Neuroscience reveals the part of the brain to sell to
Could you be using neuroscience to boost your sales?
Most sales people sell to the thinking brain, focusing their pitch around facts and information like technical specifications, product features, credentials, pricing, etc. Yet neuroscience research shows that the non-conscious part of our brain is the real decision-maker – we make decisions emotionally, then justify them rationally.
The problem is that our non-conscious brain is not equipped for cognitive thinking: while we’re pitching to the thinking brain, the emotional brain disengages. So how can we engage the part of the brain involved in buying-decisions?
Paint them a picture
The emotional brain is not inherently designed to process words. It evolved about 300 million years ago whereas language is only 40,000 years old. Also the optic nerve processes information 40 times faster than the auditory nerve. Incredibly 70% of the brain is used for visual processing. So lose all those text-heavy PowerPoint presentations – use pictures instead. The brain gets confused if it has to read text and listen to you talking. Watch any of the best TED talks, there’s not a bullet-point in sight. Instead they use evocative photography. It’s no wonder that the trend for websites is highly graphical.
Better still, demonstrate the product, tell stories and allow your prospect to get a feel for your offering.
Neuroscience reveals we make decisions emotionally, then justify them rationally.
The brain is our survival system. It is continually non–consciously monitoring the environment, looking for change. So, in our hunter-gatherer days the appearance of a wild animal would be immediately processed as noteworthy and wake-up our brain.
The non-conscious brain therefore looks out for change, and ignores the non-remarkable. So if you begin your sales pitch with “We are one of the leading providers of sales training …”, this will largely go unnoticed. Much better to say “We are the only sales training company that applies the latest neuroscience research to boost sales performance”. This statement stands a much better chance of getting noticed. Hence the importance of communicating your niche and unique selling proposition boldly.
Stop telling, start asking
All the research shows that the best salespeople ask questions rather than tell. Skillfully crafted questions allow the client to work out for themselves how your product could help them.
The telling approach is ineffective because we all make sense of the world in very different ways. When we tell, we are operating from our viewpoint, not our client’s. What makes sense in our world may make little sense to them. We could be making all sorts of false assumptions.
In order for people to grasp new ideas, they have to create new connections and wire new “maps” into their own brains. This cannot happen through telling. It can only happen through one’s own thinking.
So, if you want to improve your sales results, stop telling clients how your product will help them, instead ask questions. This forces them to think about the issues and benefits for themselves – and research shows that this approach results in far fewer objections. People put up barriers when they think they are being sold to.
An additional benefit of this approach is that most complex sales require multiple decision-makers, so, by asking questions, you are helping your client to formulate their reasons to buy, which will help them sell your product or service internally.