NLP negotiations techniques
I discussed various NLP negotiation techniques and the NLP negotiation process with my friend, which he can use in his sales job. I thought of sharing some of the NLP negotiation techniques you can also use in sales, purchase, HR, or any other work setting where you are required to do negotiations regularly. Yes, you can use it in your personal life as well.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a set of successful psychological tools and techniques which definitely work. When it comes to NLP, there are a number of techniques that you can just use right away and get the result.
I am sharing the NLP negotiation techniques here, which I have read in many NLP books, attended few NLP negotiation techniques, or NLP negotiation process workshops.
Metamodel of NLP
The developer of NLP, Richard Bandler, and John grinder created the Meta Model concept after reviewing thousands of clients; they focused on the way or the manner client share his/her problem rather than what he/she said.
Metamodel works on verbal communication quality; it states that what you are thinking is stated by how you are speaking?
Metamodel works more or less on the NLP presupposition of “map is not the territory,” this means we all have a different internal picture of reality from others.
When we are in negotiation with the client also has his/her own different maps, the reality with which they operate. To get what we want from the client in negotiation, it is our task to find his/her reality and match with our goals.
We form our map or the reality by our experiences, which we store after Deletion, Distortion, and Generalization of the NLP communication model’s data.
In NLP negotiation techniques of the meta-model, we find out what other person thinking or what are his reality by challenging deletion, distortion, and generalization of the client in negotiation. The meta-models offer the art of questioning for doing so.
Expanding possibilities in communication
In negotiations, we come across the statement “I can’t do this,” isn’t it? Fortunately, you can expand possibilities by asking, “What needs to be done before you can do this?” or “What would happen if you do?” or “What else can we do to make this happen?”
These questions make a person rethink and come up with an answer, where you are ready to match your offering to his problems.
Identifying Distorted pattern in communication
In negotiation, it may so happen that we face two different experiences are treated as synonyms or, another person is talking just on your behalf (mind-reading), or sometimes they play the victim of situations (Cause and Effect).
The key to this model is – Separate facts and feelings from what is said out in the situation, notice based on facts how different meanings we form because of distortion. Our role is to joining reality and creating a win-win situation; keep a hold on facts while communicating.
Identifying deleted part in communication
We consciously or unconsciously delete communication, which later filled up with our own distorted data and facts.
In negotiations, it is lethal and can cause the discussion to go for a toss.
In this model, asking a leading question that is with half data is the key.
“The prices you are saying is are too high?”
You can ask, the prices are high compare to what? Let compare the value you are getting at these prices.
The meta-model questions are deleted, distorted, and generalize part in negotiation to help you to create win-win situations for both the party.
It would be best if you noticed people who enjoy each other’s company tend to use the same catchphrases, their way of talking, and the selection of words more or less the same. They exhibit similar body language. They are in sync and understand each other’s nonverbal communication easily. they are simply in rapport.
When we are in rapport with clients, it is an opportunity to put ourselves in their shoes, and get a better understanding of how they see, feel, and think.
The foundation of rapport is similar to each other as you could be of the same place and have a similar choice of food preferences.
Imagine, if you are in sync with the person you are negotiating, how much benefit can you get? Can’t you mold your communication and create a win-win situation for each party.
Now, I wish to share the NLP process through which you can build rapport.
Matching and Mirroring
One of the points to success in any negotiation is understanding another person’s world, thoughts, and feelings.
Matching and Mirroring gives us just that. It enables us to another person’s world by assuming a similar state of mind.
You have just to do matching or mirroring another person’s body language, voice, words, and gestures, etc.,
Body language includes posture, expression, gestures, and eye contact. You should select only one specific aspect then move to another.
For words, You can use a similar set of words used by them or select any two most repeated words by them. This gives them the sense that you are listening to them with full concentration.
For Voice, you can match or mirror speed, tonality, or volume used by them. If you match any one of them, you are aromatically in sync.
Among the various ways of building rapport with others, the most effective are.
- Matching their nonverbal communication, eye contact, etc.,
- Getting genuinely interested in their model of the world.
Pacing and leading
Have you been in a conversation where you felt unheard of? Like you are sharing something, and you are not getting the desired outcome as you expected.
Well, this is frustrating and makes you think that another person is not interested in you or your product.
But have you ever gave thought to whether that person is still ready to listen and understand your idea or suggestion
Imagine you want to board a moving bus. First, you have to build momentum while running along with the bus, and once you are at the same speed, you can leap on the bus. Well, something similar happens in communication.
While in negotiation client is already having many thoughts before you share your idea.
You need to pace (keep up with speed) their speech or say the flow of ideas, and when they are interested in your proposal, lead them to a win-win situation.
You need to listen very carefully with full attention and acknowledge what you have heard (You can use matching or mirroring here) called pacing, and then lead them to your offerings.
Remember, you have to pace up with their communication before leading them to your offerings.
Logical levels of thinking
NLP logical levels of thinking, developed by Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, is an invaluable tool to identify clients’ thinking patterns.
This model states that there are 6 different levels of thinking that influence our actions, relationships, and interactions with the world.
The Six Logical Levels are – Environment, Behavior, Capabilities, Beliefs/Values, Identity, and Mission.
The environment includes the external factors.
Behavior includes the internal thought process and factors.
Capabilities include the ability of an individual.
Beliefs and Values are formed over the years.
Identity is who we are?
The mission is a spiritual level where it is more of leaving a legacy.
This topic is too large to cover here, and we will explore this in detail in some other blog.
For our objective, we will cover the most applicable concept of this tool.
Imagine if you know the environment, behavior, and capabilities of other people in communication. You can build rapport easily.
