“I’ve got this great product but customers don’t want to listen…”
Trying to get attention in today’s highly competitive markets can be frustrating.
Customers are no longer responsive to the strategies that worked in the past.
There are just too many products, too many companies, and too much marketing noise.
So we keep wondering how to increase revenue, improve our efficiency, and make our efforts more fun and less stressful.
That we often don’t get attention from potential buyers and struggle building rapport is caused by the way our brain has evolved…
Let’s go back in time, waaay back in time…
Our species of humans evolved about 200,000 years ago.
Until today, our brain is still operating with this old “software” when we make decisions.
The neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean discovered how the brain actually processes information with his triune brain model.
This will help us understand why it is so hard to get the attention and why we often face objections in business…and what we can do about it.
Fun fact: We don’t have one brain. We have 3.
Our human brain developed in 3 separate stages over millions of years and became a more complex 3-in-1.
Each brain has its own purpose and needs.
They often even compete and conflict with each other.
Consider this: Our modern brain developed in a highly dangerous world where resources were limited.
If we had food, water, shelter, fire, a mate, we had to protect and keep it to survive.
It was hard to replace if someone took it from us.
As a result, our mind is very sensitive to scarcity.
Let’s transfer this into today’s selling environment.
When you want someone’s money – which is a modern survival resource – a natural scarcity response is triggered in their brain.
It doesn’t matter how much money they have, how great your product is, or how good your intent is.
We all have experienced a buyer’s scarcity response in form of objections and rejections.
It is a defense mechanism triggered by the most primitive part of our brain.
Let’s have a look at the three brains, shall we… ?
The oldest and most primitive part is the reptilian brain.
It is mostly responsible for keeping us alive and away from danger.
Its primary interest is survival. It is extremely quick but information processing is quite primitive:
- Can I eat it or can it eat me?
- Is the incoming information potentially dangerous?
- Is it known or boring and can I ignore it?
- Can I mate with it? (that’s why you mostly see beautiful people in advertising)
Any input from our senses goes directly to the reptilian brain first for filtering.
It divides information into important and unimportant.
When it is forced to pay attention to complex things (like your marketing message for example), it says:
Since this is not an emergency, can I ignore this without consequences? How can I spend the least amount of time possible on it?
Just think about how many marketing messages you’ve passed today on your way to office.
Depending on where you live, it might be thousands.
How many did you consciously recognize? Zero? One or two?
That’s your reptilian brain at work.
It guards the rest of the brain from “unnecessary” information.
However, when scarcity comes into play the reptilian brain is on high alert and takes over our mind.
It triggers fear, stress, and a fight, flight, or freeze response.
Fear is expecting future pain.
The reptilian brain interprets this in just one way: This is not safe.
Avoiding pain is the #1 priority which includes risk and possible bad outcomes for our business.
Next, the limbic system evolved.
It is the home of belief, value judgments, “gut feelings”, emotions, trust, and liking.
It attaches positive or negative emotions to our long-term memories.
The stronger the emotion the better we remember the situation.
It controls how our body reacts to emotional situations and it’s extremely powerful.
Think about all the things people do or don’t do purely based on their belief and feelings.
It also determines meaning in social situations: Relationships, social behavior, status.
The limbic system developed because we moved in our evolution into tribes and communities.
This part of the brain tracks what’s going on in our social circles.
It categorizes people in order to come up with a plan on how to approach them or a situation.
It tries to figure out if another person cares about you and if this person is trustworthy.
That includes you as a salesperson as well as your company.
And finally the analytical neocortex evolved with a problem-solving ability.
It helps us to think about complex things and produces answers using logic and reason.
The neocortex enables us to plan for tomorrow, learn and store more complex information.
It is the rational and conscious part of our mind.
It is the neocortex which processes your product data and company information.
But before you get too excited about the neocortex: we will talk later about the role of the neocortex to process your data.
For simplicity, let’s call the reptilian brain the old brain, the limbic system the middle brain, and the neocortex the new brain.
Our thought and decision process matches exactly our evolution: First survival, then social relationships, and finally problem solving.
You can sense this in your own mind and your body. You can even see it.
Let’s imagine you take a walk in the park and want to take a selfie with a statue.
Suddenly the statue moves. Your nervous system panics. You jump away in fear of potential danger. That’s your old brain responding first.
Then your middle brain says: “This is a bad situation, but my friend and other people around could save me. I’m not alone.”
And finally your new brain starts working and logically computes all incoming information.
And then you realize: “Damn it. This is an actor and I have been pranked.”
(Disclaimer: No humans were harmed in the filming of this. A dog fainted, and a bird got shot, but that’s it.)
As you can see from this, all information does not go directly to the new brain. It comes in through the old brain.
