-Helping Executives Make Better People Decisions Since 1980-
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NLP FOR SALES
Everybody has competition--competition for sales and competition for time.
When you call someone or make a sales presentation, you are competing against hundreds of other things that are trying to get the attention of that person; things that may look or feel more important than your call right now.
So how do you get a customer to decide to "buy" from you or even just listen to you? You need an unfair advantage--a reason that makes you more attractive to the customer than your competition. You need an advantage that allows you to "speak" in a more persuasive way. That advantage will not be your engineering excellence, your service quality, or your prices. You have only one advantage YOU! The only real "unfair advantage" you can have is a better way to sell YOU, because the customer will always buy you before he/she buys your product. You must shine brighter and more powerfully than your competition, or no one will hear what you have to say.
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WHAT IS NLP?
Some people sell themselves more effectively than others. They seem to know naturally how to influence and persuade. As much as they might want to believe this ability is part of their personal charm, it is really the result of using a set of skills effectively.
In the 1970's, a project was begun to identify the skills that enable one person to quickly and consistently persuade another. This collection of skills was eventually called "Neurolinguistic Programming" or NLP. (The name implies the power of the skills: the way the mind or neurology works has an effect on what we say, feel, and think. Also, the way we speak to ourselves or others effects how our mind works. Hence, one can "program" the other. If you want proof of this, the next time you are about to hit a golf ball, say to yourself, "I don't want to hit it in the lake" and watch where the ball goes!)
Identifying the skills of NLP was a marvelous accomplishment, but it was not enough. To make NLP truly useful, it was necessary to prove that anyone can learn these skills. This, too, has been accomplished. Anyone who wants to learn to be more effective in "motivating" himself/herself or in persuading others can discover the power of NLP.
NLP has been successful as a guide for therapists (Grinder and others) and a self-help motivator (Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and others). But sales professionals needed more than self-motivation. They needed NLP to be a real tool to help them sell.
So Dr. Lakin began adapting NLP skills for sales and marketing professionals in the mid-1980's. Sales professionals in hundreds of companies in the U.S., Canada, and England have discovered how much more effective they can be with The Unfair Advantage. Recently, Dr. Lakin has applied NLP techniques to inside sales and obtained sales increases of 16-35% by "engineering" scripts through NLP. He also has applied NLP to inbound customer-service settings to increase problem-solving effectiveness as well as add-on selling opportunities.
HOW DOES NLP WORK?
NLP uses the natural structure of the brain and neurology to create behavior or feelings in others. The skills were identified by observation, -we could see the impact and results-, but explanations of how the process works were hard to find until advances in understanding brain technology evolved.
At the most fundamental level, NLP skills help you make the other person feel comfortable and trust you. This process can be as simple as matching your verbal speed to mirror your customer. It can also be as complex as recognizing attitude biases or language preferences. By learning to talk the way your customer thinks or talks, you truly begin to "speak my language." When people are comfortable with one another and no longer competing or posturing for power, the process of rapport happens automatically, even over the phone. In the typical selling or survey interaction, rapport is hard to achieve. By knowing how to make the other person feel comfortable with you, you are gaining the advantage.
NLP skills can also be used to help a person mentally rehearse buying from you. NLP can direct the action of others in a subtle but effective way. By making what was once called "subliminal suggestions", it is possible to help a person think BUY before you even offer a trial close. You can also command a person to TALK to you when conducting telemarketing, RECOMMEND you when you are presenting to a non- decision maker, or CALL you when you are leaving a message on voice mail.
WHERE CAN NLP BE USEFUL TO ME?
NLP skills are valuable for influencing anyone anywhere. Whether through mail, on the phone, face-to-face, or in a group presentation, NLP skills get results. You can get a person to listen to you. You can leave voice mail messages that get a response. You can get more information from a secretary or gatekeeper, and you can help people remember and feel good about your company even though you are making only a survey call for information. Any time or place you want to be persuasive, there are several NLP skills that are available to you.
NLP will give you an unfair advantage in:
DO I NEED TO BE AN EXPERT ON NLP TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
It is not necessary to know why or how NLP works to use NLP to increase your sales. Instead, ask yourself "How do I make it work for me?". It is only necessary to have the courage and perseverance to try the skills.
Therefore, you can enjoy the results of NLP without even being particularly good at using the skills. NLP skills get positive results even when you are still learning how to be smoother or more elegant in their use! Some practice is necessary for most of the skills, and a lot of practice is needed for a few of the skills. Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you get. But once you see what happens when you try one or more of the skills in The Unfair Advantage, you will be hooked. You will not need someone to talk you into practicing.
Do you need to use NLP techniques all of the time? No. You only use them consciously when you need them. When do you need them? When you are not happy with what is happening. As you learn to notice when an interaction is not going smoothly, you will see when to apply one of the NLP skills. When things are going well, you do not need to think about NLP.
Too much sales training assumes the sales person already knows how to establish trust and rapport. "Sell with NLP!" is designed to teach primarily those skills plus how to influence in subtle psychological ways.
The Unfair Advantage is a program developed to apply NLP to sales and marketing. It is about selling yourself and your product or service. It is not about motivation or self-help. The Unfair Advantage will give you the tools to sell yourself in any setting to any audience. Contact Lakin Associates for information on The Unfair Advantage sales training workshop for you or your company. Also ask about our "workshop-in-a-book". Remember--most sales people have a good grasp of their product and how to talk about it...see the difference when you train them in the people skills to sell themselves.
Our selling process is long, in fact up to 18 months. Before listening to Duane, we followed Neal Rackham's SPIN Selling model for our sales calls. With the knowledge gained from Duane's sales training, we are shortening that time cycle because our salespeople are able to build rapport much quicker than ever before. The adage of "work smarter" not harder comes alive in the selling environment with the tools Duane makes available.
Others can tell salespeople what they have to do, but your insights tell salespeople how they have to do it. Just one favor ... don't teach this to my competitors!
Steve Andon, President TIC Gums, Inc. Baltimore, MD