Here is version of my Sales Process with some of the elements of NLP deconstructed. I hope by reading through this you can get some ideas of your own and it demonstrates where and how elements of NLP can be integrated into a sales process.
Before meeting the prospect
- Make sure I am in the right frame of mind.
- Using Perceptual Positions to get into the mindset of the prospect and understand how they are thinking. Do I know my product from the prospects perspective? For example:
- What problem / need does it address?
- What can they expect as results?
- How do I have to articulate these benefits for it to be meaningful for them?
Initial part of meeting
- Building trust, rapport and setting the scene
- Clarifying the outcomes for this meeting
- Delivering a hook or incentive for the buyer to want to be involved in the process i.e. Why should they bother listening to me?
- Opening anticipation loops, setting expectations, laying the foundations of any covert hypnotic elements I am thinking of using.
Asking questions to find out what the prospect needs and understanding how they represent the world to themselves. Good questions are obviously based on the context you are in, but here are some that I ask based on the context of selling personal development courses:
- What do you see yourself doing in five years time?
- How confident are you in achieving this?
- What skills, beliefs, and mindset would you have to take on to make this easier to achieve?
- What happens if you don’t achieve these things?
- What does gaining these things give you?
- What is important to you about achieving these things?
- What value would you put on having the beliefs, mindset and skills to achieve your goals?
Notice the sequence of these questions and what is presupposed in the answers. They are specifically in this order so the prospect is going from identifying their need, to the consequences of meeting and not meeting these needs and finally attaching a value to the need. You can find more on NLP Questioning elsewhere on the website.
If they don’t have a need or don’t attach a value that is greater than my price for the solution then I have to walk away because they cannot be a customer of mine.
Linking Solutions to Needs
Once my prospect is in touch with their need and they recognise a value to meeting this need I am going to present them with my course as a solution. When you study the NLP this can seem quite complicated, for example, many NLPers will start talking about hypnotic language patterns, anchoring positive emotions to your product and negative states to the competition, and the covert use of a hundred different NLP techniques.
I believe if ask questions in a meaningful sequence and present your solutions in a meaningful way then you can keep things simple and get this business.
This doesn’t stop me using hypnotic language patterns and nonverbal NLP techniques, but my experience has shown if I get the basic foundations right all of this is icing on the cake. If I get the basics wrong all the advanced NLP Techniques at my disposal have never saved the situation.
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Handling the objections
Normally with any complex product, service or sales negotiation there are details that need to be ironed out. As such I expect my prospects to question, query and challenge me over the product, the process or the value it is for them.
Often sales people get themselves into trouble here because they take the challenges personally and as a sign the prospect is not interested or not going to buy. Oddly objections only come up if they are interested in the product. Think about this from your own experience. Consider a telephone sales call when you are busy, distracted and generally not wanting to talk to a stranger, but you pick the phone up just in case it is important.
If you are not interested in the product or service do you not just try and get them off the phone as quick as possible?
Alternatively, imagine that in the first few seconds the sales person mentions something you have been thinking of buying. The chances are you will either speak with them or arrange another time to call.
The secret to handling objections is to recognise them as buying signals and deal with them accordingly.
Ask for the Business
I separate this bit out because it can be problematic. Some sales people have a fear of rejection or don’t believe in the product etc. just as we discussed above. This sometimes has the consequences of never getting round to asking the business. If you have dealt with the issue as discussed above this problem won’t occur.
Often following this process the prospect will lead the situation and tell you they have heard enough and just want to buy. This is a great situation because all you have to do is stop talking and take the money.
The usual circumstances are that you have to ask the prospect if they are ready to buy now. If they are then take the money. If they are not then you are going back to the objection phase and uncovering what is stopping them.
Even when people are ready to buy they sometimes need the prompt of you asking for the business before they are prepared to hand over the money. This is quite normal and is only about needing a little push to complete the decision.
Stopping Buyer’s Remorse
The final part of the sales process is often forgotten despite having huge importance. Have you ever bought something and then regretted it? Part of a sales professional’s duty is to make sure you are fully happy with the product now, when you get it home…and for the lifetime of the product.
There are many ways of doing this but my favoured approach is an NLP technique which is called a Hypnotic Future Pace. In simple terms I will get the customer to imagine themselves using the product, getting everything they want from it, and generally enjoying themselves having made a great decision. As I am doing this I am checking for anything that might come up as an objection and dealing with it.
A typical example in my context might be people thinking that after they have been on a course that they forget how to use a particular skill or process. So whilst I am getting them to see themselves in the future and they express this fear I tell them about the comprehensive manual, the groups of graduates that support each other and the opportunities to retake the course for free.
I then take them into enjoying the results you are getting from having completed a great course where they have learned all the things that you need to get the results you are after. By using language in a specific way you can get your customers to experience having used the product and if everything has been dealt with this will reassure them that they have made the right decision.
Here is a short video giving you a little more detail on the framework I suggested above.
If you want to explore the Hypnotic Sales Process further click through and read about the course here: