How To Ethically Profit From People’s Anxieties

Is it unethical to use people’s anxieties, fears and insecurities to sell more products? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Get Igor’s take on “manipulating” people’s emotions to get them to buy from you. Find out what’s the most ethical way to become a marketing genius without compromising your values.


Igor Kheifets: I'm Igor Kheifets, and this is the List Building Lifestyle, a podcast for anyone who wants to build a wildly profitable email list working from home. If you'd like to make six figures, travel the world and help people improve their lives in the process, then this podcast is for you. I also invite you to attend a free workshop at, where I'm teaching how I made $21,779.45 cents in affiliate commissions by sending just 481 clicks to my affiliate link in one day. I'm also explaining why I walked away from ClickBank and I don't promote ClinkBank offers anymore, as well as the five things I look for in the perfect affiliate offer.

I'm even going to show you the one page website that I use to make over half a million dollars in affiliate commissions this year and I'll even bribe you to attend this workshop by giving you a $497 value course that shows you how to cherry pick high converting affiliate offers free and the next affiliate promotion. In addition, I'll even give you the three offers I'm promoting right now that are making me money as we speak. All that and more, at And now, it's time to claim your list building lifestyle.

Terrance Lackey: Welcome back to the List Building Lifestyle Show. My name is Terrance Lackey, and I'm happy to introduce the don of list building, the man himself, Igor Kheifets. How are you doing Igor?

Igor Kheifets: I'm great, I'm great. Excited to talk about people's anxieties. That's actually my favorite topic to talk about because I am like a living anxiety box. I'm full of anxieties, I'm worried about everything. I'm paranoid like hell. So, I get anxiety and I think that's why it's so easy for me to market products out there. So yeah, I'm super pumped to talk about anxieties.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah, I'm actually interested to hear about it myself. I actually am out of the military and one of the things that the military has kind of labeled me as disabled for, is a bit of anxiety. So, a lot of people that have been in stressful situations suffer from ongoing anxiety, because a lot of it has to do with severe uncertainty, hypervigilance in my case, kind of spending some time kind of worried about things that might happen or could happen or that kind of thing. So, I know our planet and our society and all the countries that people are in, there's a lot of anxiety about the future and their security. So, I'm really interested to hear about how to ethically profit from anxiety. Kind of sounds evil, Igor, what do you think?

Igor Kheifets: Because it is, it is evil. You see, there's a perception of what, I guess, manipulation, because in a way, if you're playing on people's anxieties you're manipulating them. And the word manipulation has negative meaning or negative perception, but isn't that exactly what we're doing with our kids since day one? If we are so righteous, how come we don't tell our kids from the very first day that they're born and that they are conscious and they can have a conversation, why don't we show them all the death in the world? Why don't we tell them about how the world really works, and we teach them the rosy, the pinky stuff, right? My daughter, she has no idea what the real world looks like. Why is that? Because I'm "manipulating" her, as well as her school by the way, the school is manipulating her to believe that the world is a fair and safe place.

Terrance Lackey: Yep. You kind of want to give them some time where they can actually think the world is a lot better than it is. You know? Yeah, I see what your point is, because we do that with our kids for sure.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, and my point is not that it's bad, I mean, I would much rather have it this way than the other way around where my daughter would be afraid to go outside, which is in a way the world I grew up in, because my mom used to scare me by saying if you get away from home too far out, then the gypsies are going to steal you. That was a thing in our neighbor. So yeah. So I'm not against manipulating the kids to help them believe that the world is a good place and therefore have a generation of healthy and kids that feel safe. But that's a form of manipulation. So, that's why I wanted to start by saying that even though people think manipulating is a bad thing, it's actually not because sometimes you need to manipulate someone in order to get them to do something that's good for them.

I'll give you the perfect example. If you had a neighbor and your neighbor had a child, say a 12 year old daughter, and your neighbor's daughter had cancer, lung cancer, and you just so happens developed a machine that can save her life. Now, it's not a guarantee that it will, but there is like a 72% chance based on clinical studies you've conducted. Now tell me, would you be willing to manipulate your neighbor in some way in order to get him to agree to allow you to treat his daughter using your machine if you knew he's completely against it?

