Trying NLP out in a Speech

Over the weekend I got to announce the Toastmasters District Fall Conference since I’m chairing it.

I only had a few hours until I was to make the announcement (due to procrastination on my part) and most of that time was already accounted for in other events.

I decided to throw some patterns in there anyway just to see what would happen.

Here’s what I scratched together on 3 pocket sized spiral note pad pages:

Do you… remember a time when learning was fun.

You’re excited and fascinated with both the journey and the destination.

Imagine a day devoted to your improvement. Do you want to…

  • Improve your voice
  • Relax your body
  • Iron out internal resistance
  • Resolve external conflict
  • Align yourself with what you really want out of life

The theme of the fall conference is, "Your Best Self Ever."

We’re taking a value based approach where you could easily pay the full price just to hear any of the speakers we have lined up. It will be a one day conference.

As you’re getting your [registration] fliers, you’re probably already thinking about other members who’d like to come as well.

Then I talked about how to sign up and who to give the money to.

Did it work? Who knows. We had more than the usual number of early registrations but that could have as easily been due to the fact that the price was lower than usual and the value was higher than usual. It was fun trying it out.

Is NLP Manipulative?

Since I didn’t take the practitioner courses, I’ve been learning NLP on my own.

I realized that I could benefit from being able to practice NLP in persuading people in person as well so I joined a couple of local Meetup groups. One is a hypnosis group and the other is an NLP group. I’ve also considered starting a Toastmasters club based on learning NLP in any and all contexts.

In talking to people about NLP, I’m faced with the difficult issue of trying to explain NLP. Usually I say it has to do with hypnosis and behavior modification. Now that I’m studying modeling, I might tack on modeling excellence. If someone said "modeling excellence" to me, I doubt I’d know what they were talking about so maybe not.

Once I’ve said that much though, I often get looks like I’ve just told them I’m dabbling in black magic or the occult. Sometimes I get asked (or accused) whether it’s manipulative. And I haven’t even mentioned the applications of speed seduction at that point.

Here’s how I see it: NLP is a tool like anything else. It can be used for good OR for evil if you like to make that distinction. It’s an especially helpful tool if you’re wanting to persuade another person. Any moral judgment about that persuasion is up to the intent of the persuader or observer, not the techniques employed… as long as you’re not violating another person’s will. Obviously involuntary trauma based brainwashing is something totally different.

As a persuader, are you responsible for respecting other people’s boundaries? It depends on your worldview I suppose. Does your doctor? Does the car salesman? Once you realize how maliable subjective reality is, you may wonder how useful boundaries are at all. That’s a topic for another time though.

Another consideration is in using any tool. Do you want to be more versatile and skilled or less? Do you want the tools of persuasion used on you or do you want to be the one using them? You have a responsibility to safeguard your own interests as well.

So is NLP manipulative? Absolutely. It’s as manipulative, dirty and evil as money, cars or hammers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting Started in Copywriting and NLP

I’ve been asked a couple of times how to get started in copywriting and NLP.

If you Google “getting started copywriting” you’ll see over 200,000 results. Most of the advice I’ve seen and followed boils down to a few steps:

  1. Study the masters
  2. Copy out successful letters
  3. Build a swipe file
  4. Practice on low risk jobs
  5. Build your portfolio
  6. Specialize in a market
  7. Get bigger clients

What I want to point out is that your path depends greatly on your end goal. Do you want to be a corporate copywriter? Freelance? Or how about run your own business?

Personally, I started out following the above steps before I finally accepted the fact that many of the most successful copywriters write for themselves. Even the top copywriters that still write for clients also have their own products, services, coaching programs, seminars, etc. That’s where the real money and real freedom are.

If you’ve managed to stick to the steps long enough to become a half decent copywriter, branching out into your own business won’t be a terrible shock. Selling is the hardest part of any business and you already have a leg up. Plus, if you go after information products online, you’ve chopped your learning curve down again. And you won’t have to go looking for step 4. You can do your own stuff.

If you follow the career path of many copywriters, the steps that follow after the six above are:

  1. Charge your clients more
  2. Get more clients
  3. Get burned out
  4. Have an existential crisis
  5. Get fed up and start your own business

Why not start at step 4 in the first list and jump to step 5 in the second? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.

I wanted to elaborate on step 1 in the first list for copywriting and NLP. That was the original question… how to get started.

