The Ultimate Intellectual Property

The final fronter for intellectual property seems to be NLP’s ability to model people.

Harlan Kilstein’s modeling seminar ended last Friday (I didn’t go but I may get the DVDs at some point).

In it, he was going to share and install his models of several A list copywriters. As part of the promotion leading up to it, he shared a model of negotiating he’d modeled from two top negotiators. The interesting thing about that was that one of the exemplars (person being modeled) wasn’t a willing contributor.

And then John Carlton posted recently that he’d done a live seminar in which he went through the process of what he does even before he starts writing copy to make sure it goes like greased lightning every time. It’s in the PS if you want to see what he said about it.

So what’s the deal? Do each of us have some kind of intellectual property over our own personalities? I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. As long as you keep growing and improving, no one will ever be a better you than you are. I don’t know about the ethical implications of modeling people who don’t want to be modeled.

In reviewing Persuasion Engineering , Richard Bandler said that many top entrepreneurs (esp. in MLM) were recovered drug addicts. James Brausch comes to mind. He’s told his story of recovery on his blog openly. Evidently the deal is that an addict’s life depends on him following directions to the t. I definitely see that in James’ story. That skill then serves him well in following business systems.

So it’s more than just copying the outward behaviors of a successful person. To truly get the same results, there’s the whole mental and emotional components too. If you think and feel what they do, then you’ll really behave as they do. In NLP, it’s known as acting "as if." That’s pretty different than the mantra, "fake it ’til you make it." In the latter, you’re acting with the full knowledge that you’re not doing or believing the same thing. In the former, you’re taking action with the same foundational beliefs and will eventually replicate the outcome.

All that’s to say that if someone wants to model James Brausch or others like him, I bet that would be a hot selling product. I may see about doing it myself some day if no one else gets around to it.

EDIT: I actually wrote this post last Friday and scheduled the posting for Tuesday. During that time, James came out with a new product that sounds eerily like what I’d just suggested. Of course it’s a 27 minute DVD so I doubt it’s a full NLP model. Funny thing about the timing though.

Free Copies of James Brausch’s Newsletter

James Brausch has launched a new newsletter called, "Testing." You can read a little about it here:

The deal is that he’ll give you an emailed version of the first issue if you request it on your blog like I’m doing here. Additional details are here:

And to whoever from James’ site that’s reading this, I can be contacted at writing at

PS. To everyone else, yes, the NLP Copywriting video is still in the works. It looks like it’s going to be quite a bit longer than the hour I was originally planning. Some of this goes way beyond anything Harlan taught us. I’ll also be showing you why even your attitude about people will make a huge difference in the way you use NLP. I’m excited for you.

Death of the layman

I’ve been reading a bunch of different articles about authority and decentralized responsibility lately.

In case you’re wondering, none of the following links are affiliate links.

Mark Joyner recently published a report entitled, Rise of the Author which is about how you’re automatically an expert if you publish a hard copy book and how you ought to do it soon because books are going out of style… but only if you want to be famous (probably not at all his point- that’s just what I got out of it).

Doctor Douglas wrote an article about how doctors are firing patients who do their own research and have concerns about diagnosis or prescribed medications.

Harlan Kilstein said NLP is dead because there haven’t been any industry wide advances or even cohesion recently.

Ryan Healy wrote about how we ought to make sure our hypnotists have enough training … or at least as much as our barbers. I was completely enjoying that article until it took an unexpected turn into a sales pitch.

And of course we’re all probably familiar with Michel Fortin’s report entitled Death of the Sales Letter .

Incidentally, I just finished reading a book called, The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom . I highly recommend it. Of course, don’t read it if you like the idea of clergy and having religious middle men.

And then I began reading Therapeutic Metaphors and Big Mind, Big Heart .

What do all these threads have in common? They all suggest that the layman is dying if he’s not already dead.

Here’s what I mean by that.

The reason we even have the word, "layman" is because there’s the assumption (perhaps presupposition), that people can be divided into two categories: the expert or the layman. The other assumption that’s less helpful is that if you’re not an expert, your effort or contribution is questionable. In the academic community, you don’t even have a valid opinion without a PhD.

What I see in all of this is that the internet is brining down the walls between expert and layman… at least for the layman. I recently met a financial planner who routinely uses NLP to get his clients to take action in their best interest. Where did he learn NLP? From reading books. I guess he didn’t know he needed an expert to bless his efforts.

This isn’t to say that there is no place for the wise and experienced among us to practice our crafts. And there’s no question that all the different establishments held together by experts will continue on for some time yet. It simply means that if one person can do something, another can too. You don’t have to be an expert. NLP modeling can expedite that process but someone way back in the day had to figure out how to light a fire on their own too the first time.

It reminds me of my training as a medic. We finished our EMT basic certification the first 6 weeks of the 4 month training course but our senior drill sergeant became famous for constantly telling us we weren’t medics yet. We were only about 45% medic. And then about 80% medic. And on and on. Finally, after graduation, he said we were 100% medic and competent enough in our skills to go out there and do something.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait to be christened an expert before you get going. The not-as-good news is that the upcoming generation of buyers and sellers don’t recognize the same marks of authority as previous generations. Keep in mind that Generation Y might as well mean, "Why?" as in, "Why should I listen to you at all about anything even if some people think you are a so-called expert?" Credentials won’t go as far as they used to.

As for me, I’m glad. It just means there’s more opportunity for us non-experts.

Let’s toast to the death of the layman.

PS. My NLP copywriting for non-experts video is coming along nicely. Today I was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of examples all over the web. I’m having to pick and choose which ones to showcase this first time.

We can have fun with tenses, didn’t we?

When the prospect feels good about you and your product they buy, right? That’s nothing new.

