What’s Preventing You?

by Lou

Let’s say you’ve placed an ad, and it’s a dud. You can get all discouraged and [place your favorite negative state here]. Or you can analyze the situation, see what you can change, and try again.

What restrictions could be caused by you — or caused by the minds of your prospects — that are preventing them from buying your product or service? How can we take those restrictions (a dis-empowering nominalization if there ever was one) and make them less restricting, less binding to cause them to fall away from your prospects’ minds and get them motivated to buy?

Let’s turn to the Neurological Levels for some answers. Because we know that somewhere on some level will be the key to turning that ad around.

Take second-position to your prospective customer to get an idea of what it’s like to be them, and ask yourself these questions (from first-position):

1. Environment. “What in their environment could be stopping them from buying? Could it be a family member? A co-worker? Could it be an embarrassment to them? Do they need special equipment to use what I’m selling?”

2. Behaviour. “What do they need to do in order to get what I’m offering? Am I making it easy for them? Can I get them to see themselves doing it?”

3. Capabilities. “Can they do what I’m suggesting? Is it too difficult? Can they afford it?”

4. Beliefs. “Do they believe my ad? How can I prove to them that what I am saying is true?”

5. Values. “Do they value their money more than what I’m selling? Is your ad somewhat insulting? What’s more important to them? Can they trust you? Do your competitors seem to be offering something better – better value, better savings, better deals?”

6. Identity. “Do they see themselves as the type of person who can do what you’re suggesting?”

(I’ll leave out the Spirituality and Systems levels for now.)

By going through the Logical Levels questions, you’re basically coming up with possible objections that you might have missed by using a standard copywriting formula.

Once you’ve reached a level where there might be a sticking point, it’s time to eliminate or reframe it. If you think that they could be stuck on several levels, you’ll have to include them all. You might like to do a hierarchy of criteria on them and see which ones can be combined or focused on more strongly. But generally speaking, the higher levels are the most powerful levels affecting change on the lower levels.

Although there are many NLP techniques and copywriting techniques you can use to bring up and eliminate objections, for today we’ll use an Ericksonian language pattern from the Milton Model.


With Mind Reading you create empathy with your readers/prospects by telling them what they are/could be thinking or feeling at the moment. Mind Reading statements often start with these language patterns:

• You (might) think that…
• You must be thinking…
• I know you’re thinking…
• You realize…
• So many (TYPE OF PROSPECTS) just like you feel/think…

You would then place your Logical Level objection in the above (or similar) language pattern and reframe it. Here are some examples for longer, informal print ads:

IDENTITY: “Right now, you are probably thinking you aren’t the type of person who can do this. Well, I’m here to tell you that I have helped thousands of people across the country, people who are in the same position as you are now able to (DESIRABLE OUTCOME). Just listen to what So-and-So has to say….” (LOU: I’D PUT A SATISFIED CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL HERE.)

VALUES: “You must be thinking, ‘Jeez, that’s expensive! How can he charge so much? I mean ACME down the street only charges 99 cents for their widgets!’ And of course, you’d be right. They are cheaper, but have you thought about the quality of other widgets and why they don’t last very long? Our widgets are made from….” (LOU: I’D PUT SOME SORT OF COMPARISON CHART HERE OR A DESCRIPTION OF A PROCESS.)

BELIEFS: “I know you’re thinking, “this guy is full of BS!” Hey, I’d feel the same way if I were in your shoes. But I’d like to prove to you…. (LOU: I’D ADD PROOF HERE, POSSIBLY A TESTIMONIAL, OR BEFORE/AFTER PHOTOS. FOR AN ONLINE SALES LETTER, I MIGHT PUT IN A VIDEO, etc.)

You can proceed in the same way. Just ask yourself how your ad would affect people on each logical level and reframe or eliminate that or those objection(s).

All right, now you must be thinking, “Oh, I can’t go through all that trouble.” But I know you can. It will be worth it.


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