This Month’s Selling Principle:
Employing Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
Following last month’s theme, another aspect of building rapport that I would like to share with you is the science of neurolinguistic programming (or NLP).
We all act in accordance to the way we represent the world to ourselves. We all process information primarily three different ways, either by sight, by sound, or by feelings. Although most of us use all three methods, each of us also have a home base or a preferred communication or learning style. What I would like to do is share with you how to identify the three processing styles, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and give you ways to use this knowledge to help your customer feel more comfortable with you.
First let us discuss the visual person. The visual person likes to look at us, and almost has to look at us when they are doing the talking. This is the person that, if you have partitions in the office, they’ll either look up over them or come walking around so they can see you, or they will come out of the kitchen or come out of the living room into the den so they can see who they are talking to. Also, they like to use lots of hand gestures. So, a good idea is for us to consciously use eye contact to show interest and to be aware of our facial expressions and body language as visual cues are important to this processing style. Visuals often dress-up and always want things to match. They love “To Do” lists and have to see what it is they have to do. Things have got to “look good”. Visual people like to be shown or want to “see for themselves.” They like graphs, charts, tables, pictures, evidence manuals and the like, so we need to use them whenever possible to substantiate our message. Also, they like to use terms such as — look, see, clear, notice, visualize, focus, picture, view, show, bright, appear, perspective, foggy, tunnel vision — things like that. Consequently, we should make a practice of using “visual” words when trying to make a point with this type of customer. We need to help them picture themselves owning or using our product or service.
Here’s an example of a visual person. Picture yourself in a car. The visual person is driving, and as they are talking to you, they either turn around, taking their eyes off the road to look at you, or they look at you through the rearview mirror. Our natural tendency is to press on that invisible rear brake, right? And God forbid we should engage them in conversation because then all they’re going to do is turn around even more. Sound like anyone you know?
Now, let’s talk about the auditory person. Auditory people are indifferent to eye contact, they do not need to look at us at all when they are talking. They rarely use “To Do” lists because once they’ve got it, they’ve got it. They tend to be excellent joke tellers because they can remember the punch line. Poor visuals can’t tell a joke to save their lives unless they’re reading the punch line. Auditories also tend to dominate the conversation, they like to hear themselves talk. So, we need to use lots of opened ended questions to engage this type of customer and allow them to dominate the conversation. With proper questioning, many times this type of customer will talk themselves into the purchase or overcome some of their own objections. As a customer, the auditory person often brings someone else along to “talk it over with.” They also make decisions based on how something sounds to them. Auditory people are very likely to be persuaded by the conviction and sincerity in our voices. We need to be mindful of proper enunciation as this implies competency to an auditory person. They also like to use terms such as — hear, say, tell, sounds good, clicks, rings-a-bell, listen, explain, on key, tune in, word-for-word, loud and clear — and the like. Consequently, we should make a practice of using “auditory” words when trying to make a point with them.
You know what sometimes ticks visuals off about auditory people? Auditories may be looking at their hands or looking away while the visual person is talking to them. Then the visual person will stop in mid-sentence and say,
Visual: “Hey, are you listening to me?”
Auditory: (without turning around) “Yeah.”
Visual: “Well, it doesn’t look like you’re listening to me.”
Auditory: “Well, I was.”
Visual: “Look, I don’t see how you could hear to me when you’re focusing on your hands like that.”
That’s how visuals sometimes think. Then the auditory person will stop, turn and look at the visual person and proceed to tell them word-for-word, almost like a tape recorder, exactly what they had said. That is the auditory person. That is also an example of an auditory and visual exchange sometimes.
Finally, let us talk about the third type, and that is kinesthetic. These are feelings oriented people. Their mood is very important in the decision making process. As a matter of fact, they want decisions or situations to “feel right.” So, we should frame our questions with their emotional motivators in mind. (Some examples would be; “How would you feel about…?” or “I’m sensing a little reluctance, what’s up?” or “This is obviously very important to you, what can you share to help me better understand that?” or “What would this mean to you and your family?”) They like to be in close proximity and are sometimes called “close-talkers”. They often like to hit or touch us when we are talking, yet they tend to avoid eye contact. They also tend to be quicker to emote and tend to be a little more emotional than the other two types. Their terms of choice are — feel, understand, handle, confused, grasp, excited, sharp, touch base, get a handle on, come to grips with, smooth-over, etc. We need to help them feel good about owning or using our product or service.
So, what is the practical application of this knowledge? Once you are able to identify the preferred communication or learning style of your customer, you can sheath the rest of your communication in that very style that is most comfortable to them.
An example — As a manager, if I wanted to get my associate to complete a project by Thursday, I would say something like this:
(If she were visual, I would say), “Well, Sarah, how does Thursday look? Does Thursday look realistic?”
(If they were auditorily inclined, I would say), “Tell me, Sarah, how does that sound? Does Thursday sound realistic?”
(If they were kinesthetic, I would say), “Okay, Sarah, how does Thursday feel? Does it seem realistic?”
Another way to demonstrate NLP is this; if you were visually inclined and you were going to tell me that you understand this concept, you might say something like, “I see what you are saying” or “That’s crystal clear.” If you were auditorily inclined and again were going to tell me that you understand this concept of neurolinguistics you might say something like, “You know, that sounds good to me, Michael” or “You know, this stuff sort of rings-a-bell.” If you were kinesthetically inclined, you might say, “I can come to grips with that.” or “I think I’ve got a handle on that.”
Here is another example. If you were visually inclined, how would you say “Goodbye” to me?… “See ya later.” If you were auditorily inclined, how would you say “Goodbye?”… “Talk to you soon.” If you were a kinesthetic?… “Keep in touch.”
