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Hypnotic Language Patterns in Sales

by Dr Terence Mcivor

What is Hypnosis?

By definition, Hypnosis is a human condition which alters attention levels, peripheral awareness and human response capacity to make a person more suggestible and impressionable. It is a trance or sleep-like mental state in which the person experiencing the hypnosis will have increased concentration and attention. While in this mindset a lot of people have reported to have felt sleepy or zoned out which is not exactly the reality. The reality is that this person is in a state known as ‘Hyper-awareness’.

There are multiple different ways in which hypnosis can be carried out and for many different reasons. Hypnosis can be carried out by a licensed physician, there are many online tools such as music or recorded voices which can be used and people have also taken up self-hypnosis in which a person self-induces a hypnotic state upon themselves.  It has been known to be used in psychotherapy to treat patients with conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. It has also been used physiologically as a method for pain management.

What are Hypnotic Language Patterns?

A Hypnotic Language Pattern is used to guide a person into a trance like state by using a set of linguistics patterns and phrases to achieve the desired results.


What is an example of HLP I everyday life?

As a sales person your spoken language is an invaluable tool which has the potential to be very hypnotic when used effectively and in the correct manner to elicit a desired response or reaction from a customer.

As a simple example of how language can be hypnotic, one which we have all experienced either as children or adults, can be seen within a children’s bedtime story book.

When you think of a children’s story time before bed the scene is serene. The book is read in a soft tone of voice, it is a gentle read to lure the child into the story and place them in a state of concentration to guide them toward a peaceful slumber.

Repetition is frequently used in these stories, with words such as ‘relax’, ‘sleep’ ‘rest your eyes’, being used over and over, planting the seed in the child’s head that they should do the same.

You will notice that a lot of stories in relation to children’s bedtime use animals as their main character and they tell stories of how they are going to sleep or getting ready for bed. This is a technique which allows the child to use abstract thinking and relate themselves to the story without explicitly being told it is their bedtime. By having the story of ‘The Sheep who went to sleep’ read to them with the use of the hypnotic language patterns laid out in front of you in a soft tone, the child has become highly suggestible in their concentrative state and related themselves to the Sheep who went to sleep, thus on most occasions, drifting off into a deep sleep themselves.

How Hypnotic Language Patterns are used in Sales

As mentioned in Part One, building a rapport with a customer prior to even considering pitching or selling your product or services is key. Without this rapport everything you suggest is going to be a dismissed or not fully taken on board.

Let us consider what a therapist does with their client. A therapist’s role, prior to engaging fully with their patient is to put them at ease, both on a conscious and subconscious level. By assisting the patient in reaching a fully relaxed and building this rapport they can make the patient more receptive to suggestions, advice or guidance and also make the patient more likely to open up themselves and share their thought, wants or needs.

This works the same way in sales. By using techniques such as matching and mirroring a client in their verbal and body language, repeating keywords or phrases and allowing them time to relax into the communication you have now opened the customer up making them more receptive to what you have it is you have to say and/or offer them.


The Double Bind

This technique is used very often in sales. The idea of a Double Bind is to provide the customer with what seems like a choice for them to make however either choice you have directed them to provides you with the outcome you are looking for.

An example of a double bind would be something like this:

‘Would you like to complete the sale here or in my office?’

This gives the customer a feeling of choice and control in the situation, however whether or not they chose the forecourt you are currently standing in or the office environment the sale is still being completed.

By setting up what essentially is an illusion of choice you are increasing the cooperation of the customer.

Embedded Commands

Mentioned in part one, an embedded command is a spoken sentence which has within its structure a hidden command.

As you read through this section you will notice how you become really interested in learning more techniques about using these methods in everyday life and sales.

The above is an example of using an embedded command. Maybe you noticed it, maybe you didn’t, but within its structure I gave you a command that your subconscious mind would recognise and react to.

The embedded command came in the form of three words ‘become really interested’. By doing this and forming the sentence in this structure I have told your brain to become excited about what it is reading and learning. This is a very common and very effective skill to use in sales and it is used quite frequently. You may even begin to notice these more now that you are aware of them.


Circling back to the concept of storytelling; it is important to know that stories are not solely for children. Storytelling is a very effective technique used in closing a sale and if used successfully you are more likely to close the sale with the client.

What we mean when we talk about incorporating storytelling into your sale is not reciting a ‘once upon a time’ speech to your customer but instead taking their wants, needs and desires and creating a story around your product that relates to these. It is not only about what you say to the client here but how you say it that makes it a powerful technique.

This method allows you to create excitement or a stronger desire in relation to the product as you tell the amazing story of how this product will change their everyday life thus increasing sales percentages, customer engagement and even repeat custom.

Both verbal and non-verbal language are the most powerful tools we all have at our disposal when it comes to sales. With many other companies fighting for the attention and retention of customers it is vital for the health and survival of your company that you do not exclusively rely on your product to sell itself.

By investing in your own selling skills by incorporating the techniques discussed in this two-part blog you will become more advanced and customers will gravitate toward you and your company rather you’re your competitors. Invest in your skills, take the time to adapt and learn and the results in your bottom line and customer retention will speak for themselves.

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