Understanding how people think isn’t just a good sales technique, it also is a great relationship-building skill that helps in all areas of your life!

I’ve already talked about how Internal Representation Systems (IRS) work and how identifying them can help you communicate better on many levels.  This post is focused on identifying the vocabulary clues that reveal the preferred Internal Representation System of the person you are talking to.

One of the objections I often hear about developing rapport is that it is tricky to focus on your prospect’s argument while simultaneously trying to subtly match and mirror aspects of their behaviour, another is that it is impossible to do this when you are talking on the phone since you can’t see the person you are talking to. The exciting thing about using a person’s vocabulary to establish rapport is that it is relatively easy to pick up their preferred Internal Representation System and you can use it in every social situation (except possibly at a noisy party).

What Are the Major Internal Representation Systems?


The Visual person focuses on visual predicates that reflect their visual perception of the world around them.  You’ll hear visual words like:

  • See;
  • Look;
  • Show;
  • Reveal;
  • Illuminate;
  • Foggy;
  • Imagine;
  • Picture;
  • View;
  • Dawn;


The Auditory person focuses on the sounds of words, ideas, and proposals. They use words like:

  • Hear;
  • Listen;
  • Tune in (or out);
  • Ring a bell;
  • Silence;
  • Resonate;
  • Question;
  • Make music;
  • Deaf;
  • Sound;


The Kinaesthetic person is concerned about sensations and movement.  Their vocabulary includes words like:

  • Hard;
  • Catch on;
  • Tap into;
  • Feel;
  • Solid;
  • Grasp;Touch;
  • Throw out;
  • Unfeeling;
  • Make contact;


The Auditory-Digital person engages in a lot of self-talk and internal processing and the vocabulary they use reflects that internal dialogue, with words like:

  • Know;
  • Process;
  • Consider;
  • Decide;
  • Understand;
  • Experience;
  • Learn;
  • Motivate;
  • Change;
  • Perceive;


Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, and you will rarely hear predicates drawn from just one representational system in a conversation that is more than a few minutes long, but if you keep your ears open for the general trends you will know which key words to focus on in your response to a prospect or client and you will find that your close rate improves dramatically.

After all, good sales people are constantly improving their skills, and one of the most vital skills in any sales situation is developing rapport with the other person – otherwise you end up with a high return rate once your prospects have a chance to get away from your overpowering personality.

Before we close, I’d like to remind you that your preferred Internal Representation System is not fixed. It can shift over time and even from day to day, so this is a guide, not a box to place yourself or others into.  During Confident Closing workshops we use a short diagnostic test to help participants identify their preferred Internal Representation System, but we stress the importance of expanding your vocabulary, and becoming more flexible in this area of communication.

Meta Description:  The words you use make up less than 10% of your total communication, yet they are powerful tool in building rapport and understanding the things that matter to your people within minutes of starting a conversation with them.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


What if this were the last year of your life – if you knew that on December 31st 2019 your life would end…

  • What would you want to look back on?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What would you want to accomplish in the next 12 months?
  • Who would you want to spend time with?
  • How do you want to feel?

I believe that S.M.A.R.T. Goals are really important, but sometimes they feel a bit clinical.  So I think the ‘Live As Though This Was The Last Year of Your Life’ idea adds a whole new sense of urgency to the goal-setting process, although some people find it very confronting.

There are a lot of posts about ‘legacy work’ and the idea of thinking ahead to what you want people to say at your funeral which I think help put this life into perspective, but they can also be hard to get your head around, so I came up with this idea of setting 12 month goals, using the:

  • S.M.A.R.T. Framework;
  • Where You Are Today as a Starting Point; and
  • 31st of December as an End Point.

This has nothing to do with fighting illness, or anticipating death, and everything to do with creating an ambitiously realistic plan for next year.

If you start today, you have more than a month to get your goals down on paper before the end of this year, so you can have them staring you in the face on January 1st and every day that follows.

Start by thinking about the various aspects of your life:

  • Mental;
  • Physical;
  • Spiritual;
  • Career;
  • Social;
  • Financial;
  • Family;

For each area of your life think of the single outcome you most desire – something that can be achieved in just 12 months if you focus on it.

Now write it as a S.M.A.R.T. Goal –

  • Specific – clearly stated in precise terms
  • Measurable – you can tell if you have achieved it or not
  • Achievable – it is possible
  • Realistic – not only is it possible, it is possible for you given your circumstances
  • Timely – there is a date attached to it – 31st December 2019.

New Year is the time when I like to look at the totality of my life for the year to come and set a single goal in each area. Once I have the big picture I’ll look at milestones and actions for each.

Just because you are setting a 12 month goal doesn’t mean that your goal will be small – it just means that it won’t involve going from 0 to a Nobel Prize in one year.  On the other hand, 365 days to overnight success is quite achievable … if you work hard and focus on taking appropriate actions.

What’s the Point?

The point is that if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it … every single time!

If you want your life to count … if you don’t want to come to the end of your days and say, ‘Is this all there was and all I did?’ then you need to set some goals. It doesn’t matter whether your 12 month goal is to get married, make a million dollars, build a log cabin, or stop the whaling industry: if you only had these 12 months to live, what would you do to bring your goal closer to realisation?

