NLP For Sales Guide

Who are you most likely to buy something from – someone you like? Or someone you don’t like?

The majority of people would say that they prefer to buy from someone they like. You may buy something from someone you don’t like if it is a really good deal – but you will not feel as good about your purchase as you would if you really got on well with the Vendor.

People buy people. First and foremost the most important to have with a potential customer is Rapport. You probably find it easier to sell to some people than to others; and the people you find it easier to sell to are probably people you naturally have a rapport with.

Building and maintaining rapport is one of the key processes in NLP and invaluable in sales.

A Definition

Neuro – the way we take information in, process it and make sense of the world around us.

Linguistic – the way we communicate that sense of the world to other people (and to ourselves – do you ever talk to yourself?)

Programming – the effect that communication has on our behaviour, the behaviour of people around us and therefore the results we get.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right”

NLP was initially developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. The group expanded fast to include Judith Delosier (ex-wife of John), Lesly Cameron (ex-wife of Richard) and Robert Dilts.

Richard Bandler was interested in Computer Science and studied psychology. John Grinder had studied Linguistics (up to Ph.D. level), and had written some books based on the work of Noam Chomsky. Judith Delosier studied Anthropology. Lesly Comeron was a psychotherapist. Robert Dilts was a student in psychology and various other subjects.

They met at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Bandler started studying psychology here. Grinder was an associate professor in Linguistics at that time

Bandler started collaborating with Grinder in 1972. The first publications appeared in 1975.

They worked by modeling a number of well renowned and effective communicators with the purpose of discovering exactly what they did which made them effective. The idea was that, once the key methods were discovered, it should be possible for anyone to use the same techniques.

Selling With NLP

NLP is invaluable to all stages of the sales process and has even defined a 6 step sales process.

The most important aspect of this sales process is that it turns a traditional approach on its head.

Typically, selling starts with a ‘pitch’. We begin by giving information about our product or service and then answer questions, challenges or resistance.

NLP turns this on its head by finding out what the client needs, (and for what reason) before introducing the product or service.

This then gives you the opportunity to tailor your product, service, idea or point of view to meet the client’s needs exactly.

Before all of this happens, though, there are some crucial steps to consider.

First and foremost, you need to build rapport. People like people who are like them. If you like someone, you are more likely to listen to their information. NLP shows how to build and maintain rapport with people quickly and simply.

Before that stage, there is an even more important step – your own state.

Your behaviours and, therefore, your results are dramatically affected by your own internal state. NLP shows you how to manage your own state (and the states of others) to access and maintain resourceful states as necessary.

The kind of questions you ask (and the way you ask them) can elicit crucial information from your client about motivation, need and concerns. Again, NLP has several processes and behaviours to enhance these.

Closing the sale is key. If you don’t close a sale with someone who wants to buy, all the effort you put in to this point is wasted. Being able to use specific and non-specific language to close the sale is, again a useful NLP technique.

NLP is not magic. It won’t help you to sell to someone who really doesn’t want to buy, but it will help you to convince someone to buy from you, instead of from someone else.

We run a wide range of business specific NLP courses including NLP for Sales – where we focus the key NLP tools and techniques at the sales process. For more information contact us.

Six-Step Sales Process

Get into State

Remember that your state of mind will dramatically affect your performance

Establish Rapport:

Remember, people who are like each other, tend to like each other. Match & Mirror:


  • Tone of voice
  • Breathing
  • Keywords

Ask Questions:

The questions you ask are directly related to the business of the person you are interviewing. Talk their language. Ask questions in the language of their business.

“For what purpose …”

Discover client’s I/R, desired state

Discover strategies

Discover Meta Programs and Values

Find a Need: Establish need – establish value. No need? Stop here. Find another client. There are plenty out there.

  • Conditional close
  • Tag questions

Link the Need or Value to your Product or Service

Conditional close (“Is it fair enough…”)

“What would happen if…”

“Compared to…” (Contrast Frame)


Agreement Frame

Use strategies and language patterns

Close: Ask for the order.

  • If no: (go to 3.)
  • If yes: Future pace. (get referrals.)

Resistance to your message indicates a lack of rapport. If that happens at any point, build more rapport

for more information on how to apply NLP in a work environment come along to the NLP at Work Conference on 30th September.


We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

What is NLP?

In simple terms, Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) is a series of models, techniques and strategies to help us better understand how the language we use influences the way we think and the results we get!

How can I benefit from using NLP?

NLP can have a positive effect on every aspect of your life. It can be used to move forward with some specific challenge or issue, or can be adopted more generically to make a difference to all areas of your life.

ANLP has many case studies and success stories detailing how NLP has helped clients, organisations and educational establishments with specific challenges over the years.

How does NLP work?

Have you ever done something so elegantly and effectively that it took your breath away? Have you had times where you were delighted at what you did and wondered how you did it?

NLP shows you how to understand and model your own successes, so that you can reproduce them. It is a way of discovering and unfolding your personal genius, a way of bringing out the best in yourself and others.

