Business NLP Blog


NLP Sales Techniques Q & A

Questions with John Thompson


What personality traits do good sales people have?
Persistence, knowing how to extroverted, having a tough skin, focus, self belief and what we call in NLP ‘internal referenced’ - being unaffected by what happens externally.

Can people learn these traits?
People can learn anything however, some people will have these traits naturally - so they have an advantage to begin with. People can adopt personality traits but bare in mind; depending on what they’re selling would depend on how much they need each trait.

Specifically, if you wanted to learn these traits, you would find who in your industry or company does posses them, then simply emulate everything they do in that area. Their posture, the way they frame things and so on. There are many NLP techniques that can help speed up this process.

If you had to give three tops tips to someone who wanted to become a great sales person, what would they be?
Again, expose yourself to those who you want to emulate. Have persistence - if you know you have a good plan just never give up. Thirdly, set yourself targets and record your performance.

Sales Techniques - Emulate Excellence

How do people decide to buy?
People decide to buy based on an emotional reaction attached to one of their values. For example, if one of their values is spending time with their kids, and your product saves them time, you can then point out they will be able to spend more time with their kids if they buy your product. If you make them feel this is true, they will buy. This is your job as a salesman.

How do salespeople go about doing this?
So firstly you find out what one of your prospects highest values is - there are many ways using NLP language patterns to be able to do this. Then, point out that your product or service resonates with that value.

For example, you know that them spending time with their kids is very important and you have explained that buying your product will save them time, you can then say ‘So this will save you time which will give you more time with your kids, which is a good thing, right?’. Of course they will agree and they will have a very strong emotion connected to that.

Sales is about creating emotions in the client which are connected to their highest values and then attaching this to your product or service.

How do salespeople find out what peoples values are?
Simple. Ask them what they want. Let them tell you what they want in general, in life or what they want right now. Then, you do what in NLP is called ‘chunking up’ to their highest value which will create an emotional reaction, then attach your product to it.

Sales Techniques - Create an emotional reaction

Is there a code for salespeople to motivate themselves?
Yes there is and its all about pain or pleasure. Some people are motivated away from pain and some people are motivated towards pleasure.

So, if you are motivated by pain stack the negative consequences in your mind if you do not achieve your goals. If you are motivated by pleasure do the same, but with the positive consequences if you do achieve your goals.

So Sales Managers could use this principle to motivate their staff as well then?
That’s right, so if you are a sales manager and you know your people well, you should be able to tell which of your staff are motivated by pain or pleasure. Its important to know this because if you give someone a roasting who is motivated by pleasure they will de-motivated, whereas if you give someone a roasting who is motivated by pain it will motivate them.

How can you tell who is motivated by what?
Well, that comes from being able to understand people - which is not actually that difficult. In sales usually, if a person has a long period of low work ethic and then towards the end of month they are more active, they will generally be motivated by pain. If you have staff who get results constantly throughout the month, they are usually motived by pleasure. Also, may I add - neither is wrong, neither is good or bad, they are just different.

Sales Techniques - Pain/Pleasure

How important is the use of language and tonality when selling and why?
It is critical. Language to sales people is like what petrol is to a car because within a sentence you can say so much. When you talk to someone, you focus their thoughts. You can make them feel good, you can make them feel bad – just with words, and everyone knows this. Now, if you know how to use language well, you can decide how the person you are talking to feels. And as I said earlier, people buy mostly due to emotions, so if you can control a clients emotions, just through your language, this is a massive benefit.

Also, you can say multiple embedded messages within a sentence. Just with one sentence you can put people into the future imagining that they have already brought your product and are achieving what they want because of this, and of course, feeling good about it.

Not only this but understanding the language of the customer is a huge benefit too. Language gives lots of signals to how the customer works cognitively – how are they motivated, how they see themselves, do they use a lot of visual, auditory or kinaesthetic words, are they small or big chunk, how open, conscientiousness, extraverted, agreeable and neurotic they are.... You can get a very clear understanding of all of these things just through the language someone uses.

Finally of course language builds rapport, and building rapport and relationships which is what sales is. Understanding and using language correctly is what gives NLP the edge in the sales process.

Sales Techniques - Language patterns

Is the theory of epistemology important for sales people?
Yes it is as epistemology is a convenient model which shows how communication and data is processed by an individual - which then makes it easy to manipulate. Word’s move people into experiences and epistemology explains this in a simple model. It shows you the dance between language and experience. Good salespeople know that dance really well.

How important is rapport and calibration when selling and why?
It is vital because without it you are not communicating.

If you do not have good rapport with someone, very rarely will they buy from you. If you do know how to build rapport, you build trust and you build a relationship. Then, which is important in the art of influence, you can lead them. If you are advanced and know what you are doing breaking rapport is sometimes important – but only if you know how you are going to build that rapport back up and for what purpose.

If you have problems calibrating people, you will not be able to tell when the rapport has been built or broken. This is a challenge for people in their everyday lives not just in sales.

If you can calibrate people well, you will be able to read what emotional state they are in, if they are thinking positively or negatively towards you or your product, if they are going to say yes or say no and what approach in your communication you should be using.

Sales Techniques - Rapport & Calibration

A lot of the times in sales professions there is a high turnover of staff, why is that? How can companies stop this?
I believe this is because the salespersons values don’t run consistent with the product. If the person is passionate about the product or service they will stay, simple as that.

So companies can counteract this most effectively by employing people who love the product or service.

How can companies tell when they are interviewing candidates if they love the product or service or are just saying they do?
Easy, they can do this by looking at people who they are retaining. What is it what these people have got and do that the others don’t? Again, a lot of NLP techniques can help with this but simply - recruit people who are like those that stay.

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