I got a call from an acquaintance a while back. He said, ‘Do you remember the conversation we had about Africa? Well, I checked my e-mail and found, unbelievably, that I won an international lottery which originated in Africa. I’m just convinced that everything happens for a reason, aren’t you?’
Before I responded, I thought about this a moment. ‘You know, maybe you’re right. Everything does happen for a reason. It’s a very fortuitous thing that you called me today to tell me about this, for example.’ I went on to explain that these international lotteries are a scam, none of them are real, and that it’s a good thing he called to tell me about it so that I could explain the scam to him.
This conversation made me stop and really think about how people are looking for supporting evidence for what they want in their environment. In this case, my acquaintance saw our conversation about Africa as supporting evidence, or a coincidence, when he received the e-mail about winning the lottery from Africa. He added two and two together, but came up with a wrong answer.
I didn’t like bursting his bubble, but it kept him from losing money. But it was also a valuable lesson for both of us. For me, I realized the use of this language pattern or phrase, can be used in persuasion with amazing results, enabling us to influence in a deep and profound way.
Why is it that people look for supporting evidence? Well, I think it’s because we live in an unstable world. Whenever there’s a lack of stability, people become upended and turn to religion, turn to God, turn to spirituality, and they become more and more superstitious.
As I explain this pattern to you, please understand, my goal is to break things down in a way that gives us tremendous power with our language, our words and persuasion, and in so doing, help you to have more success in your life. That’s my purpose in this discussion. If you don’t believe in God, or you’re not a spiritual person, my point is not to influence you towards or away from anything except towards a language pattern or away from not being as successful as you like, that you’ll be able to use these patterns for your benefit and for the benefit of your clients.
When I said to my acquaintance that ‘everything happens for a reason’ I was alluding to something more than what he understood was happening. I went on to say, ‘It’s a good thing we’re talking because. . . ‘ This applies that there is something more to it than what he was thinking about. It set the stage for me to have an entry point into his mind and explain the difficulty he might have faced had he moved forward with this lottery.
As persuaders, we can give people the supporting evidence they are looking for. These language patterns are powerful and very popular in our current cultural lexicon.
Here’s one way you can use this: Say you’re an adviser and you’re talking with a potential client and they say something really positive like, ‘It’s a good idea I’m talking with you today because. . . ‘ This is an excellent place to use this pattern. Respond simply by saying, ‘Absolutely. You know, after all, there are no accidents, right?’
Is this a stretch? I don’t think so. No matter what our belief system this seems to work. If you think of it this way, everything does happen for a reason–it’s just a matter of whether or not you like the reason.
No language pattern is an island and our goal as persuaders is to layer pattern upon pattern and these patterns piece together a deeper sense of reality when you do this right, what you’re going to be doing is using all sorts of these patterns at high speed.