Terrance Lackey: Yeah, I mean, I think that you have an obligation to yourself, to that little girl that can benefit from it, and to that neighbor actually, to do what you had to do to show him that that could save his daughter. So, I think that yeah, absolutely, even if it meant telling a little white lie, I think you'd definitely have to... or at least a kind of, I don't know, kind of paint things in a different light so you could at least try it, because if you saved that little girl then I think that would be tremendous. So yeah, to answer your question.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, I agree with you. That would be totally worth it. Now, I'm not saying we should always lie, although there were situations where I admit in my personal life I chose to lie to manipulate for the better good, the way I saw the situation. So, I'm no different than most people out there. But specifically with this neighbor, we're not talking about lying necessarily, but we are talking about manipulating his perceptions, his frame, and we're talking about manipulating his ideas about medicine, about machinery, about cancer, about all kinds of different things. We have to mold him to believe, and to make him believe we will often have to start the conversation where he is at. And if he's got an anxiety about letting in "unproven" treatment into his home and kind of put his daughter at risk this way as he feels, then that idea, that mindset, that anxiety, that needs to change in order for you to be able to offer him this treatment.

So yeah, we have to play on that anxiety by actually finding a bigger anxiety that overcomes the anxiety of putting his daughter at risk. Probably by showing him that all the other solutions that he may be considering are even less effective and that by saying no to your solution he's actually increasing the chances of his daughter dying from cancer faster. So then, you're positioning one anxiety against another anxiety and hopefully the anxiety you brought up is bigger and therefore he'll listen to you.

Terrance Lackey: That's a good point. What jumped to my mind is, we just bought a new house and one of my anxieties was crime. I didn't want to get broken into, I was concerned about my family while I was traveling, I wanted to make sure they were safe. And one anxiety I had was just fear of something that might happen. So, I was ripe for someone to sell me an alarm system. And then, when I looked and I did my research and I got a lot of companies that presented their systems to me, and they showed me different features, and I never thought I had anxiety, I never thought I was worried about someone coming in and cutting the power to the building and having to sell your backup or something like that.

So, the system I got has all the bells and whistles and they did it ethically and they satisfied my anxiety, the fear of the safety of my family while traveling. So, I kind of, in my own terms, I get where you're coming from. They're not necessarily unethical. It's certainly something that solved my problem, but I had anxiety around that. And same thing with the father with the daughter, if you can show him that there's a solution and it's attainable, then that's going to be something that he's going to desire, to have a solution. So, I see where are you going with that.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, I think what your example shows, and it's a great example by the way, it shows that most of these decisions not to buy something come from being unaware, because just like I said, you had no idea the burglar can come in and cut your power supply therefore disabling the system, as well as everything else in the house. So, you need a backup generator they can't cut out or at least that they don't even know exists so they won't even be looking for, therefore, still maintaining the alarm and protecting your family. You see, the benefit of that, a benefit of just teaching you that is what's closing the sale here, I'm pretty sure. So, playing on that anxiety of you installing a system that's not perfect. You see, that's the anxiety they played on. Do you really want to install a system that's not "bulletproof"?

Because if you do, when you made a decision to use that system and they crack it, you're guilty. It's on you if something happens to your family. So, these anxieties oftentimes are the primary drivers to our decision making process and they happen automatically 24/7, and I don't care if you tell me, "Igor, but wait, wait, my customers are different." They are logical. They are reasonable. They make decisions based on pros and cons and cents and dollars. And I'll tell you, you have no idea what you're talking about because they do not. I think a great example of that is an amazing, amazing, amazing book that's called... ah man, it's called Reinventing Your Life.

Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey Young. It's an amazing book. And in this book, Jeffrey Young describes all the different patterns, anxiety patterns that people have, such as, abandonment pattern or the people can't be trusted pattern, or I need you to tell me what to do or dependence pattern, vulnerability, depravation. There's actually a bunch of them. And if you study this book and you study these patterns, you will see that every person in your life, as well as yourself, you're always making decisions, not just buying decisions, but all decisions based on one or more of these anxiety patterns.

Terrance Lackey: Wow. So, the anxiety's always there for everyone in some way or another. So, you're saying that's what causes us to take action, is some type of anxiety, right?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, anxiety, insecurity.

Terrance Lackey: Yep, I need to impress this person I'm dating or I need to get food or I need to make sure my car works correctly, or have a perfect gift. It's all different anxieties, different types of... I'm going to definitely put that on my reading list, Jeffrey Young.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, not only that, but what you will notice is that if you go out there and you read some high converting sales copy, if you actually go out there and find swipe files, and you can just Google those. You type in copywriting swipe file or something and pull up the ads and sales letters and video sales letters for things like weight loss and dating and self-defense. You'll see that they use these anxieties very, very well. They hit the points that hurt the most.