The first two brains don’t care about your product and company. Period.
Unfortunately, too many salespeople create their own problems right from the start without realizing it.
They reverse the natural human to human information intake.
They target the new brain first with product and company data.
If they get a reply they target the middle brain to build on a relationship.
The old brain is mostly ignored.
But buyers ignore marketing which ignores buyers.
To be fair, most of the time salespeople are told “That’s how it’s done. We’ve always done it that way”.
This might have worked 40 years ago: You contact potential customers, offer a value proposition and you get some business.
But this is an outdated, low-performing approach in today’s market noise.
All it does is keeping you busy and lowering your status.
It’s very important for your success rate that you understand the decision-making process of your customer’s mind.
Neuroscientists have shown that 95% of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behavior are beyond our conscious awareness.
That’s your old and middle brain at work.
This means that our conscious, analytical new brain adds the remaining 5%.
The new brain is the part which makes a final conclusion about you and your products.
Its job is to justify and verify a decision with rational facts after we made it. (Read this sentence again, this is important)
So we have to understand that information has to be packaged in a way the brain won’t ignore in today’s information overload.
Your company and product data has to be in a context the old and middle brain understands and cares about.
Otherwise, the brain simply says: “So what?” and moves on.
That’s why it’s not really a surprise that we are not convincing 9 out of 10 times.
It is an attention problem. Attention is everything. That’s why we talk about this brain stuff.
It’s hard to get and keep attention if you don’t know or care how the buyer’s brain takes in information.
And then it doesn’t matter how good your company or products are.
Getting attention isn’t a technical skill or a business skill. Getting attention is a social skill.
So it’s really important to work on our approach.
The human brain will ignore you if:
- You ask for too much too soon
- Your offer is vague and filled with meaningless generalities
- You don’t give enough real life context in targeting buyer’s pains and gains
- You are too similar to other competitors
- You are self-focused on what you want to sell
- You seem needy of business
So once you understand this concept we can really start getting into the social dynamics of human-to-human selling.
If you want attention, these are the things you have to do (or just do the opposite of the bullet points above):
• It has to be relevant •
The old brain is completely self-centered and doesn’t care about anything without immediate personal value.
This means you need to talk about your customer and not about how great you are.
• It has to be concrete •
“Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck. They leave no impression whatsoever.” (That’s unfortunately not my quote, Claude Hopkins said that)
• It has to be novel •
Once the buyer believes he has seen something similar before, the attention drops.
It’s not necessarily always new products. You can’t reinvent the wheel every 3 months (and if you do it will be copied quickly).
But you can create novelty in your customer communication to stand out.
• It has to be visual •
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Our eyes are directly connected to the old brain. It’s a high-speed connection.
The old and middle brain do not understand words.
The new brain has to “translate” text to get these parts of the brain involved.
This happens for example when you read or hear a good story.
• It has to be high contrast •
The old brain doesn’t recognize “shades of grey”.
Look for example at photos in the weight loss industry: Before fat vs. after lean. High contrast transformation.
Contrast allows quick decisions. No contrast means confusion and confusion means no decision.
We move away from things or people we don’t trust or dislike, and what has the potential to cause problems and pain.
We chase things or people we trust or like, who spark our curiosity, and who solve our problems.
Everything else in between we tend to ignore and we don’t take any action.
The old brain decides which route information takes: explore, resist, or ignore.
If it passes, the middle brain decides how we feel about it.
Finally the new brain rationalizes.
To come to a positive decision all 3 brains need to be in sync, otherwise it’s a no.
They only reason buyers want to spend time with you is because you’re providing novelty how you help them to benefit on a personal and business level.
Then give them samples how it will feel when they do business with you.
And finally they need your data to justify a decision logically they have already made.
Now it’s your turn…
If you want to become the best and the future of selling, you need to work with this now.
You need to leave behind all the outdated stuff they teach about selling.
Take advantage of how people really buy and how their mind works.
Something you experience in the real world day by day without spending much thought on it.
Marketing and selling more efficient doesn’t only mean to use your brain smarter but your customer’s brain too.
Think about it: There are two companies with comparable products and pricing.
One knows how to connect to the old and middle brain of the buyer. The other one doesn’t have a clue.
Which one do you believe will get the order?
If there is almost nothing which differentiates you from competitors, buyers will use the only differentiator they have: price.
Anytime you can upgrade your performance you outperform competitors and increase revenue.
There is a 2-day seminar available for you to integrate the Triune Brain Marketing System into your sales and marketing approach.
With the ABC Lab you will raise your status, frame your offers successfully, and learn how to gain serious advantage on your competition.
Fill out the application form and let’s talk about how you can make this happen.