The Hypnotic Power of Confusion.

“Did you walk to work or carry a lunch?” 


My father asked me that question more than 25 years ago. I still remember it. Why? Because it’s a ridiculous question. 

A famous comedian in the 1950s used to ask people, “Got a banana?” The question might make sense if asked in the right situation, but he asked it everywhere. I’ve forgotten the name of the comedian, but I still recall his question. Why? Because it’s strange. How to Turn Prospects Into Customers?

As I write this, I am creating new business cards for myself. I decided to add a confusing line to it. After some fun brainstorming with my girlfriend, I settled on, “Ask me about the monkey.” 

Why is “Ask me about the monkey?” worth putting on my business card? As with my father’s question and the comedian’s question, it stops your brain in its tracks. It makes you pause. It makes you focus on ME. The theory is that once you stop someone with a confusing line, you can then implant a hypnotic command right after it. 

In other words, if I write something like, “Apples desk fly dirt,” and then follow it with, “Read my new ebook,” the chances are very high that you are going to want to read my new ebook. Membership Sites- Your Money Making Venture Online.

Why? Because the first line jammed your mind, and the second line slipped into your brain while you weren’t looking. I’ve just upped the odds that you will buy my new e-book. And if you don’t, of course, it doesn’t matter because I never really told you to go buy it. See? 

The same thing will happen on my new business cards. Since I’m now known as “The World’s First Hypnotic Marketer,” I wanted a strange, confusing line on my new card. When someone sees, “Ask me about the monkey,” and then asks me about the monkey, I can simply point out that I practice hypnotic selling and I just got them to do what I wanted. 

The Japanese practice this “hypnotic confusion,” but probably unknowingly. A friend of mine who flew to Japan reported to me that the English phrases on all the Japanese products were bizarre. A tube of toothpaste might say, “Green days you not sing.” A box of cookies might say, “Wood above fish.” 

How can you use this secret right now? Don’t be afraid to be confusing. People tend to sort out whatever you say anyway and make sense out of it using their own terms. 

If you are describing your product in great detail, be willing to toss in something odd. It may increase sales. 

If not, swirl up!

The Strange Story of the “Crackpot” Mail-Order Prophet (or) Five Things You Can Learn about Advertising from Dr. Frank B. Robinson.

Are you having trouble selling your product or service? Are you feeling like the chaotic state of the world prevents you from succeeding? Are you wondering how you can increase your sales in the most cost effective ways? Are you feeling like your competition is breathing down your neck?

Many of my clients feel the same way. They want to succeed, to make a nice living in their business, but they feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and even despondent. They feel they have too much competition. They feel marketing doesn’t work, or takes too much work. They feel people don’t have enough money today to spend on what they are selling. 

And that’s why I think it’s time to reveal the strange story of the long forgotten “crackpot” mail-order prophet.  

During the Great Depression of the 1930s the average person didn’t have enough money to feed themselves or their family, let alone enough extra cash to order books through the mail. Yet during those lean years one man made a fortune selling books and courses entirely by mail. His name was Frank B. Robinson. He founded “Psychiana,” the world’s eighth largest religion and the world’s largest mail-order religion. 

You may never have heard of him or his movement before today. But during the 1930s and 40s, Robinson’s name traveled around the world. Millions of people read his books, studied his lessons, and practiced his methods. The press called his positive thinking, new thought religion a “media business” because Robinson advertised so heavily. 

In 1928 Robinson wrote an ad for his new philosophy that began with the headline, “I TALKED WITH GOD.” An advertising agency in Spokane, Washington said the ad would never work. But Frank believed in his message and trusted his hunches. He borrowed $2,500 from people he barely knew, spent most of it on printing his lessons, and invested $400 to place his ad in “Psychology Magazine.” 

That ad pulled 5,300 responses. Robinson ran it in numerous magazines and it always pulled a 3% to 21% response. Within a year he had a full-time job fulfilling requests for his books and lessons, soon shipping a million pieces of mail a year out of his office in Moscow, Idaho. The post office in that little town had to move into a bigger building to handle all the mail. 

Robinson’s ads appeared in 140 newspapers, 180 magazines, and on 60 radio stations, all at the same time. His postal bill in 1938 amounted to $16,000 and his printing bill hit $40,000. He received 60,000 pieces of mail a day, reached more than two million people, and sent his message to 67 countries—all within one year of running his first ad. 

“Advertising is educating the public to who you are, where you are, and what service you have to offer,” Robinson wrote. “The only man or organization who should not advertise is the one who has nothing to offer.” 

What can we learn from Frank B. Robinson? 

1. He believed in his product. When you don’t believe in what you are trying to sell, it shows. It’ll show in your lack of commitment to your marketing, in poor advertising, in poor service, or in other ways. As I mention in my book, The Seven Lost Secrets of Success, sincerity is one of the “lost secrets” to success. Robinson had sincerity. While his movement made tons of money, Robinson accepted only $9,000 a year as his salary. Whether you call him a crackpot or a savior, he believed in his product. He knew he had something people wanted. In fact, Robinson sold his religious lessons with a money-back guarantee. 

