“In persuading men, logical reasoning is practically never to be used alone. After the arguments have been presented, skillful suggestions should be used as a supplement. This supplement often changes threatened defeat into success. The skillful pleader before a jury, the wise politician, and the successful superintendent of men all alike are compelled to resort to suggestion to supplement their arguments in their attempts to influence men.
“If we should divide all customers into the two classes, professional buyers and the general public, then, in appealing to this latter class, special attention should be given to suggestion. In an advertisement containing both a good suggestion and a good argument, the suggestion is read often and the argument rarely. From infancy, we have been accustomed to respond to suggestions so frequently that we follow this habit in purchasing merchandise, even though we ought to make such purchases only after due deliberation. Deliberation is a process of thought which is very elaborate and very exhausting. The general purchaser—the housewife—does not ordinarily rise to such an undertaking, but contents herself with a process very closely approximating the working of pure suggestion. Even though she begins to deliberate, the process is likely to be cut short by the effect of a clever suggestion.
“The general public responds more readily to suggestions than to arguments; hence, in dealing with this large group, it is usually wise to construct the copy according to this habitual method of response of the general public. Immediate action is more often secured by suggestion than by arguments.”
Since this is true, that person is most skillful in persuading who has acquired the most skill in suggestion. He stimulates the imagination to paint vivid and intensely-colored mental pictures of the gratification of desire. Make desire strong enough, and, if you have correctly analyzed the one to be persuaded, the rest follows.
INDUCING DECISION AND ACTION
“I want it,” said a gentleman to us, speaking of a piece of property in which he was contemplating investment. “I want it so bad that I can’t think of much else. I lie awake nights dreaming of myself in possession of it, and yet, somehow or other, I can’t make up my mind to buy it. I have the money and have had the money in the bank for weeks. There is nothing else I want to do with that money half as much as I want to buy that property, but it is an important move and, somehow or other, I just can’t make the plunge.”
This gentleman’s experience illustrates a psychological condition well known to many of our readers, because they have been in substantially the same situation—and well known to every salesman, because he has had to meet and combat just such a situation many a time.