Yo, it's Igor. If you're loving the content, hop on over to for more free training and a free transcript of this episode. Oh, and I'd really appreciate it if you logged into iTunes and rated the show. It really helps. Thanks.

Imagine this, imagine for a second we're doing a self defense sales letter. And what if I tell you a story about a guy who's walking down the street with his girlfriend, who he just proposed to, and he's walking down the street and these two guys, mean looking guys, are just, I don't know, chilling. Just minding their own business, and then once he passes them, once they pass these guys, they throw a rock at his girlfriend just to mess with them. And so, our hero now has to make a decision. Do I go in and I fight them and get beat up or do I do nothing and just walk away and embarrass myself in front of my fiance? So, either way he's now looking at a losing proposition if he does not know self-defense. So, by telling this story, we are now hitting several anxieties that every guy has.

I don't care if the guy's like 60 years old or 16, well, probably more so at 26 or 16 then at 60, but my point is we guys want to protect our women and our children of course, we are protectors. We want to take care of them. I mean, you just said it yourself about the alarm system, the security system you installed, and at the same time we want to beat the other guy. We want to be the lion king, right? We want to be the most powerful ape in the jungle or whatever. And if we don't, if we are not the most powerful, then it's embarrassing. Then we're not alpha, then we're like losers basically. So, these are powerful anxieties that drive entire markets, not just product purchases.

People are driven with these anxieties their entire lives. They make career choices based on that. They make spouse choices based on that. They make vehicle choices based on that. I just purchased a Porsche Panamera GTS, and why do you think I did that? Because I needed a Porsche?. No. Because I have some affinity to the Porsche brand? No. Because I need a car that can go from zero to 16 like three point something second? No, I don't need a car like that. But the status that comes with owning a Porsche Panamera, in my eyes, is now protecting me from being seen as a loser when I'm in traffic.

Terrance Lackey: Or when the neighbors look over into your driveway and they see what you got.

Igor Kheifets: Exactly. He's got an Acura and I got a Porsche. So, who's the loser now?

Terrance Lackey: That's a good point. It's also pretty interesting to me, it just occurred to me that you got to the root of my anxiety, or the anxiety of the guy walking with the girl past these two thugs through a story. You actually painted a story to evoke and bring that anxiety to a head. Is that how you do it? Is that how you tap into those anxieties? Is, in a marketing field, through the sales letter or through the email series, is it through a story that you can touch?

Igor Kheifets: That's one of the ways to do it. A story is definitely one of the ways to do it. Another way you can do it is by asking questions. Another way you can use is to simply be describing situations. It doesn't always have to be a story, but it could be a situation you're describing or just making the person imagine something. I actually love using this word, imagine, in my copy, both in email copy, VSL copy, sales letter copy. I say imagine and then I can say anything else and the person that was reading my copy will imagine it, because that's how the brain work works. Like if I say Terrance, don't imagine being beaten up by a crew of thugs riding Harley bikes, right? You imagine yourself immediately by the thoughts.

Terrance Lackey: Absolutely.

Igor Kheifets: Right? And that's called the principle of the pink elephant. It's like don't think of the pink elephant riding a little blue car. You can't because the brain imagines immediately. So, when you say imagine and then you say, imagine you're walking down the street with your girl and you're being attacked by two thugs and they beat the living crap out of you and they rape your girl and blah, blah, blah, blah. And then it all ties back to all because you did not know self-defense, so you better get your act together and learn how to protect yourself and your girl. Guess what? We're getting high conversions.

Terrance Lackey: I don't see that as being unethical at all. I think that is actually pointing out a possible scenario and then the person makes their decision based on the outcome they want their life to have. So, I think that's a positive thing.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, and I think so too. I think we should look into our fears and anxieties more often and be more honest with ourselves. But here's another concept which I think is often missed when it comes to marketing, is you can't really create an anxiety for someone. You can tap into into an anxiety, you can't create one.

Terrance Lackey: So, that has to be there already. So, that's where knowing your target market or your avatar for your product, that's where it's important. Right? It's because you can identify the anxiety that this group of people will have. For me, an example is a lot of the people that I try to deal with used to be in the military, and they have a lot of different experiences than people that never been in the military or never been into some type of service for their country or law enforcement or something. So, they have a different set of anxieties that might be different from, say, someone who has the same nine to five job for the last 40 years, or a different ethnic group or different parts of the country. So yeah, I see that. I definitely see what you're saying there.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, and so when we say the word use people, like when we use the phrasing, use people's anxieties to get them to buy stuff, while manipulation comes to mind, the reality is that you can't really invent a leverage point. You can only tap into what they already feel. Now, people are really good at hiding how they feel. We are really good as a species to really shoving that fear really down deep so no one can see it. Oftentimes, not even admitting it to ourselves. That's why we use drugs and alcohol and Netflix to numb it all out., But, it's still there. And the moment you're able to tap into it, you are doing a huge service to your customers because that's a problem they are not addressing on their own.

