Fairly soon upon became a hypnotherapist, I had business consulting clients from San Francisco hire me.
They weren’t hiring me to be the company’s hypnotist. They wanted me to apply my hypnotherapy, business, and finance skills, not actually hypnotize their executives or staff.
My corporate clients wanted something beyond what they could find in traditional business consultants. You could say they wanted a consultant that could apply hypnotherapy without hypnotizing people.
One day a golden opportunity fell into my lap. “Sam” was a sales rep, and he knew what I could do for sales reps. He asked if I’d be interested in being a guest speaker to help the sales team. Well, this could lead to a lucrative business consulting project at his company, so I was excited.
He put me in touch with his boss, and we discussed the arrangements, and I thought Sam’s boss and I were on the same page.
Well, I show up to present to their sales team, and I quickly realize that some of the reps don’t want to be there. In fact, some of them had no idea why I was even at the meeting.
As you can imagine, things quickly went downhill from there. I had prepared for an audience that was ready to learn hypnosis skills. Ready to better serve their clients and generate more sales. But I fell flat on my face by the end.
I’d broken a cardinal rule in sales: don’t talk to everyone; only talk to people who are prequalified. It hadn’t dawned on me before that day that people would be forced to attend my presentation.
What did I learn? I learned that I didn’t ask enough questions to their boss. Had I asked enough, I would have had the chance to decline the invitation to speak. Or I would have modified the arrangement to make sure I’d be useful to them.
I also learned that I really don’t want to convince people that they should listen to my presentation. If this were to happen today, I could quickly change my presentation so that even the most hostile sales reps would be at least open to hearing some new ideas. But more likely, I just wouldn’t speak under those conditions.
It’s challenging enough to help people who ask for help. It’s so much harder to help people who are forced to be there. There are ways to help people that don’t want to be there, but it’s really hard work. And it’s just not what I want to do.
Sometimes a prospective hypnotherapy client will voice a concern that my corporate clients don’t usually voice. The person will say something like this, and it could be for almost any issue. I’ll use weight in this example.
She’ll say, “William, I really want to lose weight. But I don’t think I’m motivated enough, I’m not strong enough mentally to do it. My will power isn’t strong enough.”
And I’ll reply, “If you really want to lose weight, relying on motivation and will power is a tough way to do it. You’ll find it easier to lose weight, permanently, if you get the cooperation of the part of you that controls your weight. And that’s your subconscious mind…”
And after I explain all that, often they have a moment of clarity. They understand that it’s not about working so hard. It’s about building a strong relationship with their subconscious. In a way, it’s about the process of becoming friends.
Of course, I do stack the deck to increase the chances she’ll have that moment of clarity. I don’t want to rely on a single conversation to give them clarity. It’s more certain if I prepare them prior to our consultation.
Before she arrives for the free consultation, I’ve prepared her in ways both overt and covert. So, when she arrives, she’s much more open to having that moment of clarity. And in many cases, the consultation is about her giving herself permission to move forward to lose the weight.
In other words, if I’m doing my job well prior to the consultation, I don’t really need to sell at the consultation. Instead, I gently guide her to the moment of clarity. And I give her the space to figure out if she’s going to give herself permission… permission to give herself the gift she wants to give herself.
Aggressive sales tactics don’t appeal to me. Helping the prospective client sort through her concerns and figure out what she needs to figure out, well, that’s really what sales is about. It’s really about her, the client, and not really about me. Gently guiding and giving her the space makes the difference.