Bunhill: Soft sell - right between the eyes

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NEXT TIME you buy something and feel particularly good about it, you may have stumbled across a client of Robert Farago, hypnotherapist and teacher of 'hypnotic sales and motivation' courses.

After being on the receiving end of his self-improvement hypnosis techniques at his clinic in Hampstead, north London, (I was so relaxed I overshot my Tube ride home by two stops), we got on to the more material end of his art: he advises businesses on 'rapport enhancement' and reckons it raises sales by 10 to 30 per cent.

Sales staff are told, for example, to always display the products on their right side 'because we read from left to right, so the customer's eyes go to the product first'. They are taught to look between the customer's eyes, to avoid shifting from one to the other.

He teaches them hypnotic breathing: first matching their breathing to the customer's, then slowing it down to make the potential purchaser feel more relaxed.

The staff are hypnotised, 'to show them the power of the inner mind', and then by 'appealing to the customer's mind', he says, they can find out what the customer's sub- conscious is saying.

Farago came here six years ago from the US, where he worked for CNN. After struggling as a freelance journalist - 'I was overweight, smoking and not getting paid' - he consulted a hypnotherapist. 'It was great; it worked. I felt tremendous.'

He loved it so much that he jacked in journalism and trained as a hypnotist.

The author of a forthcoming book, Hypnohealth, his clients include two big advertising agencies and an insurance company as well as retailers. 'Business is booming,' he asked me to say. (Or was it a command?)

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