Terrance Lackey: Very good point. Wow. So, anxiety drives us all. The reality is that you can't create anxiety in your target market and you have to tap into it and knowing your market is the key there. And you pointed out some really excellent ways to lead into or find that anxiety through stories, asking questions or describing a scenario. And I like the imagine angle, that's definitely a good one. So, now that you tap into it, is it something that when you create your sales funnel, or you create your materials to present your product or service, is that something you want to keep on hammering away or is that something that so I get your attention by finding any anxieties? Is that something that I continue to develop as I go through the sales process I remind him of, or how do you typically approach that going forward in the different levels of sales?

Igor Kheifets: Yes. So, it's great tool to get people's attention and to get them to ask, "Okay, so how do I fix this?" Once you've got them asking that question and wondering what is the solution to this problem, then you can present your own solution and make a call to action or explain how your solution works and compare your solution to other solutions in the marketplace. So, if all you do is just twist the knife and scare them all the time, and not actually close the deal by presenting an offer or a solution and asking for the sale, then obviously you ain't going nowhere, and you're not helping the customer either. Once you've got them dressed up, give them somewhere to go. You planned that anxiety, it creates that need to fix the problem, they ask... even if internally... they ask, "Okay, how do I fix this?" Then you present your solution and then you make a call to action.

Terrance Lackey: Wow, I'm taking notes. That's absolutely fantastic. I see the whole flow there. I like the idea of getting them dressed up and then giving them somewhere to go by presenting your offer and then presenting the solution. So, fantastic Igor. I learned a lot about anxieties and how that works in the sales process and you gave us a good reference as far as a book to go and read and get some more information on. Wow. Do you have anything else you'd like to add on this episode? There's some episodes that are really entertaining and some episodes where I need to have a piece of paper and pen to make sure that I'm copying down notes. This is one of the ones where I would definitely take a page full of notes. Anything else to add as we get ready to close this particular episode out?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. One of the things I noticed is that some of the world's best copywriters, they have the most anxieties and they truly are able to understand people and tune into people's feelings. I think there are two sides to this, two sides of this coin. One side is if you can find a way to be more in tune with how people think and what anxieties they experience, you will find that it's so much easier to first off make friends with people, because you understand them and you'll be able to empathize with them. And of course, to make more sales in your market because you'll be able to talk to them at their level and really talk their language so to speak.

Another thing is, I think the benefit of understanding anxieties of your marketplace is you'll start seeing many of your own anxieties as well, and you'll be able to, if not work through them, then at least minimize their impact on your decision making. And if not even that, than just to become aware of what anxieties drive your decisions. So, next time you're making a key decision in your life, you'll be able to question it and see if that's actually the right decision or are you being driven into it by some oversized anxiety in the moment.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah, absolutely. These are pretty advanced concepts. This is why I love this podcast so much because we can touch on things that are pretty advanced or something that's not been in the mainstream that you hear about. I think about what you're saying and I mentioned, I take a look at the commercials we see on TV and the way they try to present their products, and I'm starting to kind of visualize as I see marketing medium what anxieties are they're trying to play off of. And certainly that's definitely a way to touch base. And like you said, make yourself a better person by getting in touch with your own anxieties as well. Well, that was a great episode. Thanks for your time, Igor. And thanks to everyone for joining us on this particular episode. We look forward to seeing you on the next, until we meet again.

Igor Kheifets: Thank you for listening to the List Building Lifestyle. Get access to previous episodes, the transcription of today's show, as well as other exclusive content at Also, don't forget to claim your free seat at the workshop I'm hosting this week where I showed the two step system that made me the top affiliate for people like Matt Bacak, John Crestani, Richard Legg, Michael Cheney, and many, many others. In fact, on this workshop, I'm going to show you the exact approach I take whenever I promote an affiliate offer, the exact offers I promote, as well as how I was able to make over half a million dollars in commissions using my small list of just 18,000 people promoting a weird type of product that almost no one else promotes. All that is yours at So go ahead, claim your seat right now and I'll see you there.

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


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