Return On Investment: NLP In Business
by Lara Ewing
Many organizations in the United States and around the world have used the technology of NLP to assist them to achieve their corporate objectives. Those projects range from coaching individual executives for improved performance and communication to customer service initiatives involving every employee in the company. NLP is useful in any situation in which two or more people must communicate in order to produce results.
Here are some examples of projects in which NLP has been used:
Diners Club trained every manager and representative in the customer service area in NLP skills for handling customer and internal communication. The net result was a 254% increase in customer spending, and a 67% reduction in customer loss. The Customer Service Department, previously a cost center, became a revenue-producing part of the organization
BMW in England modeled the communication patterns of the top 1% in sales. After determining the successful behaviors of these salespeople, the skills were taught to every salesperson in the organization. Sales of a newly-introduced model greatly exceeded projections.
American Express trained twenty-four line managers from all over Asia to become transformational trainers. With no previous training experience, these employees became the heart of “American Express Quality Leadership”, an area-wide initiative to encourage every employee to take personal responsibility for quality in customer service.
Fiat modeled the leadership skills of their finest formal and informal leaders. Subsequent management training focused on the skills uncovered in the modeling process.
An individual employee with NLP skills is empowered in the performance of his/her duties in many ways. The ability to read and comprehend others’ mental maps is the basis of effective interaction. NLP has been used to assist business professionals in the following ways, among others:
A manager tailors her approach to staff development and motivation to the individual thinking patterns of each staff member. In a performance review, she identifies the employee’s motivation strategy, i.e. how the employee motivates him/herself, and incorporates this naturally into the employee’s development plan. In her next meeting, she uses conflict resolution techniques to resolve differences between three employees working on the same project.
A team member presents a proposal in a planning meeting. He begins by gaining rapport and accord in the group. He then incorporates highly valued criteria representing each faction in the team into the design and communication of his idea. This makes the idea more accessible to each participant in the meeting, and therefore more persuasive.
A saleswoman uses precision questioning to understand how her customer has been using the product she represents. She teaches the customer how to make the product work more effectively and go farther. In the process of gathering information she uncovers another area in which her products may be able to help the customer.
A customer service representative handles a call from an irate customer. She establishes rapport with the customer, gently leads him into a calmer state of mind, pinpoints the problem, and solves it. After the grateful customer hangs up, she takes a moment or two to shift herself into a more resourceful state of mind.
An internal consultant is part of an international project. He notices cross-cultural communication problems developing between project team members. Reading their non-verbal cues, he “translates” each group’s intentions to the other group and prevents delays in the project due to misunderstandings.
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Lara Ewing is an NLP Trainer, developer, and consultant. She has taught and consulted world wide since 1981. Her expertise has benefited organizations ranging is size from American Express to two person partnerships. Published with permission Copyright 1995,1999 Lara Ewing All Rights Reserved