Building desire is one of the main ways to prime or qualify someone without actually needing to change anything in your offering. The more the person desires your product or offering, the more they will be qualified. It can also be used to weaken objections (because usually, objections are a sign of lack of certainty or desire. Increasing it decreases and destroys them).

There are four main ways to create desire in someone:

  1. Use a hero’s journey or nightmare-to-dream journey;
    1. “John had [ABC] of negative. He just wanted [ABC] of positive. With our product, he was able to make that bridge”;
  2. Using associations or bundling
    1. Associating your value proposition with something known, famous, or that brings pleasure;
    2. E.g., products associating themselves with influencers or celebrities;
  3. Building anticipation or expectations
    1. Telling the person what to expect;
    2. E.g., “90% of people buy this on the first week”;
  4. Using intent labeling
    1. Making the person state they want something actively

Underlying Psychology/Biases

Desire works through the principle of suggestion. As soon as the person desires something more, they will start anticipating it more and changing their expectations (which may be met or not at the time of purchase/doing your ask).

Specific techniques may work due to other principles:

  • For example, the hero’s journey works through the principle of perceived contrast. Contrasting something bad with something good makes it seem better in comparison;
  • Intent labeling works due to the principle of consistency. When someone states they want something, they will continue to act in accordance to that;


  • The hero’s journey or nightmare-to-dream journey
    • Illustrating the nightmare scenario;
    • Illustrating the dream scenario;
    • Making a bridge between both with your offering;


  • Sales letters. When websites have long sales letters going into detail on everything the person wants to avoid and what they want to achieve are an example of this;
  • Hype. Hype is nothing more than building expectations or anticipations in a person. Which may correspond to reality or not;
  • Placebo effects. These are a great example of expectations. Even when nothing happens, the person thinks something did, due to their beliefs alone;
  • Product launches. In marketing, one of the most powerful formulas. Instead of having an “evergreen” product that is constantly available at the same price, there’s a specific 60-90 day period where a product is hyped up, so that then the “launch” happens and many people are converted immediately;
  • Before and after. The before and after scenarios that you frequently see, for example, on weight loss products are an example of the hero’s journey;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Building desire using the nightmare-dream bridge is all about the before and after. Show them what they most want to avoid and show them what they most want to obtain. And finally, how you can make a bridge;
  • Anticipation and expectation are all about warming the person up and building anticipation in them, telling them explicitly what to expect;
  • Intent labeling is all about making the person actively state, “I want this”, or “I’ll do this”. The more they make it active, the more they will be in a consistency trap;
  • Strategy sessions. The name given to a consulting call (usually 1h) where the consultant just “twists the knife” in the person and gets them to desire the solution more and more, instead of actually adding value;