What you may not know is that you can adjust how they feel by your use of tenses.

If you want them to feel the immediacy of the product benefits, write about it in the present tense.

But if you want to deemphasize disadvantages, their initial problem, or an objection, write about it in the past tense. Putting it behind them takes most of the power out of it.

The future tense is good for helping the prospect to feel how good they’ll feel once they own your product. If they really connect with that, you’ll have reduced the potential for buyer’s remorse. That’s referred to as future pacing.

If you want them to feel like they’ve known you forever, talk about your relationship in the past tense. That way when you come back to present tense, it seems like it’s already happened.

It’s not any more complicated than that. Fortunately, this pattern can be discrete enough that if someone catches you doing it, they might assume it’s a misprint… unless they know .

PS. The NLP Marketing Course is coming along. I’ve got an outline and the content I want to include. Next I’ll need to start recording and select some live examples. I’m building a list of websites so if you’ve seen something you’d like me to address in the course, feel free to leave a comment or email me.

To State The Obvious

There’s a lot of NLP that you can’t use in writing.

You’d think that would be obvious since much of NLP is dependent on sensory input you get from the person you’re working with/on. Even so, I still see more than a few examples of people writing things that only work in person.

For example, in NLP there are times when it’s appropriate to interrupt the current thought process of the person you’re speaking to. If you do that as strongly in writing, the reader can easily get distracted from your letter and even click away to do something else… not what you want to do.

If you interrupt someone in person, they’ll most likely stop what they’re doing and wait for whatever comes next which would probably be your next pattern. In writing, they may think of something else they need to be doing instead of reading your letter.

Another thing is the obvious use of embedded commands. This has been written about quite a bit as the poor (but most common) use of NLP. The thing about copy is that people can more easily notice what you’re doing. If you’ve just emphasized, BUY NOW …. gee that’s not obvious. You think? Someone might not notice if you slip that into a conversation but they will with it screaming off the page like that.

Marketers sometimes write as if they don’t realize that attention is different online versus in person. If you send someone inside to access something instead of continuing to read, they may not come back to your letter. In person, they have nowhere else to go unless they just stay inside. Eventually they’ll have to come back and there you are.

The upside is that for copy, you have all the time you need to plan your strategies. If you want to plan out and sequence your presuppositions, go right ahead.

If you can extrapolate this idea across all the patterns and foundations of NLP, you’ll have a good grasp of what will work in copy. If all else fails, test it and see.

The Swish Pattern that Doesn’t Work

I was looking over my notes from the NLP Certification seminar and I notice that Harlan had said that the Swish Pattern doesn’t work in copy.

I didn’t know what the swish pattern was so I Googled it and found that Derren Brown did a routine with it. He does one useful thing for the person and then plays a trick on her using the same technique. The embedding has been disabled for this video so the url is:

The way a swish pattern works is to switch one mental construct for another. In the video you’ll see one thing that’s certain in her mind switched (swished) with something that’s fuzzy. Other definitions of the swish pattern talk about rapidly switching one picture with another until the new one sticks.

The application to copy is that you have to take incremental steps to be effective. You can’t start out telling someone that red is black and yellow is red. But if you start with a blue green color and change a little at a time, you’ll get results. If you can help someone see things in a new light and let them think it’s an idea they came up with, you’ll get even better results.

[EDIT 8/2/08]: I’ve noticed a number of people find this post through searching for “swish pattern.” If you’re looking for info on that, see this SWISH PATTERN PROTOCOL.

Coming up…

Okay guys, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

I’ve decided to go ahead and create a series of DVDs on NLP copywriting and here’s why: after looking around the internet, I’ve found a pretty large gap in the training available.

  • Harlan Kilstein is hands down the grandfather of NLP copywriting. If you have $1000s to plunk down, go to him. I went through his live NLP certification seminar and was completely blown away. I got almost no sleep (my fault, not his) but still was completely enthralled. He’s targeting high level copywriters and marketers.
  • Kenrick Cleveland is the cream of the crop when it comes to learning NLP for face to face sales. I recently found his blog and really like what I see. Getting and using his course is on my list of things to do. The thing of it is that (as Harlan will attest) there are things you can do in spoken NLP that you can’t do in writing and vise versa.
  • Frank Kern is currently running his Mass Control campaign. You can watch the progress at his blog. He’s been part of some pretty spectacular product launches mostly through his down to earth (and sneaky) uses of persuasion. In a recent audio he release, he actually says what he’s doing isn’t NLP and he wishes someone would create an NLP product that would be fun to learn though. I have to agree that most of the materials I’ve been methodically plowing through would be of more interest to a therapist than a marketer. Additionally, the uses of NLP in some of his material actually originated with Harlan anyway.
  • Other miscellaneous marketers and NLP practitioners are selling their advice as well. Again, we have the delimma of either being extremely expensive ranging in the thousands OR being of low quality. And then there’s the fact that aside from Harlan, no one is really teaching the nuances of using NLP in copywriting.


I’m going to go ahead and finally do what I’ve been reading from James Brausch and create some entry level NLP products for entrepreneurs and marketers. Again, if you want to learn the whole enchilada, you’ll still need to go to Harlan. For spoken NLP, go to Kenrick. For product launches or campaigns, go to Frank. If there’s someone else I should be recommending, let me know.

I’m thinking of including the basics and a lot of case studies – good and bad. There are tons of different patterns. Most people would see dramatic improvements with a foundational understanding and a handful of techniques done well.

I plan to make it as fun as I can as Frank said. He’s in good company too. The founder of Toastmasters is often quoted:

"We learn best in moments of enjoyment."

If there’s anything you’d like to see included as far as techniques or learning styles, feel free to comment or email me at

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