You can’t even say I dabble in hypnotism…
I’ve actually never really practiced it. Not on anyone else, at least.
But I’ve spent significant time studying the principles behind hypnotism. Call it intellectual curiosity. Perhaps childish fascination.
Whatever it is, it’s what led me to Mike Mandel, and his podcast, Brain Software with Mike Mandel.
The latest episode was an interview with professional hypnotist, stage performer, speaker, and business-builder Jason Linett.
Now, I was automatically interested in Jason for a variety of reasons.
Not the least of which is that he’s made a career out of teaching others the BUSINESS and MARKETING of hypnosis, not just the professional skill. And if you’re around the marketing world long enough, you’ll recognize that those who end up at the top of their fields ALWAYS specialize in marketing and selling the skill as much as they specialize in practicing it.
Also, I was intrigued by a comment Jason made. Specifically, that he got good at marketing hypnosis NOT by studying other hypnotists, but rather, by studying… Drum roll, please… Information marketers!
Folks like me, and maybe you.
And here was the really interesting bit: Jason said he wasn’t so much interested in the techniques and tactics these marketers were using, although he learned by watching them. Rather, he was interested in the deep strategies and principles behind what they did.
And he asked the pivotal question…
“How could I apply these principles and strategies in a unique way that’s a perfect fit for me and my business?”
He didn’t insist, “But my business is different!” Instead, he wanted to know how his business and how he needed to sell were the same. What was universal?
He tested, and tested, and tested. And learned as he went. Plenty of failures. And some successes.
And from all of that, he started to develop some best practices for really effective marketing of hypnosis practices and stage performance.
Today, he teaches all of that.
But, he says, he teaches it in a very specific way.
While others may hand you a template that you simply fill in, Jason doesn’t like that.
He doesn’t like swiping. He doesn’t like copying.
Jason says that when he starts teaching his marketing concepts, he constantly reinforces one critical point.
That he tries to teach everything he does in such a way that…
You can absorb the depth of thinking that goes into everything he does.
And it’s only by absorbing that and using it yourself on your next project, that you can get the full value.
He told this story…
A professional speaker friend of his studied Tony Robbins. Every little detail. He wanted to be like Tony. He wanted to get the response and the results Tony gets.
Then, that speaker practiced. Practiced moving like Tony, acting like Tony, being like Tony.
Confident in his newly-practiced skill as a speaker, this guy steps on stage at an event in front of a bunch of financial and business people.
He does his best to unleash his swiped and copied Tony Robbins skills.
It’s falling flat.
The room is dead.
It ain’t feeling like a Tony event, for sure.
The audience is staring at him with blank faces.
Then, he stops.
He steps away from the podium.
He pauses, and points back at the podium.
He asks the audience, “Don’t you hate speakers like that?”
Smiles, nods, and some affirmations from the crowd.
Then, he steps back behind the podium, drops the Tony act, and is himself.
The rest of the speech? The crowd loved it.
When you try to steal someone else’s act, you WILL fail like this…
Jason presented the parallel lesson with hypnosis scripts. They’re all the rage in amateur hypnosis circles. Novices, beginners, and wannabes are intrigued by the idea that you can read a few words off a piece of paper, and take control of your subject’s mind.
But, it doesn’t work.
While those very same words may have worked for some professional hypnotist, it’s not about the words.
It’s about the subject’s relaxation, focus, belief, and eagerness to go along. It’s about the context, and everything the subject is experiencing leading up to that moment.
The professional hypnotist who really knows their stuff is putting all of this in play subconsciously — they may be reflected in the words used, but the stronger message is (as always) nonverbal.
Yes, the words help. But they won’t hypnotize anyone on their own.
You have to be the hypnotist first, then the words are automatic, and merely serve to verbalize all the other communication you’ve already put into play.
You won’t use a script, because you understand the principles and strategies at a deeper level than superficial, tactical language.
For this reason, Jason (and Mike, one of the world’s leading hypnosis trainers) rejects scripts outright.
Again, they teach at the level of principles and strategy, NOT techniques and tactics.
Sure, you’ll get some techniques and tactics if you study their work. But these are always secondary and serve primarily as examples of the principles and strategies being conveyed.
What the heck does this all have to do with marketing and copywriting?
I hope you’ve seen the parallel.
While it’s enticing to hear that you can copy and paste a headline formula…
Copy and paste a lead…
Copy and paste everything else to make up your ad, script, or sales letter…
Doing so destines your campaign for failure before you’ve even started.
YES, you should absolutely study old advertising.
YES, you should absolutely understand the formulas.
YES, you should absolutely do things like copy old ads by hand, to internalize the techniques and tactics.
Then, throw away the scripts and swipe files. Put them in a big pile on the floor, point at them, and say, “Don’t you hate copywriters who use that crap?”
And write from the heart, write from the gut.
You WILL use some of what you learned.
Some specific words and phrases may even leak through.
But that will only be because they are ultra-relevant and appropriate for that context.
Swiping can’t help but sound forced and disjointed.
This kind of educated inspiration I’m talking about? It’s how you develop a natural talent for persuasive copywriting, selling, speaking, and so on.
One more benefit…
Done well… This will also radically transform another ability of yours.
Not only will you write better copy… You’ll also write it FASTER.
Let’s say you never looked at old ads. That you never studied swipes. You’d have to use your creativity every time you sat down to write. That’s painful!
And you’d be starting from nothing every time, too.
That’s almost as bad as using all swipes and ending up with a message that’s just disjointed and doesn’t work.
The perfect scenario is when you understand enough of everything that’s worked before that your subconscious will feed it to you when needed…
You’re able to step away from that, point at it, and say, “It’ll come to me if needed.”
I have a big fat stack of 3X5 note cards with headline formulas on them…
I made the stack when I was starting out as a direct response copywriter. Pulled them from the copywriting books in my library — the classics.
Wrote them by hand. Knowing I’d internalize better.
And very early in my copywriting days, I’d sit down for a new project and write dozens upon dozens of headlines conforming to the formula, trying to find the best for my project. Mixing, matching, and combining to get just the right final headline.
Then, I put them away, wrapped with a rubber band.
Until I started working on my High-Velocity Copywriting program (coming next week from BTMSinsiders), I hadn’t removed the rubber band in years.
I can still write “how to,” “announcing,” and a whole slew of other formulaic headlines with the best of them.
And occasionally, those words will slip out.
But my copy is made better by NOT doing that too much, by sounding like ME, instead of John Caples.
If you want to get all the benefit of a swipe file without writing me-too, lookalike, derivative (and largely ineffective) copy, consider signing up to BTMSinsiders today so you’ll get first access to the new High-Velocity Copywriting program as soon as it’s out.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,