In our NLP training courses we provide our students with many techniques for discovering excellence, after all NLP has been described by some as the art and science of excellence. One of the processes that our students go through is to choose a skill that see in someone else and that they would like to have for themselves, or to pass on to others. This process in NLP is called Modelling. Some of our students discuss how they have used this process to discover and develop success in sales:



We take training, coaching and counseling to places where people have no access to these resources due to geographical location and financial restrictions. These projects rely heavily on financial support from different groups and individuals. Networking is crucial in raising the necessary funds and this is my weak spot. I feel uncomfortable in connecting with people and trying to maintain these relationships because I feel like there’s an ulterior motive for my communications. I dread this part of my work and am not doing my share in it.

The skill and the role model:

I wanted to learn how to enjoy networking with people and how to do it easily and effortlessly. My husband is really excellent at this. He is a natural and doesn’t break a sweat over it. Therefore I decided to model him.

Modeling, interview and observation:

He is a slow processor, so I asked him two weeks before I wanted to interview him if he didn’t mind helping me with this. He was very eager, because I said that I’d like to learn how he is so excellent at networking! He spooks easily, so I knew that I need to be very low-key about this interview process.

I picked up the subject again casually on Saturday afternoon when we were just relaxing in the living room and had some free time. He started to answer my questions naturally but almost stopped once I had to pull out a piece of paper to write down his answers.  Anyway, he was already getting into the topic and feeling great about himself so he went on. I discovered some great stuff!

Before the interview I also took time to pay attention when he was communicating with people either through email, instant messaging or phone calls. I especially watched and listened to his phone calls. I noticed that he is always very relaxed when he is talking with people. He is breathing deep from his abdomen, his body is relaxed and he is often smiling and laughing when he talks.

Beliefs and motives:

My husband believes that the people he contacts are genuinely interested in our work and want to hear what is happening. He believes that they enjoy hearing from him and talking with him. He is not calling people because he wants them to donate money for a project, but because he is genuinely interested in their lives and enjoys the meaningful connection he has with them. He believes that he is giving these people an invaluable gift in the form of genuine interest, listening ear and encouragement which results in the people feeling supported and connected.

This interaction also fills a need for him because he likes people listening to him and caring for him which makes him feel supported and connected. This is probably a universal human experience, but in this context I would say that it is more a void in his life and not crucial for the model of excellence to run well.


I asked a lot about how he keeps track of people because he doesn’t have any apparent physical system for this. People are “in his mind” and he is often thinking about them and wondering how they are doing. Once he realizes that he hasn’t heard back from someone for a while, he will look for a way to connect with that person. Names often come to his mind when he is on autopilot as well.

Once someone’s name comes to his mind, while he is mentally running through the list of networking contacts or on autopilot, he will refresh himself about that person’s life situation. He will go back to emails or messages and check what the last communication was all about. He will remind himself of the correct business terms and personal facts so that he is prepared for the phone call or message. He will also decide on the topic to talk about, the main aim for the conversation based on what is going on in the person’s life. He is calling because he wants to know the latest development on the issue that has been going on in the person’s life.

I specifically asked about calling people, so after he’s got his facts ready he will decide on the right timing for the call. Timing is of an essence and depends on the person’s life situation. He wants to catch people when they are having free time and are more relaxed.

So now he has his facts, a topic in mind and the right timing and is ready to make the call. He is completely relaxed and natural expecting the other person to be happy to hear from him. He will start by talking about personal things and asking about family (if relevant to the person). Then he will move on to the topic he wanted to talk about, which is not fundraising. After listening to the latest developments he will offer encouragement, support and some counsel if appropriate. He will then refer back to the family (send my greetings to…) and then end the conversation.

After this the person is shelved until he feels again that some time has gone past since they last connected and it is time to re-connect.


He is genuinely interested in people and loves networking. He believes that it fills an important need in the lives of people for comfort, support and caring as it does for him in return. He believes that people want to hear how he is doing, how work is going and enjoy connecting with him.