2. He advertised relentlessly. If you don’t tell people that you exist, they won’t know it. The reason you aren’t aware of Robinson or his movement today is because he’s dead. (He died in 1948). No one is advertising his message. Without consistent and persistent advertising to educate the public, the world won’t know of your business. How Should I Practice?

3. He tracked his results. Robinson believed in the spiritual world, but he also knew he lived on the earth plane where numbers matter. He tracked responses from his ads to know what worked and what didn’t. For example, astrology magazines brought him an 18% response to his ads while national weekly papers brought 3%. Knowing that, Robinson could invest more money in larger ads in the better pulling magazines. Find out where your business comes from and focus more advertising in that area.  

4. He continued to create products. Robinson knew once people tasted his goods, they would want more. He wrote 28 books during his short lifetime. These, along with his correspondence courses, gave him a deep product line. Your current satisfied  customers will always be your goldmine. Create more for them to buy. 

5. He remained optimistic. Despite the harsh reality of the Great Depression years, and despite competition from religious institutions that had been around for centuries, Robinson flourished. He didn’t believe anyone or anything could stop him. When you have that strong of an inner conviction, nothing CAN stop you. If you think you have competition with a similar business in the same town, consider what it must have been like for Robinson to have such empires as the Catholic Church, the US government, and famous ministers and politicians trying to close him down! 

Whatever you may think of Robinson or “Psychiana,” you have to admit he knew how to advertise his business.  

“After all, it’s the results in human lives that count,” he wrote in his 1941 book, The Strange Autobiography of Frank B. Robinson. “Talk is cheap.”  

What are you going to do now to increase your business? Remember, talk is cheap!

How to Hypnotize People into Reading Your Sales Materials!

On a sunny, warm day in August, 1996 I kneeled over the grave of P.T. Barnum and had one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. 

I had begun researching the famous showman in order to write my forthcoming new book, There’s a Customer Born Every Minute (to be released in October, 1997). I had visited the Barnum Museum, the Historical Library in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and met with Barnum scholars, biographers, and collectors of his writings. I wanted to visit  Barnum’s grave and pay my respects. Little did I know that the incredible, magical experience would change my life forever… 

Recently I went online to hunt for old books by some of my favorite authors, this time I went after anything by Robert Collier, mail order advertising genius and author of such classic books as The Secret of the Ages and The Robert Collier Letter Book. 

I typed in his name at one of my favorite book search engines (which I’m going to keep a secret as long as I can), and to my amazement several new (to me) titles came up. I stared wide-eyed, my mouth open, as I saw that someone had two copies of a magazine Collier edited in the late 1920’s called “Mind, Inc.” I couldn’t believe it. I immediately grabbed the phone, called, and bought those magazines. A few days later they arrived. 

I opened the brown package, my heart racing with excitement, and nearly drooled as I slid the little paperback sized magazines onto my desk. They were well worn but intact. I thumbed through them and marveled at my find. Here were new articles by one of my heroes, my mentor, a man who changed my life not once but twice with his books. I felt like a happy child on Christmas morning, getting the gifts he longed for and needed most. 

As I looked over Collier’s magazines, something shifted in me. I saw an advertising technique at work that seemed hypnotic in power. I had one of those “ah-ha!” experiences great inventors write about. I held one of the issues in my hand and read the back cover. Collier had an ad there that began —  

“How can I tell if I am working aright?” many people ask. 

There is an easy, simple rule. With it in front of him, not even a child could go wrong. Just ask yourself one question. If your answer is “Yes.” You are on the wrong track, and you will never make much progress, until you get off it and on the right track. 

If your answer is “No,” then you are working in the right direction, and you have only to keep it up to attain any goal you desire. 

That question is the basis of the Lesson in the next issue of “Mind, Inc.” If you are looking for a road map to guide you through the mental realm, send for it! 

Did you catch what Collier did? 

Let me give you another example. This one comes from Collier’s editorial in the opening pages of the other issue I found: 

Dear Reader: Twelve years ago, the three examining physicians at the head office of the Life Extension Institute made a thorough  physical examination of the writer. They had him hop and jump and do sundry things to stir his heart into action, then they listened with their stethoscopes and nodded knowingly to each other, finally gathering in a corner to whisper earnestly together, with many a meaning glance in the writer’s direction. 

The upshot of their conference was a solemn warning against all forms of violent exercise. The heart was dangerously affected, in their opinion. Tennis, horseback, swimming — all these were taboo. Even running for a street car was likely to result disastrously. If the writer wanted excitement, he might walk (as long as he did it sedately) or crawl about the floor on all fours! 