For example, if a person finds someone of the same country in a foreign country, they tend to develop a good rapport. Here Environment is a country, and the similarity in-country is a key factor in establishing rapport.
The rapport can be established in one or more logical levels, and our job is to find out similarities between the party and develop the sync.
You may like the same sports, the same movies, or even the same food preferences. Do your research before getting into negotiations next time.
Here is a small video about the Logical level of thinking
Frames and re-framing
In the process of re-framing, the first and foremost step is to put a frame of reference for a discussion with the client, with the use of re-framing to move the frame in a positive direction.
We are always putting timeframes, boundaries, limits, and limiting beliefs that you can, and you can not control without any conscious or unconscious effort.
By making a change in frames, we can change how the client thinks, perceives, react, and interpret the different experience. If you can channel the discussion frames towards a win-win situation, you can win at any negotiation.
Let’s take an example of a timeframe. If you are being asked to do some tasks in a limited time, say 2 hours compared to 8 hours, your quality of work and your reaction to both situations will be very different, isn’t it?
This way, you can make changes in frames and lead the negotiations to favorable outcomes.
Often in the NLP negotiation process, we know what other people want; however, that may not be the case.
You can change frames and do the reframing by many methods; I am here sharing the concept of chunking.
Chunk is basically a block of information, which includes information, ideas, beliefs of the client, etc.,
Taking client attention to different chunk have a dramatic impact on communication as it affects their view angle.
If you find your client stuck in some particular aspects, you can chunk up to more general or abstract information. The aspects where the client stuck could be a small part of the whole information. With this, you can show the client a bigger picture.
If you want the client to focus on a specific area, you can chunk down information.
If the client is stuck at some point, you can chunk down to find a real pressing problem and offer a solution.
Milton Erickson- the father of modern hypnosis, observed that we enter into a trance-like situation many times in a day. Like when you listen to your favorite song, reading, or any other activity where you focus inward. This trance-like state is ideal for putting suggestions since resistance is low.
Imagine if you can bring your client in a trance-like state and share your solution. What will be the outcome? since resistance is low from the client, you can get them agreed on your proposal.
Conversational hypnosis or persuasion engineering is a wider topic, and I may not cover it fully in this article.
However, I am sharing the 4 stage method with which you can shortcut the use of conversational hypnosis in the NLP negotiation process.
Grab their attention
This step is actually about building rapport; we have discussed that earlier in this post.
Grabbing their attention is no doubt critical as while you do so, you make them focus on you, and you can make sure the client is following you where you lead them. Or else how you are going to put up your solution if you don’t have their full attention.
Here are some simple ways you can grab your clients, attention:
- Showing them Visuals like image or drawing
- Sharing stories with them with metaphor
- Maintaining positive eye contact with them.
- Using the same catchphrases they are using.
Bypass the critical factor
The critical factor is a conscious response to anything you are saying from the client when discussing the conscious mind to evaluate everything critically. Your task is to bypass it to plant your solution in the client’s unconscious mind.
To bypass the critical factor it is crucial you build a good rapport with your client.
You have to soothe/persuade the conscious mind by first discussing all things where both parties agree and gradually moving towards your set of solutions.
You can overload or confuse the conscious mind with too much data, and when the client just put their guards set conversation towards your suggestion/solution.
Word of caution here, do not bore your client with unnecessary data to confuse them this may alert the conscious mind, better use positive and favorable data.
Pacing and leading the unconscious response.
Once rapport is established and a critical conscious mind is bypassed, its time for you to pace your discussion towards your solution.
We have discussed pacing and leading in brief in this article.
How will you know it’s the right time to pace and lead?
The moment you get the client’s unwavering attention (they might be listening to you without blinking eyes, maybe repeating the same words with you, etc).
Presenting your solution to the unconscious mind
Once you are getting emotional responses as stated in eariler stage now its time to present your solution to your client.
When you are in great rapport, the conscious mind is sleeping, and emotional responses are there, it is the right time to present the solution.
In this state, it is difficult to deny any suggestion, if so you may need to build even strong rapport.
Out of all NLP negotiation techniques, conversational Hypnosis is widely used and most effective of all.
NLP negotiation process
So far, I have tried to collect all the NLP negotiation techniques used in the NLP negotiation process in this post. But some may find that too theoretical.
Here I am summarizing this post with an NLP negotiation process that you can use it right away.
- While meeting client for the first time, greet them by their preference, (like some people say good morning or some just say a good day) this will make them feel little comfortable (You are working of Environment part of Logical level of thinking- hence building rapport)
- Initiate discussion from similarities factor-like clients locality, organization and so forth ( Environment stage)
- Gradually move towards the stories and metaphors related to the solution you are going to offer. (Conversational Hypnosis)
- Discuss positive outcomes desired by your client and match with your solution. ( Framing and re-framing)
- If agreeable move towards your specific solutions, by soothing them with positive outcomes. (Conversational Hypnosis) (Pacing and Leading)
- Share more or fewer details required if any (Chunking up and down)
- Find the desired emotional state in client, like unwavering attention, repeating your words and present your solution (Conversational Hypnosis)
- If agreed close the discussion with a familiar note of pleasantries.
I have tried the above process and many of the time it has worked for me. This is not a standalone solution but can be treated as a baseline.
You can make your own customization based on your experience and client.
Like any other skill, this will also demand the practice.
Read my other post on
If You are just starting your NLP journey I recommend the following books.
- The Ultimate Introduction to NLP: How to Build a Successful Life
- NLP Workbook: A Practical Guide to Achieving the Results You Want