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Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently by Neil Rackham, John E. Doerr, Mike Schultz

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Chapter 5Insight and Level 2: Convince

The Power of Story

In the latter half of the 1700s, German astrologist and physician Franz Anton Mesmer treated his patients by looking deeply into their eyes and waving magnets in front of their faces. Mesmer believed barriers in our bodies disrupted the natural flow of the processes that gave us life and health. He further believed his penetrating eye gazing and object waving restored natural order inside his patients and relieved all sorts of maladies.

In fact, he is reported to have cured headaches, swooning, blindness, paralysis, and a long list of additional ailments, even hemorrhoids. He became quite the celebrity, at one point touring major cities across Europe to demonstrate the efficacy and power of his medical advances. It is reported that as he worked with his patients, he gained complete control not just of their actions but also of their thoughts, their perceptions of reality, and their feelings.

When he did this, the patients were said to be . . . mesmerized! Thus, a new word was born.

Why should you care?

  1. You’re unlikely to forget the origin of the word mesmerized because you learned about it in the context of a story. (At least, you’re more likely to remember it than if we simply said, “The word mesmerized originates from Dr. Franz Mesmer, whose techniques became the basis for modern-day hypnotism.”)
  2. Insight sellers use the power of story to mesmerize, doing what the good doctor did to his patients, but without the magnet ...

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