Three Key Traits That Indicate A Successful Outcome With An NLP Client…
In my 10 years of practicing NLP I’ve worked with hundreds of clients.
While I am almost always able to get excellent results with all the tools at my disposal: NLP, Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy ® Techniques, EFT, Energy Work, etc. There seem to be 3 key traits that the people who get the very best results all share.
I’ll do my best to share them with you. This is by no means a scientific study. It is only what has become apparent to me over the years as a few possible indicators of a person who is really and truly ready to transform their lives.
The clients who are ready pretty much always…
- Are willing to do whatever it takes to either get to me by plane, or train or pony express. They don’t complain about having to travel to see me. On the other hand I’ve had prospective clients in the next town over whine about how far away my office is… (not a good sign)
- Or if they are going to be working with me on the phone, they carve out time in their schedules for their sessions no matter how busy they are. They make it happen to accommodate my availability to see them.
- They don’t quibble about my fee. They “get” that my time is valuable and they don’t expect me to spend my time and energy working with them for nothing. The flip side of this is that they value themselves enough (despite what their problem is or the pain they are in) to commit their financial resources to the process of transforming their lives.
The flip side of the coin is the prospective client who either tries to work out a deal or who seems offended that their health insurance coverage doesn’t cover it. Whenever I’ve been foolish enough to reduce my fee at the prospects insistence, it hasn’t been good. It is really a test to see if they (and you) value the work.
Here’s just one example of an NLP client who was AWESOME:
A few weeks ago I got an email from a young man who was experiencing so much painful social phobia that he had to drop out of school. He was heading home to a country in the far east and was passing through New York City on his way. Now. I am in Albany NY which is several hours north of NYC. He didn’t complain or whine about that. He just got himself a train ticket and got himself here ready to work on his “project”. For a guy with social phobia that took extraordinary courage. Guts. Determination. Motivation. Commitment.
When he got here he was at an anxiety level of 8 or 9 (on a scale of 10). When he left at the end of the day he was at a level of 1 or 2.
The thing is, when you’ve done this as long as I have and particularly in the anxiety relief practice that I specialize in, you get a lot of folks who say they want to get better, but when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, perhaps only 1 in 10 inquiries results in a client who is committed to paying the price in time and money to show up and do the work of change.
That is not a criticism of folks who aren’t ready. It’s just the way it is. Not everybody who is in pain and who wants to create a better life is actually able to take the steps necessary to begin. Change can be extremely frightening for many people (particularly anxiety sufferers who are envisioning a worst case scenario anyway).
Milton Erickson would often assign an “ordeal” to a patient before he would consent to work with them. For many of my clients it is an “ordeal” just to show up because they may have severe phobias or anxiety.
The bottom line is that I do not make the changes for my clients. Only they can make the changes they want to make. So it is quite important to be able to determine which clients are a good match for you and which ones will grind you down.
Tad James told a story about a guy who said he worked with John Grinder and didn’t get the result. Then he worked with Richard Bandler and didn’t get the result. Then he went to Robert Dilts and several other NLP giants. Didn’t get the results he wanted. So he wanted to work with Tad but he’d spent all his money on the previous attempts and was now broke. Would Tad work with him for free…please?
The dange we fall into as practitioners is allowing our own egos to kick in and think. “Well, I’m obviously better than those other practitioners. I’m SURE I can help this guy.”
WARNING! This is the kind of client to politely decline.
You probably won’t decline. You’ll probably get caught in this trap just like I have occasionally. Just make sure you “use” the experience to learn. Remember if you end up working with a “difficult” client that it can generate a lot of growth for you as a practitioner.
Also remember, there is no failure. There is only feedback! Just remember to be gentle with yourself and your own learning curve ok?
There is an often repeated story about a guy who saw a butterfly struggling to escape it’s cocoon. The butterfly was struggling and struggling and making very slow progress. The man felt like he should do something to help. He managed to assist the butterfly to escape it’s confining cocoon and thought he had done a good thing… but because the butterfly actually required the physical struggle of pulling itself out of the cocoon in order to properly pump blood through it’s wings, it now could not fly.
Because the man “helped” it, the butterfly was weak and misshapen. This story applies to us as practitioners as well as to our clients.
It is important to remember as holistic practitioners that our clients are in a process. Our job is to show them whats’ possible and to give them tools to transform their lives. Our job is to teach them how to use those tools. But ultimately it is the client’s job to USE the tools to make their own changes.
That’s why any client that isn’t willing to pay the price or show up is not a bad person. Just not ready.
Does that make sense?
What I love about NLP is that it is ultimately about each of us learning how to run our own minds to create the results we want in our lives. There is no higher purpose or path.
Without the “mistakes” and “missteps” along my own path I would not have as rich a resource to bring to bear with my clients.
While we are bound and determined to help our clients create excellent and positive results in their lives, with a little practice we can sense which clients are truly ready to do their part and which ones are expecting us to wave our magic wands and “make it all better” without the client having to change their fundamental thought processes which created the problem in the first place…
At the completion of my NLP Trainer’s training Tad James said to me, “You don’t need clients. You need successful clients.” What I thought he meant at the time was I needed clients who had a lot of money. In retrospect I don’t think that’s what he really meant. I think he meant that you need clients who are willing to do their part of the process to successfully transform their lives.
I’ve ignored my own advice above on many occasions only to be frustrated by a client who was also frustrated because they “thought NLP was this great thing.” So just pay attention to the indicators.
1. Are they willing to do whatever iut takes to get there?
2. Are they willing to show up on time ready to work?
3. Are they willing to pay a fair fee for your services?
if the answer to any of the above is “no”, then your answer should be a polite, “No thanks. We’re not a match.”
All the best!
Mark Shepard, NLPT
Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis and Time Line Therapy™
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