What If You vs. Imagine

Two popular Word Plays many alumni use are the “What if you” question and the “Imagine” statement. These are two very powerful Grabbers that engage your prospect and ask them to place themselves inside the message you are delivering.

“Imagine” is like Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” statement. Essentially, he asks the audience to “Imagine a world where…” He puts an alternate reality into place. Although he uses “I” (violating “you” phrasing), in this context it works well because I, the listener, is invited to join his dream. He is able to transfer ownership to the audience easily because they want to go; they want to live this dream. Your imagination takes you into his dream and you become part of his story (the power of a story). The audience takes a trip without leaving the room.

“What if you” questions are also very powerful, especially when used in sales. “What if you” moves your audience to where you want them to go without them resisting going there in the first place. They can’t control it – they just go. “What if you” is very kinetic. It forces the listener to answer a question. The very act of what if you did x or y forces the listener to imagine the result and to consider the consequences. These consequences are many times what make the listener take action – action towards your solution. There is power in a question. It forces you to prepare an answer, whether you verbalize it or not.

Play with using “What if you” and “Imagine” at your next sales call. Which do you prefer?

By Chuck Laughlin, Co-Founder and CEO and David Lane, Consultant, Corporate Visions Inc.