Today I’d like to talk about the idea of using NLP techniques for covert persuasion skills. To begin, lets address two important concerns. Persuasion, and covert persuasion.
Most people are a little bit put off when they hear the word “persuasion.” Many people immediately call to mind a push car salesman, or that guy that followed you around in that shop and wouldn’t leave you alone. Or maybe you had some sales representative who came into your home in what you thought was an initial consultation, but they literally wouldn’t leave without an order.
I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in sales, but it can be a tough business. Many salespeople work on pure commission. That means if they don’t make a sale, they don’t get paid. And after a week or two of no sales, they can get pretty desperate. Sometimes they can be pushy, rude, and obnoxious.
This is not the persuasion I’m talking about here. The kind of persuasion I’m talking about is helping the client get his or her needs met in the most efficient and mutually beneficial way. There is kind of a fuzzy line here. It is entirely possible for a skilled and ethical sales person to actually create the need and desire, and then fill it with their product.
That is how marketing works in general. When Bill Gates designed the windows operating system he pretty much convinced the world it was something they needed. There used to be only two flavors of spaghetti sauce you could buy at the supermarket. Now there are plenty. There was nothing stopping people from buying a jar of plain sauce, and then adding ingredients to it at home. But nevertheless, they created all kinds of new flavors, convinced the public that they wanted them, and now they sell very well. Many people’s favorite spaghetti sauce is a flavor that didn’t exit before.
So persuasion isn’t bad, so long as the person you are persuading is going to benefit from doing what you persuade them to do. Persuading somebody to do something may very well even create a net increase of happiness and pleasure in their life.
So what about covert persuasion? When we think of covert, we usually think of some CIA spy sneaking around, or a band of Ninja’s surrounding the house of a Daimyo in order to assassinate him. But covert means without conscious knowledge.
There are many cookbooks that show how to slip healthy food in to seemingly unhealthy snack foods for kids. For example, slipping some carrots into a grilled cheese, or putting some vitamins into a milkshake. This is covert. Done without the knowledge or express consent of the consumer. Is it bad?
Most people have an aversion of salespeople. And when a salesperson starts talking, people usually clam up. Which means they likely won’t get to experience the increased happiness and benefits of owning a new product or service. And when people put up resistance, they usually don’t think very clearly. Most of their thought processes is in protection mode, which greatly reduces their chances of seeing opportunities.
Covert persuasion can be seen as presenting opportunities in such a way to make it easy to see all of the benefits, so they can better make a decision.
Ideally, clients would walk into your shop; give you a list of all their criteria, down the finest detail. You could then input them into your inventory computer, and out would pop the best product for them.
However, people are not robots. Our wants, needs, and desires can be very vague and slippery. Sure we want to buy a new car, but which one? What is important about it? What do we want to feel when we drive our new car? Safe? Envied? Powerful?
A skilled salesperson can make a client feel safe enough to share their desires, and allow the salesperson to match their product with the desires of the customer. And that is the heart of persuasion. To show others that what you have to offer, is a match for what they want.
Doing it covertly simply means that you are not treating people like robots, and you don’t expect them to spit out a sheet of all their exact criteria. You are allowing them to be fully human, and respecting the vagueness of their desires.
And the better you are at showing them that your product or service best meets their needs, the more they will enjoy it and benefit from it. And that is a fantastic win win situation. They get their needs met, and a product they will enjoy and use, and you get to make sale and a commission.
So if you are on a journey of learning NLP for persuasion, and covert persuasion, donâ€™t be put off by negative stereotypes of sales and persuasion. Sure there are some bad apples out there who abuse these, but when used correctly it is much better for everyone involved.