nlp copywriting
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl NLP Copywriting Secrets For Maximum Results With Harlan Kilstein
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  61
  • Harlan Kilstein


Harlan Kilstein, the father of NLP Copywriting, shares his most potent copywriting secrets. If you want to improve the results you’re getting from your opt-in offers, sales pages, video sales letters, webinars and emails then you don’t want to miss this interview.

Online Article to Read:

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two by George A. Miller

Book Recommendations:

To find out more about the programs Harlan offers:

Transcription: NLP Copywriting Secrets For Maximum Results With Harlan Kilstein

Welcome to The Project Ignite podcast, a podcast designed to just skip the hype, skip the BS and bring you real actionable tips and strategies from real experts to help you grow your business and income on the internet.This is your host, Derek Gehl. Today we’re going to be diving deep into what I believe is one of the most valuable skills you can have as a digital entrepreneur. That skill is copywriting, the ability to persuade and influence people through the use of the written word.

Whether you’re writing emails, sales pages, squeeze pages, or even scripts for webinars or video sales letters, good copywriting is the foundation of your success.

Today we’re not just going to be talking about copywriting. We’re going to be digging into NLP copywriting, which blends the science of neuro-linguistic programming with copywriting which is two topics that I’m pretty fascinated by.

Today’s guest is not only one of the top A-list copywriters in the world, he’s also considered to be the founding father or the godfather, if you will, of NLP copywriting. He’s written for people like Wayne Dyer, Sylvia Browne, Harv Eker, Jay Abraham, and so many worldwide experts you’ve probably heard of.

He also holds the record for the fastest million ever made online which was done in less than 22 minutes. A little fun fact, he’s also the owner of the world’s largest dog news site online called The Dogington Post.

Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Harlan Kilstein to the show.

Harlan, thanks so much for being here.

I could just go on and on and listen to you say great things about me.

You know what? I’m going to give you a chance to say some more great things about yourself. You’ve been in this industry for as long as I can remember. You’ve been one of the NLP copywriting greats for as long as I can remember. I am so happy to have you on the show.

Before we get started … I’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs that haven’t been around as long as us. They probably don’t know your background and your story. Can you just share your story as an entrepreneur and a copywriter? How did you become one of the most in demand copywriters in the world, but also the founding father of NLP copywriting? What’s your story?

Gosh, that will take us through the whole podcast. Well, to start with, I want to let everybody know that when I got started online, I knew less than nothing.

The famous story, and absolutely true, that I tell is I decided that I needed a website. I called up a company and gave them a domain name, which I never use, by the way. I bought the domain name. I was all excited. I went and I typed in the domain name and nothing was there.

I called them back up and I said, “Hey, I just bought the domain name. Where’s my website?” They said, “Well, you need to buy hosting.” I said, “What’s that?” They said, “Well, you need a place to put your website.” “Yeah, it’s going to be on the internet.” “No, no. You have to buy a place.” “Why do I have to buy a place? The internet is free.”

I said, “Okay. Let’s say I buy the website. How do I create it?” They said, “Well, you have to know HTML.” I went, “What the heck is that?” “That’s hypertext marking language.” I said, “I have to think about it.” I never went ahead and built that first website. That’s where I’m coming from.

Today, I easily without even sweating pull in a good seven figures a year with NLP copywriting, and I have numerous servers and websites. That’s how I started. That’s how little I knew about the internet, that little.

Then when it came to copy, I was in the hypnosis business. I had a hypnosis clinic. We got our ads from a service. We would place newspaper ads. The service started getting really slow about getting ads to us. I said, “Okay. I think I need to learn how to write my own ads.”

I took a couple of copywriting courses. I went and heard greats like Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, John Carlton and I said, “I can do this.” Everyone said that copywriting should be like the sales conversation as if the person is sitting right in front of you. Okay. Fantastic.

I wrote my first ad based on the fact that when people would come in to lose weight in hypnosis, they would invariably say, “My doctor told me I need to lose weight.”

I wrote an ad with a picture of a doctor talking to a woman. The headline was “Has your doctor told you to lose weight?” The phones rang off the hooks. It was the most successful ad we ever had and there it was, my first ad. I just started getting better, and better, and better.

I realized that I like writing the ads a lot more than I like running the hypnosis center. I closed the center, fired all of my clients and tripled my income.

Since then, I just love being able to work from anywhere in the world and write for clients or write for myself. I do one letter for a client, one letter for myself. I have multiple businesses going and I just really like working this way.

Now, as far as NLP copywriting goes, I’d always been interested in NLP. When it came out, I started reading … Actually the first book on NLP was Frogs into Princes by Bandler and Grinder.

It talked about a lot of stuff that I had no idea whether it was true. They talked about watching eye movements. I would go and start talking to people and watching their eye movements. Lo and behold, what they said was true.

Then they started talking about using language patterns. One of them was called embedded commands. I started using them. I was in graduate school at the time, and I started using them on teachers and noticed dramatic, dramatic results.

Wait a second. You NLP’d your teachers?

Yeah. The original story was I was in graduate school studying for a Masters. This was an after work Masters, everyone came from a day of work.

The guy gave us three books to read that we had to write essays on, a semester project, a midterm and a final when most others either gave you materials to read or just gave you a final exam. You didn’t get all of these work. They gave you books to read. They didn’t test you to see whether you really read them.

The class was groaning and arguing with him and nobody was getting anywhere. They argued with the guy for maybe half hour. I remember the class was ending. I told them a story about something that happened in the classroom where I was teaching at the time.

I used the embedded commands that my students had allegedly said … I told them the story and said, “My students said to me,” and I changed my tonality, “trust us that we’ll do the work.” I said, “How can I trust you?” The students answered me and said, “We’re mature in this classroom. Trust us that we’ll do the work.”

The teacher stopped and said, “Maybe I need to reconsider the way I’m evaluating the work.” I remember leaving the classroom in sheer silence, got into the elevator and a friend said, “What did you just do?” I’m not sure but it looks like it’s working.

We came in the next week and all the requirements were gone. It was just like come in, attend class. At the end, I’m going to give you a project to do that you can take home. It turned out being a really easy class. I also learned a lot from it. All of those requirements were gone.

That’s when I became a believer. Since that time, what I wanted to do was work on the concept of persuasion with elegance and not brute force. When you’re selling, people want to buy, but they don’t want to be sold to.
NLP writing techniques

What I focus on with NLP copywriting is very simple, and that is to get the person to take the next step, and that’s my only goal.What is the next step with NLP copywriting? When I write a headline, the headline goal is to get them to go to the next step, which is to read the first paragraph. At the end of the first paragraph, my goal is to get them to do the second paragraph.Step by step, not rushing people, understanding exactly where they are, and then using a lot of techniques and understanding about how people operate, and paying attention to them, understanding what’s going on in the conversation that’s going on in their head. This is key to NLP copywriting.

Now, one of the most powerful techniques used by probably the most famous user of NLP who is Tony Robbins is a technique called criteria. Criteria are how people make decisions. For example, using weight loss, if you talk to people and you ask the question: what’s important to you about weight loss?

You’re typically going to get one or two answers. The first answer is, well, my health. There’s nothing more important than my health. The alternate answer you’re going to get is my appearance.

Now, if you scale that up, say, “Great. Health is really important. What’s important to you about taking care of yourself? What’s important to you about your health?” They’ll say, “I want to be around for my family.” Well, that is such a powerful lever. You start referring to their desire to take care of their family. They’ll do anything you want.

Similarly, if you start with appearance and say, “Okay. Well, what’s important to you about having that appearance?” If you keep talking to them, ultimately it’s going to come to, “Then, I’ll feel really good about myself.”

They’re not interested in weight loss. They’re ultimately interested either in being around for their family or in feeling good about themselves. That’s what you really want to sell them. Most people don’t. They sell them the program. If you sell them what their ultimate goal is, their criteria, a person cannot resist their own criteria without causing themselves extreme pain.

Right. Now, let’s actually pause for a second because we’re diving into NLP copywriting, and we’re going to start to dive into NLP and copywriting. Let’s take a step back.

I just realized there’s probably a lot of our listeners that maybe they’ve heard NLP, but they’re not really sure what NLP copywriting is. We called it neuro-linguistic programming. Can you just give us a brief overview what is NLP? What was it created for?