I read the original guys like Hopkins, Caples and Ogilvy. I don’t recommend anyone start with that unless you want to be a corporate copywriter. For direct response copywriters and entrepreneurs, I recommend you study some of the guys who are doing it well online already. Specifically, I recommend (not affiliate links):

  • Michel Fortin – has a great online presence and community
  • Clayton Makepeace – master of melding copywriting and existing business (aka profit sharing and royalties)
  • Ben Settle – a great resource to go for learning about swiping
  • Michael Senoff – an amazing resource for free seminars, interviews and ads on a multitude of business topics. It’s a great place to find ideas.
  • Dan Kennedy – he has a number of good books on the basics. I’m looking at a copy of The Ultimate Sales Letter on my shelf. You can see the 2nd edition free on Google Books.
  • Google “internet business ” and visit the top results. If they’re private business guys with blogs, they obviously know what they’re doing. Richard Lee, Cybercashology and Terry Dean come to mind.
  • [EDIT 5/23/09]I used to recommend James Brausch for his straightforward business formula that went something like “Product + Traffic + Copywriting = $$$.” He’s since sold off his blog and business and the new owners ran it into the ground with poor products and service. Terry Dean has a highly recommended beginner’s guide.

For NLP, it really depends on what you want to do with it. There’s a ton of general info online. Here’s what I recommend:

  • If you want a solid general overview, get a book like Introducing NLP by O’Connor and Seymour.
  • If you want to learn how to do NLP, you have 2 main options: take a practitioner course or read the original books by Bandler and Grinder and find someone to practice with. The first method would probably be easier although I’ve taken the second.
  • [EDIT 10/20/08: Richard Bandler has a new book out, “Get The Life You Want” that has most of his NLP patterns. Each chapter is a background story and the pattern laid out step by step. I highly recommend it as a pattern reference.]
  • [EDIT 5/23/09: It now appears that NOTNLP may have streamlined many if not all the patterns of NLP. If you’re wanting to do NLP in person, I recommend you check it out.]
  • If you want to learn to do Therapeutic Metaphors, learn the vocabulary of NLP first and then get David Gordon’s book on it. Some of it will be lost on you if you don’t know the basics.
  • If you want to learn modeling,ย  get Gordon’s book on it. [UPDATE: Steve Bauer has a more comprehensive list on modeling approaches listed in a recent post . It includes Gordon’s book.]
  • If you run across something you’re not familiar with look it up in the Encyclopedia of NLP .
  • If you want to learn it for personal motivation, get Tony Robbin’s materials.
  • If you want to be entertained and awed by it, look for Derren Brown on YouTube. “The Heist ” and “Subliminal Advertising ” are especially eye opening.
  • If you want to learn it for a face to face sales context, get Kenrick Cleveland’s materials. I haven’t studied his materials beyond his blog but Harlan Kilstein highly recommends him.
  • If you want to learn if for a seduction context, get the Speed Seduction materials.
  • If you want to have it done on you without worrying about learning it, get some Paraliminals or visit a hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner. I created a similar product you can download free called Passionate Heart.

And finally, if you want to learn NLP for a copywriting context, get my course. The only thing even like it is Harlan’s $1000 DVDs. Even then, a couple people have commented that my course is easier to understand than his. It’s way less expensive too.

You can get the first lesson free here: http://hypnoticwriter.org .

Modeling Customers

At Harlan’s NLP Copywriting II seminar (I didn’t attend), he said he was going to teach people to model their audience.

He also said he’d modeled someone without their knowledge.

The notes of that modeling are here:

http://www.experiential-dynamics.org/models/tkilstein.htm
http://www.experiential-dynamics.org/models/kilstein.htm

Recently, Steve Bauer posted on what’s required to model people . He said you can’t model people you’ve never met.

Given those things, is it possible to effectively model a whole group of people? It doesn’t sound plausible to me. What you can do is come up with some general trends. According to David Gordon (and thus Harlan) it’s about discovering beliefs, strategies, emotions and external behavior… then yes, you can find out some of that as a trend for your market.

If you want to see an outline for the things included in David Gordon’s system of modeling check out the Table of Contents of his book. I ordered it last week so I can tell you more about it after I’ve read it.

Any maybe Steve will weigh in with his opinion too. ๐Ÿ™‚

New Guarantees

I switched the price to a one time $300 instead of the subscription service. If you read the previous post on how much went into the course you’ll probably agree it’s still a bargain.

