Sales and Sales Management Blog

June 20, 2007

The PWWR Referral Generation System and NLP

Filed under: Referral Selling — Paul McCord @ 6:54 am

Misty Davis, a financial planning professional emailed me last week wondering why I never address the subject of or even often use the language of NLP:

“Mr. McCord, I’ve read your book and many of your articles.  I find your systems and techniques to be extremely beneficial and I’m incorporating them deeper and deeper into my business.  But I’ve noticed that you seldom use the language of NLP.  NLP is another process that I use and I’m integrating your system and NLP.  But I’m really curious as to why you never mention it or use its language.” 

Interesting question.  In addition, one that I’m surprised has come up.  Not that I’m surprised that many who are integrating the PWWR Referral Generation System into their businesses are also using NLP, but because, frankly, I’m a little surprised someone noticed the lack of NLP in my writing. 

The techniques and strategies of NLP fit nicely within the PWWR system, or, more correctly, the PWWR System fits nicely within NLP.  Integrating the two is simple and straightforward. 

But Misty is correct, I discuss few NLP techniques.  Not because I don’t necessarily believe they work, I certainly believe there is some value to what NLP teaches, but because I have a concern about how some of the techniques and strategies of NLP are applied by some salespeople.   I am a firm believer that long-term sales relationships are built on trust, honesty and a win/win solution for the client and the salesperson.  That foundation of trust must be initiated and cultivated by the salesperson first in order to win the trust of the client.  NLP with its modeling and mimicking can easily turn from a communication device into a manipulation device (in fact, at its core, it does appear to be centered on what NLP might consider to be beneficent manipulation).  Manipulation may result in a short-term sale, but with long-term negative results in terms of trust and respect. 

NLP is a results oriented process, with little attention paid to the concepts of truth and reality.  The truth or reality of a situation are, at most, secondary to the results.  An ethically neutral system can be, by definition, directed into an ethical or unethical course of action.  That I do have some problems with. 

Now, I certainly recognize that I’m not the sales world’s keeper.  What a particular salesperson does with the information and knowledge they gain is their business, not mine.  However, I have to ask if there are some methodologies that may work, but are intrinsically so manipulative that they are counter productive in building trust? 

Of course, the argument from NLP is that the techniques and strategies are effective in building rapport and rapport helps build trust.  In the purest sense, I agree.  In the reality of the sales world, I’m still not sure. 

Therefore, bottom-line, Misty, is that the two integrate well and certainly using some of the NLP strategies can make the PWWR System even more powerful.   Moreover, if there is an NLP guru reading this, I’d love to hear the other side of this argument—I’m open to being convinced that I’m wrong.

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