How to sell using NLP

The key to sales is good communication. Christine Knott, MD of retail training and field marketing company Beyond The Box, has penned this guide for small businesses who want to use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to soup up their communication skills. Here's how to use tricks and lessons from NLP to sell more effectively.

Everyone has their 'preferred' language

Listen to your customer. The words they use and sentence construction will give a good indication of their preferred language.

Some of us use visual words such as: see, looks; picture this, and other colourful and illustrative words. A visual may say "Can you see what I mean?"

Those who prefer auditory words, such as: listen or hear, sounds like, would rephrase the sentence as: "Can you hear what I'm saying?"

Finally, the use of kinaesthetic phrasing, which focuses on how we feel about something, would result in something more like: "Do you get a feel for this?"

Sales advice from Smarta

Listen and look out for the words people use in conversation

Does your customer focus on visual words, say more auditory words or do you get the feeling they may be kinaesthetic?

Once you identify someone's style and can picture their representational system, respond to them using their preferred language of words. It is unconsciously flattering to the receiver and they will also have a better understanding of the content. The benefit to any sales process is that rapport is built much faster a solid foundation for any sale.

Match your sales strategy to your prospect's buying strategy

During your sales pitch, be aware of showing pictures and samples to stimulate the visuals. Allow the kinaesthetics to handle the samples, they need to get a feel for something (pardon the pun). Auditories are motivated by sound so be aware of the words you say and if your sample can be switched on, do it so they can 'hear' the quality and pass comment on its actions.

A real winner is the NLP 'meta model', an absolute must for anyone wanting to cut to the chase in a sale when asked questions or faced with the anticipated 'objection'. The meta model involves using the phrases 'what exactly do you mean' or 'how exactly'.

By using the tools of the meta model you will be in a position to identify any missing information your customer may have deleted from the question or clarify any content that is distorted or could be interpreted incorrectly. The meta model will help you to drill down for the information you need to be able to respond accurately and with speed to questions, objections or levels of interest. Such questioning techniques will help locate the missing content you need.

Away from and towards

Your customer will either tell you what they do want - towards, or what they don't want - away from. This is a great clue as to how they process information. If they are towards i.e. focussed on what they want, explain your benefits in terms of what they will get. If they are away from - geared to what they don't want. Tell them what they won't have to do, or what they won't have, or a mixture of the two: by owning your product, you won't have to worry about X.

Many great salespeople use these tools unconsciously. But by paying attention to the small signals from from your customer, you can respond with a more targeted pitch.

For more information on Beyond The Box, go to

Read more on upping your sales:

The 10 insider tricks of sales professionals

Behavioural marketing: Learning from the big boys needn't cost the earth

Cross-selling: 10 ways to sell more to your customer

Smarta Business Builder

To help you on your business journey, we've created Smarta Business Builder, the complete online tools package for growing your business. Website BuilderBusiness PlansAccounting SoftwareLegal Documents and Email - all in one place - from just £20 per month with no contract! Try it out today.

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here