Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Networking Model is Live For Download

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working on several NLP models. I learned NLP modeling through reading David Gordon’s book and DVD and then creating a model that I had reviewed by two NLP Trainers.

This model may be my favorite because it’s something you can apply immediately and could lead to a substantial quality of life.

It’s on networking – for either business or social purposes.

I took the outline style you’d find in many NLP models and turned it into a narrative. I’d gone back and forth about whether to make an audio of it and charge more. I decided that more people would be able to benefit from it if I put it in the Kindle store and charged $5 for it.

Amazon allows you to do promotions so for the next five days, you can “buy” the article for $0.00. I hope you will and let me know what you think of it. It could use some reviews on Amazon too.

Depending on how this goes, I may release my other models through this medium too. I still have models of copywriting, design, self-defense and how to be good at math.

The article is live and $0.00 for the next five days. Get it here:

Education That Doesn’t Suck

I was recently speaking with a professor about what I wanted to do with a PhD in Arts and Technology. The program I’m in seems to be mostly self directed and so I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about it. The main specialty of the program is video game design.

After being drilled about whether I wanted to start a company or work for a company and what games I’ve played (not many), I tried to explain that I’m most interested in educational simulators.

I’d like to take NLP modeling to the next level.

While you can learn a new skill with modeling, you have to practice that skill to get really good at it. We already have simulators for pilots and health care professionals. We’re starting to get simulators for other skills too such as leadership. More graduate schools are adopting simulators especially for MBAs.

Another professor was introduced to our conversation and told that I was interested in “educational games that don’t suck.”

That description for simulators suggests to me that this professor isn’t as interested in them as she probably is in games for pure entertainment.

A couple of days later, a light went on for me. I realized it wasn’t “educational games that don’t suck” that I was interested in. Rather, I’m interested in education that doesn’t suck.

We’re trending toward interaction and engagement which is more naturally how we learn. The current model of lecturing and testing isn’t nearly as effective though it makes for a straightforward business model.

It’s my plan to help the trend of bringing education more in line with learning.

Hello Small Business Ideas

It’s late in coming but Daily Small Business Ideas is starting now.

All of the prior NLP Marketing content will remain on this site. I’m simply shifting emphasis to a larger market – small business ideas. This will be for starting a small business as well as improving small businesses.

The content will mostly be curated posts. I’ll look for what seems to be the best article or two each day and write share them. If you’ve been on the mailing list, individual posts will no longer be announced since there will be content every day. In fact, this will be the last one. If you want instant notification, I’ll be connecting this to Twitter.

Additionally, I’ve developed a number of NLP models that I will be releasing in coming weeks. A model of networking will come out first. It seems like a lot of the best small business ideas come from people we interact with. Hopefully a model to do that better will be valuable to people.

Harlan’s Blue Balls Story

A few days ago, Harlan Kilstein (NLP Copywriting guru) asked his mailing list what we thought he was doing in a particular email he sent.

What follows below is the original email, his selected best response, my comments on that response, and my response.

I’m still plugging away at the tiny house (see the previous update post) but I figured I could post this since it was almost already written.

First, Harlan’s email to the list:

From: Harlan Kilstein

To: Louis

Sent: Mon, June 21, 2010 6:25:12 AM

Subject: Blue Balls and NLP – The Email Contest

Sometimes, I like to share a work in progress with you guys.

This is an email I sent out today to my list.

And I thought I’d have a contest.

The best explanation of what I am doing here wins a free copy of my book – Steal This Book. It’s $197 selling price so start your engines.

Just email me your thoughts by Midnight tonight and I’ll pick a winner.

I share your name publicly tomorrow.

Subject Line: Blue Balls. Not What You Expect.

You are receiving this email because you signed up at The Hypnotic

The news out of Rome is shocking.

Italian police have seized 70,000 balls of mozzarella cheese because they turned blue when the packages opened.

The police and the agriculture ministry are investigating the world’s largest case of blue balls.

