The Death of Imagination.

Has the ability to help people imagine the future and visualize great things died?

When I was at Xerox, we learned to sell by using the Xerox system which is world renowned. At the center of that methodology is S.P.I.N ® which stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs Pay Off ( my old Xerox training manager is smiling right now). It’s a brilliant selling methodology. S.P.I.N. ® is the best of the basics and it rocks.

Selling today requires much more that it did in those days. It’s no longer a linear experience and it takes many to help the customer say “yes”. That sales culture begins with your ability as the sales person having the ability to help your client, colleague or prospect see what they don’t currently see on their own.

It’s called imagination and it’s your job to spark in in your client. Imagination is defined as: “the faculty or action of forming innovative ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.”

The ability to help people “see” what they cannot see on their own in a time of over connection and quick reactions and is a requirement. Buyers often suffer from the dreaded ” I don’t know what I don’t know” and that often leads to a “no”. Every conversation is a blank canvas and you are the artist responsible for creating images and pictures that satisfy the needs of the buyer.brennans-hierarchy-of-imagination

I recently sold my house and it occurred to me that the ability to help your clients see and imagine the possibilities of making a purchase seems to have died. People would walk through the house and make decisions based on seeing the house as it is now. Buying decisions were made on what the house IS and not what it could be. There was a failure on the sales person’s part to help the prospect see what could be and spark their imagination and passion. For example a buyer would walk through and see a wall color and walk out. Or they would see how one room was an office and object. Another example was when a prospect saw that the house had two decks and couldn’t figure out why or what to do with them. In all cases the sales person stood idly and let them walk. No engagement and no attempt to paint a brighter picture.

There was no engagement and no attempt to stoke the imagination of the buyer to see what could be possible.

Creating possibilities and helping people see what is not obvious or apparent is an essential part of selling. It is not really taught AND it gets lost in the checklist mentality of conventional sales training. Far too often people say “no” not because they don’t get it, but because they don’t “see” it.

The house we are buying is far from perfect. If we walked in and made snap decisions based on what it is then we would have missed a fantastic opportunity. The real estate professional who was with us took the time to help us see the hidden gems and goodness of what the future could be. That created conversation and led to the decision to say yes.einstein-big-idea-merl-700x398

When you are selling something (and you are with every conversation) you must take people on a journey to see how and what is possible. Creating a vision in the mind of the buyer, your colleague or a new prospect is essential to creating conversation which leads to a new vision and imagining what a wonderful future will be achieved by saying “yes”.


Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after international keynote speaker, sales culture expert and author of “Everyone’s in Sales” and “STOP Apologizing and Start Selling”

Todd’s dynamic and motivational keynotes and workshops are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, Todd has led sales teams to deliver more than $950 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters.

You can also see Todd’s articles on Sales Culture in many magazines, trade journals and the Huffington Post.   For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please

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