Why My Wife Overpaid For The Repair of Our Swimming Pool and How It Can Blow The Roof Off Your Response Rates

In the last newsletters nlp1.html  and nlp2.html we demonstrated why certain NLP techniques don't work in print and the one thing you MUST do to get these patterns to explode your conversion rates.

When you own a swimming pool, every few years it needs to be resurfaced.  My wife also wanted some additional work done around the pool so she began interviewing companies.

Invariably, the company would come and listen to what she wanted.  Some gave a price on the spot; others promised to call back with a price [and of these many never bothered to call] in a few days.

But one person did something unusual.  When he came to the pool, he asked my wife, "Would you mind if I asked you some questions?"  He motioned to my wife to sit down and asked her...

"What's important to you about your swimming pool?"

My wife answered after some thought, "Safety."

The man nodded.  "You have young children?"

My wife answered yes.

The salesman turned towards the pool, "Well you know that pool is really unsafe."

Today my pool is the safest pool in town.  We have more safety equipment than most cruise ships. 

We also spent twice the amount most people spend when they want to resurface their pool.  Why?

Because this salesman elicited and used my wife's buying criteria.

Once he discovered my wife was concerned about safety, he set up a step by step demonstration of just how unsafe the pool was.  And my wife not only bought what he was offering but raved about it to her friends.

The hierarchy of criteria were discovered by Leslie Cameron.  These patterns were typically taught only in Master Practitioner trainings and have been largely ignored by the NLP world.

Most commonly - and effectively - NLP criteria are applied to sales.  In the realm of sales and persuasion, Kenrick Cleveland is the master of teaching criteria.  But to this date - no one has applied it to copy.  But the use of criteria should be...

The Heart of Your Sales Letter

Please allow me to explain.

My earliest background in writing copy was in the area of weight loss.  All day I worked with women who wanted to lose weight and I elicited the criteria of tens of thousands of women who wanted to lose weight.

And it boiled down to one of two highest level criteria and they were fairly distinct. 

A very high percentage of women cared most about their appearance.  A similar percentage cared most about their health.

Of course, if they had already discovered a health problem the criteria of health went way up over the criteria of appearance.

And typically, if they were young - appearance was everything - even over health (even to the point of engaging in risky behaviors if they think it is going to enhance their appearance.)

So a weight loss letter that didn't target these two criteria was going to bomb.

I wrote my first full page ad based on the thousands of interviews I had conducted.  The ad's headline was "Has Your Doctor Told You To Lose Weight?"

Oh my gosh...I targeted their criteria in the headline and the results were...

The Phones Didn't Stop Ringing For Weeks

My clinic was packed with people who came in clutching the ad.  "How did you know" the women began "that my doctor told me to lose weight?"

That first ad made me about $100,000 in two weeks.  I gave that ad to my friends and they had similar success. 

I discovered to hit peoples' criteria early and often in sales letters. But the most important element is...

Detecting Peoples' Criteria

You can't do this through your sales letter.  You must do your homework and scout out your target prospects and talk with them.

In order to write for the ladies cosmetics industry, John Carlton had me spend a day at Bloomingdale's talking to women about their purchasing habits.  What I discovered told me the campaign I was working on was going to bomb.  I alerted my clients but they chose to ignore my findings of women's criteria for cosmetics.  Their campaign tanked.  Not one order.

What was it that I discovered?  Women were fanatically brand loyal to cosmetics and were not easily swayed to other brands.  If someone liked Burberry scent, there was little chance they would jump ship and try a new Kenneth Cole fragrance.  

Now women love discounts and sales but they would prefer the discount be on the cosmetic lines of their choice - not by someone trying to sell an exfoliater from Company A and a self-tanner from Company B.

But the client thought the idea of a sale would get the women to over ride their criteria.

Here's a hint..

People Can Not Violate Their Own Criteria Without Causing Themselves Extreme Discomfort!

Let's say you are one the slimy slugs who wants to manipulate women into sex using NLP techniques.  (I have in my possession a pamphlet teaching men how to use criteria to sleep with married women.)

So let's say this woman has a high level of criteria for excitement and sexuality that isn't being met in her marriage.

And a guy uses this criteria to get past her defenses and has sex with her.

Then then encounter a higher level criteria which got passed over...

Her desire to be faithful to her husband.  And you have just encouraged her to violate this criteria.  Watch out.

Hell hath no fury like a woman who's criteria has been violated.

And this leads to a very important question.

What if the person has the wrong criteria?

Let's say you are the director of admissions of a pre-school and you elicit the criteria of the parents applying for their little Einstein and it's...

They want the school to prepare him for Harvard.

That's right.  Little Albert who isn't fully toilet trained want to go to Harvard.

So do you play along with their criteria and promise them little Johnny will get into pre-school just as soon he sheds his pampers or...

Do you change their criteria?

In my next NLP Copywriting letter, I'll share with you how to elicit peoples' criteria and what you must do if you want to change it.

Imagine what will happen when you begin to apply this to your sales letters.

Feedback welcomed.  Just click reply on the email I sent you!

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Harlan Kilstein