Why Any Halfway Decent Hypnotist Should Be Good at Marketing by Steve Roh

Although I present myself to the public as a full-time professional hypnotist, that’s a lie. In reality, I am a full-time marketer who happens to provide hypnosis services as my primary source of revenue.

I think this attitude can be useful for anyone who is serious about rapidly building a successful hypnosis practice.

It always puzzles me when hypnotists declare “I’m just not good at marketing.” Whenever I hear someone saying that, I usually figure they are just being humorously self-deprecating. But if they’re serious about that statement, they probably just don’t understand yet what marketing is; they likely think about it in terms of advertising, sales or promotional tactics.

This article is not about those familiar tactics— it’s meant to help provoke a fundamental shift in mind-set about marketing as it relates to the field of hypnotism.

Hypnotists Must Wear Two Different Hats

My contention is that it is not possible to be a good hypnotist and a poor marketer. Marketing and hypnosis go hand in hand – they both involve the art and science of understanding and influencing people. Any effective hypnotist must have the qualities inside them that will make them an effective marketer, even if they do not realize it yet!

Here’s why:

1) Marketing, just like hypnosis, is dependent on the ability to step outside of yourself and into the head of individuals in a target audience. Unfortunately, it seems that the biggest difficulty most people have with marketing (in any field) is that they approach it with what I would call practitioner-centered thinking.

For example: just as a bad hypnotist would primarily be interested in indulging their own interests while working with clients (for example, “leading” during regression), a poor marketer is mainly focused on what they consider to be important or fascinating about their product or service.

2) Working with clients provides direct insight into the subconscious desires and motivations of your target audience. Empathetically listening to clients gives you a virtual gold-mine of information which can be used to further shape the message you present to your market.

3) A large part of our work involves helping the client “sell themselves” on their ability to move in a positive direction in their life. Any hypnotist who can do that for their clients should therefore find it easy to sell themselves and their services in a compelling way. This depends of course on the practitioner actually believing in the product or service they are selling (more on that later).

Anyhow, hypnosis must be one of the easiest things in the world to market. Compare the instant attention and interest generated by the mere mention of hypnosis with someone who needs to make a living by selling aluminum siding or insurance products.

Tips To Unleash The Marketer Inside Of You

1) Always look at things from the market’s point of view, not fellow practitioners or trainers.

You’ve probably heard of the well-known mnemonic WIIFM: What’s In It For Me? Many practitioners seem to be so enthralled with how fascinating hypnosis is (and their own personal experiences with it) that they fail to pay attention to what the potential client wants and needs to hear/see in order to build trust and confidence. I offer another memory-jogger: NOCAH/AMAYD- No One Cares About Hypnosis, As Much As You Do.

For example: do clients with pressing personal problems really care about your interest in alpha/beta/theta/gamma/delta brainwaves?

Another example: overemphasis on touting certifications, training and membership in professional organizations. This indicates a lack of other reasons to trust in the practitioner. After all, what kind of capable, experienced professional would feel a need to constantly reference his/her training and background (or even worse, inflate their credentials or seek to impress with a meaningless title)? Is that all they have to offer?

This is a very weak differentiators, especially for members of the public who are well-educated and/or familiar with the relatively low standards within the profession.

2) Resist the temptation to follow the crowd in your field. Reason: the majority of people in any field get mediocre results. Doing what everybody else does will tend to put you in that same mediocre category. Jumping on bandwagons and trends in your own industry, even if they were set in motion by leaders in a field, is a recipe for lackluster results unless you can add some unique value to the equation.

I think it is more beneficial to study tactics and strategies from outside of your field, rather than doing the safe and comfortable thing because it’s what other people in the “community” are supposed to be doing.

3) Recognize that positioning is not optional, even if (especially if) you are a generalist. If you are unable to honestly answer the question “Who is my market and why am I the single best choice for serving them?”, then how is the market supposed to answer that question?