It actually started in the therapeutic community. The people who founded NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, noticed that some therapists got to the heart of the matter and helped people changed really rapidly. There were others who would just bounce around. Maybe they would get lucky and maybe they wouldn’t.

They decided to study the people who were the best. When they did this, they discovered that they were using similar language patterns. They published literally a book, The Structure of Magic, showing the language patterns of effective communicators, how to really get to the heart of a matter.

They gave this to the great anthropologist Gregory Bateson. He looked at it and said, “You guys need to talk to Milton Erickson.” “Who’s that?” “He’s the world’s greatest medical hypnotist.” They went out to Erickson after studying his work. They found out that, in hypnosis, he was doing the reverse. Instead of really getting specific, he was getting broad.

I have a metaphor that I use and that is that there was one day a king going through the forest. He passed a barn. There were a whole bunch of arrows sticking into the bullseye. He said, “Find the person that did this. I want this man on my squad of royal archers.”

They tracked down a farmer who was embarrassed to be standing in front of the king. He said, “You are the finest archer I’ve ever met in my life. How do you do this?” He said, “I have a trick.” “What’s the trick?” “First I shoot the arrows. Then I draw the target.”

You can’t miss that way, can you?

No, you absolutely not.

That’s what Erickson did with his conversation. He drew the target so big that he just couldn’t miss. People would talk to him and think that he was reading their mind, but really they were fitting into his conversation. That is the secret of NLP copywriting so that anyone can read your writing and think that you’re talking about them.

Now, let’s shift gears. Now, let’s apply it to NLP copywriting. What is NLP copywriting, and how is it different from your regular copywriting?

NLP copywriting is really about that step by step process of elegance to get people to take the next step whether it’s to get an opt-in on a page. It’s to use the specific language patterns that Erickson used in his hypnosis. One place we see NLP in advertising is called presupposition.

Everybody is familiar with the most famous presupposition there is and that is lawyers say to the person on the stand, “When did you stop beating your wife?” There’s a presupposition that you beat your wife, and that you have been beating your wife and, at some point, you stopped. Presuppositions typically go right by the person that you’re having the conversation with.

There was a famous article in the ’50s by George A. Miller. You can actually find it online for free. It’s called The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. Miller said that a person can process at any period of time up to seven, plus or minus two pieces of information.

Right now, Derek, you are listening to the sound of my voice, but part of you is also probably aware of the chair that you’re sitting on. When I mentioned the end of the sentence, you might come to think about the feeling of your feet on the floor.

Things go in and out of your awareness. If I give you too many things to be aware of, your brain shuts down.

Presuppositions are so powerful that if you stack presuppositions at three or four presuppositions, the person is no longer able to critically analyze what’s going on. It’s not the manipulative way. It’s by bypassing the conscious resistance that people normally have, and nobody feels used by it.

Can you give us an example of stacking presuppositions in NLP copywriting?

Well, I guess the best example of NLP writing techniques that I could give is I could go to my NLP copywriting website, and I have a headline there. “How many NLP persuasion language patterns can you spot in this special report?”

Now, if I were to break that down just that first sentence, let alone the entire report, is the first presupposition is that there’s something known as an NLP persuasion language pattern. The second presupposition is that you can spot them. The third presupposition is that there’s more than one of them in this report. The last presupposition is that this is a special report. That’s just one sentence.

The bottom line is presuppositions and stacking presuppositions make copy almost irresistible.

Right, right. Now, talking about presuppositions … Let’s shift gears now and let’s dig into when to apply NLP copywriting tactics or when they don’t work in copy.

Let me say what if I did something manipulative to you right now and I said, “How soon is it going to be before you invite me back on your podcast?” There’s a presupposition there that you’re going to invite me back on the podcast, but it’s also a manipulative presupposition because it’s never been discussed.

If I were to use NLP copywriting in that way, you would resent it. That’s inelegant. You’ll see people saying, “How quickly are you going to reach for your credit card?” Really? How about never. If you try and manipulate someone, they’re going to catch it and they’re going to bite back.

That’s interesting because there’s people on two sides of the fence with NLP. There’s people who will say, “NLP copywriting is evil because you’re influencing people at a subconscious level whether it’s through webinars, or videos, or written word.” What’s your position on that?

I think that people could definitely be manipulated by NLP copywriting. There are certain people who specialize in doing it, but I also believe that there’s something called karma. If you manipulate people with NLP copywriting, there is going to be a price to pay down the road big time.

I totally agree. At the end of the day, if you’re using this to persuade people to make a decision that’s actually going to improve their life, to invest in something that they need and you’re going to fulfill and deliver, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

I’ve witnessed NLP used in many events, on many stages from many speakers over my career and watched people make investment decisions on products where they really don’t even know what they’re buying.

Watching it used at that level, sometimes I scratch my head and go, “Well, what’s the long-term gain there?” If they’re making a completely emotional decision today without really realizing what it is they’re even purchasing, what’s the stick rate going to be like of that client?

I guess my question to you with NLP copywriting and NLP in advertising is can you overuse it and attract the wrong clients?

Absolutely, absolutely you can do that. Attract the wrong client, and you might as well shoot yourself in the foot for doing it at the same time. What you want to do is you want, first of all, I guess start with intention.

The late Wayne Dyer was one of my clients. One of the things that I worked on was his power of intention. What’s your intention? If your intention is to manipulate people, I’d really rather someone not be my student.

If, as you said before, your goal is to help someone, then NLP could be a really valuable tool. There are lots of people … Tony Robbins for one uses NLP when talking to people who are just millimeters away from committing suicide. He turns them around and shows them that they can enjoy life. That’s what’s possible.

Here’s a great story about NLP. A friend of mine was one of the oldest NLP trainers and he was doing marital counseling. This couple was having the worst possible fight. They didn’t even want to come into his office. He went to their home because that was the only way they’d agreed to see him.

Every time he tried to find something good to say about the husband, he denied it.

He looked around the house trying to find something good. He said to the husband, “I bet you’re a pretty spontaneous guy.”

“Me? Spontaneous? Absolutely not. I am the least spontaneous person in the world.”
“How did those flowers get on the table?”

“Well, that actually proves that I’m not a spontaneous guy. You see, I got out of work on Friday, coming home for the weekend. I saw flowers outside my office. I said, ‘Should I get them or not?’ I decided not to. On the way home, I was driving through the streets and I saw flower stand after flower stand. I said, ‘Should I get my wife flowers?’ I said, ‘No.’ Finally, I came to the corner where I lived. I saw a last person selling flowers. I said, ‘Should I get flowers? No. I pulled into the driveway and said, ‘The best flowers I saw were at my office, so I went back to my office and bought the flowers that you see here now. You see I am not a spontaneous person.”

My friend used the technique that’s called a reframe. He said, “Of course you’re a spontaneous person. You’re just a delayed spontaneous person.” Now, what is a delayed spontaneous person?

It’s an oxymoron.

It doesn’t exist. The wife looked up. “What’s a delayed spontaneous person?”

He said, “Okay. I’ll see you guys next week.”

He walked in next week and both members of the couple were grinning from ear to ear. He said, “You guys looked like you swallowed cats. What’s going on?”

She said, “My husband came home from work yesterday and took me out for ice cream in the middle of the day.”

He said, “Really?” He looked at the husband and said, “What came over you?”

He just said, “Well, I’m just a delayed spontaneous kind of guy.”
NLP can be used to really help people. It can be used to help people make a decision that’s really right for them but they’re just … Maybe they have a fear of taking the next step. You can help them over that fear.

Look, there are lots and lots of things that you’ve taught that have helped people literally changed their lives and taken them from place A to place B. What if you were not as persuasive, and they did not make the decision to invest in themselves, where would they be?

Totally agree.

That is literally what you’ve done and you’ve accomplished.

Now, we’ve been talking about NLP copywriting and how you’re using it in … It was initially developed for more of a therapy one-to-one kind of application. When we see Tony use it, that’s in many cases how he’s using it.

People are listening and they’re thinking, “Wow, this NLP thing sounds really cool. I’m going to go out there. I’m going to research and I’m going to read books by Richard Bandler, et cetera, et cetera.” Is there a large element of traditional NLP that does not work for copy as well?

Absolutely. One technique in particular is actually the one that I tested with, the embedded commands. They come across as manipulative in NLP copywriting. For example, it’s probably the most famous misuse of NLP.

It’s where the sentence might be: by now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with you. The way they say it verbally is, by now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with you.

