This article is a case study demonstration of a NLP Sales process. It deconstructs how I sold a sales course to a woman that had a completely negative view on selling and gives you the complete process I use to make dramatic increases in conversions for my sales students.
Quite a few years ago I met a female coach at a networking meeting. She had this really negative attitude to selling. It was a while ago so I don’t remember her exact words but she told me sales was manipulative, pushy and based on conning people into buying things they don’t need. She told me that she never sells. All she does is “tell people about her coaching service”.
Pacing Her Current Beliefs
It was a good thing she went first when we were talking because I was about to tell her I train coaches to sell their services. When I did tell her what I did I reframed it as helping people like coaches to grow their business. This allowed me to pace her current beliefs, capture her interest and open a loop with the expectation that she would ask how I can help coaches / her.
Gaining Permission, Framing and Opening Loops
When she did ask I said something like, “Well will it be okay to demonstrate some of the ideas with you <pause until she signified agreement>, I will also need to ask you a few questions about your business but I will make sure you get some stuff that you can use with your business right now. Is that okay <using nonverbals and command tonality> ”
Let’s spend a moment thinking about what is happening in that sentence. In all but name I am asking permission to demonstrate my expertise by selling to her but also that it is okay to ask questions and in return I will make sure she gets something of value from me.
But underneath that I am also opening a lot of loops. I already had an idea her business was not doing well… so I am offering her ideas that might help. If I was right about her business it would be almost impossible for her to say no.
Questions are the Answer
I asked her a number of questions about her business. The first critical one was how many clients did she need to be seeing to feel satisfied. Note that I have already presupposed that she wasn’t selling enough (I would have asked a different question if I wasn’t already certain that she was not doing as well as she wanted).
I then asked her how much money would she have to be making to feel she was valued and successful. A quick bit of maths taking into account her costs and we got down to a value per client and eventually a per session charge.
At this point there was a sharp intake of breath as she realised she could never make as much as she wanted and see the number of clients she would like at her current charge rate. I explained to her that it might be upsetting but it is really valuable because many people are trapped in the same situation because they don’t even know that they are trapped. But now that she knows she can do something about it.
Let’s look at what has happened through a series of questions. What I’ve done is taken her to a realisation that she cannot achieve her business goals by staying as she is. But at the same time I have massively built my credibility. And I’ve opened a loop on the fact that there is a solution.
Other Possibilities and Why they Don’t Work
My experience allowed me an educated guess to her whole situation. But can you imagine what kind of reaction I would have got if I had just told her? I am thinking not so much a break in rapport but of a complete bloodbath.
Another possibility might have been to pitch a metaphor or two as a trance induction about some other coach and pace her current circumstances. This would work if she managed to bridge the gap and then admitted the issue in a way that I could take forward.
My approach of using a sequence of questions kept the focus and accountability on her. In essence it is her realisation not mine or a story about someone else’s realisation that we are using to displace any resistance to the message.
The Sequence is Key
I then asked her some questions about how different her life would be if she had that number of clients at that session rate. She told me what it would be like but also decided it was impossible. I asked her what it would be worth if we could make the impossible possible (that was a direct pace from one of her own tag lines).
She didn’t have a sensible answer to that question so I got her to do a little maths based on the difference between what she was currently earning for the year and what she would be earning at the rate she wanted. I asked her if she would be willing to part with a tenth of that as payment if someone could show her how to get there.
Using a Contrast Frame
Robert Cialdini’s book Influence contains a chapter on contrast frames. The reason I want her to look at a tenth of what she could be earning and ratify that would be a fair price is because I already know I would charge her far less. So when I get to telling her my price she will be pleasantly surprised because she would be expecting and prepared to pay a lot more.
Offering the Solution as a Gateway to the Sale
At this point I asked her if she would like me to explain how she could reach that level of income. I explained everything step by step. I explained how she would have to rid herself of her preconceptions about money, build her self-worth to be okay with charging that sort of money, find niche markets with problems that needed her solution that were worth that sort of money and then how to sell… sorry “how to present her service” in a way that people would buy.
And to finish I explained to her that I had just demonstrated my method of
selling presenting a service to her by taking her through the process.
I explained clearly and specifically what she needed to do. I even explained the
sales presenting information process to her so she knew what I had taken her through and how it worked. The service I wanted to sell present to her was support in implementing this not the knowledge of the process. So if she felt that she could go away and do what I was suggesting then she was never going to be a customer of mine.
But once she had the information if she felt that she could not do it for herself I have almost automatically made the sale. I’ve built my credibility and rapport in a massive way, I’ve established a student / teacher relationship with her and I have built the value of what I can do for her comparing it to the return of investment she will get.
The Future Pace
I’ve not seen her for a number of years but when we last spoke she was fully booked up to six weeks ahead, charging exactly what she wanted. She still didn’t sell but she had become very good at presenting her services.