There’s a popular saying, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”
Who would? That would be foolish.
Then why do business owners market their businesses (a true gunfight if ever there was one) without using the persuasive equivalence of guns?
Pacing and leading is one of these weapons, and could quite possibly be one of the most powerful techniques for persuasion psychology in marketing. Simply stated, it’s one of the big guns.
What is Pacing and Leading and where does it come from?
Pacing and Leading is a popular Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique. Neuro Linguistic programming is a psychological technology that Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed in the late 1970’s. NLP, as a model for self-help, is becoming increasingly popular and continues to grow and evolve.
While NLP is based in psychology, it deals with enhancing persuasion and influencing behavior in ourselves and others. NLP encompasses a hybrid of techniques and models of personality and behavior.
Bandler and Grinder found that by pacing and leading someone, they could take people into open-eyed trances and influence them into doing things, or making decisions that they wouldn’t have typically made or done.
That’s why NLP technologies have become so popular. They can be used in a wide variety of contexts, such as therapeutic settings and within advanced selling techniques.
How is Pacing and Leading Used?
Pacing and leading is used in many situations. When marketing, pacing and leading are used in copywriting to influence your reader or listener and making them feel as if you are speaking directly to them. How? By using what we know to be true about the target market, tying it to emotions, and leading them to a logical conclusion.
Because pacing and leading as a linguistic style is used every day in normal conversation, it can be hard to recognize. That’s why we need to look at an example from a situation we wouldn’t normally encounter, like hypnosis.
Think of a person in a hypnotist’s chair. The hypnotist says, “As you breathe in and out, listening to the sound of my voice, you start to notice the feelings of drowsiness behind your eyes…”
Do you see what is going on there? If you were in a hypnotist’s chair, with your eyes closed, listening to them speak. You would be breathing and listening. So as the hypnotists states what is true, they attribute meaning to a third thing… like a feeling of drowsiness. It’s a chain of logic which intimates that if this and that is happening, then another thing is destined to happen.
Pacing… and leading…
You are doing this, and this, and this, and that can make you feel (feel, think, or do) this, this, and this.
In normal conversations you will typically use leading language to influence someone’s decision, but if you add pacing statements you will start to see better results.
An Example of Pacing and Leading
Pacing and Leading can be used in all written and verbal communications. Anytime you want to persuade someone, you should pace and lead them.
In most pacing and leading you would use experientially verifiable situations in your pacing statements. Sometimes, however, it is impossible to know for certain what people are experiencing. In these cases, you have two options: you can make educated guesses which cover your bases, and/or you can have people imagine scenarios. For instance:
“Every business owner knows, growing your business is sometimes difficult. When things slow down, or never quite get started, it feels confusing. When you realize you need help, but don’t know where to turn, you begin to worry about payroll and all your other overhead. Those are the moments when you would give anything to have your business pick up. If you could only get more customers!
You imagine your business growing and being able to pay yourself what you are worth. Being able to take vacations and have everything run smoothly without you. You could lie back on the beach and relax, knowing that your team has everything covered. That would be nice…
That’s peace of mind… and it is just one of the benefits you receive when you understand how to market and grow your business.
With Mindwhirl’s marketing coaching and training you will understand how your business grows; know how to drive crowds of loyal customers to your business, and your website with marketing; you will know what to say to them when they get there; know how to take advantage of the opportunity; and know how to make the sale. As a result, you will have the sales and the money you need to pay your bills, and grow your business. The only question, will be finding a place to go on vacation that everyone can agree on.
If you want to grow your business into the powerful profit machine you always imagined it could be, then you absolutely MUST call Mindwhirl today and learn more about our marketing coaching and training.”
This sales pitch makes some assumptions — it has to! It couldn’t possibly talk to everyone in the world. You wouldn’t read it. It speaks to a certain group: Business owners who are just barely making money in their business, who also have children. The pitch paces the typical experience of the target group and expands on it. It follows the problem, agitate, solve model of copywriting; and it also paces and leads. Pacing from a probable experience to the promise of a desirable certain future if you take advantage of the offer from us.
Learning Pacing and Leading
If you really want to learn pacing and leading, all you have to do is practice. No matter who you are trying to persuade, the pattern is simple: state what is happening now in their verifiable or assumed experience, then tie in how the solution or answer helps them think, feel, or do much easier, better, or more.
Just remember, in order to make it work, you have to know where you want to lead them first.
As you try it for yourself, you will realize all the ways that you naturally pace and lead in your normal conversations. Soon, it will be second nature to you and you will be aware of what you are doing. Then you will start directing, and leading conversations…
…and that’s when the fun begins!
Pacing and leading is a powerful technique that you should use in every communication with your prospects and customers.
Anytime you want to lead a person to a conclusion, a decision, or an understanding, use pacing and leading.
You simply state what is true about the current situation, or what you believe to be true about what they are experiencing, and then you use it to lead them to a conclusion which influences a decision.