Please visit the new blog site:




THE PARETO PRINCIPLE – #1 Hindrance Revisited

LIMITLESS!  Well not quite.

Posted in Selling, Tips on Selling | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Embedded Commands in SellingDo you know someone who just brings you down within minutes of being with them? You actual start to feel as bad as they do. Surprise! When you start to interact with them they are giving you subtle commands to feel as bad as they do. Linguistically, they are known as Embedded Commands. It is a way to hide action commands in plain sentences and normal conversation that are processed directly by the unconscious mind. Oh, and by the way, everyone uses them to some degree. Most don’t know they are doing it.

It is a powerful linguistic technique and when applied correctly can garner results when you, use them.

What are Embedded Commands exactly?

Basically embedded commands are language patterns that are specifically tailored for the unconscious mind and they subtly influence people to take an action. It does not matter what product or service you are selling. When you use embedded commands you can help yourself achieve your goals.

Embedded commands help to channel or direct a prospect’s influence in a direction. They can help to invoke certain kinds of emotions that will work in your favor when you are trying to sell your product or services. Embedded commands make your sales message more compelling. They are a subtle and persistent call to action at the unconscious level. All the prospect hears is the statement about your product or service. The unconscious mind hears something completely different. The more you use them, the more the prospect feels compelled to do something. Just as others employ them to influence you, structured and used correctly, you can use them to subtly influence the prospect to use a product or service. Embedded commands are an important sales strategy.

Examples of Embedded Commands

You must be wondering what could be termed as embedded commands and how can they be used. For example, “Buy this product”. This is a common embedded command yet people may not consciously realize this fact. That is because all embedded commands are disguised or “embedded” inside phrases.

I can get you to think about anything I want you to think about with the negative embedded command.

Imagine when you approach a prospect and just say – “Buy this product, it is the best and you will benefit greatly from it.” What do you think the customer will think of this? It is highly likely that may have lost your sales opportunity.

On the other hand, you can put it like this – “When you buy this product, you can feel the difference immediately“. Clever, isn’t it? The phrase “When you” has helped you to deliver the embedded command “buy this product“. Here you have set the assumption that the client will buy the product and at the same time, you have brought a visual perspective to the advantages of buying this product by “feel the difference immediately“, another embedded command.

There are plenty of examples of embedded commands:

– Say yes

– Act now

– Learn this

– Order now

The list is a long one. Embedded commands are incomplete without phrases such as:

– You can

– As you

– When you

– You will find

– A person can

Delivering an Embedded Command

Delivering an embedded command is as important as the command itself no matter what media is being used. If you are face to face with your clients, you have to incorporate the correct tonality in your voice to use embedded commands effectively. You want the tone of your voice to drop down at the end of the command. Use pauses to drive home the point to your prospect.

Also, you can use the person’s name prior to the embedded command for greater effectiveness. We are all conditioned unconsciously to respond to our name. “When you, Mr. Prospect, use our service you will find . . . “ The word you and the prospect’s name are the most influential words you can use in selling.

In the case of printed or online media, you may want to distinguish the commands with different fonts, or using any of the other techniques such as underlining, italics, highlighting, etc, to bring the embedded command forth.

Embedded commands are everywhere. Now that I have made you aware of them you can recognize when others are using them on you. Oh, by the way, your prospects use them on you too. Look out!

Sales Tip #15: One just won’t do! You can litter your presentation with embedded commands for a more compelling sales message and call to action.

Copyright 2012 J.P. Thompson CHt. All rights reserved.,

Visit Selling Technologies’ website:


Posted in NLP, Sales Psychology, Tips on Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


“Try not!  Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda

How can such a small word create such a problem for you?  The word try depicts difficulty at the unconscious level.  The moment the word is thought or uttered, you have told either yourself or your prospect it will be difficult to do, if not impossible.  So, beware!

We as salespeople are not paid to try.  We are paid to do!  When you call on a prospect you either do or do not. There is no try.  The moment you think:

“I will try my best to sell them,” or

“I tried my best to sell them,”

at a deep psychological level you have in essence, shot yourself in the foot.  Trying has never generated one sale or created one success in life.  Maybe thinking we are trying is a way to make ourselves feel better for our lack of success or failures.

