Harken copywriters and marketers, and heed these words of paradoxical selling psychology.

You may be familiar with the AIDA formula for selling:

Attention → Interest → Desire → Action (→ Sales)

Or the more pared-down PAS approach:

Problem → Agitate → Solution (→ Sales)

Well, what if I told you there was an even simpler sales formula?

It goes like this: Sleep → Sales

That’s right. 


(But not like you’d normally think of it.)

Let me explain by quickly discussing… 

The Only Two Ways To Make A Sale

Ok, there may be more than two ways to make a sale, if you want to split hairs. This particular distinction comes from a book written by someone whose name is quite well-known in the direct response sales world. (More on that below.) 

Anyway, here’s the skinny of the situation as far as I see it:

One way to make a sale is by logically laying out the pros and cons of your offer. 

This is a good first step, but not entirely sufficient to deal with the slippery psychology of someone who isn’t in a terrible hurry to part with their money.

The other way to make a sale is through simple suggestion. 

At this point, I usually hear the taunts and jeers of the non-believers: 

Suggestion?! Isn’t that just about the most feeble way to try to sell anything?” *Hissss hisss hisss*

Well, yes and no. (And stop hissing at me!)

Of course, a simple logical suggestion would be a rather feeble attempt at selling indeed, and would likely only work on a prospect who was already 80-90% sold on your product or service. 

For example: Selling cold lemonade to someone who is hot, sweaty, and parched from being out in the summer heat all day would be no more difficult than saying to them: “Lemonade?” They’re already 80-90% sold. But that same prospect wouldn’t be so easily swayed in that exact moment by the offer of “Best rates on life insurance in town” or “Free tax consult” now would they?

No, we need something more than an ordinary, logical suggestion to have any persuasive effect – especially on prospects whose attention might be focused on anything but our particular product or service.

What’s required is a ‘hypnotic’ suggestion.

You see, the true power of suggestion relies on people first being put into a semi-hypnotic ‘sleep’ state, where they are open and susceptible to the ideas being suggested to them. (Remember our equation: Sleep → Sales)

This ‘susceptibility’ is entirely dependent on being able to bypass your prospect’s conscious brain and speak directly to their subconscious.

The reason this is so crucial is that once a suggestion is accepted at the emotional subconscious level, the brain then comes up with a way to justify it at the logical conscious level – and not the other way around.

Yes, we are terribly emotional creatures.

It’s been verified by neuroscientific research.

And for those who have a hard time with this idea and insist that you really do make your decisions based on logic and reason rather than emotion – I hate to break it to you… but the decision to use logic and reason is in itself an emotional decision. (Shout out to the late negotiations expert Jim Camp for this simple but significant insight.)

To recap: Rather than relying on logic to foment sales, use the power of suggestion instead. For a suggestion to work, it can not be made to the conscious brain (ie. the part of the brain that would logically consider the pros and cons of a scenario before taking action), it must be made directly to the subconscious brain. 

And this is achieved by putting your prospects to ‘sleep’.

Something to mull over in the old noggin.

The exact steps for ‘putting your prospects to sleep’ and having them ‘wake up’ with a lot less money in their bank account (…but in an ethical way) are among the topics I discuss in my regular email newsletter.

And if you want to know the name of the well-known figure from the direct response world that came up with the distinction that there are two ways to make a sale – logically, or through suggestion – sign up now and I’ll reply with the exact quote from his book. 

I can guarantee not 1 in 50 copywriters or marketers has read it. (I’m fairly confident in my wager because I myself have not read the entire thing yet.)

And, now for some shut-eye.


Enter your name and email address in the form below to find out who the well-known marketer I alluded to in this post is, and to stay up to date with my full series on ‘hypnotic’ sales psychology plus many other topics in the gamut of persuasion – from copywriting & propaganda, to mind control & beyond.

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