Once you’ve set your goals in each of these areas you need to actively visualise them and plant them in your timeline. I talked about this in “Taking S.M.A.R.T. Goals One Step Further” and in my Confident Closing Workshops we demonstrate how to plant these goals in your timeline so that your unconscious mind guides you very powerfully in the direction you have chosen. If you haven’t heard of this before you can sign up for our next Confident Closing Workshop which will be held in January.

This is a truly powerful process because it takes the burden off your will.  You are still responsible for your daily actions, but your unconscious mind helps you get there once you have told it where it is going.

Why not make 2019 the year you make deliberate progress in your chosen direction by living as though it were the last year of your life?

Meta Description:  Make your life count. Make your S.M.A.R.T. Goals even smarter by adding urgency and sensory power to them and make a difference in the world this year.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spend time with people who validate your own decisions and way of thinking? It’s a core principle of human behaviour that we prefer to hang out with those who share and reinforce our ideas and emotions. That carries over into the things we say to ourselves, and the ideas and emotions we nurture in ourselves – it’s much harder to change the track of our our thoughts, than it is to reinforce our current way of thinking.

As a result, angry people become more angry as they spend more time with their angry thoughts, and other angry people, depressed people become more depressed, and happy people become happier. The more we make excuses for our behaviour, the more it controls us.  So you hear people say, “I’m having a bad day, I knew it would be a bad day the moment I woke up because …” The truth is we can’t change our circumstances in a moment, but we can change the way we respond to them, and take control of our lives.

Why is This a Problem?

About ten years ago, I was suffering from depression and I’d been in therapy for about 10 months, seeing the therapist every week. I’d come back from the therapist’s office and sit at my window and stare out.

Every week he’d ask me, “How do you feel about your life?” and I’d say “I feel lousy, just help me do something to change it.”

And after I’d finished seeing him and telling him about how crap my life was and everything that was wrong and all the things that I’d failed at and how terrible I was and all of that, I’d go back and sit at this window, sitting, staring out.  And I’d hear the little voice in my head going “You’re such a failure. You’re so stupid, why did you think you could actually do it?  Did you really believe it?  Did you really believe that you could do something? Why would you even think that?  What makes you think that you could have succeeded?  You’re so stupid.  You’d be better off gone.  Why do you even want to be here?” and I would go over that again and again in my mind deepening the track of despair until my thoughts were hostages to my thinking patterns.

Louis The Painter

One particular day I was sitting at home, staring out of this window, having a boxing match with myself on the unconscious level, and we had some painters in the house doing some renovations and touching some things up.  They’d been there for about a week and one of the painters had spent the last couple of days looking at me while I was crying and I was furious because every time I looked over he was looking at me. 

This day he decided that to come over and talk to me, and all of a sudden he’s asking me all these questions and I’m thinking, “Would you just go away? Who are you? I don’t want to talk to you, I just want to be alone in this space.”

Anyway, he persisted. I started telling Louis about all the things I had accomplished, and the hours I’d worked, and how none of it meant anything.  He just listened as I told him all of this stuff, and how I’d come to be there and what a failure I was and how every night I went to bed praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning.  

And he didn’t argue with me, he just said to me, “Well, what is it that you wanted to do?” like he really seemed to understand. You know how sometimes you just get those encounters with strangers? And he just seemed to get it, you know, unlike all my family and friends who were always telling me how wonderful I was, but I couldn’t believe it.

But Louis the painter was different. Because he was actually listening and he didn’t just go “Oh, here’s this blubbering idiot.”  He seemed to really get it, like he’d been there or something. So he started asking me all these questions and he kept asking, “Well what was it, exactly, that you wanted to do? Why can’t you do it?”

Finally I said, “Well, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I really enjoy talking in groups.”  And he responded, “What’s so stupid about that?”

“Who’s going to listen to a 20-something year old who’s got depression? What could I possibly say that anyone would enjoy listening to?  And what’s more, even if I get through this I’ll carry that label all my life.”

He said, “Well you go and you learn some things and you’ll do some stuff that’s different and you’ll figure it out. You can still make that happen.”

So he called over to my Mum and said, “Teresa, can you get me a piece of paper?” and Mum comes over with a piece of paper and he says, “Here Chandell, I want you to write down something for me in a minute.  I don’t want you to tell me what it is, I just want you to imagine that in five years’ time you’ve just finished doing a presentation and there’s this young girl in the audience and she’s just a mess and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do and she’s just totally lost. I want you to write down what it is that you’re going to tell her – the one piece of information that’s going to give her a chance.”

And I wrote it down. I was angry, but I wrote it down and gave him the piece of paper, and he didn’t even look at it – just folded it up and put it in his pocket and walked away. But I’ve never forgotten Louis, somehow his response started me back on the road to health. Maybe it was even his refusal to argue with me – it didn’t matter how angry I was, all my excuses just bounced off his determination to get me to project forward and think what I’d say to that girl.

Talking to Louis like that didn’t transform my life overnight – it wasn’t until a few weeks later when I went to an Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Training that that happened – but for just a few minutes it did force me to look outside my misery and create a picture of a different way of thinking and living.

Moving Forward

There is definitely a place for rehearsing and resolving what has happened in your past, but it fascinates me to observe how this practice always focuses on the negative experiences and emotions, rather than the positive ones.  It’s as though therapy and the news are in a dangerous conspiracy to bring us down, and stop us moving forward.

Hostage to Negative Experiences

Based on my own experience I often ask the question, “What do I get out of this destructive, negative thinking?” There’s usually some kind of secondary gain – like sympathy, the comfort of familiarity, or even just habit … but this leads on to the next question, “For what purpose?” Am I really better off as a result?

What we think about grows like a fungus, and takes over our lives. It’s not easy to change the thinking habits of a lifetime but it is possible … and it can have an amazing impact on your relationships, your attitudes, your business life, and even your wealth and prosperity.

My challenge to my clients – and to my readers – is to become conscious of your self-talk.  Really pay attention to the things you say about yourself to yourself and to others.  Pay close attention to the thoughts that slide through your mind: are they positive or negative, grateful or complaining. Pay attention, and then redirect the thoughts that will drag you down. You’ll be amazed at the practical and energetic transformation that comes when you change your thinking.

So, let me ask you a question: “Are you hostage to your feelings, emotions, and circumstances, or are you ready to step up and start changing them?”

Meta Description:  Every day we have a choice to make – Am I going to live like a hostage or free person? The decision we make at this point will determine the outcomes we get.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


The Itty-Bitty-Shitty Committee Part 2 - Change Your Mind, Change Your Outcome

My last post talked about how the thoughts that run through your mind can sabotage your best efforts at business building.  You may have tried the exercise I suggested, and seen for yourself how the tape you are playing in your head affects the responses you get. Today I’d like to talk about the practical steps you can take to change your thinking patterns.

You may have come across the question, “How do I stop thinking about the elephant in the room?” And of course the answer is, “Think about something different.”

There are two key Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) ideas addressed here:- the first is that your unconscious mind doesn’t process negatives.  So when you say, “Don’t think about that!”  – whether it’s elephants, or your own lack of certainty regarding your product or service, you’re actually telling yourself to think about that negative thing.  Secondly, changing your thinking takes effort.

Your mind (both the conscious and unconscious parts) are rather like a track in the forest.  It takes regular use to wear a new path – and at first it takes effort to stop your mind from following the old, destructive path you want to change. 

Now, when I say ‘effort’, I really mean you need to make a choice.  Are your current thought habits serving your needs, or sabotaging them? If they are sabotaging your goals, then you need to decide what thoughts you’d like to replace them with, and make those positive thoughts and positive messages as powerful and visceral as possible.  It’s like using all five senses in our goal setting. Link to Blog #18 The more powerfully you visualise your positive messages and positive outcomes, the more powerfully they will be impressed on your unconscious mind, and the more they will drive your behaviour.

At first your mind will slip into those old, negative, self-sabotaging thoughts.  You’ll probably catch yourself indulging, and you might say to yourself, “What’s the problem with just sliding a little further down this track now I’m here.” Don’t! You are in control of your thoughts.  Maybe it will happen five times an hour, that you’ll have to pull yourself back from your old habits, and put those motivating pictures in front of yourself, maybe it will be even more often … but do it anyway.  Every time you let those negative thoughts control you, you’re wearing the path deeper and deeper.  Every time you change your mind, and put positive thoughts in their place you are wearing your new path deeper.  With perseverance, the positive thoughts will take over and your sales results will show the difference.

All Reality is Created in The Mind First … Then We Take Action Based on Our Belief

The pictures and narratives we create in our mind are important. If you are plagued with negative self-talk, self-doubts, and questions that are sabotaging your sales pitches then you need to create a vivid internal representation [Link to Blog #26, 27] of the outcome and procedure you want.

You’ll also want to be listening to audio books, music, and other inputs that reinforce the positive message you need to hear. Listen carefully to your favourite songs and programs and ask yourself, “Are these reinforcing positive thoughts, or negative ones?” Once you start consciously thinking about the messages you are filling your mind with, you may be shocked to find how negative they are.  Try putting yourself on a mental diet for 30 days:- cut out the News, all negative books, music and TV programming and replace them with positive materials:- read some history, read about heroes and over-comers, Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, Stephen Pressfield, listen to upbeat music or classical composers, read uplifting fiction, meditate, take time to visualise your successful outcomes … The point is to become conscious of your mental diet, because if you change what you put into your mind, you’ll change what you get out.

Belief is Not Enough!  Change Requires Action.

It’s like any worthwhile change you want to make in your life; you really have to take appropriate action, you can’t just believe it’s going to happen and then do nothing.  I know that in just about every room I speak to there are people who are busy creating belief, without taking any action, and when it comes to controlling your mind, it’s amazing the number of people who simply abdicate any responsibility.

