The 5 Secrets of Neuro Selling

44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. [Scripted]

80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. [The Marketing Donut]

It is mind blowing the fact that almost 1 in every 2 sales professionals have an 80% probability that they will not close the sale. This is simply due to the fact that they do not have the mental resilience necessary to follow through. The effect of this poor commercial performance is a staggering $ 1trillion lost annually in sales productivity and wasted marketing budget. [The B2B Lead]

It would be fair to say that there is a malignant tumor lodged at the core of the sales function and that everyone is scrambling and throwing all sorts of new high tech hyperbole software at it, in the hope of influencing buyer behavior. Yet amidst all the cacophony only one fact remains: buying and selling is a human activity, of which the maestro happens to be the brain.

If you are wondering why despite your best efforts, you are still not reaching the level of sales effectiveness that you’d hoped for, chances are that you will find the 5 secrets of neuroselling the edge that you need in order to achieve stellar sales performance.

  1. The logic of product features is overrated

The classical economic view that decision making is a rational affair, a cold calculation carried out by buyers whenever they are faced with the question “to buy or not to buy” is quickly crumbling in the face of recent scientific advancements achieved in the field of emotions.  The empirical studies conclude that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. The implications of this for a person trying to sell a product, are huge. The whole paradigm shifts when you understand that you have to make the buyer feel something as opposed to know something. Presenting the “cool” features of your product to prospect after prospect like a broken record is counterproductive, it is this practice that has destroyed the careers of many sales people and caused countless businesses to put the keys under the door. What the science tells us is that you have to make an emotional connection with your prospect (over the phone, face to face, B2B or B2C) in order to be able to position the features and benefits of your product in the rational part of your customer’s brain.

  1. The buyer’s brain is wired to detect “Errors”

Memory is the foundation of choice architecture; it is the stage upon which competing brands will engage in battle in order to influence buyer behaviour. Memories shape expectations and if expectations do not reconcile with reality, our brains start ringing the alarms bells, this is commonly called an ‘Error” in neuroscientific terms. More than often sales people encounter immediate and strong resistance when their message is not framed in a way that is a reflection of the brand promise. When sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies become 67% better at closing deals [Marketo]. The central sales tool in this sales and marketing alignment is priming; priming is what we call when exposure to something influences the behaviour of an individual later on, without the individual being aware that the first thing is guiding their behaviour to a certain extent. These are subtle techniques that are very powerful that sales people should be aware of when they engage a prospect and want to leverage their brand image in order to trigger a buy decision.

  1. The buyer’s brain is programmed to be energy efficient.

The brain is an energy obsessed machine that is constantly looking for ways to be efficient with its energy consumption. System 1 and system 2 thinking is the way in which vast amounts of energy is saved by the brain. If I ask you what 1+1 is, or 2+2, a specific area of your brain is activated in order for you to find the answer. But if I were to ask you what 27 x 13 is; immediately you would find that this is a different task altogether. Actually many people don’t complete the mental calculation 27×13 because of the amount of energy that it consumes to perform. The brain’s fail safe mechanism constantly interferes with task in the aim to save energy. Sales people should be very much aware of this aspect of the brain before they ask of their potential buyers to think. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text. (side note: Use visuals in presentations; it is less energy consuming) [Neo Mammalian Studios]

  1. The attention span of buyers has changed

In a world where the typical customer is bombarded with over 3000 advertising messages on a daily basis, the human brain has had to evolve in order to deal with this constant assault. The result of it all has been a significantly shortened attention span. Today one of the number one challenges of sales professionals is their ability to engage with clients and capture their attention. This task has become more and more daunting as new people enter the sales force; after having undergone outdated sales training designed to approach customers with higher attention spans.

The digital age and the access to information at the click of a button has further contributed to the modification of the customer mindset, this change in mindset forces sales people to review their sales process. The universal example for this phenomenon is car sales. The difference between a potential customer entering a car showroom today as opposed to 20 years ago is tremendous. In order to effectively sell to today’s customer, sales people have to be aware of what solicits attention and focus. The attention span of an internet user is 8 seconds; compared to 9 seconds for a goldfish.

  1. Fear the brain’s kill switch

The sales professional of today faces an incredible amount of pressure. In a world that is rapidly shrinking with technological advancements, competition is today fiercer than ever before. It is commonplace to hear more and more sales professionals suffer from high levels of stress and depression, and some even go to the extreme of committing suicide. Achieving the targets has become this grim reaper constantly looming over of all the rep’s moves. If we take a step back and look at selling, we will find that is an activity that requires social skills, creativity, resilience and self-motivation. All of these attributes sit in the cortical brain (the executive), if we go one step deeper and look at the relationship between the executive function of the brain and the limbic system, notably a small nugget of cells formation known as the amygdala, we will see that each time a person is put in “fear mode” the amygdala highjacks the brain and shuts down the executive functions, thus the ability to sell. This brings us to the final piece of the sales jigsaw which is the sales rep’s ability to self-regulate when under extreme pressure, without this last piece no sales professional is able to reach excellence.