I have more than a passing interest in hypnosis…

In fact, it’s been my latest deep dive topic — spending hours reading about it, how it works, why it works, plus listening to and watching any additional resources I can get on it.

And this is only my latest round of study.  I’ve had an ongoing interest in hypnosis, NLP, and related subjects since I was a psychology major in college.  Plus, the kissing cousin of self-hypnosis, meditation.

I’m fascinated with how our minds work — and even more so, how people are able to play with how our minds work, using tools like hypnosis and meditation.

In my latest deep-dive into hypnosis, I’ve noticed something really interesting…

There are a few people who specialize in “street hypnosis.”  This is where — in some cases — you walk up to an unsuspecting subject, and hypnotize them on the spot, without their knowledge of what’s happening.

Done as a performance art and in the right contexts (such as at a music festival), this is exciting from an entertainment standpoint.

And yet, there’s something you never see if you watch this happen on a TV special about hypnosis…

That is, that their “conversion rate” — the number of subjects who actually go into hypnosis — is pretty low relative to other more consenting forms of hypnosis…

When you really want to hypnotize someone, you need one critical element…

This is something that street hypnotists don’t use in their “covert” inductions — but that more out-in-the-open street hypnotists as well as stage hypnotists and hypnotherapists always use…

It’s called the “pre-talk.”

And for any serious hypnotist who really wants to get a high conversion rate — that is, to get the maximum percentage of their subjects to go into hypnotic trance — it’s considered a critical part of hypnosis.

If you’re well-schooled in hypnosis, you may find yourself picking out specific hypnotic language and commands in one of these pre-talks.

And yet, the real hypnosis doesn’t begin here.

Instead, the pre-talk is all about…

Getting the subject in the right frame of mind, so they’ll do what you want when it’s time to get down to business…

A pre-talk is a conversation of sorts between the hypnotist and the subject.

It’s an opportunity to establish rapport — for the subject to get to know, like, and trust the hypnotist.

Plus, it’s a place to set expectations.  Both about what hypnosis really is — what’s expected of the subject…  And what it’s not — what they shouldn’t expect to have happen.

A good pre-talk steers the subject’s internal conversation to a productive place…

If you’re a student of copywriting, you may recognize my language about “the conversation in their head.”

This is at least as old as the Robert Collier Letter Book, if not older.  In order to effectively get inside the head of your prospect, you must first join the conversation taht’s already taking place in their head.

They don’t arrive at a hypnosis, or to your marketing conversation, tablua rasa.  Their mind is not a blank slate.

In fact, their mind is in riding an ever-present tumult of thoughts and emotions that they have little-to-no control over.

If you want them to come along for the journey you lay out, you must throw them a rope, and start to pull them toward your goal.

The power of a good “pre-talk” is that it prepares the subject for what comes next…

In hypnosis, it’s about moving the prospect’s internal conversation toward what to expect from their hypnotic experience.  To quell any lingering doubts, and to establish positive expectations for what is coming.

In marketing or selling, it’s about connecting their current thoughts and emotions with your selling message that moves them to the purchasing decision.

Either way, your goal here is to get their enthusiastic consent.  To get them to buy in to what is to come, to engage with you on the terms you’ve laid out.

This requires you to make it appealing, to convey the value they will get out of the experience, in your earliest contacts…

Applied to selling situations…

— An email “lift note” — a short email meant to get the click to the sales page — is a great place to spark curiosity and shift the conversation toward the big idea of your selling message…

— A Facebook ad should both feel like a natural part of the Facebook ecosystem AND be a bridge to a new experience they can get by clicking…

— Online marketers often use articles as a bridge into their sales message, tying timely and relevant messages to a more evergreen product pitch…

— If you’re selling, establishing clear expectations for the sales call and what both you and the prospect will get out of it is a welcome way to start the conversation…

— In the context of presenting a project plan or a big creative idea, try taking a moment beforehand to get the people you’re pitching to into the right mindset to analyze the idea, from a customer’s perspective…

We could go on, and this lesson only scratches the surface…

Frankly, I’ve come to the conclusion that almost every great copywriter and marketer has done at least a rudimentary study of hypnosis and related fields.

In fact, I believe the fields have a lot of crossover, as I’ve met plenty of hypnotist marketers and marketing hypnotists — and see a lot of direct response principles at work on various hypnosis websites.

You don’t just have to study hypnosis because you’re interested in hypnotizing someone.  If you want to know more about how our minds work, it certainly provides a compelling perspective.  And many of the principles can be translated (as above) to be used far outside of direct application to hypnosis.

(In fact, the “pattern interrupt” that some hypnotists use to get around the need for a pre-talk is very common in video sales letters.)

If you want to increase your conversions and the sales generated from your marketing efforts, you can start by using the pre-talk principle above, and building from there…

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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