a ton of money off this one.”
Then, that moment where he opened the mailbox, and saw the first royalty check. He’d imagine tearing it open, and being blown away by how much money he’d just made. Giddy-excited. He’d read the note inside, from his client, saying, “Gary, this is just the first of many big checks for your big winner! Thanks!”
And he’d imagine running inside to his wife, saying, “Pauline, Pauline! You’ll never guess just how big this royalty check is!” And he’d imagine showing her the check, and the excited conversation that would follow.
Then, he’d imagine the celebration dinner he and Pauline would have together, down to what he’d eat, at what restaurant. And how that would feel.
Then, motivated, he’d get to work.
And, what do you know? Gary got better and better. And these visions just kept coming true. Chalk it up to motivation. Or to manifestation. Or success magnetism.
Whatever you want to attribute it to — practical or mystical — it worked for Gary. So much so that in the very few times he talked about his success in business after retiring, he focused more on THIS than the practical, tactical aspects of copywriting or marketing.
I’ve been studying high-achievers and massive successes, and this is consistent…
Although there have been times in their life where they choose what they don’t want, or focus on avoiding or recovering from pain…
The vast majority of their most successful periods of life happen when they focus on a vision of what they desire their future to look like, and then work to make that real.
I needed this reminder recently.
The other day, I wrote in my journal:
“Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about past- vs. future-orientation. Much of my pain has come from feeling stuck in the past: past pains, patterns, experiences. I listen to people who are happy and achieve things I want to achieve, and I hear a strong future focus, with gratitude in the now.
This coincides with something I read recently that talked about the two core sources of joy in a person’s life — love and work. Love is relationships cultivated in the present moment. Work is meaningful and intentional activity building toward a desired future creation.
The question to answer then is: What do I want this to be going forward? (My business, my relationships, my life, etc.) First imagined, then created.”
If you don’t make the conscious choice, it’s really easy to get stuck in your present, and focused on your past. Especially all the things that have gone wrong in your past, that you can blame for your life not being where you want it to be.
But if you make the conscious choice, it can also be easy to become a little bit of a grounded dreamer, imagining what life you want to create for yourself. Creating vivid pictures, stories, and feelings of what you want. Then tapping into that story as a way to bring that into fruition.
Here are eight powerful perspective shifts that will help you attract what you want in life…
Future focus vs. Past focus:
Learn lessons from the past, yes. But realize the past is gone and you can’t change it. All you can change is the future, and what you’re doing now to achieve it.
Look forward at where you want to go. Set a destination, plan your journey, and start moving towards what you want.
Surviving vs. Thriving:
Being stuck in the past is about surviving. Where you’re at. What’s happened to you. Looking to the future is about figuring out how to thrive. And going for that. How do you want to thrive? What wealth, resources, experiences, and abundance do you want in your life?
What does thriving mean to you?
Pain vs. Pleasure:
When we imagine pain, we imagine all the terrible physical, mental, and emotional experiences that we’ve had that hurt. And we get locked into feeling those, in a downward spiral of miserable memories.
When we imagine pleasure, we draw from our memory of good experiences, but we almost always look forward in time. We imagine those pleasures we’d like to repeat, and the new pleasures we’d like to experience.
Want vs. Don’t Want:
If you ask most people what they want, they’ll very quickly veer into what they don’t want. I don’t want this boss. I don’t want this job. I don’t want this bad relationship. I don’t want this struggle.
If you ask most successful people what they want, they’ll tell you what they want. They’ll usually tell you about the happiness, health, prosperity, and impact they want. They’ll tell you what they want their day to look like, what they’re hoping to achieve from their current work, and their greater vision for the world they want to create.
Suffering vs. Gratitude:
This one may not seem like it’s future-focused. But it will bring you to the NOW and point you forward in time.
When you focus on what makes you suffer, you’re pretty much always drawing from past experiences. All those ways that you believe — right or wrong — that you were wronged.
When you focus on what you are grateful for, you feel that deep sense of joy right now, and appreciate what you have in your life. And you look for ways to create more of that in your life, and to simply be grateful for those things that come into your life by fate or chance.