Now, I exaggerate it but the emphasis on “by now” is you’re going to buy this thing right now. People use all kinds of techniques. They put that in bold and they even get even more manipulative. By now, you’re probably wondering when you’re going to be able to get this in your hands.

It’s so manipulative that people have the exact opposite reaction. They say, “No, it’s not. I’m not interested in that at all.” Embedded commands which are probably one of the most popular NLP copywriting patterns known that just doesn’t work.

I will tell you one that you’re all going to love that, to me, is the most powerful NLP copywriting technique. As a matter of fact, if you were to ask me for one technique that I would never leave behind, it’s would be this technique. It’s called therapeutic metaphor.

When people would go to see Milton Erickson, they would go for a treatment. Very often, they would think that they were going to be hypnotized, and Erickson would tell them a story.

As a matter of fact, one of the books explaining how Erickson did his work said they were transcribing an Ericksonian session that started with a trance and then the book says, “Then we’re going to interrupt the transcript here because Erickson started to tell a story.”

They didn’t realize that the story was actually part of the NLP writing techniques. They didn’t understand why he was telling stories.
NLP in advertising
Stories are the single most powerful change technique. We’ve known this since the days of Moses and Jesus telling parables and stories. There isn’t a religion or a culture in the world who does not use stories.

The most famous sales letter, the most successful sales letter in history which was done for the Wall Street Journal which is responsible for over a billion or $2 billion in sales was a story. Telling someone a story is just one of the best things that you could do.

There’s a book called Therapeutic Metaphors by one of the founders of NLP, David Gordon. You can get it on Amazon or just Google Therapeutic Metaphors, and you will learn how to tell these specially constructed stories.

It’s probably the easiest way to start off telling people these stories and the results are absolutely exceptional. Sometimes the stories sit inside like a seed planted in the ground and take a little while before they flower. Sometimes people get the story right away and they smile.

Once again, don’t use it in a manipulative way in NLP copywriting. Therapeutic Metaphor, just something that’s really great.

For example, great persuader, Harv Eker, who I wrote for. In his opening presentation, Harv tells a story about how he started a business, and he put the money on his credit card. Everybody told him he was foolish for putting the money on his credit card. Then 18 months later, the Heinz Company bought the business from him for over a million dollars.

He says, “How many people think it was the right thing for me to put that money on my credit card?” All the hands go up. What he’s really done is told the metaphor because later on he’s going to ask them to put something on their credit card.

Metaphors don’t have to be long stories to be effective. Harv is one of the greatest closers of all time.

Absolutely. Now, with these stories, and I’ve got the name of the book down here because I definitely want to read that, is there … I know there’s people listening and they’re thinking, “I’m not a good storyteller. I can’t tell stories.” Is it a pretty formulaic process?

A, it can be a formula. Literally, he draws a map of what a story is, but you could also adapt stories. You do not have to be able to create them. By using the map and the process, you can take a story of anything.

Let’s say there’s someone who doesn’t know how to make a decision. You tell them the story of Dumbo the Flying Elephant who ended up getting the advice from a bunch of crows. That he had a talent that he didn’t know.

When people hear that story, they realize, “There’s something inside of me that I’m not using.” Once you understand the concept, you’ll realize that stories are everywhere.

Yeah, yeah. You can pull them from numerous sources. They don’t have to be your own personal story to get the point across.

No. People will thank you. Now, of course, you can build a story. If you’re building a story about a family, you can build a ship captain as the husband, the first mate being the wife, the cabin boy being a son, et cetera and have a whole family represented in the story.

There’s a structure to good stories. Stories work like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Yeah, absolutely. Well people are interested in stories. People listen to stories. They’re engaging. It’s not selling. Let’s shift gears again.

I just want to say one more thing. If you, folks, person listening to this think back to when you were told stories, it’s an almost universal experience that when you were a child someone told you stories.

When someone tells you a story, literally part of you becomes almost childlike and trusting. You’re accomplishing more than one thing at a time.

It’s interesting. When I think back to when I do events and I do workshops … I just landed back in Canada. I did 10 events throughout Asia and Australia over the last month.

When I’m doing a one-day workshop, I can see when people are starting to withdraw or shut down. I have stories planted throughout my presentation. You’ll watch people re-engage and start to lean forward in their seat and listen so much more intently when you’re using those stories to engage people.

