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Art of Mental Pictures – Magic of Believing
(An excerpt from the “Strangest Secret Library”)
Once when I was in the investment banking business. Bob, a young salesman, came into my office for advice.
"I wish you would tell me how I can overcome my fear of Mr. Smith. I know I can sell him if I can just get in to see him and talk with him on his own level. As it stands, he's got the life scared out of me and every other salesman."
Mr. Smith, as I'll call him here, is a millionaire with a very imposing office organization. He is a portly type, with a heavy shock of hair and beetle-browed. Because of his growling manner, he easily scares timid folks. However, I knew he liked people who talked up to him.
I was momentarily puzzled, but the answer soon came. Bob had been picturing this man as he saw him. "You know he's not going to hurt you physically," I said. "Suppose you saw Mr. Smith at the beach in a bathing suit. You wouldn't be afraid of him there, would you, even though he did appear to be a pretty hairy fellow?"
"Certainly not," he replied. Then the idea of a hairy body came to me, and I asked, "Bob, did you ever see one of those clownish dancing bears wearing a fez or a dunce cap? You know they can growl, but most of them are toothless and can't bite."
"Sure," responded the salesman.
"Well, you have a good imagination. Just picture our friend as one of those harmless old bears, fez, collar, and all, and the mental hazard is gone, isn't it?"
Laughing heartily. Bob went out. A few days later he sold the man $20,000 worth of securities, and this executive may still be wondering how the young salesman ever got in to see him, to say nothing of selling him.
A couple of weeks later, Bob was back in my office, telling me how he had used similar methods in making another sale, this time to a gruff old man who wore white whiskers, had a patriarchal and stern appearance, and used a vitriolic tongue that was feared by most salesmen.
"That old goat had me buffaloed for a long time. I knew he had money, but every time I passed his store and saw him scowling - he was always scowling - I couldn't get up courage to go in and tackle him. A few days ago I got to thinking of the picture-making plan you told me to use on Mr. Smith and the idea popped into my head of a picture of Santa Claus. I said to myself, 'Sure, the old goat could be Santa Claus, and who's afraid of that kindly old boy?' Well, it worked there too. The old man was swell to me - sort of flattered that a young fellow like me dared approach him. I got a $5,000 order out of him and he told me to come back next week because he wanted to go over his whole security list with me. That means more business."