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The Key to Sales Success? Conquering the Lizard Brain

What is it that makes sales such a challenging and unpredictable job?

Above all else, it’s the human element.

Imagine a scenario in which your sales team doesn’t have to interact with another person in order to close a deal. Pretty tough, right? All sales involve interactions between people, and we all know that people can be both challenging and unpredictable.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Tim Riesterer suggests that our primal brain may be the cause of these challenging sales. The process of making a sale is about changing a customer’s mind, but our brains are hardwired to adhere to the status quo. So what can a sales professional do?

The answer is simple: appeal to your customers’ lizard brains.

A Few Bits of Neuroscience

Our brain is divided into several different sections, each with it’s own function. The oldest and most primal of these sections is the brainstem. This is the part of your brain that is in charge of your survival.

Dubbed the “Lizard brain” by Seth Godin for it’s primitive nature, the brainstem detects danger and alerts you when you need to react. The lizard brain is what motivates you to break from the status quo when it is necessary to survive. Can you start to see how this part of the brain could help close a sale if targeted correctly? Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use:

Open Your Customers’ Eyes

A customer cares less about what your product does and more about why they need it. Unless you’ve invented a completely useless product or service (in which case, you should probably just stop reading here) you are fulfilling some sort of need for your customers. To appeal to your customers’ lizard brains, you need to demonstrate first that they have a need, and second that to hold to the status quo and not make a change would be detrimental.

Keep it Concrete

The lizard brain has a much easier time grasping concrete concepts than it does abstract ones. As much as we love complex jargon and metaphors, the lizard brain can only process the most direct information. Show customers what their lives will be like without your product, and what they can be like with your product. Case studies are also a great way to have customers empathize with success stories and see the value in your product.

Support With Content

Once you have shifted the lizard brain into a state of flux, it is important to reinforce your message and guide customers to your solution. Use visual content wherever possible. We are visual people, and our sight is closely connected to the lizard brain. Our brains are also extremely self-centered, so keep your content focused on your customer. Make them the hero of the story your content is telling.

Although our brains cling desperately to the status quo, jolting the lizard brain into a state of action can help motivate your leads and ultimately help you close more deals.

What do you think about the concept of the lizard brain? Do you think it could help you in your selling? Let us know in the comments below!