That was twelve years ago, remember. A few months back, he had occasion to be examined for life insurance. The examining physician knew of the Life Extension Institute findings, so he asked the Head Examiner of his company to check his report. The Head Examiner came, made the same exhaustive heart tests as the Institute and put away his instruments with a chuckle. “When you get ready to pass out,” he said, “they’ll have to take out that heart and hit it with a rock to make it stop beating. Work, play,  do anything you like in reason. The heart can stand anything you  can!” 

What made the difference? Perhaps the following lesson may give you an indication.” 

Collier did it again! Did you catch his method? 

Collier told you just enough to intrigue you, to get you hooked, to get you interested — and then he stopped! 

In the first example he cleverly trapped you into wanting to know the question he kept referring to. But he never told you the question. He snared you and then asked you to send for the next lesson, where the mystery of the question would be revealed. How could anyone not send for it? I sat at my desk reading Collier’s ad more than seventy years after he wrote it and I wanted to send in the coupon, too. But Collier is long dead. I’ll never know the question! 

In the second example Collier cleverly told you two intriguing stories, asked the question that every reader would then have on their mind — put then didn’t answer it! Again, Collier generated interest, and then told you to read the magazine to find the answer. Talk about hypnotic writing! 

And that’s how you get people to read your sales materials. You pull them into it. You grab their attention, keep them reading, get them wanting what you have and then — stop and tell them to send in a check, or call you, to get what they now so badly desire. 

Did you notice how I began this article? 

I used the Robert Collier technique to hypnotize you into reading more. I began saying I had an experience at Barnum’s grave. What was the experience? What happened? What’s my new book about? All of these are questions in your mind as you read the opening. It’s hypnotic. And if you’ve read this far, you know the method works. 

The next time you want to write something and be sure people actually read it, remember the Robert Collier technique. Start by writing about something that will interest the people you are addressing. Tell them an interesting story. Get them wondering about something that they want to know more about. And then STOP. Change direction. Write about something else that may still be related to the opening, but don’t resolve the opening until the end of the article. And maybe not even there. Maybe you’ll want people to send in a coupon or call you for the answer. For example:

How to Write a Million Dollar Sales Letter!

Bruce Barton, cofounder of the legendary BBDO ad agency, wrote letters that got staggering results. He wrote a letter for Berea College that brought in an amazing 100% response! (You can read the entire letter in The Seven Lost Secrets Of Success.) 

When you consider that the average successful letter gets about a 0.02% response, Barton clearly leaped past anyone else in his letter writing skills. But what was his secret? After studying Barton’s letters, books, private memos, speeches, and advertising  campaigns, I’ve discovered Barton’s method. I’ve used his technique to write my own letters and I’ve been astonished at the results. 

One letter got a 20% response. Another nailed a 10% response. 

Still another is approaching a 97% response (ninety-seven per cent!)! (It, too, is in The Seven Lost Secrets Of Success.

I will now reveal the technique I’ve been using: Bruce Barton’s “Secret Formula.” 

Barton said that good advertising copy (and letters are advertisements) had to be three things: (1) Brief. (2) Simple. (3). Sincere. In an eye-opening essay he wrote back in 1925, Barton said the following: 

About Brevity: 

“About sixty years ago two men spoke at Gettysburg; one man spoke for two hours. I suppose there is not any one who could quote a single word of that oration. The other man spoke about three hundred words, and that address has become a part of the school training of almost every child.” About Simplicity: 

“I think it might be said, no advertisement is great that has anything that can’t be understood by a child of intelligence. Certainly all the great things in life are one-syllable things — child, home, wife, fear, faith, love, God.” About Sincerity:  

“I believe the public has a sixth sense for detecting insincerity, and we run a tremendous risk if we try to make other people believe in something we don’t believe in. Somehow our sin will find us out.” Let’s look at these three steps a little more closely. Ten Ways To Promote Your Site And Increase Traffic.

Brevity. A short letter isn’t necessarily what Barton meant. I’ve read many of his letters and memos. Most of them were so brief they were blunt. But those were not sales letters. When Barton wanted to persuade you to donate money to a good cause or buy something he was selling, his letters were longer, sometimes several pages long. (Again, see that sample letter in The Seven Lost Secrets Of Success.) Barton knew you had to give people a complete explanation before they would buy. 

Simplicity. Barton’s letters were always simple and easy to read. He strove for clarity of communication. No big words, long sentences, or convoluted passages. He was clear and direct and conversational. 

Sincerity. Barton was always sincere. He once dropped a million dollar advertising account because he didn’t support the client. That sincerity came through in everything he wrote. Readers could pick up on it. 

Finally, Barton’s letters were “… phrased in terms of the other man’s interest.” Barton said your letters had to go straight to the reader’s selfish interest. He said the favorite song of every reader is “I Love Me.” As Barton said in 1924, “The reader is interested first of all in himself… Tie your appeal up to his own interests.” 

The next time you have to write a sales letter, consider Barton’s formula. It helped him write letters that are still talked about today, and it helps me write letters that are making my clients rich. Now use it and see what the formula will do for YOU!