We all get caught up in things that we could have done or should have done and it’s much easier to point the finger and blame someone outside ourselves, rather than to say, “Well, actually maybe I could have done X, Y, Z better.”   The problem with blaming external issues, is that you never learn anything, nothing ever changes and you get more of the same.   So energy flows where attention goes and the more you go over the reasons why something won’t happen, the less likely it is to happen.

The good news is that if your own thoughts are sabotaging your sales results, you have total control of them – so you have total control of the outcome. The more powerfully you visualise your positive messages and positive outcomes, the more powerfully they will be impressed on your unconscious mind, and the more they will drive your behaviour.  That’s also why a physical vision board that you see every day is a fantastic tool.  It acts as reinforcement for your goals, for your self-talk, and for every other facet of your thinking.

Meta Description:  You CAN control what you think about, and taking control of your thoughts can transform the results you get in business and life. 

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


What’s going on in your mind while you are talking to prospects and clients?

Does it matter?

I don’t know what is going on in your mind while you are talking about your product or service, I do know that it matters! In fact, if you are struggling to sell I would bet that the problem lies in your mind, not in your product.

Ninety per cent of your life is lived unconsciously – and your unconscious mind is talking to you all the time. In most cases, your own voice is the loudest you hear. So what are you saying to yourself, and why does it matter?

Back in my pre-NLP days I wanted success and I was prepared to work hard for it.  I wasn’t worried about the amount of action that I was taking because every day I worked three times as hard as the people around me. I knew from the way that I had been brought up and all the belief systems I had that you have to put action in if you want to get results out.

Since I really wanted the results, I put in a lot of effort, yet in the back of my mind, I had this little voice saying, “Well, what if you don’t get it?  What if it doesn’t happen? Maybe it won’t.”  “What if you’re not good enough?” That voice of self-doubt was very powerful. It said, “Something will stop you from achieving this at the last minute, just as it always does.” and you know … something always did! I’d be right on the edge of closing a deal, and it would fall through. Week after week, month after month, I’d fall short of my goals because I was losing the game inside my head.

Your inner voice does a much better job of sabotaging your efforts to succeed than your worst enemy could ever do – and you put up with it! In the end, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you what a great product or service you offer, and how valuable it is if you don’t believe it yourself.

Imagine that you’re in a sales meeting, and you’re doing a great job with your presentation, but in the back of your mind you’ve got this script running, “Nobody wants to buy my product because it’s not worth anything, so these guys won’t waste their money on it because they’re smart.”

Of course, you’re not saying any of that aloud, but those kinds of thoughts are running through your head all the time while you’re telling your prospect how fantastic you are, and that you can definitely give them the results that they want. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, the tone of your voice, and your physiology will tell the prospect that you don’t believe what you are telling them.  If you do a really good job, they might not even be able to put their finger on the reason, but they will still feel a niggling sense of doubt based on your projection.

On the other hand, if you have the picture of successful outcome you obtained for a client in your head, you might mention it in your presentation or you might not, but as you think about the outcome you just got for this guy, and having the certainty that you can reproduce it your presentation will come across in a completely different way.

Your prospect will see that you believe in your product, you believe in the service you are offering, and you believe in the outcome you are projecting! Their response will be dramatically different when you project confidence, from when that questioning voice leads you to project doubt.  When you are talking negatively to yourself, there isn’t anything that anybody could say that will cut through the voices in your mind.

Try it for yourself next time you are talking to a friend (because you don’t want to deliberately sabotage a sales presentation). Compare what happens when you fill your mind with thoughts about how what you are doing isn’t going to lead to a good outcome, and then try to convince your friend that it will turn out well, and then try visualising a win and talking about that as the outcome. Successful athletes know that the biggest part of the game is won or lost in the mind – and that is true in other endeavours as well.

Next time, we’ll talk about how to control our own minds … and the power that gives us over our outcomes, and other people’s perceptions.

Meta Description:  What goes on inside your head when you talk to people can dramatically alter your sales results. Why does your thinking matter, when no-one can see it? 

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


If you’re a fisherman, you know the importance of being in the location where the fish you are looking for hang out and having the right bait to attract them. In business it’s no different.  Once you have a vivid picture of exactly what type of person is your target market you can work out where they hang out, and exactly what sort of things will interest them.

In the early days of my coaching business I assumed that if you were paying a coach you’d discuss your marketing with her. (Now I know that I need to bring this matter up explicitly.)  Anyway, Anna didn’t tell me she was going to spend $5,000 on advertising until it had been signed off, and I went, “What are you doing!”  Spending $5,000 on broadcast advertising was like hiring a trawler and hoping to catch trout – and Anna’s cash flow meant that this was cutting out a lot options.

She was competing with so many larger companies who had more money to spend on the channels she was dipping into and she was not going to have much budget left for targeted marketing! So I was really worried about her survival. The earlier you are in your business the more laser-like your targeting needs to be – later on your cash flow is less restricted and you can afford to experiment a bit, but at the start you need to be very cautious.

Two months later we evaluated Anna’s marketing and looked at the results. That $5,000 had produced $0 in revenue and no enquiries while $100 invested in a targeted campaign had delivered a substantial return. It was a lesson neither of us will ever forget.  Anna had assumed that the return would be based on the size of the investment, I had assumed that there was nothing to be salvaged.