The difference that makes the difference:

I believe that his lack of ulterior motive in connecting with people is the difference that makes the difference. Once you remove the need for fundraising from the equation it is very easy and natural to keep in touch with people and show genuine care and concern.

How it worked for me:

This was mind-blowing! I could clearly see why I struggle with this so much and he doesn’t. I felt like people will think I am only contacting them because of money and that made the whole thing very awkward. Making my main reason for networking to be about hearing how the other person is doing and supporting them in their life situation made it very natural. Believing that the person is happy to hear from me made a difference as well.

Immediately after interviewing my husband two people’s names came to mind. I refreshed my mind about what is going on in their lives, looked for a suitable time to contact them and then called one and messaged the other. I had a great interaction with both people and both parties went away feeling encouraged and happy after the interaction.

I’m little bit surprised how well this worked and how easy it was to uncover my husband’s values, beliefs and strategies relating to networking. Also, I have to confess that I am more than little surprised that he actually has a strategy for this! He is so relaxed , casual and low-key that I had previously thought this whole thing was a bit of a hit and miss from his part.

Even as I’m writing now another person’s name comes to mind. I find it very easy to think about contacting her armed with this new model of values, beliefs and strategies. I will be using this skill probably daily and am really relieved as well because it has just resolved a major struggle and discomfort in my life.


Want success? Just imagine what skills that you could have using this modelling process. Discover these tools for yourself. Join us on an NLP course.


I wanted to create a model from our most effective sales person. In the end I made a model of 5 of our sales people and I chose the most appropriate subject to describe to you here.

The model that I am using for this exercise is Angelina. She excels in sales and communication. Everybody just gravitates to her and want to be in her presence.

I started to elicit what she thinks what  makes her this strong sales person. She started with describing just 3 points and I asked what else and so on. We got quite a list and I asked her to put this in order of importance. From the top 3 points I found the drivers in the sub modalities. After this I asked her what other people would think of her as a salesperson (this is of course what she really thinks of herself,  you cannot think for someone else) here we had a list as well. We compared those lists and looked for the differences. We went over her goal settings in the sales aspect and we compared those with the values of the lists.

I checked for about a week , observing her physiology to see what this is when she is successful, what is she wearing, how is her desk, her make-up etc.

This gave me what I think quite the insight on why she is selling the way she is.

The result that I got was the following. She thinks she is successful because:

  • Winning
  • Making people happy
  • Giving back
  • Rewarding
  • Challenge
  • Competition
  • Good Feeling
  • Satisfaction
  • Accomplishment

We put these in order and the top 4 are:

  1. Accomplishment
  2. Winning
  3. Giving
  4. Satisfaction

When I asked her what she thought other people thought would be her strength she said:

  • Relationship
  • Non-aggressive
  • Understanding
  • Compassionate
  • Unique
  • Open minded

In order:

  1. Non-aggressive
  2. Understanding
  3. Compassionate

Her goal is to sell. Not to have the sale, but to win. She  wants to win but not from the client, she wants to be the best.

I have this nicely worked out to send to you and the following happened yesterday. She has a bit of a rough month where the sales are not going as well as normal for her. She sits in my office and asks me if I see something that she is doing different. Normally I would start giving my observations and feedback. This time I started asking questions about the points on the two lists and I asked her to scale it between 1 and 10. Her answers were very off with the answers that she gave me to when she was very successful.  She was saying that she did not do anything different. At the end it came out that indeed she did everything the same but that her mental state was the difference between success and less success.

I asked if she had a picture in mind of her main points. This picture was different from the first time she described it a couple of weeks ago when she was doing great. I asked her to change the sub modalities in the current picture to what they were previously. She was not aware that they had changed. After we did that exercise she was very motivated and started selling just as successfully as she did a month and a half ago.

It did help me and her a lot and I think it is a great tool.