Now, hopefully, some of this rings-true with you. You’ve probably heard yourself using these phrases or you have heard your friends using them and now you have something to tie it to. Please keep in mind that this is nothing more than a very simple introduction to neurolinguistic programming. With NLP, we can use our customer’s eye position to not only determine their preferred processing style but also tell if they are recalling information or creating information. We can use syntax or the order in which they process information to formulate propositions that become almost irresistible to them. There is so much more to it and I’ll encourage you to study up on it further. But for now, we can use NLP to simply identify our customer’s preferred communication style and adopt that style to make what we are saying easier to understand and more credible.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
Follow on Twitter @MDHargrove
“A leader must make people want to get things done. From their desire come initiative, drive, creativity, and persistence.”
Objection of the Month:“The price/payment is too high.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “How much too much?”
b. “Liz, we’re so close. Why let a few dollars a month keep you from owning the car that will provide the safety and dependability for your family that you said was so important to you? Let’s wrap this thing up so you and your family can start enjoying your new car. While they’re finishing up the rest of the agreement, let me get you all something cold to drink. Who wants to come and help me carry the drinks back?”
c. “Mitch, didn’t you say this car is for your wife? Sue, you understand why Mitch wants you to have the airbags and the anti-lock brakes, don’t you? Now Mitch, wouldn’t you agree that Sue’s safety is worth a few extra dollars a month? Let’s put this thing to rest so you both can put this shopping stuff behind you and start enjoying your new car. Should we register this in just Sue’s name or both names?”
d. “Bart, you originally said that your major concerns were reliability and economy, right? Isn’t it true that the money you’ll save in gas and upkeep over the next three years is more than worth the additional $300 in original investment now? Just OK your purchase right here and we’ll get them started on the rest of the agreement. Did you want to use my pen or yours?”
e. “Of course it is Rachel! Tell me though, other than price, is there any other reason why we can’t send you home in your new car today? No? Good! Now you said that you usually keep your cars for five years, did I hear you right? You also said that you’ll use it mostly for business and that you’ll carry clients in it a lot, right? Well, isn’t the prestige and extra influence this car will bring to your career worth a few extra cents a day it’ll cost over the next five years? Let’s wrap this thing up. Exactly how do you want it registered?”
f. “What’s easier for you, an extra $4000 up front or an extra $100 per month?”
g. “If you had $5000 deposited in a CD, what would you expect your rate of return to be? Heck, the state charges you ____% tax and what services do they really provide?”
h. “Let me ask you this, Ms. Customer, currently how many of your payments are too low? All payments are too high, right? You see, that’s simply the nature of payments. The fact is, three years from now when you’re ready to replace this vehicle, you’ll be trying real hard to keep your payments right around the one that today …seems a bit too high. Just like now, you’re trying to keep your payments right around the ones that three years ago, seemed a bit too high. That’s just the nature of payments. You love this car, and we both know you can afford it. Why don’t you just go ahead and get it?”
Next month’s objection will be: “I’m just looking and not buying today” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I only play well when I’m prepared. If I don’t practice the way I should, then I won’t play the way I know I can.”
On Success: Innocence and Self Advocacy
Ice Cream for the Soul
Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!”
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!”
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?”
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.” “Really?” my son asked. “Cross my heart.” Then in theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”
Naturally, I bought my kid’s ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at it for a moment and then did something I will remember for the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”
“The great man is he who does not lose his child’s-heart.”
Mencius, Works, (4th-3rd c. b.c.), 4, tr. Charles A. Wong
On “Relative Perspectives”
What A Dog!
A butcher is in his shop, and he’s real busy, and he notices a dog in the shop. He shoos him away. But later, he notices the dog is back again. So he goes over to the dog, and notices he has a note in his mouth. He takes the note, and it reads, “Can I have 12 sausages and a leg of lamb, please. The dog has money in his mouth, as well.” The butcher looks inside and, lo and behold, there is a ten dollar bill there.
So he takes the money, and puts the sausages and lamb in a bag, placing it in the dog’s mouth. The butcher is well impressed, and since it’s close to closing time, he decides to shut up shop and follow the dog. So off he goes. The dog is walking down the street, when he comes to a level crossing. The dog puts down the bag, jumps up and presses the button. Then he waits patiently, bag in mouth, for the lights to turn. They do, and he walks across the road, with the butcher following him all the way.
The dog then comes to a bus stop, and starts looking at the timetable. The butcher is in awe at this stage. The dog checks out the times, and then sits on one of the seats provided. Along comes a bus. The dog walks around to the front, looks at the number, and goes back to his seat. Another bus comes. Again the dog goes and looks at the number, notices it’s the right bus, and climbs on. The butcher, by now open-mouthed, follows him onto the bus. The bus travels through the town and out into the suburbs, the dog looking at the scenery. Eventually he gets up, and moves to the front of the bus. He stands on 2 back paws and pushes the button to stop the bus. Then he gets off, his groceries still in his mouth.
Well, dog and butcher are walking along the road, and then the dog turns into a house. He walks up the path, and drops the groceries on the step. Then he walks back down the path, takes a big run, and throws himself -Whap!- against the door. He goes back down the path, runs up to the door and -Whap!- throws himself against it again. There’s no answer at the house, so the dog goes back down the path, jumps up on a narrow wall, and walks along the perimeter of the garden.
He gets to the window, and beats his head against it several times, walks back, jumps off, and waits at the door. The butcher watches as a big guy opens the door, and starts laying into the dog. Kicking him, punching him, and swearing at him. The butcher runs up, and stops the guy. “What the hell are you doing? This dog is a genius. He could be on TV, for goodness sake!”, to which the guy responds “Clever, my ass. This is the second time this week that he’s forgotten his key.”
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