The Lesson: Selling is Like Fishing  I use this story to explain selling quite a bit. When people first get into business they just want to get any kind of business they can.  So they get a great big fishing trawler with a massive net and they go out there. If you ask “Who’s your client?”  The answer is “Anyone! I can help anyone! Just send them to me, I can help anyone.”

They go out with this great big net, they trawl along in the ocean and they put all this effort and fuel and resources into dragging this great net along and they get back to the shore and they’re really excited because it’s heavy. Then they start sifting through all the stuff in the net and the excitement starts to wane because they find lots of toilet lids, shoes, and other garbage that was at the bottom of the ocean, and a few rotten fish that they can’t use.  Finally, out of that entire big load there was probably only about four or five fish that were worth spending time on.

This is what most people do – especially when they’re starting out.  They go out and they spend thousands of dollars sending a trawler out into the ocean when they could do so much more with a clearly defined target market and the perfect bait.

Just imagine if they invested all those resources fishing in a clearly defined target market! They could attract wonderful clients who were looking for what they were offering.

How have you found working in a niche compared with working with ‘anyone’?  Let us know in the comments.

Meta Description: Know your target market then use the right bait to attract them to your service and help them buy.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


Years ago when I was employed as a sales person, I attended a meeting with a gentleman.  From the moment I walked into the board room of this big corporate organisation, I immediately got the impression that he wasn’t really tuned in to anything I had to say.  As soon as I realised this, I started matching and mirroring his body language.  We were sitting across the board room table from each other and he had his arms resting on the arms of the chair and was tapping his fingers.  I subtly did exactly the same thing at the same rate.  He didn’t pick up on it at all but within 5 minutes he seemed much more responsive and we went on to have a great working relationship that still exists today.  

The value of non-verbal communication is still not fully appreciated in the business world, though many more executives and business people are learning and trusting that body language and simple actions can be the difference between a deal being made or broken.

Selling is really a process, not an action.  The pressure comes when we start to see selling as purely transactional.  This works okay in some situations (at a supermarket for example) – not so well in others (service businesses like hairdressing or coaching – or even choosing an accountant or financial planner).

So the first step in the process is to establish rapport – because mostly people choose to buy from those people whom they like.

Without rapport it’s harder to accomplish everything.  Most people aim to build rapport by uncovering common experiences or finding common ground.  This is fine if you have unlimited time to build rapport, or if you have a guarantee of further meetings, but it’s not so useful in a business context where you may only have a few seconds and no time for chit-chat.  Matching and mirroring (done subtly) is an almost fail-safe way of building rapport in just a few minutes.

Building Rapport

Rapport in communication is made up of three things: words, physiology and tonality and most people think that the words we use are the most important.  The secret is that they are only about 7% of the impact you make. Link to Blog on Building Rapport

Think back to a time you walked into a networking event, or a party, or some other function where you see someone that you don’t know – you have absolutely no idea who they are, you’ve never met them before, and you don’t know why but you get a funny feeling about that person, there’s just something about them that attracts you.  How do we know that we like that person? How do we make that decision? It’s based on the instant decision of your unconscious mind. Link to Blog on Unconscious Mind

Again, this is an example of our unconscious driving our behaviour – so 93% of your decisions about others, and their decisions about you is an unconscious response to tonality and physiology.  That puts tremendous pressure on you – but it also creates amazing opportunity because once you understand it, you can use this skill to create win-win outcomes with people.

What is a win-win outcome?  Well, if you tap into what’s important to another person and can deliver them the service that they’re looking for that’s a great outcome for both of you.  People don’t buy based on your experience or how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing or because your logo has pink and blue as opposed to yellow and green – at the end of the day the buying decision comes down to how it makes them feel.

Since all of this is going on inside our head, part of the art of the confident closer gets down into how you present your information so that your prospect sees the tiny fraction of the information they need to make a buying decision.  It’s ensuring that the key bits of information they need to know about the outcome will get past their filters.  Once you’ve accomplished that, their buying decision is made for them.

The art of influence is not just in the words, it’s not just in the tonality, it’s not just in the things that you choose to show them, it’s about whether you present all this in the way that they want to see it.  A sales pitch that totally convinces one person might not work at all on someone else, because they’re two different people.  The art and the skill of communication lies in the ability to find out what’s important to each particular person, and then give him the information that he desires.  However, you actually have to observe, and focus on the person to do this – you can’t just go through the motions.

Matching and Mirroring to Build Rapport

Suddenly you find all these similarities, because you like each other – you’re in rapport.  You might use the same words a lot of the time, or you might find yourself shaking your foot in the same way or  talking at the same volume, or using the same tone of voice – and all those pieces of information play a role in how much you like each other.   The reason you get along is because your body language is picking up on the fact that you’re actually the same.   So in those 11 million bits of information that are flooding your neurological system every single second, you’re unconsciously picking up on bits and pieces that match you and unconsciously make you like that person.  Most of the time this happens unconsciously, but  what if you could do it intentionally? 


It’s quite easy to match and mirror so that you gain rapport intentionally.


