Improve your consultative sell with NLP

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19 November 2015
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon

Every salesperson wants to succeed. They get a kick out of closing a deal that gives the customer what they want. They solve problems for people by providing a solution that suits them. When there’s a match between what the buyer wants and what the seller offers they achieve their goal. Those taking a consultative approach to selling can benefit hugely from techniques and models taken from NLP.

To some extent success in selling is about how many calls you make. Make enough and eventually you get a sale. The task is to overcome objections and make sure the customer recognises the value your product or service adds. This may sound good in theory but there’s more to it than that. The relationship aspect of selling is sometimes ignored even though it’s tremendously powerful and effective. Consultative selling – as it’s often called – requires finely-tuned, sophisticated listening and questioning skills, which using NLP models can help you to develop.

Find their ‘hot buttons’

One of the secrets of success lies in identifying the person’s ‘criteria’ – what’s important to them – and emphasising them in your sales pitch. This is easily done by asking questions such as, ‘What do you look for when buying an X?’ or ‘What’s important to you when choosing a Y?’. If you can establish what their ‘hot buttons’ are, and then press them, you’re more likely to be able to make the sale.

Speak their language

Reflecting the language of the customer or prospect can be valuable when doing this. If you focus your sensory acuity (using all of your senses to be aware of what is going on around you and with other people) and listen very carefully, you’ll notice they say time and again – ‘reliability’ perhaps, or ‘quality’. Using the ‘backtrack frame’ to repeat what they actually said, rather than your translation of it, will allow you to communicate more powerfully with them. And if you can identify their preferred representational system, and use visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic words and phrases as appropriate, you’ll be speaking the natural ‘language’ and appeal to them better as a result.

Appeal to their internal filters

Being able to identify a prospects’ Meta Programs (ways in which we filter how we think) can be extremely helpful too. For example, if they have a ‘towards’ motivation, you should place emphasis on how wonderful life will be for them when they’ve bought your product or service. If their pattern is ‘away from’ you should highlight the problems they’ll avoid.

Do the right things to convince them

Using NLP can also enable you to recognise your prospect’s convincer pattern – the internal process they go through before they feel comfortable to buy. If they need to see something or use it before they’re convinced, show them a sample, if appropriate, so they can try it for themselves. If hearing or reading about something are convincers, put them in touch with a satisfied customer or client, so they can hear and/or read from a reliable source that the product or service is right for them.

If you’re in sales you know that your prospects and customers buy you before they buy the product or service you’re selling. However good you are at describing features (what the customer buys), advantages (what the features do) and benefits (what the buyer gains) you have to be able to build rapport and win their trust first. Many successful salespeople have developed the ability to connect with others quickly and easily, using techniques such as matching and mirroring things like words, vocal tone and body language. They also focus on common areas of interest or shared beliefs and values.

The salesperson who embraces NLP is without doubt better equipped to win more business and create lasting relationships.


To find out more about NLP and how you can use it in business, you can read‘Teach Yourself NLP’, by Amanda Vickers and Steve Bavister.

Alternatively, give us a call to discuss options for courses to develop consultative selling and NLP skills. We’ll design something that meets the exact needs of you and your team.