That’s a beauty of a live event is you can actually watch the physical change taking place in the audience as you shift into stories. If I think of that, looking at the most successful speakers, the most influential people whether it’s the Zig Ziglars of the world, they all were masterful, masterful storytellers.

Absolutely. Your mentor’s mentor, Dan Kennedy, is a master storyteller.

Absolutely. Dan is an absolute pro at that. Now, let’s shift gears again. Let’s talk a little bit about video.

Obviously there’s the written word but so much is happening in video online these days whether it’s webinars, whether it’s a squeeze page or sales video online, VSLs. Do these NLP copywriting techniques work in video as well? Are there different techniques? Will embedded commands actually work in videos but maybe not in written?

Absolutely. Once you’ve turned to video, you have the opportunity to use the voice again. One of the things that I taught a great marketer, Frank Kern, was the concept of pattern interruption in NLP copywriting.

Frank started putting out great videos that all began with pattern interruptions. Up until Frank came along with this NLP copywriting knowledge, a video was maybe someone sitting in front of a screen talking to you.

All of a sudden, Frank’s videos were “Here’s a tour of my house. Here I’m driving around in my car.” Those videos were effective because it wasn’t what people expected.

I saw a video selling a supplement yesterday for someone with heart problems. The video began with a person literally crying out in pain and saying, “It hurts so much.”

Well, a person who is a cardiac patient can relate to something like that. It interrupts what’s going on in their life, so they’re literally able to pay attention.

We’ve started talking about a whole new NLP copywriting technique which is pattern interrupts. I want you to take it just a step back and explain what is a pattern interrupt?

What’s the purpose of a pattern interrupt?

Most people live pattern-predictable lives. They’re not fully aware of what’s going on. I challenge you guys listening to go into a supermarket and watch people going down the aisles. It’s as if they’re in a trance.

People go through life the same way. When they’re searching online, they’re in their online trance. When they’re watching television, that’s about as deep a trance as people can be in.

If you want to get through to people, you’ve got to get them out of that trance. One really effective way is to interrupt that pattern.

A lot of copywriters have taken this single NLP copywriting technique of interrupting someone’s patterns and made it the cornerstone of what they do to get your attention, and then keep your attention for the length of the video.

Frank is a great example of that because his videos get huge attention… They’re interesting. It’s not what you expect. It’s interesting. You brought up some interesting points. You don’t have to do anything extreme to create that pattern interrupt but just unexpected, which Frank does.

One video of his I turned on, he’s sitting there playing a bizarre kind of guitar of some sort. You’re like, “What is going on?” It immediately engages. It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy. It needs to be different.

That’s correct. People are not realizing that, Derek, this was really supposed to be a video podcast. We were going to do something new this week. It’s going to be a video podcast. Then when Derek flipped on the camera, he saw me sitting naked in front of the screen. That’s a pattern interrupt. 🙂

Yeah, that was definitely a pattern interrupt.

It also comes from spending too much time with Frank. I promise I’ll behave for the rest of the podcast.

That’s it. That works. It got my attention. How do people learn this? You know what I mean? I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of NLP copywriting. The problem is you pick out the average NLP book. It’s either really dry or really geared towards therapy.

From a selling standpoint, from a copy standpoint, how do people learn NLP copywriting? Where do they go?

I’m going to tell you that the key to understanding NLP copywriting is to learn one technique at a time and add them to your repertoire one technique at a time.

It’s kind of like, Erickson used to use this metaphor all the time, a centipede walking along on its way, and then it stopped and said, “I wonder which foot comes next?” It was unable to move. That’s the way people are when they try, and learn, and apply too many things.

I would pick one thing at a time. Now, even in presuppositions, there are many, many patterns. I say, “Pick one and apply it.” Then you’ll be motivated to learn a second. There’s no waste. You can get good at NLP copywriting really quickly.

At my website, I send out all kinds of notices, techniques that people can use in NLP copywriting and also a huge number of products.

I actually have a video set there from David Gordon, one of the founders of NLP, teaching Therapeutic Metaphor where he goes into it in depth. He’s my favorite NLP teacher, just outstanding material or my own NLP copywriting where it was done live. The top copywriters in the world attended and they were blown away.

