Changing Perceptual Positions to Put Money in the Bank

by Lou


Today’s post is more of an NLP technique rather than a language pattern. One of the hallmarks of genius is the ability to view a problem from more than one perspective and to identify with different perceptual positions. [Dilts, 1994]

In NLP, the ability to see from another person’s point of view is called, “taking second position” or “taking ‘Other’ position.” And it seems that many of the most successful, wealthiest copywriters have done this. In their imagination, they take second position with their customers’ (or their clients’ customers’) point-of-view before they write a word of copy.

Doing this gives them penetrating insights into customers’ minds and a way of writing ad copy that they wouldn’t have gotten if they had just listed the features and benefits.

Here’s some advice Robert Collier had to say about this in the 1930s:


“No matter what the product or service you are writing about, first put yourself in place of your prospective customer. Think of every property you could possibly desire in such a product or service. Think of everything you would like to have it do for you. Work out the ultimate ideal, then write a letter that stresses every desirable point of that ideal product.”

(The emphasis is mine. It should be noted that Mr. Collier helped make the companies he worked for millions of dollars during World War I and the Great Depression.)

Here’s a more contemporary example:


“[I] visualize my letter’s recipients as living, breathing, thinking, feeling, walking, talking human beings. I visualize their day’s experience… What do they worry about, complain about, secretly wish for, enjoy? Through this stretch of my own imagination, I try to become one with my letter’s recipients, so I can anticipate their thoughts and reactions.”


(That emphasis is mine again. This is Dan Kennedy telling readers of his Ultimate Sales Letter (1991) his first step in writing ad copy.)

[Photo by Ejhogbin].

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