I get asked this every now and then, and its worth a blog post to explain my thoughts about it.
I think NLP is worth a quick look, any book on it will do, but I don’t think it’s the big answer that a lot of its fans think.
NLP super-fans think it will allow them to manipulate the minds of everyone they deal with, whether it be business deals, influencing their boss, performing well in job interviews, even chatting up potential marriage partners, etc – but I think they will be disappointed if that’s what they hope to get from it, and if they think it’s already working then they are deluding themslves.
I do think there is some good stuff in the world of NLP – half of it appropriated from other areas, half of it new – and it’s a good collection of interesting ideas. But overall, in the big picture, NLP is only a small contribution to the world of sales techniques, – and all sales techniques are well worth of study.
Things I like from NLP –
- using the right words for the other person
- visual vs auditory
- same vs difference
- mirroring (though that’s not new to NLP)
- importance of goals (also not a new idea from NLP)
- not convinced about re-framing but might be useful
But if you want to know about selling there are better places to look than NLP – for example Brian Tracy is fantastic. I also like Compelling Selling, How To Be A Rainmaker, and even The One Minute Sales Person. Not a fan of SPIN Selling which I think is too pushy and ruthless, but that’s just my opinion. If you work in sales its vital to read lots of sales books and pull out the bits you like from all of them.
And if you’re going to read one book on influencing I would recommend “Influence” by Robert Cialdini – it is both practical and hilarious. If you get the slightly older edition secondhand on Amazon it’s pretty much the same as the latest edition and much cheaper.
and of course, you could save time and get my summary of all the best stuff I have learned over 30 years of reading about selling and influencing, and then trying it all to find out what works and what doesn’t – available as paper books or on kindle: