SELLING: Black Magic

The U.S. auto salesman will try anything once—as long as it sells cars—and over the years he has explored every gimmick from tears to stripteasers. But last week in San Diego, the Walt Tufford Plymouth agency signed the sales booster to top them all: a professional hypnotist named Richard N. Mikesell.

For the sum of $300 (half in advance) Hypnotist Mikesell, 39, a onetime auto salesman himself, guaranteed to "instill confidence, enthusiasm and self-control" into Tufford's salesmen—all by hypnosis, usually applied at two sessions five days apart. First Mikesell puts his subjects in a trance, then talks to them about...

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