NLP For Sales Professionals

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  • Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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  • There are a lot of articles on the internet about what NLP is, how great it is for improving just about everything, and why we should all learn something about it. Whilst I agree with all of this, I think that there is a need to sometimes explain what makes NLP for business use so great. This article sets out some of the reasons why every sales professional should attend a NLP practitioner course.

    Selling with NLP

    Any good NLP practitioner course would be great for a sales professional either front line selling or a sales manager. In NLP there are techniques that are applicable in face-to-face or phone sales situations and that can be applied to product or service sales.

    I can confidently say that any sales person attending an appropriate NLP course will increase their performance by at least 20% and probably much more. For most sales pros this is a significant number.

    There are two reasons why I can say this is a typical result for sales pros attending NLP courses. The first and most obvious is direct observation of sales people graduating courses. Over the last few years I have attended, assisted and delivered literally hundreds of courses and my general experience of sales people is that 20% is a conservative estimate of what can be achieved.

    A friend and colleague of mine changed his web copy as a direct result of attending a NLP practitioner training and instantly increase conversions by 400%.

    The other reason is - having worked in highly sales driven companies as a business coach - I know something of their needs. And these needs are met by NLP.

    How NLP meets the needs of sales people

    There are unique sales challenges for specific products and services but sales issues can be simplified to key areas that include:

    • Staying focused and motivated. Every sales professional knows the value of staying motivated, energetic and positive when dealing with prospects, but perhaps after a string of rejections this is not the easiest thing to do.
    • Building rapport. Most sales trainings will start with the idea that the customer buys the sales person before they buy the product or service. You probably instinctively know the truth of this as most people have had the experience of not buying something you actually wanted because you were put off by the sales person.
    • Finding the prospects deep needs. Every purchasing decision we make is based on our values even for the smallest, most inconsequential things. A personal example would be the way I always by Heinz beans. If you fed me beans from a variety of different manufacturers I would unlikely to be able to tell the difference but I buy Heinz beans and wouldn’t normally consider changing. This is just based on values, experiences and beliefs that I hold and if I wasn’t writing about it now would probably been completely unaware of this for the rest of my life.
    • Objection handling. There are physiological reasons why prospects will raise objections that are independent of their need for the product. A good sales professional needs to be able to understand what is creating the objection and then handle it.
    • Closing the sale. This is a difficult area for many sales people because this can be a crunch point for another rejection. Some sales people will put off closing because of their fear of rejection and the problem here is that unless the prospect is highly motivated towards the product they may not buy simply because no one has asked them to.

    There are obviously many other areas and personal development needs for any individual working in sales, but if I take this as a general list of common areas, a NLP practitioner course addresses all of this and a lot more.

    A good practitioner course will specifically give a sales person these tools:

    • Emotional management techniques to stay focused, motivated and on target despite anything else going on around you.
    • Techniques to build rapport face-to-face and on the phone that work at a deep and unconscious level as well as conversation management techniques that allow you to capture and lead a prospects imagination to the point where they are living happily with the product.
    • Questioning techniques that will quickly give you a deep understanding of your prospect and their needs in relation to your product or service.
    • Processes that can be integrated into any sales area that automatically close the deal as well as techniques to get rid of the fears that might have dictated your decisions in the past.

    On top of this there are tools, techniques and processes that would be useful to any one working in business, for example:

    • Reading at least twice as fast and retaining more than you were originally.
    • Modelling best practise and installing that in yourself as a habit or training others.
    • A deeper understanding of your personally motivations as well as that of others.

    It is for these reasons that I am confident that any sales person attending a course should easily be able to increase their performance by at least 20% and probably much more.

    Another friend and colleague straight from his practitioner course trained a team of sales agents selling mobile phones in a high pressure, cold calling sales environment and doubled their sales within a month, completely outstripping their original sales targets.

    I hope this article has explained a little more about NLP for the uninitiated and perhaps given you some good reasons why it is a useful body of knowledge for, at least, the area of sales.

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