• Posted: June 2006
  • By: Michael Carroll

Close that Sale, NLP Style

Using NLP processes and techniques for effective sales communication

The NLP Academy, based in South Croydon is one of the leading NLP training companies in the UK. NLP is an acronym for Neuro Linguistic Programming, a system for understanding how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour in the different contexts of their lives.

Why NLP and sales
When a salesperson pitches the buying proposition to match the thinking style of the client, the client just wants to say yes. When a salesperson presents the benefits of the product in keeping with the customer values for ownership, the salesperson is really hitting the client’s hot buttons. Salespeople excel when they understand and utilise how the customer thinks.

NLP selling differs from other sales systems
Most sales systems focus on the conscious mind.  The conscious mind represents less than 10% of human thinking processes and is the logical part of our thinking. The unconscious mind is the bigger part of our mind and amongst other things processes emotions, feelings and decisions. NLP salespeople know how to communicate to both parts of the mind.  This means the client decides quickly, and naturally feels good about the purchase.

Rapport opens doors and reduces resistance
Without rapport, the client resists a proposal, even if that proposal makes sense. Rapport opens the doorway to connect with a client’s personal values for ownership. In NLP, there are several processes for developing deep rapport with people very quickly and get that person to really warm to you. The NLP definition of rapport is a ‘state of unconscious responsiveness’. This means the client’s unconscious (the bigger part of his mind) is on board. To gain rapport, assume a similar posture, gestures and speech patterns as the client, so you begin to act as mirror image. After a period of time, when you move your client should copy you, if he/she does the client is unconsciously with you as a person.

Questioning for quality information
You have two ears and one mouth and it’s useful to use them in that proportion. Smart salespeople ask questions and listen to the answer. Listening and then using the information the client gives, is a skill many salespeople lack. There are three types of questions a sales person can use;

1.‘Open questions’ designed to get the client to talk.
These questions begin with how, where, what, when and do not elicit a yes or no response, but get the client opening up.  An example would be

“How would it be for you to have brand new XYX?”
“What are you looking for in XYX?”

2.‘Precision questions’ to get very precise and succinct information from the client.
These also begin with, how, what, where, when and end with ‘specifically’ because the questions are designed to chunk down to precise answers. The salesperson will often use precision questions when dealing with objections.

“Too expensive, compared to what specifically?”
“What specific criteria are you looking for?”
“When specifically are you in the market place?”

3. Closing questions, to close and get agreement throughout the sales process.
“So you are happy with XYX?”
“The product comes with ABC, that’s good isn’t it?”
“On the basis, I fulfil all the criteria you stated, you’re happy to proceed with the proposal?”

Buying is a state
Every potential client has had a positive buying experience where the interaction was enjoyable and the salesperson delivered. Likewise, every potential client has had a negative buying experience and the salesperson did not deliver. When the client answers questions about previous sales experiences, adjust your body to anchor the positive experiences with one posture and the negatives with a slightly different posture. Anchoring is a process that is similar to behavioural conditioning. Meaning that you condition unconscious responses to different body postures. You could lean forward for the positives and backwards for the negatives. If you do this well, your posture will become like a switch for the buying state, meaning when you lean forward your client will be more open to buying. When the client mentions the competition, lean back to instigate the negative response.

You have to be able to close the sale, to be truly successful
While developing rapport and gathering information through quality questions is useful, your efforts could be futile unless you know how to close. Many salespeople lose the business because they oversell and wait for the client to say when they are ready to buy. In reality, most clients need a prompt. You give your clients’ this prompt with a close. A good salesperson should close on all major agreements throughout the sales process. At the end you recycle through all the things previously agreed, and then close by saying on the basis we meet all the agreements, are you happy to go ahead with the proposal today?

How can people find out more about NLP and sales?
The NLP Academy run a one-day sales course called ‘Close that Sale NLP Style’. The course is packed full of excellent information and easy to learn tips to help anyone improve their sales skills.

About The Author

Michael Carroll is the founder and course director of the NLP Academy and co-founder with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair of the International Trainers Academy of NLP. He is the only NLP Master Trainer in the world certified by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair and he works closely with them in developing and delivering high quality NLP training.

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