For example, if I was meeting with Janine and she was playing with her pen, I might get my pen and play with it in the same way, or I might position my feet in the same way that she’s got them on the floor. Unconsciously she would pick up on the fact that we’re like each other.  If you remember that physiology is a whopping 55% of communication, you’ll see why one of the quickest ways that you can build rapport with someone is to mirror their actions. 


In matching and mirroring physiology, there are many differing things you could copy – I’ve mentioned habits like tapping fingers or pens, but you can also mirror their breathing rate,  their posture, their gestures, and even their blinking.  I know the idea of mirroring someone’s blinking sounds strange, but we all blink at different rates so one of the easiest ways to match and mirror someone without making them aware of it is to actually blink at the same pace as them.


Remember 90% of our lives is lived unconsciously, so our ability to perceive our space around us is controlled largely by our unconscious.  We’re not aware of it, but our unconscious will pick up on it and decide that we actually like each other. Posture and gestures are other things that you can match and mirror.  This is something that you can easily do while you’re sitting there talking to your prospect about your product and service and if you do it properly they will never even be aware of it.

Exercise Caution in Matching & Mirroring

Please exercise caution in this and use common sense. If somebody’s got a physical impairment or a speech impediment, don’t match and mirror that aspect of their behaviour.  And that really goes without saying.

Just as important, don’t match and mirror unresourceful states like depression or anger.  If someone’s depressed, you want to try and pace them into a nicer state, rather than sinking down into a depressed state with them.

This list of behaviours that you can match and mirror is not exhaustive.  If you can think of more examples, please tell us about them in the comments.

Meta Description:  Matching and mirroring behaviour is one of the fastest and easiest way of building rapport with just about anyone.  Here are some ideas of physiology you can match and mirror.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


The elevator pitch is one of the essential business tools you need.  It’s rumoured that the elevator pitch came out of the process screenplay writers used to get the attention of producers and directors in Hollywood.  They were so hard to book time with that script writers would go to the movie office and wait for the producers and directors to arrive in their cars. Then they would get into the elevator with them, and spend the 30 seconds while they arrived at the floor to pitch the concept of their script.

An elevator pitch is not the only way to pitch your business, it’s not even the ideal way to pitch it, but it is an important way of getting your foot in the door.

Basically, an elevator pitch is your chance to describe your business and capture someone’s attention within 30 seconds.  Often, when people are asked what they do, they respond with a job title, or a profession like, “Oh, I do SEO.” “I’m a finance broker.”  That’s not really a conversation opener, because you already know (or think you know) what that means, so you lose interest.

An elevator pitch should be designed to capture a person’s attention and attract an emotional response because people buy on emotions and benefits, not on features. They’ll usually buy to solve problems too, so if you’ve got a solution to a significant problem that I’m experiencing, I will pay whatever I need to pay to get rid of that problem.  People are far more likely to spend money to move away from pain, than towards pleasure. So your elevator pitch is a very elegant way of being able to present the problem you solve very succinctly. 

If you were a mortgage broker your elevator pitch might go something like this: –

“You know how when you put an application in for a loan and you don’t actually get the loan but it goes as a mark on your credit rating whether you got it or not and that can influence how you get loans in the future? 

Well, what we do is we offer a specialised consultative service whereby it helps people to ensure that when they apply for the loan, that’s the loan they’re going to get, not adversely affecting their credit rating and making sure that the product is right for them. 

In fact, we just recently helped a solicitor to manage a situation with his client where he’d been to several brokers and had a problem with his credit rating. We were able to find the right product for him and save him around $2000 a month on repayments.”

What’s the problem, what’s the solution, what’s the evidence of each.

A florist’s elevator pitch might go like this: – “You know how a lot of wedding florists are out there arranging flowers that look fantastic when they leave the box, but halfway through the ceremony they’re wilting and  going brown already?

Well, what we do is we make sure that we understand what the needs of the bride and the bridal party are and where the wedding’s going to be and actually provide a consultative service to make sure that they have everything they need and that the right suggestions of floral arrangements are made for the particular day and the look and feel that’s designed by the bride for her special day. 

In fact we recently had a bride that came in and wanted red and white carnations.  Here, let me show you the pictures of how beautiful they looked.”

Your elevator pitch is a fantastic tool to use at networking events, because it’s a conversation opener, rather than a closer.

Not many people actually know what a Life Coach does, or what neuro-linguistic programming is.  So, if I go up to someone at a networking event and say I’m an NLP trainer or a Life Coach, they say, “Oh, that’s nice.”,  If I follow up with “Have you heard of NLP?” they’re kind of stuck.  Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t, but they don’t want to look stupid, and they’re not really interested.

But if I say,

”You know how sometimes people feel like they’re doing everything they can to increase their business and it just seems like they get rejection after rejection and that often makes them feel like they’re not very good at what they do? 

Well, what we do is we actually make people identify where those belief systems are coming from and use hypnotic processes to allow them to make changes at the unconscious level. 

In fact, I recently worked with a guy who had such a belief about money which actually stemmed from something his grandfather used to say, and he just used to hear him saying it in passing. We did a simple process that took around 10 minutes and that week he went and closed a $100,000 sale, one that he had been working on for about 3 months without any joy.”

