Let’s look at a couple of definitions.
Persuasion is more or less described by Wikipedia as:
Persuasion is the process of guiding people toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic (though not always logical) means.
Now what is this NLP ?
NLP is an acronym for Neuro Linguistic Programming.
Now that’s a mouthful !
It is about how us humans program our neurology by the use of language (both verbal and non-verbal).
As one of the founders of NLP, Richard Bandler, has said:
“NLP is an attitude and methodology that leaves behind a trail of Techniques. The attitude is Curiosity and the methodology is Modelling.”
So, it wasn’t long before NLP was applied to excellent salespeople and modelling them gave rise to a trail of techniques known as NLP Persuasion.
Let’s start from the very beginning of a sales discussion.
In order to sell to someone most of the time they have to be open in communicating with you.
Many sales trainers will suggest you look for common ground between you and your prospect. Like, if you see a golf troops on his desk or a picture of his children then you talk about it.
The idea behind this is that we are social people.
Once you are perceived as being in the same group as another person (i.e. you are both golfers) there is some degree of similarity which implies connection and helps engender trust.
And we all know trust precedes the sale.
The main problem I have with this is the connection is NOT on a business level.
I’m sure you would have had the following experience.
You are with a prospect and happily talking about golf and sharing funny stories and everything is good. Now, it has reached the time you need to talk about business. You raise the subject and the prospect changes position in their chair and their tone changes instantly maybe then even fold their arms. “It’s down to business”. And what has happened to that connection, that Rapport? Gone ? Or at least changed ?
There is a better way to establish a connection with your prospect.
The process of developing the lines of communication between people is a process of building Rapport and it is one of the core skills of NLP Persuasion.
I have written more about it in an article called Sales Rapport.
Remember the second word in NLP is “linguistic”.
It operates in two ways in the sales process.
Firstly, we can understand a lot about our prospect by paying attention to the structure of the language they use.
Secondly, we can structure our language in terms of NLP Persuasion to have the maximum persuasive influence on our prospect.
Certain NLP language models are used to get a client clear about what they really want.
I touched on this in Sales Questions.
It can be surprisingly difficult to get people to tell you what they really want.
Often, when you ask someone what they want they will tell you what they don’t want.
NLP gives us a way to help them figure out what they want.
“Well, ideally, if there were no constraints on size or price, what would you really like?”
Then, they have to go inside their head, remove the constraints they had imposed upon their thinking and really think about the possibilities.
You can use certain NLP language patterns to tell stories and make your language somewhat hypnotic. I covered one simple hypnotic language skill in my article Power Words. But this is far from an exhaustive study of NLP in language and persuasion.
Even how you speak can make a difference.
"It's not what you say but how you say it".
Canadian’s are well known for their tendency to raise their voice at the end of a sentence. Canadians are often perceived differently to Americans. Could this have something to do with this language habit?
You see the meaning of what we say can be influenced by our tone of voice. Especially, how we end a sentence.
Basically, we have three choices.
As we say something we can finish the sentence with:
Try it for yourself.
Let's pick a sentence to say. "You want to buy this."
Say that sentence with an upward tone at the end.
Sounds like a question, doesn’t it?
Now say that sentence again and say the last two words louder and deeper.
Can you notice the difference?
For more on tone and persuasion go to Subliminal Persuasion.
We experience each moment we are alive in some sort of state.
We are either happy or sad or curious or bored or excited etc.
Many of these states just happen to us, so we think.
When you all of a sudden seem happy for no particular reason expect that Anchoring had something to do with it.
Anchoring is when the memory of a past event is revived and you respond by going into the state you were in during that past event.
NLP teaches us to use anchoring to manage both our state and the state of our prospect.
Imagine how much better you’d sell if you were in the right state and how much easier it would be to sell to a happy client.
I wrote more about Anchoring here.
Reframing is another NLP Persuasion skill of great utility to a sales person.
It’s the art of taking a statement or a belief and looking at it from another perspective.
Prospect can often get themselves into a negative viewpoint about some aspect of your product or service and you can use sales reframing to change that to a positive or at least a neutral perspective.
An example is a statement like, "the issue isn’t really about X, the issue is Y, isn't it?"
Used well it enables you to alter a prospects reality quite dramatically.
I have discussed Reframing in a previous issue of YourSalesSuccess.
Metaprograms are like high level filters on how we think and act.
Once you understand how to spot these filters and use them you will be able to speak in ways that your prospect will easily understand and in ways that will motivate them to buy.
In it's simplest form (yet do not underestimate it's power in selling) people are either motivated by the carrot or the stick.
And how you approach a prospect should be consistent with whether they are "seeking a carrot" or trying to "avoid the stick".
For an example of a Metaprogram in action take a look at issue number 41 of this series called ”Where do your prospects make decisions ?”
NLP Persuasion can make a huge difference to your sales results.
Taught well, practiced often and used wisely they may increase your sales 300% or more.
Read through the articles referenced in this article and find out more about how to use these valuable skills.
Here's to YourSalesSuccess.
Click here for coaching on NLP Persuasion.