Do You Suffer from Frequent or Persistent Anxiety?

By: Dan Kennedy on: September 10th, 2009 8 Comments

David and Lucinda Basset, long-ago clients, have made millions by asking that question. It has broader appeal than you might think, because, it turns out, just about everybody is anxious and nervous and on edge about all sorts of things.

The media makes part of its living by hyping various “terrors” in order to keep us tuning in to the news programs – consider: Y2K; anthrax; bird flu; how terrorists could poison our water supply; etc. John Stoessel just did a 20/20 program on ABC about everything people are worrying about in sizeable numbers – in almost every case, hazards grossly magnified by their own negative imaginations.

It was particularly interesting to see the unintended consequences – for example, that forcing by law the wearing of bicycle safety helmets by cyclists had increased the number of injuries and deaths rather than decreased them. (Emboldened cyclists rode more recklessly; motorists can be observed driving less cautiously around helmeted cyclists than unhelmeted cyclists. One of my hobbies is cataloging unintended consequences.)

As small business marketers, it’s important for us to remember that, while we may be confident, self-reliant, most others are not. Inside everybody, Woody Allen. They are walking around in a constant state of high anxiety.

Or at least low dose anxiety. And their ability to respond to us, send us money, make and keep appointments to come in and see us, buy from us, etc. rests on a continuum of “anxiety” vs. “confidence”; are they comfortable or not?

In other words, the more anxiety you can remove from your customers’ experiences with you, the more attracted to you they will be.

Many Vegas hotels have no Floor #13, because staying on that floor, staying in a #13 room, carrying a key with a #13 on it causes anxiety in gamblers. They may not want to admit it. They may not ask to be moved to a different room for fear of sounding foolish. But they may gamble less or make a point of staying somewhere else next time in town.

Years ago, I determined the number one reason that prospective patients made but failed to show up for appointments at chiropractors’ offices was anxiety over the uncertainty of what to expect, so I invented a block of copy titled “Your X# Of Questions Will Be Answered During Your First Visit”, and in some doctors literature added an illustrated presentation of what would happen step-by-step, with photos and captions.

One good thing to remember is that people HATE not knowing where they are going (maps!) or what to expect or how they are supposed to behave or dress. They HATE looking foolish. They HATE feeling confused.


Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

8 Responses

  1. Rob Anspach says:

    fear, anxiety, frustration… or whatever emotional barriers your potential clients have – write copy that eleviates, that encourages, that motivates them to want to call you… take the fear away…diminish the anxiety…offer zero frustrations.

    One dentist I know offers to have his clients picked up at work or home…when they arrive he personally greets and asks if there is anything he can get them, he has tv’s in all the rooms – clients can watch the big game while having their teeth worked on. He even lets the adults pick a toothbrush to take home with them…then he has them driven back to work or home. He does not schedule your next appointment while you are there. The dentist will call in about an hour to see if you are ok… and then ask when he can schedule your next appt.

  2. Dan, quit GIVING this gold away, Dude! You’re crazy. Where shall I send my $2,000.00?

    You know, it’s just true: Fear seems to be the Ulitmate Motivator. I branded an idea called “Ferocious Hypnosis: Be Not Afraid. Be Not Very, Very Afraid (TM)”. Fear Triggers are a great place to make sales.

    I recently did a call on Fear Management with a street fighting self defense guru and addressed some of this topic.

    I’d love to see people more motivated by DESIRE for success than FEAR of loss.

    I can dream, can’t I?

    Stage Hypnotist Simone,
    Las Vegas

  3. Rob Anspach says:

    when I write copy – I usually address the fears in people first… then offer a solution to cope with those fears…

    successful people still have fears and anxiety, but they learn to control and harness the power of fear to drive them to more success

  4. You had me at “do you Suffer?”

    Stage Hypnotist Simone

  5. Jim Rowe says:

    In my business guest are afraid of bad service or poor food quality. We give an outrageous guarantee “you’ll love our food or it’s free” take away the fear and get the money.

  6. Rob says:

    wish more restuarants used that guarantee – I have eaten at quite a few awful places I wish I could have had my money back… and use the money to get my stomach pumped

  7. I love the LOVE OUR FOOD OR IT’S FREE idea.

    Put your ass on the line; people will kiss it, and throw money at it.

  8. Rob says:

    change it to …

    “You’ll love our service…or it’s Free!”

    and now it’s good for any company!

Leave a Comment