The secret to mesmerizing sales copy

You’ve been there. We all have.

It’s a day like any other. You get in the car and you’re driving down the street to the grocery store.

Suddenly out of nowhere you wonder if you left that pot of water on the stove.

Geez… it could boil dry.

Before you know it your mind goes to “what if” scenarios.

The pan bottom is melting into the burner.

A flame starts.

The curtains catch on fire. Flames are licking the ceiling.

The kitchen is filling with smoke, billowing into the living room.

And the dog… OMG! The dog!

He might be unable to breathe from the toxic fumes or… or…

He might be dead already!

Suddenly the world becomes a blur… everything — the road, your driving, your conscious awareness — has been pushed out by your fears.

A force outside of reason takes hold of you and this incredible monstrous pull compels you to jerk the wheel around for an illegal u-turn and you narrowly miss another car and then all of a sudden out of nowhere you hear the sound of a siren…

Blue lights in the rear-view mirror.

NO, you can’t be stopped right now your house is burning down!

You could stop for the cop or let your dog die and so you choose your dog and drive fast past the kids on bikes and pedestrians…

You race through two yellow lights and finally turn into your cul-de-sac and there — OMG — reflected in your pupils…

Here’s how to write mesmerizing sales copy.


That’s a wrap.

The Hollywood director dismisses his actors.

Suddenly he’s aware that the sky is getting very dark very fast…

And as he looks upward others begin to notice too the massive blackness moving toward them…

As it gets closer a loud, louder and incredibly loud hum can be heard…

Soon the beachgoers realize that these are the African killer bees scientists had been warning about…

His face turned toward the sky, the director’s mind flashes on a memory — the time as a child when he was attacked head to toe by ordinary garden variety bees and nearly died…

And here suddenly with no warning are the bees again — thousands upon thousands of them — coming to finish the task they started long ago…

Paralyzed with fear the director watches as the huge black cloud descends toward him with a fury and anger unlike anything he’s ever seen…

Panicked film crew and vacationers run to the sea not knowing that these killers will follow them to the water and then with an amazing intelligence…

…wait patiently for them to come up for air and then viciously attack their heads and faces and necks and shoulders…

And the director stands frozen like a statue, aware that his final thoughts in this life will be the thoughts he’s thinking now…

He thinks how ironic it is that he — the one who directs others in life — should have his ultimate fate directed by mere insects…

And he imagines himself in the news covered with bees — a freak whose passing fascinates and entertains millions…

Fixated on the looming cloud of black it flashes on him that life is nothing more than a Kafka-esque play…

But as he prepares to give himself up to the massive swarm a shocking intervention takes place…



And the movie director goes home to his Beverly Hills mansion to a dinner of fresh Maine lobster and a 1929 Romanee-Conti all because he knows how to tell a good story.

Copywriters have the power to tell mesmerizing stories too. And many of us have studied the art of story telling.

But most have not, and that’s leaving a lot on the table.

I’ve been working hard on this skill because we’re seeing something of a revolution in the world of copywriting and persuasive influence.

Twenty years ago no one talked about “hypnotic copywriting.”

Today people like Tony Robbins, Frank Kern and Eban Pagan use hypnotic tactics and mind-science to enormous success.

Even President Barack Obama uses tactics learned from hypnosis to persuade and motivate voters.

Once you study hypnotherapy and certain aspects of mind science, like NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), it’s like a veil lifts. Suddenly you see it everywhere.

In fact, if you’ve studied scientific persuasion at all, you may have noticed a couple of tactics I used in this article to pull you in and keep your interest.

STORY HYPNOSISstory hypnosis

One of the most powerful tactics for gaining the complete focus of your prospect is to tell stories. As humans we’re hardwired for stories.

A leading consciousness researcher, Owen Flanagan of Duke University, said it best:

“Evidence strongly suggests that humans in all cultures come to cast their own identity in some sort of narrative form. We are inveterate storytellers.”

Using your own empirical research you know this to be true. All you have to do is look at the popularity of novels and movies.

We even turn our actors into celebrities and pay them millions to portray imaginary characters!

Good storytelling is hypnotic and has the power to grab your attention with such force that the rest of the world disappears.

It’s at this time that the subconscious is most accessible, and most pliable.

Like a talented hypnotist who taps your subconscious with the intent of helping you make changes, marketers can also create an environment in which the mind is open to suggestion.

It’s really not that difficult because we like to be hypnotized.

When we curl up with a good book we look forward to becoming immersed in the story. It’s “me” time.

When we buy movie tickets we march into the theater with the anticipation of hyper-focus.

Don’t believe me? Consider the fact that management will kick you out if you interrupt the focus of others.

Bottom line: we like hypnosis so much we’ll pay for it.


Noted Russian psychologist and researcher Bluma Zeigarnik discovered something very useful to psychologists, and ultimately, marketers.

At the risk of gross oversimplification I’ll define her discovery as “the rule of unfinished business.”to be continued

Specifically, once expectations have been set, our brains seek a conclusion. If that conclusion is not forthcoming, the brain “stays open” to receive it.

In storytelling, we call that a “cliffhanger.”

You see this psychology in action all the time with soap operas, TV shows and even movies. We just can’t wait for the next installment.

The Ziegarnik Effect takes advantage of the fact that our mind seeks conclusion.

If you know how to capture attention using the psychology of hypnosis, then how powerful would it be to also keep that attention for as long as you like?

How useful would that be in selling?

If you’re selling a high priced item such as life insurance, you might say, I have three things I want to share with you today.” Then you share two things but not the third.

Your prospect, however, is waiting. Subconsciously he’s waiting for you to “conclude” with your promise of that third piece of information.

In the meantime you have all the time you need to effectively make your pitch.

Experts say that the individual tricks and tactics of influence may not have a lot of power when used alone.

They say it’s the elegant combining of hypnosis, language patterns and psychology that makes for spectacular results.

In this article you will notice that I combined two tactics of persuasion, hypnotic storytelling and the Zeigarnik Effect (the cliffhanger).

Does it really work?

What do you think?

About the author: Chris Marlow

Chris Marlow is a direct response copywriter and the original copywriters coach, teaching client acquisition skills and marketing since 2003.
Chris’ focus is 100 percent on lead-generation, sales, and ROI. Chris is always and only about the bottom line and excels at direct mail, lead-generation, white papers, marketing training, online marketing, and getting “buts in seats.”
Chris Marlow helps copywriters too.
An expert at niche development, Chris helps copywriters find or create niches that fulfill financial goals, feed passions, and that align with personal values.
Chris also helps her copywriters develop secondary income streams through information publishing and coaching. Chris’ program seeks to create copywriters who are thought leaders in their niche. 
An award-winning copywriter with over two decades of successes, failures, and hard-won experience, Chris is the copywriter’s advocate.
Noting the absence of pricing benchmarks for copywriters, Chris published the world’s only statistical pricing benchmarks for copywriters. Chris is also creator of the most comprehensive business-coaching program for copywriters, the MARLOW Marketing Method™ for Copywriters. 

Chris now has a membership site for “Marlowites” — students of her program, at:


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