Growth vs. Stagnation:
An exercise metaphor is fitting here.
Imagine the weightlifter who says, “I can lift this weight,” and so every day they show up and lift that weight. That’s fine and great, and will likely keep them somewhat fit. But they won’t have a sense of progress or achievement. They’ll essentially be stagnant, and stuck in their own little status quo.
Alternately, imagine the weightlifter who signs up for a lifting competition, and knows they need to increase their maximum lifts to feel good about their performance. They’ll think of that competition, and create a plan, and show up to the gym, lifting a little bit more every day. Their body will adapt and grow stronger and help them meet that goal.
Possibility vs. Certainty:
This may be a little subtle, but consider this…
Our minds love to dream — when we let them. We are motivated by our dreams. When we focus on the past, it’s a certain thing. It’s already happened. It doesn’t change. There’s no room for dreams.
When you look to the future, “anything can happen.” The future is not written yet. You have an opportunity to direct it in the way you wish. This frees your imagination. It gives you the space and permission to dream.
Improvement vs. Mistakes:
Our brains are liars. We have all kinds of mental shortcuts that help us get through the world without draining our processing power and mental energy. One of those shortcuts is what’s called the negativity bias. Negative experiences have a much greater effect on our state than positive.
When we look to the past, this often causes us to focus on all our mistakes, and all the times where things didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. This zaps our energy, and makes it hard to get better. We grow convinced we are a failure.
Alternately, focusing on the future lets you look to where you can improve and move your life in your desired direction. When you’re imagining your ideal future, you can do that without letting the negativity of past mistakes cloud your vision (it may take practice, but it’s possible!).
Now: here’s how to use this mindset shift to close more sales, get more money and clients, and achieve more success…
I put this in this order for a reason.
Because good selling is leading. And it’s very difficult to lead someone where you’ve never been before.
If you want to lead someone into their own positive future, you MUST work on yourself first — you must be able to imagine your own positive future, too.
Likewise, you must be able to imagine THEIR positive future, as a result of working with you.
Back to that original sales conversation…
Most really good sales conversations are going to basically follow my PAISA formula.
— You connect with the prospect around the Problem (or unmet desire)…
— You bring up the Agitation of experiencing the problem, and not having a solution…
— You Invalidate other solutions that they’ve tried or are considering…
— You present your Solution and show how it is superior…
— You Ask them to take action, through your offer…
So, what’s missing? Why might you go through this process, have the client believe you (at least on a rational, logical level) and still not close the deal?
In short, because you haven’t gotten them to imagine the future in which your offer has already solved their problem!
You get them emotionally agitated around the problem. They FEEL that as very real. Yes, this is taking them into the past, and reminding them of what they want to get away from.
But your goal is to bring them into a better future. So after you’ve emotionally agitated them around their pain, you lay out the logical case that you can give them a better future.
Then, you need to bring the emotion and feeling back to close the sale.
Rather than going logically into the close, you need to swing that pendulum back from logic to emotion — but this time, positive and pleasurable.
You get them to imagine the future in which their problem is completely solved. In which they’re even happier with the results than they expected. In which all the doubts they may have been feeling as they made their purchase decision have faded into the past, in light of how well things ended up working out, thanks to your solution.
There’s a term for this: future pacing.
That is, taking someone out of the present, into their desired future, and getting them to feel that as a motivation for going forward.
Above, I’ve just explained where and how you might use this in a one-on-one selling situation. It also works just as well in marketing, and especially in longer-form copywriting.
Just when you get to the point in the presentation where you feel like you’ve made the logical case for your product as the solution to your prospect’s problem, you pivot…
You get them to look forward into the future. At a time where your offer has already fulfilled all your promises. You get them to imagine it in vivid detail. What key aspects of their life have changed, personally and professionally, as a result?
How has your product or service help them achieve the results they desired, how is it giving them pleasure, and how has it relieved the pain of the problem or desire unfulfilled?
Then, and only then — when they’ve emotionally imagined and felt themselves in that desired future state — do you say, “And let me show you how you can make that real.”
Try it, and let me know how it works…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,