The Unfair Advantage In Sales

Introduction - "The Unfair Advantage" by Duane Lakin

Gone are the days you can rely on scripts to sell prospects. Scripts  are not flexible or powerful enough today.
You need to be flexible with every person you meet in order to have an impact.

Your approach not only must differentiate you as sales person but must also be personal, flexible, inviting, and designed for one rather than for many. 

Get a full summary of this book 

NLP and Selling

Have you noticed that some days that everyone you talk to seem interested and other days no-one seems interested in what you are selling ?

What has changed You or your audience ?

Why can you get through to some people and not others?

It’s the way YOU communicate.

By using words effectively, we can bypass conscious resistance and create mental activity, not just in our minds but in the thinking processes of others.

Telling conveys information. Selling leads to an action 

Telling focuses on the sender. Selling focuses on the receiver. 

Telling does not get results. If it does not work with your kids, it will not work with your customers. 

When you carefully engineer words, you can have a distinct and measurable advantage. 

Words are not effective when:

  • The message is unnoticed
  • The message does not fit the receiver
  • The message does not include an action

Rules of the Unfair Advantage

Rapport precedes a sale. …

  1. People buy for their own reasons and in their own way. 
  2. The Golden Rule is Wrong! 
  3. The decision to buy (or trust) is emotional. 
  4. People buy outcomes. 
  5. There is only one unfair advantage: YOU 

The Unfair Advantage is your ability to make words come alive and have impact.

Too many contemporary selling models assume the customer or prospect will welcome you and talk freely with you.
That assumption is naive. 

Before you can identify needs with a customer, you must first create an atmosphere of trust that invites discussion and an exchange of ideas. 

The Selling Process

The selling process starts with getting an appointment. Once together a sellers first step is to establish a relationship (not to pitch). There follows an exchange of information. After which the sellers has to get a decision while maintaining the relationship.

Note that an appointment is not an invitation to start a sales pitch. It is merely an invitation to appear. 

You must quickly develop enough rapport to get “invited” to continue the process of presenting yourself and your service or product. 

I’ve written about this elsewhere on this site but “The Common Denominator” approach is not the best way to gain Rapport with a prospect. 

Just like French people speak French everyone has their nuance of language that they use.
People tend to use words that are visually (V)based, sounds (A= auditory) based or based on feelings K = Kinaesthetic).

The only way to answer “Which is best?” is to respond “For whom?” 

If you want to open the lines of communication with people you first have to be talking their language (i.e. V or A or K).

There is even a way to tell in which language your prospect is thinking
(discussed in the book summary, available for free).

Get a full summary of this book

Buying Patterns

Not only do people have their own language but they also have their own way of making a buying decision.

If John bought a house once, he will buy his next house the same way. 

Sure, he will be more sophisticated, ask better questions, or analyse more completely the details. 

This does not mean John will buy a car the same way he bought the house. 

If you want to know how to sell something, find out how the person bought it the last time. 

There is a couple of specific ways to do this (covered in the book summary)

Connect wit a Prospect Non-Verbally

As mentioned above you can enhance the relationship with a customer by using their preferred language but you can build rapport by matching their movements and breathing.

There are two caveats, however:

  1. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable.
  2. Don’t get noticed. 

If you are physically uncomfortable, the other person will sense your discomfort, internalise that discomfort and feel uncomfortable with you! The irony is that your discomfort causes the other person to lose rapport with you. 

You do not have to mirror the whole posture of another person and you can also mirror gestures as long as they are subtle.  

Action Words

Verbs or action words are especially powerful. 

And, with the right words, you can create a mental rehearsal of what you want a person to do which familiarises their brain with the action and increases the likelihood of the desired action taking place. 

But your action words need to be direct and moving them towards your CLEAR OBJECTIVE.

“I can see you in an Eagle Talon.” 

Would be better as …

“See yourself in an Eagle Talon” (is more direct)

Ideally, you want to create a message that survives after you have left the meeting.
And there are ways to do this, revealed in the book summary

Embedding the Action Command

There are ways  to hide your command, by using one of the following techniques:

  • Embed in a negative
  • Embed by redirecting attention
  • Use natural inattention
  • Embed by breaking the phrase
  • Embed in a joke or story 

(for more explanation get the book summary)


When you discover how someone’s thinking process is driven by one or more MINDSETS, you will have a great advantage as a seller. 

Your brain wants to be efficient.
It looks for ways to draw conclusions fast and respond to new information quickly.
Your mind learns shortcuts.

We “jump to conclusions” or overly generalise information in order to make our decision. 

Efficient? Yes. Effective? Not always. 

You learn to delete information that seems unimportant at the time. You hear what you want to hear.
You learn to choose what to look at and what to ignore.
If new information does not fit what you expect, you may distort it and force it to fit your expectations. 

You usually are not aware of your own shortcuts. 

A problem arises when two or more people are trying to communicate, because everyone has a slightly different mindsets from everyone else. 

If you know the Mindsets of the person you are trying to persuade you chances will be greatly increased.

I talk about this too

Handling Objections without Losing Rapport

There are about 5 different categories of objections (listed in the book summary)

Note that it’s important to examine an objections without ruining the relationship you’ve been building.

You need to be Curious and be Present with the customer.

The objective is to move from the objection toward a response that clarifies, educates, or moves the discussion in a positive direction.
This requires three skills: the ability to pace, link, and lead. 

Pacing is the ability to accept what the person has said. 

The key to pacing is paying enough attention to be able to restate what the person has said and not using the word “but”.
When you say, “but” you will be seen as arguing which breaks rapport.

As you begin to guide the prospect away from the objection, choose words that match the VAK preference revealed in the objection. 

Keeping the Advantage

Many sales are not concluded in one meeting so the challenge is to keep the advantage by getting the client to take YOU home. 

Three ways to keep the advantage are:

  1. Playback the Experience
  2. Rehearse responses to potential challenges (future pace)
  3. Personalise any handouts to make sure the prospect remembers you

Details about how to do this are in the book summary (for free)