“It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” – John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, Born Oct. 21, 1917.
In persuasion, saying too much is a mistake.
You need to say exactly enough, and no more.
You want the mark's memory and imagination and desire to do all the heavy lifting. Because their own inclinations and conclusions don't trigger their resistance.
If you color in too much, complete too much of the picture, you don't leave any room for their brain to have to work to fill in those crucial gaps.
So how do you know what to leave out? Does it take a lifetime to learn like Dizzy with jazz?
But it's different than most people think. It's not NLP. It's not magic. It doesn't even have to be good writing to work.
You're telling them a story, but with holes.
You want to invite them to have their own reactions with their real emotions.
You want them to remember being in similar situations, and imagine what they would do if they had similar opportunities.
We can do this through using characters to give the reader a point of view to see through. Let them adopt another way to see and think and feel.
The brain is a powerful simulation computer and even imaginary experiences can create memories.
We can do this using vague descriptions that require them to use their memories to fill in detail.
This is powerful because a new story decorated with old memories gets absorbed much more easily than something where every detail is brand new.
It’s about what you leave room for, and how you get them to jump into those gaps. When they do, you have them.
Your tune is their tune.
And you can make 'em dance, too.
<!—- lagniappe Here are a few rules that can help. 1. Don't tell people how to feel. Tell them how you feel and why, and they will tend to empathize. "When I first realized that I was actually losing the weight, I felt like I was dreaming, because nothing I had tried ever worked before..." 2. Set up a situation, and before you tell people how it turned out, invite them to imagine being in that moment. It engages their imagination, which you can then guide. "When my boss called me into his office at the end of the day on Friday, I was sweating bullets. I mean, imagine turning that door handle, knowing the company is making cutbacks. Was he going to be apologetic? Or try to make a joke?" 3. Use all the senses when telling your story, and describe them using comparisons that force them to start using their memory to fill in details. "The smell in that apartment was like a dumpster behind a chinese buffet on a late summer afternoon two months into a sanitation worker strike." When you tell stories like this - it might SEEM like it's about the detail you're giving them. But it's really about what you're NOT saying. The notes you don't play are where the skill comes in. —->
1 thought on “Salesmen Know What Copywriters Don’t: When to Shut Up”
Thanks for the post Colin. It reminds me in hypnosis of being “artfully vague” – of letting THEIR mind full in the gaps. I think the notion of not saying too much is genius – of leaving “holes”. It’s a powerful metaphor!
Day to day when people “blow it” influencing is anything they say “I know exactly how you feel…” Then they say exactly how you are not feeling or thinking.
“Holes” could be as easy as saying, “I get a sense you are experiencing something important…” Now, you feel they have insight, now it is exformation, now you feel like they “get me”.
Thanks again. Great post! – Rich