Yeeeeaaaah! Sitting here in Thailand, preparing for the Super Master Practitioner, I am finally convinced to write a series of posts regarding NLP for Sales & Influence in parallel to my conversational programming series. I have been wanting to do this for a long time and what really triggered me today is this ‘prop’ that I saw when I went for a walk.
My Story as an NLP Influencer
It goes back to September 2011, Chennai, SOE home office. Harini and I were sitting and wondering if we have to start School of Excellence. And Harini and I unanimously agreed that if we are teaching Neuro Linguistic Programming – the most sought-after skill set for influence – we better Demonstrate First Our Ability to Influence.
This opportunity came easy. We had before us what appeared to be an impossible proposition. Not only did we achieve it the very First Month, we also did better than the other trainers in India who had existed for 25+ years. This is what happened.
– When we started, the average batch size in an NLP course was six. Some so-called NLP trainers, including the ancient ones, ran a batch with four participants. Many claimed that they like to keep the batch small, but the truth was that the market in India for NLP training was not there. People had awareness, but the market was so spoilt that no one was willing to invest.
– The average costing of a program was Rs. 16,000/-. Again, it was like the grey markets and bargain markets. People would publish for Rs. 30,000/- and sell it for Rs. 8,000/- at the last minute. That pricing won’t just work for me or for Harini.
– Both Harini and I were used to charging a lakh/day as individuals for tech and music shows. There was no way we wanted to get into the NLP market unless it at least supports our current lifestyle. For this, we had to have at least 12 participants paying a minimum of Rs. 40,000/- each. Woooaahhh! That is about 500% or 5 times more than the market average, 2.5 times more pricing, and 2 times more participants!
– SOE was 1-week-old. Harini and I were known in our personal circles. Dr. John Grinder had been coaching us. We had done some miracles. But to the rest of the world, back then, we didn’t have anything to show. No Testimonials, No Affiliations, No Certifying Authority.
– The market was also used to the traditional, attend-a-free-introductory seminar or meet the trainer first and then register. Our challenge was to skip this process and get customers over phone calls.
The Sales Success
Given the above hurdles we had 14 people paying above 40k and registering for the first NLP batch that Harini and I conducted. We knew there is no way we could have done that. It was more than 500% more revenue than what we saw the market was making. And we did it in one month. At that moment we knew our NLP skills do work at least for influence. We similarly set high standards and went on to test our NLP skills in every other domain.
Although all the NLP trainers in India sell the courses themselves, Harini and I like to focus our attention on more training, research, coaching, and a variety of other projects we are spearheading. So, we decided that within the first six months we have to get off sales. And we did it within three months. Again, we had a story that sold itself. This was influence too. We were lucky. The initial team came from people who we already know and who trust us. And each of them continued to learn NLP from us and use it for sales.
Today, there are competitors who try to copy every bit of progress from us. Our branding, our online pitch, our offerings, our pricing, and everything else. And yet, the sales engine just rocks and keeps on getting better. And that is skill! The good news is, we have refined the techniques and methods so much that the current sales team gets quicker and more conversion than what Harini and I used to get two years ago.
Learn Sales & Influence using NLP
So, here is the another good news. I am taking all the training I have been giving our sales team using conscious and unconscious learning processes and writing about them in these series of articles for everyone to learn to sell and influence using NLP. Now, sales is not just limited to the sales professional. An entrepreneur has to sell an idea to his or her customers, a start-up to an investor, a manager to the management and a student to an interviewer.
Sometimes, we sell and influence ideas and opinions among our loved ones. And I personally think sales is one of the most ancient of arts and one that we learn at a very young age. When we start to ask for things we want as a child, we are indeed selling. Some continue to be good at it and some have to learn to be good all over again.
I hope to make these series of articles useful for all who influence.