My Story: How I Created Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning (NEPQ)

Let’s go back in time: I started sales back when I was a broke college student. I had the very glamorous job of selling home security, and would be dropped off in a neighborhood with nothing but a script, and I’d walk up to every house, ring the doorbell, and launch into the half-memorized script.

I had absolutely no understanding of the right ways to communicate or sell… I had grown up in a ranch in the middle of Missouri, so all of this was new to me. 

As I’d go through the script that the company I was working for created for me, I noticed that I was getting objections left and right. I would try to assert all the features and benefits of the home security product to the prospect, but to almost no avail.

 “That’s priced too high,” “We can’t afford that,” “Let me think it over,” “Can you call me a month from now?” I’d walk away from each house defeated, and it happened again and again. In fact, I spent a whopping 5-6 weeks going door to door trying to make sales and losing most of them. I thought that old thought many young sales people think when things aren’t going well out of the gate: “Maybe selling just isn’t for me.” 

Now, I know now from my many years in sales that these objections are all too common in the ‘old’ way of selling. What changed for me is that I decided that rather than it being an issue of selling NOT being for me, I just needed to learn more. 

 

The Epiphany

This epiphany came to me when I was driving along with a friend one day in the week I was thinking of quitting my sales job. We had a Tony Robbins CD playing, and Tony said something like, “Most people fail for the simple reason that they don’t learn the right skills necessary to succeed.” 

LIGHT BULB! No wonder I was failing. I simply didn’t yet have the right skills to succeed. 

 Even though I had been given a script, the company I was working for and the sales gurus they had training us were using outdated sales techniques that simply didn’t work well anymore. 

I believed that they knew best, because I was new to sales and they had done it for so long. But a lingering question kept bugging me: If the sales gurus really knew best, why didn’t they make seven figures a year when they were a salesperson before they became a so called “Sales Guru”? At the time, that seven figure mark was my yearly income goal. 

Now, remember I was in college at the time, and I was studying behavioral science and human psychology. I had always been interested in it. In class, I had learned that the most persuasive way to sell is to get others to persuade themselves. The outdated model had taught me the opposite: that it was my job to persuade and manipulate the prospect into buying. This new  approach that worked with human behavior rather than working against it completely blew the outdated sales model out the window.

 

Ditching the Outdated Sales Model 

That day, I made the bold choice to move out of the outdated mold that had been created for me as a salesperson and learn in a way that would ACTUALLY work. It took a leap outside my comfort zone to leave behind the sales model that was being taught to me by these “gurus,” but I decided to come up with what I now call neuro-emotional persuasion questions, or NEPQ’s. The idea was that a list of these questions would help the prospect persuade themselves, rather than letting me (the salesperson), try to do all the talking and convincing. 

At first, I felt like I was onto something that probably already existed. I imagined that I may come across some dream book or course that already held all these behavioral and human psychology secrets, and that someone else already had created the questions. So I decided I’d first research until I found something similar that already existed out there in the sales training world. I scoured every single sales training course and sales book I could get my hands on, went to every sales training conference, and invested tens of thousands of dollars to learn from these so-called “sales gurus.” Not a single one of these courses or books included the behavioral science aspects that would unveil the questions sales people actually needed to ask to help prospects convince themselves.

There was no one I could learn it from… so I made the choice to figure it out for myself

 

Creating Neuro-Emotional Persuasion Questioning

I spent TWELVE years of trial and error creating the perfect questions. I had to start somewhere, so I made an educated guess and came up with a list of questions I thought might work. Then, I tested them in the field. Every time I said certain phrases or certain questions, I would carefully watch every prospect’s reaction. I found that there were certain words that caused resistance and therefore objections from watching closely, so I eliminated those words or phrases and tried again, swapping them out for different words and phrases. If something worked, I kept it. If something sparked resistance, I ditched it.

As I went through this trial and error process, my own sales income began to grow significantly – proving that I was onto something. When I began this process in 2000, my yearly income went from basically zero (because I was so bad at sales) to $155k that year. Over time as I continued to hone the craft, I made $327k+ in 2004, then over $785k by 2006 – in straight commission, just that year alone. 

It continued to grow as I continued to master and hone the right NEPQ’s. In 2008, I finally hit my seven figure goal, making an income of $1.3 million in straight commission in just twelve months. And it didn’t stop there. In 2012, I made $2.4 million that year. 

Again, this took years of trial and error. But now that I’ve mastered it, I’ve distilled it into a sales training that salespeople can take in just 30 days to double and triple their sales…. all through my NEPQ process. This process makes up the NEW model of selling, which blows the old model from the old gurus out the window. It helps salespeople have control over every conversation and lead their prospects to persuade themselves, rather than being pushy and doing all the talking for them. And it works. It works for me and it works for all of my students. 

If sales isn’t working for you in the model you’ve been taught, perhaps it’s because — as Tony Robbins says — you haven’t yet learned the right skills. It isn’t because you aren’t cut out for selling. It’s just because you’re still operating in an outdated model.