You see, mozzarella cheese is the pride of Italy.

They serve it on everything for pizza to salads. They probably even have mozzarella gelato.

And it it’s turning blue…

Could it be poison?

But Italians were shocked this weekend to discover their “Italian” mozzarella cheese isn’t really mozzarella.

And it isn’t really Italian either.

Real mozzarella cheese in Italy is made from buffalo milk.

This stuff is not.

And it’s not made in Italy either. It’s imported and re-packaged.

It’s shocking when you realize something you trusted isn’t what you expected.

It’s the same way with The Secret.


Now don’t get me wrong, teaching people about the Law of Attraction is great.

Changing it and diluting it is not.

And when you start changing the ingredients without telling anyone.

You don’t get results. You get blue balls of mozzarella.

What Rhoda Bryne did was re-write the Law of Attraction to fit her image.

She took Esther Hicks out and left her on the editing floor.

And she took out all mention of taking action.

You were left with ask, believe, receive.


What happened to take action? It’s not there anymore!

And that’s why so many people don’t get results with The Secret.

So if you want the real deal, take action now.

Click here to get The Hypnotic Secret.

It’s the real deal.



Here’s the response he chose as the winner (posted here):

Harlan, here’s what you’re doing in the great e-mail you sent out today.

1 – Pattern interrupt: the subject line starts with “Blue Balls,” which interrupts the readers’ patterns when the readers are scanning their e-mail in-box. “Blue balls” is a slang phrase relating to sex, and sex grabs the readers’ attention if the readers understand the phrase. Plus, since you are very religious, a subject line starting with a slang phrase relating to sex surprises me much more than it would if the e-mail were coming from, for example, a sports blogger. So the subject line grabs the readers’ attention and forces them to open the e-mail, regardless of how busy they might be.

2 – Humor, to get the readers on your side: you retell the news story about the tainted cheese in a way that makes the story much funnier, because it’s you, not the regular news stories, that refer to the tainted cheese as “blue balls.” So you reward the readers for reading by giving us readers a good laugh.

3 – Making clear the point of your retelling the cheese story: you highlight, in ways the news agencies did not, how the tainted cheese is fake and how, even if it were not tainted, it would still be disappointing, because it says it is made in Italy but was really made in Germany and calls itself mozzarella although it contains no buffalo milk. So you emphasize how much of a forgery the tainted cheese it.

4 – Metaphor: You use the metaphor of the fake cheese to introduce the important way in which Rhonda Byrne’s book and film The Secret changed the Law of Attraction to make her book and film sell more copies than it would if she had told the truth about the Law of Attraction. And because you related The Secret to the fake cheese, which is also tainted, your readers will infer that The Secret is tainted, too, in its own way.

5 – Problem and agitate: You have revealed a key fact: that The Secret is a fake version of the Law of Attraction, and The Secret cannot teach anyone how to succeed with the Law of Attraction. You have revealed a problem that all readers and viewers of The Secret will encounter. Then you have agitated to make those readers and viewers feel cheated and lied to.

5 – Solution: You present the solution, which is YOUR fine product, The Hypnotic Secret.

6 – “Tell them what to do”: You have revealed that what is missing from The Secret is the necessity to take action. Then you tell your readers to practice the Law of Attraction by taking action to get the REAL guide to implementing the Law of Attraction, and that real guide happens to be your product, The Hypnotic Secret.

Although I bought The Hypnotic Secret as soon as I received your first e-mail about it, today’s e-mail about Blue Balls is so good I want to buy The Hypnotic Secret all over again!


Lee Marcus

The blog post then goes on to recap and tell you to buy more of Harlan’s stuff.

