NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming, was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They were studying the most powerful approaches to therapy, including Gestalt and Ericsonian hypnosis, when they recognized that they could help people change faster with an approach that combined an understanding of how we program ourselves. They gained a lot of attention, particularly through curing people of their longest held fears.
Anthony Robbins studied with Bandler and Grinder before popularizing his own version of their work, calling it Neuro Associative Conditioning. He mastered the ability to cure phobias in a very short period of time, but his preternatural skills have allowed him to exceed the original work of NLP.
I don’t believe that this work is necessary to salespeople, and I don’t believe that it is a good use of their time, energy, or attention.
First, hypnosis and state changes are not easily accomplished, and mastering the ability to do so takes decades. The idea that modeling someone’s sitting position or pacing their breathing is going to generate enough rapport so as to create a preference is not likely.
If you want to create rapport, you’re better off learning to be comfortable in your own skin, and working on a self-deprecating sense of humor.
Second, any sort of tactical approach like that is designed to create an “advantage,” and suggests that you are doing something to someone, and not for them, and with them. There is no case where it makes sense to use manipulation to achieve an outcome when it comes to sales—or any other human relationship.
Honesty, integrity, and candor are far more valuable when it comes to selling well. Trust is the currency we trade in.
Finally, there are so many more powerful things you could spend time learning that would help far more than something like NLP. You could develop your business acumen and situational knowledge, developing yourself as an expert in your field. You could learn to prospect more effectively, sharpen your sales story, learn to gain commitments, or learn to negotiate in a way that allows you to sell at margins that allow you deliver results.
You could also learn to manage your time in a way that multiplies your results. You could interview your clients and prospective clients to better understand their world, and in doing so, learn how you can do something more to create value for them.
If you want to be more successful in sales, develop yourself into someone worth buying from, someone your dream client believes they need on their team.
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