I haven’t said I’m an NLP trainer, I’ve told you about a problem, I’ve told you about a solution and I’ve given you evidence on how I solved that problem.

People buy on problems and solutions, they don’t buy on features, and they don’t care what I call myself.  Maybe if they’re interested in doing some business with me they might want to find out a little bit more about that.  So the next question is, “Oh, how did you do that?” or “What hypnotic processes? Do you really believe in hypnosis?” It opens a conversation. Instead of engaging in a situation where they get stuck with a label, I’m drawing their attention to a potential problem that they might actually have.

Rather than saying, “I’m this and I can help anyone, tell your friends and family and anyone you know who has legs to come and see me.” I’ve told them the kinds of people I work with, and the problems I solve.  I don’t work with everybody. There are NLP trainers out there who work with children – I don’t work with children, it’s not a specialty area of mine. There are NLP trainers out there that focus on holistic, I tend to look at NLP in the context of business, in terms of how you communicate with people, how you are having joint communications, how are you projecting yourself within your business.

Sometimes when I mention hypnosis in a business context people are clearly thinking that hypnosis has nothing to do with business.  That’s actually why I like to put it in there, because it stops people in their tracks, and in the context of a $100,000 dollar sale it draws attention.  Here’s a secret: It takes people to run businesses, and the people that run those businesses have emotions and sometimes they don’t know what to do with them, so you need to be able to resourcefully deal with your emotions in order to represent your business.  Hypnosis helps people deal with the emotions that are stopping them from doing business really well.

If you sign up for our mailing list you will receive a special elevator pitch tool, but I want to lead you through the NLP way of phrasing your elevator pitch because it’s very purposeful and specific.  It’s deeply rooted in the science of communication, so you’ll find these patterns under different labels all over the place.  People use them because they are powerful and proven.

Opening with, “You know how a lot of people have XYZ problem …” draws the person’s attention to what you’re about to say next … it starts them searching their minds to find out whether that’s a problem for them and they try to think of times when they felt that way or when they had that problem.

Continuing with, “Well, what I do is …” frames the problem in terms of your specific solution and draws their thinking forwards from the problem to the solution.

And finally, “In fact, …” displays convincing evidence that your solution works, and cements the kind of people you help and results you get firmly in their mind.

So effectively you are answering several questions in your 30 second pitch:-

  • What are the problems that your service answers?
  • What are common solutions to the problem?
  • How do you solve that problem?
  • And then where is some evidence that you’ve been able to do that?

You may develop several elevator pitches that reflect different facets of your business, but each one should focus on a single aspect.  If you are not sure about how to develop your elevator pitch sign up to our mailing list and you’ll receive our fantastic Elevator Pitch Tool.

Meta Description:  A perfect elevator pitch is an essential business tool to gain the attention of your ideal clients, and help them refer others to you.

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Book your complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session with Chandell.

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


Many businesses work within a single theme that has various elements and aspects to it.  The problem is that if someone asks you what you do, most people head for the biggest umbrella they can hide under and say something like, “I’m an accountant, (or a lawyer, or a teacher).” This is a conversation-killer.  It’s too general for people to really grasp what you do, and it has the added disadvantage that they think they already know all about it.

Another pet peeve of mine is the response to “Who is your target market?” ‘Everyone’ is not anyone’s target – particularly if you’re a service business.  You just don’t have the capacity to deal with everyone.  So it’s up to you to decide who are your most profitable customers, and who are the ones you like working with.  Profile them and look for more like them.

Your niche might be an industry, it might be a demographic, it might be a mindset.  The easiest way to find your niche is to ask yourself two questions, “What is the biggest problem that I solve?” and “Who are the greatest sufferers from this?”

You can still work with a variety of clients, but if you work out that the people you enjoy working with most are in a certain industry or demographic then focus on them.  You’ll pick up other clients, but you’ll be working with more of the people you love. You’ll also be able to charge higher prices because you’ll be targeting a specific kind of client and people are willing to pay more to work with specialists in their area.

At Life Puzzle, I tend to work with business and corporate clients. I don’t focus too much on solving health problems or personal problems – Teresa mostly works with those problems.  So if I’m working with a business client and a health issue comes up, we’ll work on it together but if a person contacted us and their needs were mostly outside of the business arena that person would be encouraged to work with Teresa.  Neither of us really focuses on children and the educational aspect of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) so we would refer that need elsewhere.

This says a few things to our clients: – it tells them we’re specialists, and that we’re not so hungry that we take everyone.  It also lets me provide targeted information to people when I meet them at networking events.

If I meet you at a networking event and say to you, “Oh, I do Neuro-Linguistic Programming which is the study of how to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes.” Do you care?  Most people don’t.

On the other hand, if I say to you, “Last week I did a 2-hour workshop with a company where I am running an NLP communication program. Each week I go into the office and we apply Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to their product and service. In this session with them we outlined all the values of the two directors of the business, and it was really funny because one of the directors had profit very low on their values list.  The hierarchy and order of values are very important.  We realigned the values so both directors were in agreement, and we changed them at the unconscious level, and that week they went out and closed a $200,000 deal. 

