Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

The basics of NLP for your business

One item that I’m constantly trying to teach to my team is the importance and constant application of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). My simple definition for NLP is “Communicating in a specific way to maximize your chances of getting the desired response.” Ok, so what the heck does that mean? It’s probably easier to illustrate with a few examples than with a detailed explanation…

NLP encompasses 3 Main things:

  1. What you say. (I.e. word choice)
  2. How you say it. (I.e tone)
  3. Your body language and facial expressions while saying it. (I.e. posture, eye-contact, etc.)

The first NLP lesson is talking in a manner that puts the other person first and makes it easy for them to deal with you. A few examples:
“I’ve included a quote…” vs. “The quote you requested” or “Your quote is included…”

If you’re always starting your sentences in emails, proposals, or conversations with I, I, I – then chances are you aren’t being heard as well as you’d like to think.

“We won’t be able to get there until Monday, will that be OK?” vs “Great, it looks like we have an opening for you on Monday. Does that work for you?”

In the first scenario the tone and wording implies that, “we understand you need us today but the best we can do is Monday.” The second implies, “wow, we have an opening right away on Monday just for you, isn’t that great?” If you present the opening on Monday as a negative through your tone and word choice, you’re much more likely to get a negative response than if you present it positively. (Even if not getting there till Monday isn’t top-notch service, you don’t have to act that way if that’s the best you can do right now.)

Here’s another simple example when communicating with people:
“Do you understand?” vs. “Does that make sense?”

“Do you understand” means “Are you smart enough to understand what I just told you?” Whereas “Does that make sense” means “Did I explain that clearly enough that it is simple to understand?” Do you see the difference? In the second question the pressure is on you to explain it clearly instead of on the other person to understand it clearly.

Another one of my favorite questions to ask irate customers, disgruntled employees, or upset girlfriends after proposing some sort of solution:

“Does that sound reasonable?”
Even though (using effective NLP techniques) you’ve just led them to exactly the solution you want, by offering them the chance to accept that it’s reasonable they feel in control of the situation.

One of the best ways to diffuse a difficult situation is to ask a question.

Since we’re just reviewing the basics, let me keep the explanation as simple as possible. In essence, asking a question shifts the thought patterns of the person to whom you’ve posed the question so they aren’t singularly focusing on the object of their dissatisfaction.

By asking a question that requires a bit of thought, you’re shifting the person’s brain pattern from the left to the right hemisphere of the brain where emotions are stored and you will INSTANTLY see a difference in the person’s response (if you ask the right question).

So how do I teach my team about these things.

Well, first off, you introduce the concept and explain the basics above. Then you work with them to apply these concepts in all of your scripts. You also help them plan out their conversations before ever picking up a phone to ensure the best response. It takes months of positive reinforcement for someone to really start applying it, however once they do, it’s amazing how excited they get.

Keep in mind that learning NLP is something that can help someone not only at work, but also in their personal life. If you’re able to help someone indirectly communicate better with his spouse, children, or friends imagine how much more they’ll enjoy working with you?

Remember that a great leader should be able to lead so well that his teammates would be willing to pay to learn from them!

To your success, Bryan

Leadership – What would someone pay to learn from you???

In my experience meeting hundreds of business owners, 2 stand out as extremely unique. In a sentence, Bob Reiss and Steve Dickerson are probably the only 2 businessmen I’ve encountered who I would carry their briefcases around for a year for free. I would just download as much information and as many lessons from them as I possibly could. It occurred to me that I when I’m leading people, I want them to feel the same way about me. What can I do so well and so fluently that someone would actually pay me to learn it???

Well it better be whatever I’m doing to lead my team. Think about it for a second. Consider you’re hiring someone new. They’re young, inexperienced and considering whether to enter the job market or go to school full time for business. You’re the team leader for your business, right? Would that person learn more from you or from her professors at business school? Will they learn more from the other business owner down the street? Why can you teach them more? What about your service leader and office leader? Do they all have something to offer each of their teammates?

Let’s face it, if you aren’t so talented at what you do that you can teach a class on it and people would pay to learn from you, then you probably need to start investing more time in yourself. James Rhome used to say “Always invest more time in yourself than in your business.” Doesn’t that make sense?

Here’s another way of looking at it. If you’re team has so much faith in you that they would pay to learn from you, imagine how enthusiastic they’re gonna be when you thank them for their hard work every time you hand out their paycheck.

In case you haven’t noticed from my blogs, I’m a bit neurotic. I can’t stand not doing something to the best of my ability. So if I’m going to create the best marketing or sales system for my business, you better believe I’m going to read dozens of books, blogs, articles and ask my colleagues about those topics. However, as much as I love to learn, I’ve learned that it’s much more fun to teach others. If you want to see your teammates light up and get actively engaged in growing your business, start teaching them new things. Start helping them shape their ideas into effective parts of your business. Start showing them how their contributions are making a difference by measuring the results. And most important of all, reward them for what they’re doing. My next blog will be about why I will never pay a full-time person an hourly wage which is related directly to what we’re talking about now.

I previously mentioned that no one wants to suck at their job. Quite to the contrary, everyone loves to go home to their wife, husband, mom or best friend and tell them how they had this great idea that helped improve the business. In my business, if I’m working with someone who has been on the team less than 6 months or more than 20 years, it amazes me how hungry they are to both learn and be challenged. We all want to brag about how much fun our job is because our team leader gives us so much “freedom.” The interesting thing about “freedom” is that if everyone is part of a team, they start to worry less about doing it “their” way and instead appreciate what’s best for the team. However that only works if you walk the walk. 😉 When I implement a new policy, incentive, marketing program, etc. we discuss it at the team meeting, get some input and run with the idea. Everyone seems to feel apart of the team instead of me just dictating this is how it should be. Keep in mind, that if everyone on the team respects my talent for marketing or leadership so much that they would pay me to learn it, then maybe what I suggest in the meetings carries a bit more weight… Maybe not… lol Time will tell. 🙂

If you need incentive to keep yourself on your toes and always learning and teaching your team, implement a Team Building portion of every team meeting. That’s the point where you educate your team on some of the great ways to communicate with customers, improve themselves, and be an effective part of the team. In our last team meeting I introduced Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and it was so much fun! One of these days I’ll summarize my NLP lesson into a blog or 2 for you to help build your team.

To your success, Bryan