Neuro-Linguistic Programming

When you want more testimonials or endorsements

Most companies and individuals could benefit from bigger name endorsements.

Many of us are still working on building those connections. In the meantime, I recommend you check out today’s post on NLP Language Patterns for Advertising.

In "Expert Rub Off," Lou tells you how to make it look like you have anyone’s endorsement without actually getting it. To the casual observer, it feels like you’ve gotten the endorsement of a pretty big name.

Go see:

Recommended NLP Copywriting Clips

Harlan Kilstein posted a couple of videos today. They’re both worth watching. You can sign up for his mailing list on the first one.

The first is his commentary on a copywriting book and how NLP is addressed:

The second is a little longer where Harlan goes through all of his old weight loss ads. It doesn’t have as much commentary on NLP but it’s still interesting to see how different approaches pulled in print:

If you’re in a video watching mood, check out these Derren Brown videos too:

Paying with Paper (using embedded commands in speech)

Subliminal Advertising (not exactly NLP but still an interesting result)

Ultra specificity compared to NLP generalizations in marketing

One of the fabled 4 U’s according to Michael Masterson’s copywriting course is ultra-specificity. The others are urgency, usefulness and unique in case you were wondering.

That’s the rule. Sometimes it’s appropriate to break the rules. The big question is how.

NLP breaks this rule by saying that if you leave certain things purposefully vague, people will fill in with their own meaning. That way the copy looks more like it’s speaking more directly to their desires. This is called generalization.

Done artfully, it will increase response. Done sloppy or haphazardly and it will look amateurish. The trick is to figure out which things to leave vague.

The best example I can think of was what our drill sergeants used to say in the army. If someone screwed up they might say they had something for the offender when he got back to the barracks. Sometimes they forgot by then and sometimes it was more unpleasant "correctional" training.

The point is that they left unnamed the something they had in store. The terror of wondering the fate that awaited was more than adequate to get you in line for the time being.

Doing it can get you what you really want.

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.

A Covert Example of NLP in Copywriting

I was looking at Kimberly Seville’s lead for a recent Covenant House mailing. It’s a fundraising letter for a children’s shelter or orphanage or something.

It starts with a compelling therapeutic metaphor. Lots of uses of first person narrative. When you do that, people naturally project themselves into the role of that character. I’ll quote a few examples and the possible effects:

"How about if I find you some dry clothes to change into." – Readers can think they’re finding clothes for the kid.

"We are going to do everything we can to help you, I promise." – Readers will do whatever they can to help.

"I heard her small, timid little voice whisper, “Thanks.”" – Readers feel personally thanked by this kid.

"Finally, she looked up at me and apparently she felt like she could trust me…" – Readers feel like they can trust the narrator and/or Covenant House.

Then we have an expert example of pacing and leading. Pacing is basically where you tell the subject their experience and internally they affirm that it’s true and their resistance drops. Doing this in writing is trickier than in person because you can see what the person is experiencing in person. Once you’ve paced, you can lead as long as it’s small steps.

The copywriter paces in the story and through the narrator so it doesn’t matter what the reader is currently experiencing. The reader can’t help but be projected into this pacing experience. Here it is:

"As I sat there, listening to Kelly, in my own mind I felt that I was giving her something that goes far beyond food and clothing and shelter…"

I’m wondering if you caught it. Three consecutive paces followed by a lead: 1) as I sat there, 2) listening to Kelly, 3) in my own mind I felt. The lead is that the narrator and then reader is giving the kid much more than their money. It’s all so subtle that it’s nearly impossible to resist.

The copywriter could have started the paragraph with, "I was giving her something…" The meaning is the same. Instead, she paced and led. Nice and effective.

NLP Seminar Update

I returned from Las Vegas Saturday night fairly sleep deprived. You see, I ended up staying at a hostel which was a good change of pace from the conference but that pace excluded much sleep.

The seminar was truly amazing. I’ll be incorporating what I learned into my portfolio in the future and a sales letter for potential clients sooner than later.

The best way I can describe the difference NLP makes is to compare modern commercials to older ones. See: .

In this first clip, the actor is talking about the features of this beer. From the look of it he doesn’t like it. Watch his face when he actually drinks it. Makes you want some, huh?

Fast forward to modern times:

Remember anything about the beer from this commercial? Nope. You only get images… some funny… some sexy. Your brain gets a message directly bypassing your conscious filtering. If you’re in the target market, you can’t help but associate fun with the product. The only issue may be that you can’t remember which beer the commercial was for. But you admire the wing man.

NLP copywriting is as different from traditional benefit oriented copywriting as those commercials. It allows you to slip through people’s resistance to a product unnoticed. Of course you can’t violate someone’s core values. If they might have bought it before, they’ll be much more inclined.

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