Guess what?  If I talk about the possibility of making a simple change in a couple of hours that makes a $200,000 sale – that’s pretty powerful.  People want to know how, why, when, do I find out more about that?

Since I also help people with other problems sometimes I’ll think, “Migraines or self-worth will probably be more interesting to this person.” And I’ll frame it in such a way that they can think,   “Oh, my aunty has terrible migraines every other week, I’m going to refer her to Chandell.”  The point is, saying something specific is much more effective than making a general statement about what you do.

It’s a question of asking questions to find out about other people, interests and expertise and then using that information to determine what part of your business will be most interesting to them.

Feel free to share some of the questions you ask to learn about the people you meet at networking and business events?

Meta Description:  Working in a niche makes earning more easier because being more specific helps people identify with your business.

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Book your complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session with Chandell.

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


“I really think you’ll love this skincare product, it’s 100% plant-based and all the packaging is environmentally-friendly and …”

“That’s not what I’m really looking for in my skin-care regime.  I want quick, easy, and effective.” was my response.

“But …”

And she’s lost me.  She didn’t listen.  Yes, I care about the environment, I care about the ingredients and all that – but when it comes to skin-care I care more about how it makes my skin look and feel, and how easy it is to use.  I’m busy, and every product I use needs to fit in with my lifestyle.

When you are selling something, listen to your prospect and ask questions so that you can work out what is most important to them, and discover why they would consider buying your product in the first place. 

You can only sell if people are interested in buying from us, so why do people buy?

People Buy When They Know It Is For Them

One of the problems service-based businesses face is that clients have to buy your services before they can fully understand the benefits you bring to them.  I hear this a lot from service operators and it frustrates me intensely. 

If you think about it you understand exactly why prospects won’t buy into something that they know little about because you wouldn’t do it yourself.  Savvy business owners stop complaining and start educating their prospects about the value of the service and what it will actually do for them.

I’d like you to meet Elizabeth, a Natural Therapies Practitioner who also offers Kinesiology, Emotional Freedom Technique and several other very valuable modalities.   She charges $125p/hour for her sessions and all of the clients she has worked with have had amazing transformations in their health and well-being so she has some very convincing testimonials and case studies.

Like most service business owners, Elizabeth needs more clients but she had trouble getting people to buy an introductory session to learn how these modalities might help them.

That’s not just Elizabeth’s problem, it’s a problem for many of us!  Why would anyone want to invest $125 just to find out whether something can help them? Most people have other things to do with $125 than just ‘try’ something out.  Even worse, what if I decided to give it a whirl and didn’t get the result straight away? I would probably go out and tell others about how Kinesiology doesn’t work and label Elizabeth as a quack to some of my friends/family. Terrible, but it does happen.

Elizabeth and I discussed the importance of educating people about Kinesiology and those other modalities – and how they could help.

How Can You Educate Your Prospects?

Elizabeth could hold a free monthly information session. Say, the first Monday of the month you can run an education session for 5-10 people that tells them about kinesiology, explains the problems it solves and the conditions it treats.  You might even provide a quick demonstration – but you mostly want to focus on the results it has given others.  You might make it free, or you might charge a small fee – but your goal for this session is not to make money, it is to get people in the door, so you need to balance a perception of value, with a ‘no-brainer’ situation.

This gives people who would never pay $125 just to ‘try it out’ the chance to get to know you and understand what you do without spending money on something they know nothing about. You can really raise their value perception. But you can also talk about what kinesiology can do for your prospect. Maybe they need it, maybe they don’t. Perhaps they really need it desperately, but they might not know that.   Once you’ve got them in the session you can talk about all these issues kinesiology and the other modalities address, and something triggers their response,  “Oh, I see value in that now, because it will release this issue that I’ve got, can I come and have a session?”

Problem solving, and how your solution helps people is much more interesting than if you talk about processes like muscle testing. Most prospects won’t really resonate with the details of your process because they don’t care – but if I’m a chronic migraine sufferer and you say, “I’ve got this thing called kinesiology, it helps with migraines and here’s the proof, come and talk to me about it.” then that’s helping me solve a real problem.  I don’t connect with the features of kinesiology, I connect with the benefits of it.  So what’s the end outcome? Ask yourself that question and then talk about those things – the solution to urgent problems.

Create Opportunities to Educate

Look, I get the struggle to attract clients, but I work on the philosophy of empowerment – I’m all about empowering people to move towards the goals they really want.  Complaining about the economy won’t change anything (although what we focus on does get out energy), but taking action to change will. I hope you’re starting to see how valuable this material is – if you understand yourself, and put yourself in your buyer’s shoes, you’ll find ways to help them understand the value of what you do.

You need to think creatively about demonstrating the value of your service – education does take effort, but it is much more effective than sitting around complaining about not having clients, or people being unwilling to pay your prices.

Meta Description:  Understanding what is important to your prospect in their buying decision is a crucial factor in closing sales.

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Book your complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session with Chandell.

By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


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