My own teacher, John Carlton, came as a sign of salute since I held it in Vegas, and he lives in Reno. He said, “Harlan, don’t get your excitement up. I’m only here for one day. I just came because you’re my top student. I’ll be here for one day.”

I went, “Okay.” The next day he’s sitting in the back of the room. I said, “John, this is the second day.” He goes, “Well, I filled up a notepad yesterday. I figured I might as well stay.” What happens is you realize the potential of NLP copywriting.

Do I have time to tell one quick story from that seminar?


We did an exercise in getting people’s criteria. It goes like this. You have two people A and B. A gives B the largest bill in their wallet. B’s instruction is don’t give it back. A’s instruction is, okay, short of using physical force persuade B to give it back.

They have to find out what’s going to motivate B to give back that bill even though the instruction was don’t give it back. It’s a really fun exercise watching people do it.

Everybody eventually got their money back except one guy says, “I didn’t get my money back.” This woman in the back is waving a $20 bill. She just said, “Nope. You said not to give it back. I’m not giving it back.”

I looked at her and I said, “Would you mind coming forward for a demonstration?” She said, “Absolutely.” She said, “I’m not giving it back.” I said, “No problem.” She came up to the front of the room and I said, “You have his bill?” “Yup, right here.” I said, “You’re not giving it back?” “Nope, that was the instruction.”

I said, “Is that your daughter in the back of the room on the floor coloring?”

“Yup, absolutely.”

I said, “You homeschool your daughter?”

“Mm-hmm (affirmative), I do. I don’t believe in schools. I believe in homeschool.”

I said, “Did I see a Bible next to you during the break?”


I said, “Do you read you daughter from the Bible everyday?”

She said, “Absolutely.”

I said, “Since you’re a role model for your daughter, what do you think your daughter is thinking of you right now holding money that doesn’t belong to you?”

The money came flying out of her hand as if it was burning her hand. Criteria. When you find out someone’s criteria, no matter what their intention is, they cannot but help in responding to it. Learn about these things. Learn about criteria and your persuasion will never be more powerful.
Harlan Kilstein
My final word keep it ethical. Keep it clean. Keep it honorable.

Now, people listening to this are like, “Wow, I want to learn this NLP copywriting.” I know for a fact, I’ve done this, you go out there. You start looking at NLP copywriting.

There’s NLP certifications in every city. I don’t believe that’s the right path for somebody that wants to use NLP copywriting for marketing purposes. Would you agree with that?

Yeah, unfortunately, they’re still in the therapeutic mode and that’s not going to help with NLP copywriting. What I’ve done is shortcut the process by taking all of the learnings, and all of the training, and having them focus on persuasion and sales.

Before we go then, for people that are listening to this and thinking, “Hey, I need to know more about NLP copywriting,” where do they go?

More specifically, you’ve been doing this for so long, where do people start on NLP copywriting? Is there a specific product, an opt-in, a course, something you have on that you’d refer people to start learning more about NLP writing techniques?

The number one thing that I would recommend would be either my NLP Copywriting, one, or Therapeutic Metaphors, all of which you can find on

Fantastic. That’s excellent. Now, we’re running out of time. Harlan, I want to thank you so much for spending the time here and sharing so many tips and strategies related to NLP copywriting. I’ve got pages of notes here myself. I know it’s a good interview when I’ve got a list of things now I need to do.

There you go. It’s been an honor.

Fantastic. All right, everyone. That was NLP copywriting expert, Harlan Kilstein. As always, any of the links mentioned in the interview will be included in the show notes along with the entire transcript of this episode. You’ll find that at podcast.

Again, if you like what you heard here, please leave a rating or review on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. Your feedback, your reviews are the fuel that gives me the momentum and motivation to continue making this the best info packed podcast for digital entrepreneurs.

Now, it’s time to take the NLP copywriting tips, tools and strategies that you’ve learned here today and apply that final essential ingredient. That ingredient is action.

Go forth, take action. Head over to Harlan Kilstein’s site.

Opt-in. Get on his list so you can at least start getting his regular strategies that he sends out on a regular basis and start checking out some of the resources he has because I truly believe that, as a digital entrepreneur, this is one of the most powerful skills you can acquire.

Go forth, take action. This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.

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