Applications of NLP in Business
by Alexander Buck
NLP is well known in the use of its applications on a personal level with many people benefiting in all manner and aspects of their lives. It’s quite a surprise that up until recently, there were no NLP courses specifically covering such a huge part of our lives – business.
We can spend well over 40 hours a week for many years of our lives, in business so it stands to reason there are plenty of people who want to improve their performance, and especially so in a weak economy where there is a very real fear of losing ones job, and ones performance is under far more scrutiny.
This blog post is going to focus on an area of business that I find thoroughly fascinating. An area that is at the heart of business and where one would be able to judge and measure very accurately how successful a business is. I am of course talking about sales. It doesn’t matter what type of organisation you are, what size, or what sector you are in, sales is at the core of the performance of the company.
Sales can often be perceived as being a second rate position. Or the kind of position that one doesn’t choose to be in, but falls into because one has no other choice. This is far from the case and I would say that it is one of the most crucial positions to have in any company. Without sales, there is no revenue or profit and therefore no growth.
To choose a career in sales
can be one of the most rewarding professions to have, and it shows up very tangibly in your earning capacity. There is no other position where you can be judged so accurately on your performance. So as a salesperson, it is absolutely vital that you continually improve and hone the areas of your performance to increase your earning capacity.
There are some people who see sales as being mostly about knowing your product/service inside out, when in fact knowing the product makes up only 20% of the sales process. The other 80% is all psychological.
If you aren’t already familiar with NLP and what it is, I would strongly recommend you have a look at our What is NLP?
web page. But in a nutshell, NLP is very much psychology driven and explores how we think as people and how we can structure our feelings, our language and behaviour to create positive results in our lives. NLP uses a methodology to model the behaviour of highly successful people in their chosen field of profession.
So as a salesperson, you will almost certainly want to model your behaviour on the salesperson that consistently outperforms everyone else in your company. The very best salespersons always look at people who out perform and how they do things. Success doesn’t just magically appear, they work very hard at it. The great thing about sales, the process and how to be successful can be learnt. There is no secret recipe.
As I said, the art of sales is 80% in the arena of psychology and you can make a major difference in your outlook by starting to view your position as a salesperson as being a profession. If you were to ask any top performing salesperson in any company they would tell you that they see sales positions as being one of the most respected roles in the company and certainly not a role to take lightly, or to fall into.
They will almost certainly express how they see themselves as being consultants to companies in a buying process. This requires some thinking, and a deeper understanding of how and why people buy. The idea people buy people and not products is heading in the right direction. Sales is not just about the ability to close a deal – although this is definitely an important part of the process, it is not the full picture either. Sales is about people! We are incredibly complex beings and this all needs to be taken into consideration, not just in who we are selling to, but also how we think, feel, talk and behave as a salesperson.
Brian Tracy who is an advocate of NLP practices goes into a lot of detail about sales techniques in one of his books and he touches on the model of selling, and draws on comparisons between how it used to be and how it has evolved to its present state. I really liked the visuals he used so I’ve re-created them here to illustrate how the psychology of sales is very different now.
I’m sure you can see from the visuals that the psychology of sales has switched. The concept of being more concerned about rapport in the sales process requires a vastly different thinking and approach, as apposed to the concentration on closing the deal. It’s very much more humanistic with the huge variety of personalities you’ll come across in your role as a salesperson.
In the new model of selling
there is more room for you to be in the process, which I know can fill people with fear. This doesn’t have to be the case though. NLP practices can cause you to look at this in a transformative way so you can take control. Sales is a very psychological practice and the more you know about yourself the more you will be in control of your profession as a salesperson. There is no other professional job on this planet where you can control your earning capacity as you can as a salesperson. Its exciting for me to know that I can cause that to happen.