Here are my comments on the winner’s response:

  1. Email isn’t a pattern interrupt unless you have it dinging you every time you get one. The classic pattern interrupt is to ask someone if they smell popcorn in the middle of a conversation. The title is a standard curiosity builder. It’s effective but not NLP.
  2. Everything I’ve ever heard says to stay away from humor in your copy. Plus, I didn’t see it as terribly funny either. Interest provoking – very much so. Funny – not so much. Maybe I’m just the wrong demographic.
  3. Now that I’m rereading it, I’m not sure what the 3rd point is saying. I think it’s just that he told a story. Not NLP.
  4. Metaphor, yes. That’s the big one.
  5. True, there’s problem and agitation, but that’s not NLP.
  6. (Second 5) Yes, there’s a solution but that’s not NLP either.
  7. (6) It’s a call to action. Not subtle or elegant at all and not NLP.

Much of the most valuable feedback I’ve received in my life has been in areas of improvement. I included that in my response but found it curious that the winning response read more like a product testimonial.

My response is here:


I got your email. I’ve read it over and here’s what I think you’re doing:

Your headline provokes curiosity but then has a double meaning not evident until you’ve read the email.

The “Not What You Expect” is a mind read because as soon as the person sees blue balls, they’re thinking that can’t be what it would mean in a more commonly used context. The second meaning is the therapeutic metaphor you use. It’s also an embedded suggestion (not quite a command). There’s also a presupposition that they are expecting something which they will be after reading it.

Your first line is a pacing statement. Hopefully they recall being on your list and if not, now they do.

I’m not sure whether your only hyperlinking the “” was intentional or not. If so, it might be to foreshadow “The Secret” to which you later refer.

You then use a current event as a therapeutic metaphor. You also leave out a lot of details that are in the BBC article on it such as the fact that the cheese in question comes from Germany and they suspect it’s a non-toxic bacteria but are testing it to make sure. Leaving those details out (deletion) lets the reader assume the worst – that it might be poison as you suggest or that it was artificially manufactured in some third world country.

Through your metaphor, you’re mapping it onto people’s experience with “The Secret”. Blue balls becomes the “fraud” surrounding “The Secret.” This list probably prides themselves in their belief and use of the secret to everything including their gelato. I never came across mozzarella gelato when I lived in Italy and your readers probably suspect no such thing exists too. But that sets a context where they can think their interest in “The Secret” is normal by comparison. And you’ve set a generalized referential index by talking about Italians which are just a more specific “they” which are really “us” and “me.”

You transition to “The Secret” with the line about something you trusted not being what you expected. You do a time pattern starting in present tense “It’s” and “realize” (also a leading statement) while ending in past tense “trusted” and “expected”. The suggestion is that you now realize you no longer trust the old stuff and need a new paradigm (i.e. your product).

The transition applies to both the metaphor and your point with “The Secret.” The reader doesn’t notice the transition though until you come out and say it’s the same thing. You talk about changing it to go over with the public. That allows the reader to sit there and think, “yeah, they didn’t teach it right.” You don’t say that your reader specifically was one of the people that was deceived which would probably offend their intelligence. And even though they can sit there and think they already knew it wasn’t the whole story, they can also realize that they’re now curious about what your take on it is.

For readers who know the background of “The Secret”, you probably lost them a little in next part. First off, you misspelled Rhonda Byrne. You suggest an unsubstantiated ulterior motive (fit her image?). Esther Hicks was actually in the first version of “The Secret” and the real story is more interesting than the version in the email. She wasn’t left on any editing floor. She didn’t feel congruent with the way it was being mass marketed so they created an “extended version” which was exactly the same as the first except they replaced her with a little more footage from one of the other speakers. At least that was all I could find when I researched the subject before. Private opinions are usually different than what can be found online.

I think your closing could be improved. I see the tie-in between the missing ingredient being action and taking action to buy your product. That part works fine. The gap is that if you just revealed what was missing – action – why do they need to buy your product anymore? They can just go take action. Your readers are probably also familiar with Joe Vitale’s work in writing “The Missing Secret” too. Are they now to think that your hypnosis version is better than his? No doubt your differentiate on your landing page but without further investigation, this sounds like a me-too (or rather the more popular – not-me) spin off from “The Secret.”

We all know people buy emotionally but a leap in logic can throw them off course too. Saying action is the missing ingredient so take action and buy my product that will tell you to take action… well, it isn’t a compelling value proposition. If you’ve just told them “The Secret” is right except for taking action then why would they need to spend more money instead of just taking action in their life?

The words you use in your call to action is to tell them it’s the real deal twice and then click the link. If you use the words “click here”, they should be hyperlinked. Otherwise, it should say “click below”.

Overall, good tie to current events, use of curiosity and metaphor. If you make sure the facts you include are accurate and have a stronger call to action, I bet you’ll increase your conversion rates even higher.

Good idea to have a contest for have your readers evaluate your email (and maybe even have a few click through and buy your product or get on that particular list).


So what do you think? Was I off base offering points for improvement? Did the winning response offer better content?

Connect With Yourself First

In many marketing discussion we hear that you must connect with your audience. You must enter the conversation taking place in your customer’s mind.

I’d like to add that your ability to connect with an audience is directly related to connect with yourself and your own experience. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Lately I’ve been making plans to build a tiny house similar to what they make at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. One issue is the plumbing on something that’s more or less off the grid. After reading a book on humanure, I realized our plan as a society is to separate ourselves from our own waste and transport it off to treatment facilities when your yard or garden is where it really ought to go. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the cycle of life.

In the past year or so, I’ve taken to eating more raw food. Rather than vegan, I’ve headed down the raw-paleo path. As a people, we’ve generally separated ourselves from our food supply and production. Most of what we consume comes out of plastic bags and cardboard boxes instead of from the ground or from an animal. I can tell you, I notice a huge difference when I switch over to processed or cooked (dead) food for a meal or two. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Over the years, I’ve studied violence. As I’ve mentioned, I was an army medic. I’m also now an instructor candidate with Target Focus Training which teaches how to handle violence by creating injuries in the other guy. Through those experiences, I’ve seen how deluded most of us are about life, death and violence. Most people hope the police show up in time if something ever goes terribly wrong. We’ve separated ourselves from the reality that criminals have no problem using violence to get what they want. We see news about more people killed in our various wars. It seems like most people don’t realize none of those people died peacefully in their sleep. We don’t even get to see flag draped caskets anymore. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Over the last year, I’ve been using running in Vibram Five Finger Shoes. My muscles had to relearn how to run but once I adjusted, I’ve never had another stress injury. Evidently, the vast majority of foot, ankle, knee, etc problems people attribute to running are actually caused by their expensive footwear. If we went barefoot or nearly barefoot, all that goes away. You were made to experience the world through your feet as well. Imagine if you lived your life with your hands in oven mitts all the time. How much sensory input would your hands miss out on? Locking our feet up in allows us to ignore where we’re going and tromp through life totally unaware. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Steve Pavlina is the number one personal development blog by most any measure. He recently posted on Intimacy and Label-Free Relationships. We’re separating ourselves from really connecting with other people by our use and dependence on labels. I highly recommend his post to you.

All that’s to say, if you want to connect with your audience, connect with yourself first. It’s not about perfection but progress. It’s all about your effectiveness and ability to impact the world around you.

NLP Copywriting Sample Letter

Last week I posted a letter I wrote for major publishers. If you’d like to see NLP copywriting techniques in action, go check it out.

Also, if you happen to know any of the major publishers or anyone else looking to hire a direct response copywriter with an NLP advantage, let me know that too at

The letter is here:

Let me know which techniques you recognize.

And of course if you’d like to learn NLP copywriting, hop over to my course:

What It Takes To Change

People are fond of the quote stating that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results.

The hardest part is to figure out what you want that as a different result. Anyone can complain about something they don’t like.

After you figure out what you want, it’s simply about planning with the goal in mind. What resources do you lack for your outcome? What habits will make it happen?

