Neuro-Linguistic Programming sounded like quite a scary thing when I saw the Rising Talent syllabus all those months ago when applying. But it was one of the modules I spoke most about during my application interview. Having heard about it from previous alumni, NLP was one of the bigger modules I was very much looking forward to.
The most I knew about NLP before the course was that it was something that would provide me with the ability to ‘get people to do things without actually telling them to do it’. Which in itself sounds like quite a mad premise! Thankfully the course taught me that it was more than that because there were key elements that you needed to believe in and implement before you were able to properly put those skills to use!
Also before I start, I have to say that our trainer Marcus was simply the best person we could have had to get NLP across to us. Not only was he someone who practices NLP as a professional, he also can hypnotise people! (I might have to write a follow up post about my experience with hypnosis as it was a rather unique experience! We also shared a love with me for all things magic. (We might have shared a few tricks and he put this brilliant website on my radar)
Now, onto the good bit! What on earth was the course all about?
We covered four main areas over the three days:
- Building Rapport
- Working with Beliefs and Values
- The ‘Five Step’ Sales Process
At first glance, this seemed like common sense guidance that we all were already doing. Things such as the body language you communicate with when meeting clients or new faces, to the small talk you have to try and loosen their moods. The biggest thing I took away from this session was a very simple lesson.
It was prefaced with the understanding that we all will meet clients that have a reputation of being ‘difficult’ along our daily working lives, but the way we treat them is dictated usually by what others tell us. If we’re told that they’re a handful to work with, we treat them like a handful, which usually leads to a difficult working relationship.
If we treat ‘difficult’ clients as human beings without a preconceived attitude, we’re more likely to get a better working relationship out of them, even if they don’t immediately realise it.
This was quite a learning point for me because it was a situation that was all too familiar in my every day working career.
Working with Beliefs and Values
This was part of the module I felt I left with a greater sense of change that I could apply both back in the workplace as well as to my own personal life. Regardless of the nature of the belief, they’re all underpinned by the values we associate them with. We had quite an active session where in pairs we worked on a negative belief we thought we had and worked on the steps towards changing them towards a positive one. I’ve committed to taking the seven steps we learnt away and working on reviewing some personal beliefs and trying to shape them into ones that have positive values associated with them.
This part of the course again felt like something that everyone should have really known about without necessarily being taught it, but it turned out that we all have a subconscious understanding of things when we’re being spoken to. Whether we’re the person talking or the person listening, we all have various body language signals that signify certain things.
Explaining a tricky subject in a meeting using past (your right), present (your centre) and future (your left) framing helps guide a person into seeing what they’re leaving behind, where they are and what they have to look forward to. It’s a very simple thing that if not framed right can leave your client feeling quite confused.
The ‘Five Step’ Sales Process
This bit of the module was more hands on, it basically allowed us to put everything we’d learnt over the three days into practice by following the following five steps:
- Establish rapport – both on a concious and unconcious level
- Frame the need for the upsell – using the framing techniques we learnt, ‘upsell’ the point in hand in a positive way for the client
- Attach client beliefs and values – use what you know about what the client believes in, whether positive of negative, into what you’re speaking about to further relate to them
- Discuss and handle objections – always something that would come up, but use the first three to shape and inform how you deal with objections
- Ask for a commitment to close the ‘sale’ – by getting a client to commit to something, they are more likely to allow you to close the conversation and lead to the result you want.
I’m quite thankful to the organisers of Rising Talent for putting NLP into the syllabus. It’s something I’m aching to bring back to the business and can’t help but sing it’s praises in the situations I can work it into. Keep an eye out in the following weeks for my take on being hypnotised!