Wrong answer #1: “Because I’m the cheapest!”
Wrong answer #2: “Because I’m certified!”

Many hypnotists seem to make no effort to answer that fundamental positioning question first and then wonder why their advertising and promotional efforts amount to little.

This is not about presenting yourself as a specialist, which is something different, and arguably unnecessary.

(PS. How many times have you seen hypnotists introduce themselves as “specializing in smoking cessation, stress management, EFT, weight loss, fears, past life regression, pain reduction, etc. etc.” Think about that from the perspective of a client who is looking for reasons to trust what you have to say. Maybe it’s some kind of intentional confusion technique, but I think it’s more likely just careless use of words – and shouldn’t we be mindful of that as good hypnotists?)

In the spirit of looking outside your field for ideas, here is an article about positioning from Eric Sink, a very successful independent software developer.

Eric talks about positioning and how “marketing is not a post-processing step” — in other words, it is not something that happens *after* you open for business, but rather something that needs to be done before you even decide to create a product or service: http://www.ericsink.com/Positioning.html

I think when practitioners complain about how hard it is to build their practice, they often make a mistake by putting a lot of focus on convincing the public that hypnosis is “real”. That is a silly waste of time and energy, at least for anyone who is mainly interested in building a profit-generating business.

If the primary focus of one’s efforts are directed towards the frustrating task of convincing non-believers, that implies that the pre-requisite work of assessing market conditions and needs was never done. It’s unlikely that a profile of an ideal/target client was created, probably because of the natural tendency towards practitioner-centered thinking, combined with fear of excluding people who don’t fit that profile (which reeks of unattractive desperation).

And so the practitioner is left with trying to “get” random people to sign up.

Sun Tzu says, “In ancient times, those who were skilled in warfare gained victory where victory was easily gained.” Another way of saying it would be: it is best to defeat those who are already defeated.

The only convincing that needs to be done is convincing the ideal individual prospect that YOU are the single best choice out of all the other available options.

4) Release any fearfulness about being “aggressive” in your marketing. Be honest with yourself, this type of fearfulness is usually grounded in one of the following:

• a scarcity-based mentality (“the world is full of poverty-stricken clients who are barely scratching a living, and who am I to be stealing hard-earned money out of their pockets with this hypnosis stuff?”)

• your own insecurities about being a pushover

• doubts about the value of what you have to offer

• wanting people to really really like you, and being afraid to damage their delicate sensitive souls by making them a clear sales offer.

If you honestly believe your service adds value to people’s lives, there should be no hesitation about being aggressive if the situation calls for that approach. If not, then show some integrity and find something else to do that you can truly believe in.

There is only “bad” marketing and “good” marketing — “bad” simply meaning lacking in results. Sure, some aggressive marketing is “bad” in that sense of being clumsy and pushy, but then what is passive marketing?

A more realistic term for that would be non-existent marketing, based on wishful thinking, complacency and delusional affirmations.

Break Out Of Your Discomfort Zone & Focus On Results

Bottom line for those hypnotists out there who are hesitant about marketing and sales: get over your own discomfort, lose the self-indulgent excuses, and focus on results and the value you can bring to more and more people’s lives.

People need your help! If you are a well-trained hypnotist with good intentions, always doing your best, to do otherwise is a shameful waste of skill and talent.

Marketing For Hypnotists

Disclaimer: Some of the opinions expressed in this article may be a bit harsh, but I’m sure you can handle it, Dear Hypnotic Reader. If you get personally offended by something you read on the internet, considering that I have no idea who you are, I urge you to do some ego-strengthening work on yourself. ^_^

©2008 Steve Roh

Steve Roh is owner of Center City Hypnosis in Philadelphia, PA. Visit him online at www.CenterCityHypnosis.com He is the editor of the recently published “Real World Hypnosis: Insider Tips from Leading Hypnotists” and also contributing author to marketing guru Dan Kennedy’s book “The Ultimate Success Secret”.