NLP [Neuro Linguistic Programming]. Neuro – how you think and Linguistic Programming – how you communicate what you think and believe.
In the 1980’s – early 90s, NLP was all the rage. It was invented by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. For some, it was another methodology to the ever-expanding approaches to psychotherapy. It was and still is. At its core, there are 5-levels of communication: Verbal, Physical, Auditory, Emotional and Energetic. Most people are surprised that verbal communication amounts to the smallest component in anyone’s communication.
Although there is still ongoing debate by experts on the exact percentages of the above communication categories, there is general consensus that on average, verbal communication – the words we choose to communicate – amounts to only 7%. Auditory communication – the sound of our voice, including the tone, range, volume, speed that affects how our messages are received and interpreted by others – is 38%. Body movement, however, – how we move and facial expressions – amounts to about 55% of all, we as human beings, communicate.
Trained professionals use NLP in counselling, life-coaching and often in tandem with different forms of hypnotherapy; all to help clients change their inner self-limiting storylines [in psychology ‘Cognitive Loops’] to happier, healthier, more goal-oriented thinking/outcomes. Like any reputable discipline, if it is applied right, positive results – although never 100% – can be confidentially predicted, beyond chance.
So, you might ask, “What, if anything, does this have to do with sales, or a selling advantage?” In a word, Everything!
Regardless of the product or industry, few will argue today that we compete in the most competitive, global marketplace the world has ever seen; wherein the customer’s eyes, products, solutions and pricing ‘are more the same, than they are different’. Often, the difference between getting a sale or not, comes down to one small thing; the metaphoric split hair. Sellers at the top 1% level know that nothing today can be left to chance. They look for any advantage they can to differentiate themselves, their product, company or service – in the customer’s eyes – from that, of their competition. NLP gives them just that advantage!
In almost any reputable sales course, we are taught to ‘mirror’ our customer’s movements, verbal speed and tonality, Et al, to better-bond with that customer. And that pretty much is about as deep as the lesson goes. The fact is, mirroring is an effective way to bond with anyone but simply ‘telling’ the technique gives short shrift to the psychological import of the human behavioural, motivational drive-factor, that exists within this fundamental human communication. Knowing it, however, gives you an unquestioned advantage over your competitors.
Think for a second, what if you could watch your customer’s hand movements and know beyond chance, the degree in which they have discomfort in answering a question? Would it give you an advantage to know what they just said, may not be totally based in truth? Although it may not be a lie, it is – at least in their mind – something subliminal. But you saw it and now helps you better-focus your probing questions to uncover and understand what really stands between you, your customer and satisfying their needs with your product/solution.
Would it give you an advantage to watch where your customer’s eyes go [upper left-right, middle left-right or lower left-right] and know instantly what part of the brain they were accessing? What if you could tell if they were recalling a memory image, a sound memory, a memory feeling, or if they were using the other side of their brain to try and make up a picture, sound or words that they hoped would convey what they wanted to communicate, but likely is not based totally in truth or experience?
Would it give you an added sales advantage to listen, see and hear, incongruences between what they say, how they say it and their body language/movements? You bet it does!
The Bottom Line:
In this, the most competitive global marketplace, nothing can be left to chance. The psychology that exists within NLP, operates as a ‘system-of-influence’ within the fundamental ‘art and science’ of professional selling. Metaphorically speaking, it is another arrow in your quiver that minimizes the delta between you, your customer, the sale, whilst increasing the distance-delta between you and your competition!
Paul Shearstone MACP, NLP/CCP, is a recognized expert on Sales and Persuasion. He is an International Speaker, twice Certified Coaching Practitioner, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, NLP Therapist and Author of several books including, “Up Your Income! Solution Selling for Profitability” and Amazon #1 Best Seller: 3X Sales Success! How to move your sales team to the Top 1%.