How Can NLP Help with Sales?

By Martin Crump.

Martin is a Director and co-founder of Evolution.  He is a certified NLP Master Trainer with a wealth of experience of working with organisations of all sizes and types across the UK.




Who are you most likely to buy something from – someone you like? Or someone you don’t like?

The majority of people would say that they prefer to buy from someone they like.  You may buy something from someone you don’t like if it’s a really good deal – but you will not feel as good about your purchase as you would if you really got on well with the vendor.

People buy people. First and foremost the most important step when talking to a potential customer is rapport. You probably find it easier to sell to some people than to others, and the people you find it easier to sell to are probably people you naturally have a rapport with.

Building and maintaining rapport is one of the key processes in NLP and invaluable in sales (and any area that involves negotiation or communication: procurement, marketing, HR…).

A Definition

Neuro – the way we take information in, process it and make sense of the world around us.

Linguistic – the way we communicate that sense of the world to other people (and to ourselves – do you ever talk to yourself?)

Programming – the effect that communication has on our behaviour, the behaviour of people around us and therefore the results we get.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”

NLP was developed as a way of modelling the behaviours of successful and effective communicators, with the purpose of discovering exactly what they did which made them effective. The idea was that once the key methods were discovered, it should be possible for anyone to use the same techniques.

NLP looks at identifying and changing limiting beliefs and behaviours that stop you from reaching your full potential. For example, changing your mindset around the selling process: if you go into a negotiation believing you won’t get the outcome you’re after, you probably won’t. If you approach the process believing you’ll be successful, you’ve got a much higher chance of that happening.

Selling With NLP

NLP is invaluable to all stages of the sales process and has even defined a 6 step sales process.

The most important aspect of this sales process is that it turns a traditional approach on its head.

Typically, selling starts with a ‘pitch’. We begin by giving information about our product or service and then answer questions, challenges or resistance.

NLP turns this on its head by finding out what the client needs, (and for what reason) before introducing the product or service.

This then gives you the opportunity to tailor your product, service, idea or point of view to meet the client’s needs exactly.

Before all of this happens, though, there are some crucial steps to consider.

First and foremost, you need to build rapport. People like people who are like them. If you like someone, you are more likely to listen to their information. NLP shows how to build and maintain rapport with people quickly and simply.

Before that stage, there is an even more important step – your own state.

Your behaviours and, therefore, your results are dramatically affected by your own internal state. NLP shows you how to manage your own state (and the states of others) to access and maintain resourceful states as necessary.

The kind of questions you ask (and the way you ask them) can elicit crucial information from your client about motivation, need and concerns. Again, NLP has several processes and behaviours to enhance these.

Closing the sale is key. If you don’t close a sale with someone who wants to buy, all the effort you put in to this point is wasted. Being able to use specific and non-specific language to close the sale is, again a useful NLP technique.

NLP is not magic. It won’t help you to sell to someone who really doesn’t want to buy, but it will help you to convince someone to buy from you, instead of from someone else.

We run a wide range of business specific NLP courses and business training, around sales, negotiation and procurement (to name a few) – where we focus the key NLP tools and techniques at the sales process. For more information, get in touch.

Six-Step Sales Process

1. Get into State: Remember that your state of mind will dramatically affect your performance

2. Establish Rapport: Remember, people who are like each other, tend to like each other. Match & Mirror:

  • PhysiologyTone of voiceBreathingKey words

3. Ask Questions: The questions you ask are directly related to the business of the person you are interviewing. Talk their language. Ask questions in the language of their business.

4. Find a Need: Establish need – establish value. No need? Stop here. Find another client. There are plenty out there.

5. Link the Need or Value to your Product or Service

  • Conditional close (“Is it fair enough…”)“What would happen if…”“Compared to…”

6. Close: Ask for the order.

  • If no: (go to 3.) If yes: get referrals.

Resistance to your message indicates lack of rapport. If that happens at any point, build more rapport.

At Evolution, we offer business coaching and training for sales, procurement, leadership, managing change and lots more. Get in touch to find out more, or visit our online academy, Evolve Online.

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