What is Neuro Linguistic Selling?

March 21, 2017

Neuro Linguistic Selling defined

Neuro Linguistic Programming was developed originally as system of modelling the behavioural patterns of selected geniuses in their given field of activity.  The NLP co-creators, John Grinder, Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik had an attitude of adventurism, curiosity and fascination with human excellence.  This article on ‘sales brilliance’ combines the powerful communication tools from NLP with
proven sales strategies I have developed over my thirty year career in the field of persuasion.

Neuro Linguistic Programming provides a description for how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce the outcomes and actions that occur usually unconsciously in different areas of life.  Buying is a decision, a behaviour, an action and a state.  A sales-person trained in NLP knows how to communicate in such a way that engages the thinking processes of a client to stimulate the decision, the action, the behaviour and the state required for that person to become a client and feel good about the choice.

Let’s look at the term Neuro Linguistic Programming

NLP is a broad discipline with a precise methodology that can be correlated with neuroscience, linguistics and certain aspects of psychology.  Neuro is the nervous system and how human beings experience the world through their senses; Linguistic is how we determine individual meaning and code with language and what we experience through our senses; Programming is the output or behaviour.

This may sound a bit technical and when you read further it will become clearer for you.  It will also be obvious to you the importance of fully engaging the client’s senses, so you have 100 hundred percent attention and your message is fully heard.  So let’s take it a step further and look into each component of what NLP is and how you can use NLP tools to become a sales super star.  If you already are a sales superstar, how you can be sales mega star and if you are already there congratulations.


The only way your clients can experience your presentation is through their senses.  That may sound obvious and that simple statement gets a little more complex when you consider that scientists say that human beings absorb 11 million bits of data every second through our senses.  Most of that information is of course out of conscious awareness.

The conscious awareness can only process between 5-9 chunks of information, so it is significant for you as an influencer for your client’s conscious attention to be highly tuned to your presentation and that you are also influencing non-conscious attention which has a HUGE effect in decision making.  Unconscious attention carries a lot of weight and often includes factors that are deep motivators for people to buy, key factors they experience moment to moment but are not aware they are experiencing this important information.

In face to face sales, the clients see you, they see your visual aids and their immediate environment.  They hear you and anyone else present in the meeting as well as other noise.  If your product is physical, the clients can touch it, or touch brochures and other sales materials.  The client will also have a tactile experience of where they are sitting or standing, their physical comfort or discomfort is present and being processed as sensory information.  Their immediate sensations, feelings of pleasure, displeasure, ambivalence experiences internally as part of the immediate state all being experienced at the same time you the sales person is presenting visual and auditory content.  Add in the senses of smell and taste that may be less obvious yet still present.  All of the above form part of the massive amount of neurological information a person is experiencing in any second in time and all the above make contribution to how a decision is made.  As influencer, you will want to guide the client’s senses in the right direction to support yours and their outcome.

In phone interactions, the salespersons voice is key to capturing the client’s attention and the sales person has less control on the immediate visual and tactile (kinaesthetic) feed.  By using certain language structures and other forms of engagement such as tonal persuasion a sales person trained in NLP can influence the client’s visual, tactile and emotional experience.  This is a key aspect that makes NLP selling a very effective system which other systems may not have.

Aside from external sensory data, there is internal sensory information.  The client constructs images and sounds of their past buying experiences and future life outcomes, which include buying your product from you or buying your product from one of your competitors.  The client experiences sensations in their body, these sensations will often indicate to the client that they are either in rapport or not in rapport with you.

Rapport is a massive factor in sales.

The client will also have sensations (feelings) related to your proposal and product.


Language is how we create personal meaning for our experience.  We store and retrieve information initially in pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells.  We the use our language to name and to evaluate what we are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting or smelling.  Language is how we form our judgements and then communicate to others our judgement and experiences.

If you think of two people who you have recently encountered, one of whom you ‘felt’ an instant rapport with and another where the rapport was missing.  Rapport generally is experienced as a ‘feeling’, that feeling will be accompanied by an internal expression, such as ‘I really feel comfortable with this person, I trust this person’ or ‘I distrust this person’ The language is how you have interpreted and judge the interaction based on what you saw and heard in the exchange and the feelings you felt.

As human beings we naturally judge through language.  If you walked into an art gallery that was exhibiting art you have not seen before, you would look at the art and make judgements formed on your natural preferences which have been built over your life experience.  The judgements would be your narrative, ‘I like this one’ ‘Not too sure about this one’ ‘This one is different’ and so on.
Language provides us personal meaning and rationale for what we experience through our senses.


Is the automatic behavioural responses and actions that occur as a result of what we have absorbed through our senses.  The programmes we run are mainly unconscious or even when deliberate have occurred through non-conscious processes.

In selling we are seeking to activate the buying ‘programme’ that is natural to the client.  Asking questions, resistance, rapport, agreeing, getting convinced, remaining convinced, signing the contract are all examples of ‘programmes’ a client will have stored in their behaviour bank, each client will have their own unique way of running their ‘buying’ programme and sub-programmes associated with buying.
A person trained in NLP selling will be able to engage the client visually and auditory sense so the client builds positive internal representations of buying the product, the linguistic judgements will be along the lines of ‘I want this’ or ‘I must have this’ and the client will feel good about the purchase.

Happy selling and remember NLP is very powerful, use it ethically.

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