The problem with this word is that it restricts our thinking.  It shuts down our ability to actively problem solve and search for solutions to make something happen.  Trying makes us believe that somehow we did what we could and that’s okay. “I tried.”

Let me ask you a question.  When you ask someone to do something for you that day and they say, “I’ll try to do it.”  What goes through your mind?  That’s right.  It is not going to happen.  So, why do we expect and believe that when we tell ourselves we are going to try or are trying to do something that it is going to happen or get accomplished?  We already mentally gave ourselves an out.  “I tried!”

The mental shift needs to be away from “I’ll try to . . .” to:

 “I will . . . “

“How can I . . . ? “

“What do I need to do to . . . ?”

“What do I need to do differently to . . . ?”

Again, using the word try with your prospect during a sales call can undo all you work so hard for.

Will you try my product or service?”

When you ask the prospect to try your product or service, you have in essence told them your product or service will be difficult to use.  Even if the customer says they will try it, do they?  Or do they just tell you they did?

During my first year as a salesperson I worked for a major manufacturer, I went around asking my prospects to try my product thinking this will get my foot in the door and once they tried it, they will use it.  I felt really good when a prospect told me they would give it a try.  I soon learned the error of my ways.  After a few months, that’s exactly what I had!   Some prospects did try it, but many more were still going to try it.  But what did I really have in terms of actual usage?  That’s right, very limited results.

My focus changed.  I didn’t want them to try it anymore.  I wanted them to use it.  So, how can I convince them to use it?  This one fundamental shift in thinking changed the whole sales call and tripled sales.   I never uttered the word try again.

As a salesperson “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Sales Tip #14:  Delete the word try from your sales vocabulary.  You want the prospect to use your product or service.

Copyright 2012  J.P. Thompson CHt.  All rights reserved.

Visit Ascent Selling Technologies’ website:

Posted in Sales Psychology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Every word has meaning.

Changing just one word can have a tremendous impact on your sales call.  The purpose of communication is to trigger a reaction.  Every moment you are in front of the customer they are reacting to you either consciously or unconsciously.  Word choice is extremely critical to the success or lack of success during a sales call.

For example, in a discussion with my doctor about the salespeople who call on him and what he likes and dislikes, he told me when a sales representative opens the call with words like:  I want to discuss . . . or I want to talk with you . . . he says he turns off immediately and at best half listens to the salesperson.

WOW!  Just imagine, that salesperson closed the door on him or her before the call even started.  Albeit the salesperson even thought the Dr. M was a difficult customer.

Over the past 34 years of selling and coaching sales representatives, I have learned that salespeople do more to hinder their progress during a sales call than the customer ever does.  We as salespeople create tough and challenging situations for ourselves based on what we do or don’t do during a sales call.

Word choice is one.

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain 10/15/1888

Researchers at Yale University psychology department claim that the 12 most influential words are: you, money, save, new, results, easy, health, safety, love, discovery, proven, and guarantee along with different iterations of each of these words.  Use of these words can add to the persuasiveness of your sales call.  However, let’s return to my opening statement, “every word has meaning.” These words will have a varying degree of impact based on their meaning and emotion attached to them by the prospect you are calling on.

The most influential words you can use come from your prospect.  NLP (the most recent studies in the field of linguistics) suggests you need to always match the words your prospect uses.  Again, the words you and your prospects use are by design, not haphazard or by accident.   Their words carry meaning to them and they have an emotional attachment to those words at some psychological level.

For example, if your prospect uses the word Spreader or Trialist to describe a minimal user of their products, you need to use the word Spreader or Trialist and not minimal users.  If they use the word hassle to describe a situation, you will need to use that word and not something like fuss, trouble, or bother with.

Let me share with you a sales call I had not too long ago.  I was calling on a prospect that said to me “J.P., any model we use must be valid in and of itself.”  Now, I have never had a prospect say that to me in quite that way and he repeated that exact phrase a few times as he described his needs.

