NLP - Modelling For Sales Success

Updated: May 2016

Whether you are looking to become a better outsourced sales freelancer, company sales rep or Entrepreneur, you have to have knowledge, skill and desire. To acquire knowledge - the 'what to do' - and skill - the 'how to do', you must desire to learn - you must have the 'want to do'. 

Simply by reading this post, you have identified that you have the 'want'. What this blog aims to provide you with are the tools to go out and find the 'what' and the 'how'. Modelling can be a huge part of this process.

NLP - Modelling For Sales Success

What is modelling?

Every time you come into contact with another human being, you have the opportunity to learn from them. Whether it is something you want to learn is only for you to say, but there is always the chance that you will meet someone who displays a skill or demonstrates knowledge about something that you wish to be better at. 

How can you make the most of these opportunities? How can you change 'I wish I knew what his secret was!' into 'I'm going to learn his secret and make it my own!'? 

If you have the desire, and the humility, to learn from others' examples, you can adopt the tried and tested methods of others and make them work for you. This is called modelling. 

How can you use modelling to increase sales?

Although this process can be used to improve your abilities in any aspect of life, I presume you are here to learn about success in sales, therefore let us focus on that. Think about someone you know who has a selling technique you really admire; a way of putting people at ease, their negotiating tactics. Something that really works for them. Begin by asking them some informal questions, asking them how they do what they do. 

Most people will be flattered and eager to talk about their experiences if they feel they are valued - remember, some things come so naturally to us that we do not see them as a skill until someone points them out! Ask them for examples, get them to talk about a recent sale, and as they describe them try to note the differences between your own behaviour and theirs. 

You might seem to be doing pretty much the same thing initially; only by really paying attention to the detail will you see the small distinctions between your actions and those of the other person. 

Try to get an understanding of the motives behind their actions - what they believe, what their values are, what really leads to the choices they make. Sometimes understanding the underlying principles of behaviour can be a much quicker route to changing your own, if you can see the source as well as the outcome; and it may not take much further effort to adopt these changes.

It is as well to watch a person's body language and listen to their speech as you talk to them also, or when they are in the process of a sale. What does this tell you about their approach? 

Test - Operation - Test - Exit

There is an excellent model that forms the basic strategy pattern for NLP, called TOTE. In essence, it is Test - Operation - Test - Exit. This can be used not only to test out what you have learnt from your modelling experience, but also helps you in the modelling process itself. 

The Test compares your present state with your desired state - what are the differences? Operation - this is where you can choose to model, to study, to generate alternative methods to get you closer to your desired state. Then you Test again - have your efforts paid off, have you moved closer to where you want to be? You can continue in this cycle of testing and operating until you reach your goal, at which point you Exit, happy with the results you have achieved. 

When modelling, you can ask the person questions about their own testing process. What sparked them to try out the sales method they are using? How did they know it worked? What steps did they take to perfect this method? What do they do when it doesn't appear to work, when they don't make the sale? By understanding as much about their own path, you can fast-track your own and develop it much quicker into a form that works for you. 

In sum

It is important to remember that modelling does not mean becoming someone else, it is not even as simple as copying or mimicking another's behaviour. Whatever you glean from another person, it will always be subject to your own interpretation - based on your own experience and knowledge of the world. Modelling simply allows you to take on board the ideas and concepts that lead to 'brilliance and success', and make them your own. 

By Alan MacDougall

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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.