Advances in the field of neuroscience can provide valuable insights that can change how you sell.
Let me digress for a moment and then link back to sales.
The brain has three main parts
Neocortex – Rational, analytical, conscious thought and language.
Mammalian – Emotions, irrational, imagery and feelings.
Primal brain – Self-preservation, survival, fight or flight.
The brain is hardwired to conserve energy, and it does this by using short cuts wherever it can. When the brain identifies patterns consciously and unconsciously, it processes the information using the least path of resistance.
The majority of sales training I have come across center around using the neocortex, resulting in sales presentations being logical followed by a predetermined structure and process. There is little in the way of client emotional engagement.
So what does this mean in a sales context?
If the client perceives you as being just like other salespeople, “I have seen/heard this before… I know what they are going to say… ” the client will automatically move into cruise control because they see a pattern. When this happens the lowest denominator being price, is often used to create a difference.
What to do?
The client needs a trigger to disrupt their cruise control and pay full attention. Triggers are fear or impending desire/pleasure and can be the unexpected, new, different and unique. When this occurs the mammalian part of the brain will release cortisol a stress hormone, or ‘happy chemicals’ such as dopamine and endorphins.
Vertical questioning can trigger the desired change. Example:
Salesperson: “How is the new invoice software?”
Salesperson: “When you say good, does that mean you are perfectly happy or are there areas of invoicing that can be improved?”
Client: “Definitely can be improved, our processing times are still taking too long.”
Salesperson: “When invoice processing times take too long how does that impact on your business and you personally?”
To answer, the client will need to reflect and in doing do so will become emotionally engaged.
Sales presentations require a certain amount of structure and logic, but not at the expense of emotionally connecting with the client at a meaningful level. Neuroscience can help us understand human behavior, put sales theory into practical relevance and an asset in our careers.