After listening patiently, I said, ‘Bob, the model this program is based on is a model that is valid in and of itself.’  The moment I said that, he interrupted me and said “J.P. that is exactly what I am looking for.”  And I had yet to discuss anything about the validity of the model!  Again, this demonstrates how the words your customer uses carries meaning and emotion to them.  Also, when you match their word choice you convey a level of understanding to the prospect that can only occur through word choice.

Remember, all words carry meaning.  You need to listen carefully to the words your prospects use when talking with them.  Then use those words as you describe your understanding of their needs and what your product or service can do for them.

What’s the most interesting word or phrase a customer has used that has caught you by surprise?

Sales Tip #13:  Use the exact keywords your customer uses.

Copyright 2012  J.P. Thompson CHt.  All rights reserved.

Visit Ascent Selling Technologies’ website:

Posted in Selling Skills, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

RESISTANCE: The Best Way to Deal with It.

Resistance:  The action of opposing something.  Resistance is typically a limiting belief or attitude about what is being presented.  As a sales representative, you will want to relax these restrictions those limitations impose, and a simple, effective way to do that is with proven language techniques and processes.

All of our thoughts and actions are undertaken within a frame of reference of which we may or may not be conscious.  Sometimes these frames lock customers into very restrictive thinking that limits the choices they have.  Using the following techniques can assist your customers to get a different perspective on a problem and potentially other possible solutions.

These techniques offer the potential of “softening up” the resistance so a resolution is more plausible, as well as opening up the customer to the solution you present.  These language patterns and techniques focus on influence by challenging, and thus changing, customer beliefs.  In persuasion, it’s vital to help customers open up to what you’re saying.  The techniques I will discuss will help you to do just that and you will be able to do it in what seems like a normal conversation.

This technique is called reframing.

Reframing involves helping customers to reinterpret problems and find solutions by changing the frame in which they perceive the problem.  So, you will want to change the frame from which the customer is viewing a particular issue to loosen up the resistance and make them more open to listening to your solution.  That is reframing.

Let me give you a picture of a reframe.  Picture a small little fish happily swimming along. Now pan the picture back and notice a bigger fish directly behind the little fish with its mouth wide open. Pan the picture back even further and notice an even bigger fish behind both fish with its mouth wide open.  As you can see, as I changed the size of the frame, the meaning of what you perceived changed.  That is reframing; you change how the customer is framing the issue and you change their perception of the issue.

Reframes focus on changing how a customer views an issue.  Their statement to you is framed as a problem frame, for example:  “expensive” or “too new”.  The problem frame leads to focusing on the negative:  Undesired symptoms and their causes.  You need to shift that perspective by changing the frame to the outcome frame, for example:  “wants greater access to the product” or “wants confidence in the product,” which lead to focusing on the positive:  goals and results, which are easier to address and resolve.

For example, “too new”.  You change the frame from a problem frame, “too new,” to an outcome frame, “wants to have confidence in the product”.

So, Mr. Customer, how do you verify a product will work before you actually use it?

As you can see, this starts the discussion down a more productive path to resolving the issue.

Another type of reframe is to use an analogy, either from outside of their industry or within the industry.  Let’s take the statement:  “It’s expensive,” and your product has more to offer than your competitor, for example:  Greater options.  You can use the analogy to buying a particular model of car.

You usually have a choice of options for that model of car and the more options you want, more you have to pay because you are getting a greater value.

Or you could relate it closer to home by discussing the cost of health insurance.

You can pay a little or a lot for health insurance; if you want greater coverage and more options, you will be paying a higher premium.

The best way to use this skill is to take the time to develop a number of reframes and/or analogies you can use from both within the industry and from outside the industry to address the negative beliefs about your product and have them at the ready.

Sometimes, it may take more than just one analogy to loosen up the customer’s belief.

Copyright 2012 J.P. Thompson.  All rights reserved.

Visit Ascent Selling Technologies’ website:

Posted in Sales Skills, Selling Skills, Selling Techniques | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MISMATCHER: A difficult customer made simple?