Successful people develop certain habits. Unsuccessful people develop habits too. The difference is that successful people are deliberate about planning out the habits the want. Unsuccessful people get into a routine that keeps them busy but never accomplishing worthy goals.

A different routine is required to make real changes. That’s when you can reasonably expect a different outcome.

For example, let’s say you want to learn a foreign language. What do you do? You got it… you need to practice deliberately. You need to plan some time into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit and finally a skill. If you’re in business and you want to persuade others to change their buying habits, you need to present a context where it makes sense to do that.

Buying a product or service for the first time is another change. They weren’t spending that money on you before. For you to encourage that, you need to show them how they’ll be making a change for the better by doing business with you.

When you cultivate a relationship with your customers so that buying with you becomes a habit, you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your business goals. Changes takes structure. It’s your habits and deliberate planning for the outcome you want. You need to see the end you want to reach before you’ll be able to achieve it.

Your next action step is to create the structure you’ll need to support the life you desire

Top Copywriting Habits

Recently, I combed through over 60 interviews with A list level copywriters. No doubt, there are a number of interesting patterns that emerge.

All the copywriters had a pattern of doing research, writing and editing. That’s no shock. The difference came in how much time each copywriter spent in each area.

Funny to find that there was almost no consistency between our copywriters. There was a wide range of anywhere from 40-80% of their time spent on research and then 20-55% on writing. One guy even claimed he didn’t do any editing at all (not recommended). The lesson here is to find your own way. As long as you’re getting good results, it doesn’t’ matter.

A common theme developed on what it’s like for top copywriters when they write. There was always some kind of core emotion involved in the creation process. Sometimes each segment had its own state of being (detective, conversationalist and editor). Others, it was a simple enjoyment and fascination with the entire process.

That strong emotion could be described as a flow state. Athletes know about being in the zone. It’s the same thing. It’s where your ability comes up against a commensurate challenge and everything else seems to fade away while you fully immerse yourself in the experience.

What if you’re new to copywriting and don’t know how to find that flow experience? Look for it in another area of your life. Maybe you’ve lost yourself in a dance, a painting or while cooking. What’s it like during that activity? Consider what brings on that flow state for you. If it’s music, a feeling, etc apply that to your writing.

Our copywriters have other qualities in common too. Take time of day for writing. Isn’t it true that the early bird gets the worm? Or how about the old saying, “Early to bed, early to rise…”

The pattern was that there was very little consistency there either. Many copywriters like to knock out an hour or two of writing first thing in the morning. Some say though that they do their best writing in the afternoon or evening once everyone else is gone to bed and all is quiet. So it’s really up to you to find your most productive time.

What’s the consensus on how long should you keep editing things? Some writers pride themselves on getting a job out in a day or two. Others revise and revise… until the company finally calls and asks for it to be submitted.

The bottom line is to get out there and do it. Yes, brush up on your skills but don’t worry that you’re not doing things in the optimal amounts or times. Find what works for you and gets going.

Review of Jonathan Royal’s NLP Course

In my last post, I referred to a sales letter that was making a blatant mistake of trying to do in writing what only works (if at all) spoken. I’m going to show you the whole thing now so you can see for yourself.

The reason I didn’t go into depth last time was that I was also using that post for article marketing. I wanted to give you, my dear blog reader, a more exclusive look.

Also, as a disclaimer, let me say I haven’t reviewed the actual course. My comments here are based on the sales letter and his “Confessions of a Hypnotist” book.

The page I referenced is here:

Jonathan Royle’s NLP Master Practioner Course

The paragraph I was referring to came about 1/4th of the way down the page after the subhead:


You can look and see the rest of the blatant attempt at manipulation there. I want to point out a couple of other observations I had in reading his sales letter.

Hypnotic writing aside, there are a few basic copywriting issues with this letter. Namely, 1) poor headline, 2) fonts are all the wrong shapes and sizes and 3) unconvincing testimonials.

