Presuppositions + Nominalizations = YES Simple Equation, Dynamic Summation
We're all salespeople. Whether you're selling a car, the latest exercise gadget, an idea to a spouse, a personality to a dating prospect, or a resume to an interviewer, you peddle your goods every day, in the continuous quest for the ultimate preliminary payment of YES.
That YES can then open doors to prestige, money, relationships, harmony, and the many faces of success, as defined by you.
Your Metaphorical YES-Mart
Suppose for a moment that YES is a department store. If you can picture your favorite department store, you know that the Women's Department is one of the largest sections, closely followed by Men's and Children's. Housewares, Jewelry, Sporting Goods, and Fragrances might be smaller departments, but without each one, that store couldn't be called a department store?it would be called an apparel retailer.
Your favorite department store is successful, in part, because it offers a wide range of products -- making your life easier by eliminating the "hunt" and saving you trips around town. It's a package deal, and because you recognize that it will have mostly everything you need, you patronize it regularly.
A good selling plan is much like that department store. It contains many elements, all of which add up to more sales.
You must have a wonderful product and a good price, of course (your major departments), but you might never close a generous number of sales unless your smaller, but crucial, departments, like presuppositions and nominalizations, weigh in on your prospect's shopping experience.
When you use presuppositions and nominalizations to cater your sales pitch to every individual with whom you interact, you grasp the power to design personal department stores of sorts?ones that are relative to each prospect's preferences, and subjective to their needs. Maybe the Pharmacy will be close to the front door for one and the Shoe Department foremost for another.
When you employ presuppositions and nominalizations, you hold the power to make every prospect believe that your store has been designed specifically for them -- because it seems to have what they want the most, with an irresistible sale going on every day.
Join me now to learn how these complex terms, though simple and based on human nature at their cores, can be integral in scoring the quality and quantity of YESes that you desire.
Using Presuppositions in Your Language for the YES
In my book, The YES Factor, I define presupposition as an underlying, powerful inference or an implied assumption that your YES target will accept as truth.
In simpler language, if you take the time to build rapport with your prospect first, he or she will be likely to accept an inferred meaning from your language as truth.
When utilizing presupposition, your statements will assume that the deal has already been accepted, or the sale already been made, without direct language that indicates such. Here's an example that uses a Yes Set to build rapport between a newspaper advertising salesperson and a business owner.
Salesperson: Beautiful sunny day, isn't it? Prospect: Yes, it is. Salesperson: You're over there on Main and Third, right? Prospect: Yep, the big red brick building. Salesperson: And you sell antique furniture? Prospect: Yes, mostly Victorian Era pieces. Salesperson: So, you've got a big sales event coming up? Prospect: Sure do. Salesperson: I guess you're hoping to reach current customers and new ones, too. Prospect: Yes, that's the goal. Salesperson: When do want the ad to appear? Thursday or Friday?
The last statement by the salesperson is a presupposition, and gets the YES, even if that YES is implied with an answer of "Thursday" or "Friday." Instead of asking what's really on his mind, which might be something like, "I really don't care about the weather, what business you're in, or if you have more customers than Apple?all I want is your money," the salesperson builds rapport and then ends with a presupposition -- an indirect question that presumes a YES, in continuum of the Yes Set that precedes it.
In this example, the salesperson successfully primed the prospect for a YES, and because he planned well, the prospect can't find a reason to fight the roll of YESes. In order for presuppositions to be effective, they must also be measured and subtle. Without the priming questions, the above presupposition would have offended the furniture store owner. How would she have reacted if she walked into the newspaper office, and the salesperson shook her hand and said, "When do you want the ad to appear? Thursday or Friday?" Her reactions might have ranged from asking him to please back off to storming out. Either way, it would be far from the YES he was searching for.
Not only does the presupposition need to be placed correctly, but it should be worded correctly, also. If the salesperson in the above example would have primed with meaningful questions, and then ended with, "Why don't you sign here so we can go to lunch?" he would likely have been met with a notable NO.
Presuppositions are closely related to expectations. We all have our own expectations, but when someone builds rapport, or a relationship, with us, we also subject ourselves to that person's expectations. That's the psychology that you'll be using when you utilize presupposition priming to get your YES. Your prospect will want to continue the YES roll, and fulfill your ultimate expectation.
Reading Presuppositions in Your Prospect's Language for the YES
Not only can you use presupposition priming to ask a prospective client to fulfill your expectation of YES, but you can use your own presupposition radar to gather information about that prospect, to build rapport, and further your journey to YES.
Remember the example above? The newspaper salesman hoping to sell an advertising spot to a woman who's having a sale on antique furniture? Let's highlight another portion of that hypothetical conversation. Imagine that you're the salesperson. How many things can you gather about this woman from her words?
Salesperson: Have you been in the antique furniture business for long? Prospect: My husband and I will have owned it for three decades, next year. Salesperson: Wow, that's impressive. It must keep you very busy. Prospect: It does, and I'm finally finding the time to really delve into it. Salesperson: Time?now that's a precious commodity. Prospect: Well, I gained some when my son moved away to Harvard Law.
