Application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming in sales | Sunday Observer

Application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming in sales

31 October, 2021

Simply described, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in selling, as a concept, is based on building a quick and meaningful relationship with a prospect in a seller-buyer transaction. The salesman uses specific words and actions to develop a strong emotional bond with a potential customer. The expected outcome is the prospect’s positive but unconscious reaction that sways him or her into making the buying decision. 

Created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the United States in the 1970s, many people in business know NLP as a wonderful tool in personal development. Professional salesmen around the world intentionally or subconsciously use NLP techniques successfully in all stages of their selling efforts, from prospecting to the closing of a sale. Regardless of the immense effects and power of NLP techniques in sales, not much is commonly being discussed about the concept. 

The NLP allows a greater understanding of the communication process thereby assisting the sales process through a more effective exchange of ideas with prospects. Communication is one of the most vital aspects in selling and practicing the NLP model can produce enhanced results in closing sales.   

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

The term Neuro-linguistic programming refers to how the mind and body communicate with each other (Neuro),  and how someone uses verbal and non-verbal communication (linguistic) to respond to another person. ‹programming› is how people conduct activities impulsively or mindfully in a specific situation. This is targeted at improving the understanding and response across any aspect of life.  

This discipline not only can offer immense benefits to a sales practitioner in a selling situation but is also hugely beneficial in the personal development of any individual. As a practical therapy, the NLP includes communication, personal developments by understanding how language correlates with body and mind.   

NLP is essentially a tool for efficient and successful functioning that can also be described as a ‘User Manual’ for the mind. For example, NLP teaches how to watch the eyes of the person in conversation. The eyes of the person in front indicate that he or she is listening actively to understand the contents of the communication, or not. The NLP instantly advises the salesman whether or not to continue or take another cause of action such as changing the style or manner of speaking to ensure that the prospect does not miss the information provided.

Application in business

In the business context, the real advantage of the NLP is that it delivers more successful communication, influencing and motivating others for better performances. Hence, the model can offer huge benefits to the entire organisational performance. Work-oriented NLP training can provide effective results in areas such as coaching and mentoring. In addition, NLP helps to enhance the ability to negotiate and also can be immensely successful in staff motivation drives.    

One of the key aspects of NLP is that people think and express themselves in different ways and that the most important element is to understand the ways others communicate. With the NLP, the salesperson can identify a prospect who is expressing him or her visually. It is common knowledge that if a salesman instantly can say that he knows what the customer wants, the relationship turns stronger and the chance of a close of a transaction becomes easier.   

Communication-focused techniques

Communication-focused NLP techniques are ideal in terms of execution benefits to a sales team. For example, if a customer walks into a car sale asking questions about safety and fuel consumption, a salesman can impulsively understand that the customer will not be receptive to other features of the car. 

However, the NLP techniques training permits the salesman to take the situation deeper. Instead of concentrating on the customer’s basic requirement of safety, the NLP helps the salesman to use the type of language that the customer will be more receptive to the conversation. In short, the NLP assists the salesman to be more empathetic to recognise individuality.   

NLP sales phrases are sometimes referred to as ‘magic words’, extremely powerful in sales communication. It is not an exaggeration, though it may seem so to a non-salesman, and the power of these appealing and catchy words turn around customers buying decisions in the salesman’s favour, when used timely. They are emotionally evocative that capture the prospect’s attention advantageously.   

These psychologically engaging power words or phrases are being effectively used not only by the sales fraternity but also by marketers to generate consumer interest when creating messages. Carefully thought out consumer communications by applying the NLP methods are known to be more effective. The NLP helped messages to a clientele run deeper than traditional advertising methods as the understanding about a customer segment is higher.

The NLP power phrases are powerful, positive, and confident and include words such as excellent, trust, thrive, remarkable, exclusive, final, guaranteed, proven, genuine, and many more similar words. Even in a normal training session, when trainers discuss the presentation stage of the sales process, the trainees are instructed to use these power words. However, the difference is that NLP training provides a stronger and deeper insight into the usage of such phrases.  

NLP can show which word a salesman should use to get optimum response from the customer. In order to become more sensitive, the seller must pay careful attention to the reactions of the buyer and observe all changes in his behaviour. The reason a person trains on NLP is to read the buyers’ reactions without spending time to think about it. Simply the process is similar to training airplane pilots in simulators where they do not have to think to react to emergencies. 

Body language

Words used with NLP selling techniques extend beyond mere words and are transferred to the seller’s body as well. Hence, being mindful of the salesman’s ‘body language’ in a selling situation is imperative. Practiced non-verbal communication makes customers more relaxed in their responses, creating a more empathetic conversation. Therefore, the seller must conduct the sales conversation with emphatic non-verbal signals to convey attentiveness towards the customer. 

Active listening

In any seller-buyer conversation, the prospects are emotionally receptive to the friendliness and cordiality they see and hear from the salesman. Hence, active listening in selling is one of the key techniques in the NLP concept. Being genuinely conscientious and showing sincerity about the prospect reflects a compelling response of the prospect. A solid vibe on the conversation begins with active listening where the seller understands a prospect’s sentiments.   

Expressing positivity

NLP in selling is a positive affirmation. As some unprofessional salespeople practice, bullying prospects into buying is not selling. The NLP training provides insight to foster proactive and lasting trust. Using verbal language and body language simultaneously to keep the conversation upbeat with frank intentions engages the prospect in high spirit.     

Mirror effect 

Matching the prospect’s own verbal and nonverbal language is one sure way to build trust and rapport. NLP-trained salespeople subtly match and reflect the prospect’s body language, mannerisms, and words. This process, known as mirroring, keeps the prospects at ease in a conversation that generates effective results for a sales practitioner. However, the salesman’s effort should be discrete and should not be felt as heavy-handed.  

The NLP techniques are by any means no magic tricks. For successful prospect interaction, many other things are applied other than communication. However, practicing Neuro-Linguistic programming without a doubt can enhance sales performance in general. The renowned international sales coach Patrick Ellis, in his book ‘Who dares Sell,’ says that the greatest art lies in the endless creativity of a salesman.