Poor Headline

Here’s the headline:


First off, the headline is too long. It’s a paragraph rather than a headline. One marketer who did extensive testing said the outer length of a headline can’t be past 131 characters and this one is 353. Ironically, he’s comparing his product to the others by calling them “long winded.”

Secondly, never put your whole headline in all caps. Caps mean you’re shouting. You can put individual words or phrases in caps for emphasis (or maybe to embed a command) but not whole sentences and definitely not for a whole paragraph.

Finally, the benefit statement is weak. To sum it up, he’s saying save money and my course is better and save money and I’ll tell you secrets you won’t hear anywhere else and you better buy it because you won’t be happy if you don’t. Hmm… really? Some questions then come to mind:

  • People know you typically get what you pay for. Why is he selling something that you might expect to pay thousands for for 150 pounds?
  • How did he compress weeks into a weekend? (Not answered in the sales letter either)
  • What kind of secrets could only he know? (Turns out, probably nothing he didn’t repackage and/or rename himself)
  • How does this compare to a legitimate master practitioner course?

Now typically, you want to generate curiosity with a headline. This one though generates questions all right… but the skeptical kind, not the interestingly curious kind.

Inappropriate Formatting

People who have tested fonts will tell you the bigger, the better for headlines. In my Firefox browser, the headline looks the same size as the body copy.

Typically, you’ll want your subheads to be smaller than your headline but larger than your body copy. Again, in my browser, the subheads look bigger than both.

For readability, you usually don’t want paragraphs to be longer than 4 lines. One line is okay here and there especially if that line is a complete idea. I count one paragraph with 11 lines in it. Scanning through the letter you see that about half the paragraphs are more than 4 lines.

Also, you want to use a san-serif font for  headlines and subheads and serif font for body copy. The default on Microsoft Word is the opposite of that and that’s what this letter did as well. Serif fonts are what you see in books and newspapers and what we’re used to seeing in paragraphs. San-serif is slightly faster to read because there are less shapes involved for your eye to identify. That’s probably why they’re for headlines.


When I first read this letter, there was one thing I wanted to see in the sales letter AND backed up by a testimonial… how does this course compare to accredited NLP practitioner courses? While the letter talks about a regional UK accreditation (which I wasn’t able to locate in Google),  no one in a testimonial says it’s better than real NLP courses.

Here’s what the sales letter says to that effect:

Some of the delegates were already ANLPTA and ANLP approved & certified NLP Practitioners, Master Practitioners and Trainers, and even many of them made comments such as “Blimey I would never have thought it would be possible to learn NLP & Hypnotherapy to this level in just two days if I had not seen it with my own eyes, what’s even more amazing is that I learnt more from Royle in the past two days than I ever did on my original “Approved” NLP course which took Seven days for the first level of training alone!”

No one is quoted. None of the testimonials are from anyone with an NLP designation following their name. In fact, they’re many if not all the same testimonials he uses for all of his products.

He uses the argument that even NLP Trainers attended his seminar. What that’s an argument for is that NLP Trainers understand the value of continuing their education, not that his course was better than accredited versions.

His Book

A final piece of evidence I have was that I read his way too long book, “Confessions of a Hypnotist.” While the personal anecdotes are entertaining, I was left feeling he has a limited understanding of NLP. His forte is as a stage hypnotist. His only reference for learning NLP was to read Tony Robbins. Tony’s stuff is good but it’s far from the gold standard for NLP.

Overall, I’d say Jonathan Royal may be one of the closest things we have to a modern day PT Barnum. He does crazy stuff for public relations which was Barnum’s most well known attribute. No doubt he’s a good stage hypnotist. I have serious doubts though that his master practitioner course reviewed here is worth the money you’d pay.

And if you’re thinking of taking NLP courses to buff up on your marketing, look no further. My “Be A Hypnotic Writer” home study course includes all of that for a marketing context. To get the first lesson free, go to:

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