How many presuppositions can you extract from this conversation? I was able to find seven inferred facts, and six inferred opinions:
1. She's married (reference to a husband). 2. She's a mother (reference to a son). 3. She is a minimum of 47 years old (she's owned her own business for 29 years). 4. Her son is a minimum of 20 years old (he's in Harvard Law School). 5. Her son must have completed his preliminary studies locally (he's just now leaving home) 6. Her son is an aspiring lawyer (in attendance at Harvard Law) 7. Her son is living away from home (she has more time since he left for school) My Opinions:
1. She's an astute business woman (in business for nearly 30 years) 2. She must be a patient woman (she's been in business with a spouse for 29 years) 3. She is passionate about her job (she's been wishing for more time to commit to it) 4. She's proud of her son's accomplishments (she mentions Harvard Law by name) 5. She might be looking to increase her advertising budget (she wants to "delve in") 6. Or, if she's putting her son through school, she might be on a tight budget (Harvard Law tuition isn't exactly clearance rack merchandise)
True, many of the facts and opinions that you extract from conversation with your prospects will be of no consequence to your goal. But, many will. That's why it's important to ask meaningful questions that will prompt your prospect to offer information that can be useful in your quest for YES.
In this example, you now know that you can use your own presupposing language in ways like,
1. "Would you like for your husband to sign this too, or are you the decision-maker for the business?" 2. "You'll want to run your next sale in the spring, before your son comes home right?" 3. "Will you be ordering the medium or the large sized ad for your blow-out sale?" 4. "Won't your husband be surprised to see your faces in the paper?" 5. "How were you planning on upping the advertising ante to accommodate your high aspirations for the business?" 6. "Would you like to time this ad so that your son, the future lawyer, will stumble on it in the paper when he's home on winter break?" 7. "I think it's great that you've nurtured this business since its infancy. I'm glad I'm in the picture to watch it grow. What caliber of ad were you thinking of?"
It's never a good idea to make blatant assumptions about your prospect, or to be too abrupt or forward with your statements, especially early on. Avoid making assumptions based on appearances or stereotypes. Instead, only play with the cards that your prospects offer you. Use only the positive facts that you draw, and opinions that you form, in your quest for the YES. Prospects will appreciate your astuteness, your attention to detail, your memory, and they'll be amazed at how you've drawn truth from seemingly innocuous statements. And in true presupposition form, they'll wonder how they could possibly muster anything less than a YES.
Paving the Road to YES with Nominalizations
What do you see when I say, "Beautiful sunset?" If you're like me, you might see an orange, salmon, and pink sky flanking a brilliant yellow sun, falling to kiss the rippling waters of the ocean.
But, more likely, your description would have been completely different than mine, or even if the views were similar, there would have been some variables (maybe your ideal sun sets over a mountain range, or a wide grassy plain; or maybe the sky is streaked with purple or dotted with cotton-candy clouds). The point is that when you use a word like beautiful you're asking for it?asking for the YES, that is. Words such as this send prospects inward, to meet with their ideal vision, sound, or feeling of beautiful, and you have effectively primed them to allow commands to fly under their NO radar.
If you were to say a word like brick, I could consult with Merriam Webster for a definition of that word. But, if you were to use a word like beautiful, or peaceful, or ideal, I would be hard-pressed to find a written definition that coincides with my personal definition. I would have to turn inward, to my own frame of mind, to conjure a personal definition for those words. That's nominalization.
Nominalization applies to non-specific words for which there's no absolute definition. They have a hypnotic effect on listeners because they occupy those listeners' minds with finding personal definitions for those words. Here are a few examples of how nominalization can be used to get a YES in the advertising sales example used earlier:
Salesperson: Your brochure is phenomenal. This beautiful chair looks fashionable and comfortable.
At first glance, this sentence sounds a lot like a kiss-up attempt. Like maybe the salesperson is buttering up the furniture entrepreneur, just before he swoops in for the sale. But look more closely, and you'll find four nominalizations contained within it: phenomenal, beautiful, fashionable, and comfortable. These adjectives mean different things to the salesman and the sales prospect, but all the salesman cares about is making the business owner turn inward to look for her personal perceptions of these words. Once she's there, she'll be thinking thoughts of bright colors and perfect grammar included in the phenomenal brochure, the well-preserved condition of the beautiful chair, the rarity of the fashionable chair, and the smooth, velvety texture of the comfortable chair. This woman has now been transported to a place that she loves: her furniture, and all of her positive perceptions of it.
The woman has framed the salesman's nominalizations to suit her own taste, and her mind is so occupied with those visions, that she barely notices his command that comes next, buried within the following comment:
Salesperson: If I were you, it would make me happy to see that chair in a big 6x6 ad. Prospect: Oh yes, that would be nice.
The final nominalization, happy, aligns with the previous nominalizations, and the salesman's command to purchase a 6x6 ad goes utterly unnoticed. She's in such a perceived, or sub-perceived, euphoria, that she's more than willing to say YES.
Be careful when nominalizations are turned on you. For instance, if the business woman should say to the salesman, "I want you to make sure that this ad is the best I've ever seen," he would be obligated to ask her for her definition of best. He should ask her to give examples of ones that she liked and didn't like. He should do his utmost to step into her frame, and see, hear, or feel her perception of best, so that he can deliver what will seem to her to be the best.
No Empty Carts in YES-Mart I'm sure that you remember the metaphor at the beginning of the article. Maybe now, you wouldn't be able to imagine a sales pitch without presuppositions and nominalizations, just as you would be disappointed if you found yourself searching your favorite retailer for departments that had mysteriously been removed.
When you use presuppositions and nominalizations with care, you can steer your prospects into your figurative department store, where they'll find everything they could ever want (or, at least the things you've convinced them that they want).
With these valuable tools, you will covertly convince your prospects, business associates, love partners, and prospective employers that your words are truth, and that an investment in you is the best possible choice.
Eliminate their need to shop around. Give them everything they could possibly want, without a bit of preliminary knowledge about what they're interested in. That's the power of presuppositions and nominalizations: two indispensable components in your YES equation.
YES gives you a set of extremely effective nonverbal and verbal skills that you can easily use in your everyday life. YES will show you how you can put your best foot forward and create positive feelings. See below for book chats and signing information: