Subliminal Persuasion Techniques Used on You

Have you ever wondered whether a salesman is trying to use subliminal persuasion techniques on you? It’s possible, as you’ll see in the examples that follow.

Using Your Words

One persuasion technique that is taught to those in sales is to use your own words when speaking with you. This means, for example, that if you commonly use the word “worth,” as in “I’m not sure if it’s worth it,” or “I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the price,” the salesman will pick up on that and use it himself. He might find a product you are interested in and say, “You can see that this one is easily worth the price.”

The technique is based on a couple facets of human psychology. First, we are more likely to buy or be persuaded in general when our concerns are addressed in a language that makes the most sense to us – our own. Also, we tend to be persuaded by people we can related to easily, and we feel we can relate more easily to a person if that person speaks in familiar ways.

More involved forms of this kind of subliminal persuasion target whole phrases that you use repeatedly. If you have said “I can understand,” a few times, for example, the salesman will use that. He might say, “You can understand why this is the best seller, given the features it has.” We respond well to pitches that use our own familiar phrases because we feel that the sales person really “gets” us.

There is another way our words are used to persuade us. This technique is based on the idea that each of us is influenced more by one or another modality. In other words, some are more persuaded by what they hear, while for others it is what they see, and still others by what they feel. This shows in our words. A person who is more visually motivated will often say things like “I see,” and “I can see what you mean.” Others may more commonly say, “I hear what you’re saying,” or “I feel like this is a good deal.”

A salesperson trained to pick up on these clues will then adjust her language accordingly. She might show you a list of features in writing if your words suggest that you are motivated more by what you see. If you are more motivated by tactile sensations and intuition she can get you to “feel the quality” of a product or suggest that you can “sense” the workmanship in a piece of furniture.

Words – Part Two

The well-trained salesperson will use the techniques above (and perhaps ten other subliminal persuasion techniques not covered here), and then wrap up the sale by parroting back exactly what you have said you wanted, assuming he or she has something to suit your needs. For example, if you were looking at vacation packages, the sales person might say something like this: “Now, as I recall, you said you wanted an all-inclusive resort on a beach, for four to five days and for less than $2,400. Fortunately we have two options that fit that. Do you want to book the Cancun package or the one in Puerto Vallarta?

It is difficult to say no at this point if the salesperson has used your exact words and criteria to find what you said you wanted. You might even say that this is just doing a good job of serving you, and perhaps it is to your benefit, but it is still subliminal if you are not aware that the techniques are being used. People don’t notice this approach most of the time, and they feel uncomfortable contradicting what they said, so it’s easier to say yes. Using a person’s own words is powerful, and these simple examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to subliminal persuasion techniques.