The other thing that’s changed is that you now have a money back AND "includes everything" guarantees. The money back means you can receive the first 4 lessons and still get your money back if you want. The "includes everything" guarantee is that I’m guaranteeing that it includes every topic in NLP relevant to copywriting. If you get through the course and feel like I’ve left something out, I’ll research it and create a bonus lesson so that you’ll have gotten everything .

That ought to settle it. You can look for a full 30 days without having to commit to purchasing the course. And then if you had concern about the quality (because quality does vary considerably in the NLP community), now you know that you’ll finish the course having been exposed to everything in NLP relevant to copywriting. I would say you’ll have learned it all but I can’t guarantee you’ll do the exercises.

What are you waiting for then? If you want to learn to use NLP in copywriting, this is THE place to do it. Or you can try to figure it all out on your own. If you compare that $10K+ way to my $300 course… well, you get the idea. It’s no comparison.

The landing page is a work in progress since I have other things going on too. I’ll be multivariate testing it too once I’m happy with the way it looks. You don’t have to wait until then to go get it.

http://hypnoticwriter.org

Submodalities in Reading

In spoken NLP the idea is to figure out people’s preferred submodalities (visual, auditory, etc) and then craft your language to match that.

In writing, unless you’re writing a therapeutic metaphor for an individual, you don’t know the preferred submodalities of your readers. How do you deal with that?

Does the modality of reading matter? Initially I’d thought reading was an entirely visual experience. Someone suggested that it was auditory because people say the words in their heads as they read. I argued that I didn’t say the words because I speed read.

I’ve heard it said that the mind can process something like 20,000 words a minute but most people are limited in their reading speed by their speaking speed.

So perhaps it’s a synethesic activity. That’s where you use multiple submodalities concurrently without being able to separate them out. When I was learning to speed read, that was the trick… to be able to stop saying the words in your head.

What’s this have to do with marketing?

Well, if you want to match your reader’s submodality, it probably includes a visual component so you can use that language. Would that look right? See what I mean?

Each market segment is different though. Maybe most CEOs (for example) favor kinesthetic messages… words that pack a punch, feel right and explode your profits.

The only way to know is to test it. Test using each submodality together and separately. If you’re multivariate testing you’ll eventually figure out the best mix.

Does that ring true? What do you think?

How to Price Info Products

Recently, Bob Bly had a post commenting how one marketer had said the optimal price was so high that your customers complained.

I’d been wondering what to raise the price of my course to and commented on the article. Evidently Fred Gleeck has a model that info products should be worth 10X what the price is. That next question is how to determine the value.

If you have a product like Glypius or MuVar, the value comes as a return on your investment in your own business. You pay 300 Euros and make way more than that in increased conversions.

The example Bob gave in his reply comment was:

Louis: in the case of an information product, the marketer must explicitly make the case for the value he claims in the copy. For instance, letโ€™s say you are selling an e-book of forms for consultants. To pay a lawyer or expert to create each form would cost the prospect at least $200 per form, and there are 50 forms in the book. Therefore, buying the collection of ready-made forms can save the customer $10,000, allowing you to claim a value of 10K for your product. Would I charge $1,000? Probably not. But you could charge $97.

The reason you probably wouldn’t want to try charging $1,000 is because the value of those forms would be specific to a particular individual’s deal. That’s what attorney’s and real estate agents charge for… knowing how to appropriately fill in the blanks and customize language.

I searched online for other pricing information and it was mostly academic. I’m guessing everyone else is just pricing according to what everyone else is charging.

Here’s how it relates to us:

I’ve already mentioned that by this time next week, I’ll have raised the price of my "Be a Hypnotic Writer" course. Currently it’s $10 per lesson for a total of $110 (first one’s free). I think that price grossly undervalues the information I’m including in the course. People tend to form an impression of the value based on the price.

Since a lot of this is based on the personal study I’ve done, I’ll low ball that and say my time is worth $50/hr. You couldn’t get a good direct response copywriter to work for that much so I’m being conservative. Most of the materials I reviewed, I acquired second hand or borrowed so I’ll estimate the cost.

If I’m using the 10X figure, here are the things I need to include:

  • Harlan’s NLP Copywriting Certification Seminar ($1000)
  • Accommodations (I opted to stay in a hostel), airfare, copies of the DVDs, expenses to attend the seminar ($550)
  • Completing the certification process (20 hours = $1000)
  • Several source material books on NLP ($50 + 20 hours including 5 I read completely and 10+ I’ve skimmed speed reading = $1050)
  • A few Richard Bandler seminars (36 hours worth = $1800)
  • NLP Practitioner (22 CDs) and Master Practitioner Courses ($2000 each plus 15 hours study invested = $4750)

Let me be clear that I’m not an NLP Practitioner. I’ve only reviewed the course materials to make sure this course really does include everything there is to know about NLP copywriting thus far. I am an NLP Certified Copywriter although that only accounts for about half of what I’ve learned about NLP so far.

The total is $10,150. That’s not including the time I’ve spent preparing the course. That’s also not including the time I took to learn copywriting before I began studying NLP or internet marketing. That’s also not taking into account that you probably can’t get Harlan’s DVDs anywhere and there’s not another course out there that teaches this material. Not only that, but it includes exercises so that you actually assimilate the material, not just read it.

By that standard, I should be charging about $1000 for the course. I may at some future date. In the meantime I’m going to raise the price to a one time payment of $300. It will come with a 30 day money back guarantee of course. I’ll still keep it on a weekly delivery autoresponder unless I add a physical product as well. I feel like people will be more likely to read the lessons and do the exercises if they have a deadline for the next lesson. That will also cut back on the number of folks who buy, download your entire product and then immediately ask for a refund. If someone hasn’t figured out if they’re going to use it by the 4th lesson, I don’t want to keep sending it to them.

If you want to figure a price based on your profit due to increase in conversion, no doubt the price would be even higher.

If you want to compare it to other regular copywriting courses, the price should be much higher too. Not many full blown courses go for less than $1000.

If you want to compare it to hiring an NLP certified copywriter, it would be much higher. The average copywriter charges around $3,500 for a letter while the average A List copywriter charges $10,000 or more. Through this course, you’ll develop persuasive copywriting skills that even some of those copywriters don’t know about.

Until next Sunday, May 18th, you can get it for $10 a lesson. It’s such a steal that I almost feel embarrassed about letting anyone have it at that price. It’s my way of saying thanks to my early subscribers and testers.

Every Word Matters

Several blogs were talking about words recently and I wanted to bring them to your attention.

First off is A-List copywriter David Garfinkel. He showed how newspaper headlines can have drastically different interpretations just by how you read the same words. He was at Harlan’s NLP Copywriting seminar last fall too and mentions an NLP application. Check it out here .

Then James Brausch wrote about a similar idea . His centered more about how emotionally laden words can alter the entire meaning of a message and thus your thoughts… even simple changes like terrorists vs freedom fighters. Here was the original post. Then he gave his readers some practice . He followed with some explanation on why some things don’t make sense and an indirect complement [Thanks, James].

Finally, I noticed Steve [didn’t see a last name] who has an NLP blog. He talked at length about nominalizations . Of course we NLP marketing folks use nominalizations a little differently than the mainstream NLP Practitioners. It really depends on the result you’re looking for and whether you’re looking for your reader’s energy to move or to dissipate.

All those things are covered in my "Be a Hypnotic Writer " course… including practice. In another week or so, I’m going to be raising the price and turning it into a one time payment instead of subscriptions. If you’d like to take advantage of the low price now, you better do it soon. Click on the free lesson in the sidebar.

Knowing and Doing

In planning for an upcoming Toastmasters conference, I’ve met a number of NLP trainers.

The idea was to get speakers who could deliver some real value to our members. I know NLP can do that.

After listening to 3 different NLP trainers, only one seemed suitable for our conference. It turns out he happened to be a Toastmaster too and I didn’t know it. The others could use Toastmasters as their speaking abilities left much to be desired.

That got a conversation going with a friend… why is it that many folks in the NLP or hypnosis community don’t lead enviable lives? Even without meeting everyone it’s obvious they weren’t all in the top of health.

For some reason there seems to be a disconnect between knowing and doing. Some of these guys (Richard Bandler included) know NLP backwards and forwards but you look at them and think they must not be practicing what they preach.

It was Mark Twain who said, "The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them." It also seems true that the man who doesn’t apply what he learns has no advantage over the man who can’t learn.

As with all things, you must apply what you learn. NLP is no exception.

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