NLP is the study of excellence. It is the study of both the conscious and unconscious processes that combine to enable people to do what they do. The key to success is often unknown at a conscious level. Using NLP, you can elicit these unknown pieces.

You may want to improve your relationships, or eliminate an anxiety, or become more competitive in the market place. The key pieces are not found in the muscles, but in your inner thoughts, like words or pictures, or feelings or even beliefs. Once you know these unknown pieces you can change them. NLP exercises are like thought experiments, mental exercises or a game. The laboratory is your mind.

How did NLP develop?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming was first defined by Dr Richard Bandler (a Mathematician) and John Grinder (an Associate Professor of Linguistics) working together at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the early 1970s at a time of rapid development in the humanities field.

They asked the important question "What is it that makes the difference between somebody who is merely competent and someone who excels at the same skill?" and decided to model various people in order to discover the answers. It just so happens that the three people they chose to model were the outstanding therapists, Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy), Virginia Satir (Family Therapy) and Milton Erickson (world renowned psychiatrist who gave his name to a form of hypnosis). They could just as easily have modelled outstanding businessmen or scientists.

Richard Bandler and John Grinder modelled their language, physiology and mental processes and then identified patterns (rather than theories) which could be explicitly taught. NLP also drew on many existing fields of study including the work of Chomsky in linguistics, of Korsybski in general semantics, Ashby in systems thinking and many, many others.

Do I need an NLP trainer or an NLP professional?

That depends on what you hope to achieve.

If you would like one to one support to achieve a specific goal or deal with a particular challenge in your life, then you may like to consider visiting an NLP professional (a Practitioner or Master Practitioner).

If you would like to learn more about NLP, either for your own personal development or because you are considering a career change or additional career, then you are looking for an NLP trainer. You can then attend some NLP training and become a qualified Practitioner yourself.

How do I choose a good NLP professional?

For starters, make sure any NLP professional you are considering working with belongs to the Professional Body, so you have something to fall back on and they have a self-regulatory framework to base their business upon.

ANLP offers you impartial guidance on choosing either an NLP professional or an NLP trainer and strongly advises that you do your due diligence before engaging their services.

How much does an NLP session cost?

The cost of an NLP session will vary depending on whether you are having a 1-2-1, group or a training session as part of a longer course. Prices will also vary based on the skill and specialization of the Practitioner… a single session may be as little as £50 and a course can be over £3,000.

We recommend you use our ANLP resources to select the right NLP professional for you and that you understand how much you will be charged per session or for the course before you commit.

By searching on our site and using an ANLP Member, you will be assured that the person you select is qualified, as they state on their profile, as either an NLP Practitioner, Master Practitioner, Trainer, or ANLP Accredited Trainer from an ANLP-recognised NLP School.

NOTE: If you are looking for NLP training and to learn NLP as a practitioner, we do NOT recommend that you use online courses to learn NLP as the quality and depth of training offered is, in our professional opinion, not adequate to certify you as an NLP practitioner with ANLP. As the internationally recognized, independent body of NLP Professionals, ANLP does not endorse or recognize ANY online-only NLP courses.

Where do I start?

If you are interested in engaging an NLP professional to support you through a particular issue, then we suggest you start by looking at our guide for choosing a good NLP professional.

If you are wondering if NLP is a good fit for your organization or workplace, then start by reading our guide for using NLP at work.

If you are thinking about training in NLP for yourself, then start by looking at our guide for choosing a good NLP trainer.

If you are curious and want to know a bit more about NLP before diving in, then do have a look at our case studies and recommended book list, both of which can help you to make informed decisions about whether or not NLP is right for you.

Is there any research to prove NLP works?

For many years, there was very little research around NLP. That is changing and there is a growing body of evidence to support the roots of NLP practice and various specific strategies and techniques used within NLP practices.

There is also a growing body of research particularly in the education field, funded by the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT). We feature their research papers, and others, on our Research Pages.

The first NLP Research Journal was published by NLPEA  in 2009 and was launched at the House of Commons in January 2010.

In the States, the Research and Recognition Project focuses on PTSD and trauma protocols and continues to campaign for funded research into these particular areas.

What about online courses in NLP?

We think online courses, in NLP, such as Udemy, are one of many great ways to discover more about NLP and what it can do for you...

We also strongly believe that if you have more than a passing interest in NLP and want to use it to build your own practice or enhance existing client-led services, it is so important to learn your NLP practice face to face, in a live training environment and dealing with real people.

NLP is an experiential subject and practicing NLP is an essential part of any certification when you want to work with others.

There is a big difference between 'online' courses and 'virtual' courses. Due to the pandemic in 2020, NLPEA's Accreditation panel and advisors explored ways of safely delivering NLP training in a virtual setting, resulting in the ANLP Criteria for Virtual Training. If your NLP Training meets all these live training requirements, you can still apply for membership of NLPEA.

What is NLP


What is NLP


What is NLP



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