International Living’s 17 year control NLP copywriting case study

Here’s one more example of winning copy that works NLP into the ad.

I read this letter has been a control for 17 years. I’ve received it 3 times via email that I can remember. Here’s how it goes…

You look out your window, past your gardener, who is busily pruning the lemon, cherry, and fig trees…amidst the splendor of gardenias, hibiscus, and hollyhocks. The sky is clear blue.

The sea is a deeper blue, sparkling with sunlight.

A gentle breeze comes drifting in from the ocean, clean and refreshing, as your maid brings you breakfast in bed.

For a moment, you think you have died and gone to heaven.

But this paradise is real. And affordable.
In fact, it costs only half as much to live this dream lifestyle…
as it would to stay in your own home!

You may be wondering how this is NLP. This is pacing and leading. But, you say, this isn’t pacing any experience you’ve had before.

That’s an NLP tactic. You can pace a hypothetical experience. If you’re telling a story, your reader automatically accepts your story – especially in a case like this where the implication is that you’re imagining or dreaming.

If you’re reading this lead, you can’t be looking out your window. Your brain realizes you’re imagining this scenario. And it doesn’t matter much what you pace once you’re dealing with the imagination. I mean, what’s a hollyhock?

Can you see where the pacing turns into a lead? Go back and see. It’s, "For a moment…" because it switched to telling you what you’re thinking instead of simply experiencing in this paradise.

The writer follows by addressing the two most immediate objections which are 1) those kinds of places only exist in the movies and 2) I couldn’t possibly afford it.

There are situations when it’s more appropriate to pace an imagination versus your prospect’s actual experience. If you can’t be specific about your prospect’s current experience, it could be better to pace the promise instead.

How could you’d pace this target market in their current experience? Would you talk about dead end jobs, political disillusionment or vacation opportunities? You’d be guessing at best.

Conversely, if you have a well defined prospect, pacing their current experience in a problem/solution format would work well.

Either way, we’re back to storytelling. Pacing and leading is simply telling the story the prospect is either familiar with or can imagine.

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