You say up, they say down.  You say hot, they say cold.  You know this type of customer.  So, I wanted to spend this week’s post on a customer you may not think much about until you are face-to-face with one and then have to respond, now!  You may encounter this type of customer from time to time and they are someone who appears to disagree with just about everything you say during your sales interaction.  They are known as mismatchers.  They state the opposite of what is being said to them.

Mismatchers usually disagree on principle since they have a natural tendency to see the differences in the information being presented.  They just see things differently and appear to come across as challenging and resistant people.  They are not.  Again, they look at information being presented to them from a different perspective than most people.  I know, I am a mismatcher myself.

The good news is that only about 10% of individuals are mismatchers.

No matter what solution you provide they will find fault, difficulties, and/or a reason for it not to work.  They are focused on the downside of what is being presented.  Ultimately, if you say it won’t, they will say it will because they will want to mismatch you.  So, it is easy to talk to a mis-matcher, once you have identified the customer as a mismatcher.  All you have to do is put an opposite twist on what you say to them.  For example:  “I don’t think you will agree with me on this, but…” or “you won’t want to use it unless you are concerned about …”.

Here are some more examples of putting an opposite twist on what you say to a mismatcher:

  • I don’t suppose you would…
  • I don’t know if you are comfortable using it …
  • You won’t want to… unless…
  • Don’t use it except if you want…
  • I don’t think you will…but…
  • I don’t know whether you…

A basic structure you can use as a guideline for communicating with the mismatcher is to say:  Don’t, and then the action they need to take, unless you want to, and then state the outcome.  Here is a simple example:  Don’t use it unless you want options.”

Remember, to effectively handle a mismatcher, you need to put an opposite twist on your communication with them.

Copyright 2012 J.P. Thompson  All rights reserved.

Ascent Selling Technologies, LLC

Posted in Sales Skills, Selling Skills, Selling Techniques | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


People take action because of consequences they perceive, either real or imagined.  It’s that simple.  Your customers are no different.  If you have a customer that has not taken any action after numerous sales calls and there is no real “true concern” about using your product or service, you will need to increase your customer’s awareness of the need to act and act now!

There are only two ways to increase a customer’s awareness of the need to act and act now:

  • You either tell them the value of using your product or service and the problems they will either continue to experience or experience in the future by not using your product or service.
  • Or, you have them tell you the value of using your product or service and the problems they will either continue to experience or experience in the future by not using your product or service.

That’s it.  There is no other way.

If you have a customer who is not taking any action, especially after numerous sales calls, without saying a word they are telling you they are not seeing the need to act as much as you are seeing the need to act. So you need to help them see the need to act and act now.  Again, there are only two ways to do this: you can tell them, or you can get them to tell you.

At this point telling them the value and the problems is not working!  You now need to get them to realize the value and problems for themselves.

Typically, salespeople have a tendency to bullet or list the features and benefits of their product or service to the customer and do not give the customer much more than a moment to mentally process or think about what their product or service will do for them, their company, and even their customers.

Every decision you and your customers make carry consequences both positive and negative.   You now need to have the customer stop and think about making a decision to use your product or service.

Using very targeted questions, questions that increase the customer’s awareness of the need to act, is often much more effective. These are often referred to as Increase Awareness questions.

The easiest way to do this is by:

  1. First listing all the positive consequences (benefits) of using your product or service.
  2. After that you then turn those statements (the ones you’ve been making) or bullet points into questions.  (E.g., increased safety becomes ‘what value would it be to you if you could improve on safety?’  Or improved efficiency becomes ‘what would improved efficiency mean to you and your company?’)
  3. Next, list all the negative consequences (problems) the customer will experience if they do not use your product or service.
  4. Then turn those statements or bullet points into questions.  (E.g., less safe becomes ‘what problems will persist by using a less safe product?’  Or less efficient becomes ‘what would it cost your company to use a less efficient process?’)

Remember, people take action because of consequences they perceive, either real or imagined.  It’s that simple.  If the customer is not acting on your recommendation, use Increase Awareness questions to motivate the customer to act and act now!

What has been your experience using telling versus asking? Please comment below.

Copyright 2012  J.P. Thompson. All rights reserved.

Ascent Selling Technologies, LLC

Posted in Sales Skills, Selling Skills, Selling Techniques | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment