Saturday, 16 November 2013

Are The Two Most Powerful Motivations To Take Action Missing From Your Sales Presentation?

Neuroscience research shows us that a fundamental organising and operating principle of the human brain that drives your customer’s thinking, behaviour and action is to avoid and move away from anything that is perceived to be painful, dangerous or threatening, and to move towards anything that is pleasurable, comforting or rewarding.

At its core this is a hardwired survival instinct of the human brain.  It has played a vital role in our evolution and although it may not always be as practically useful in our safe, modern world (our brains have not changed significantly in 100,000 years) at an unconscious level it is still driving our behaviour and that of our customers.  

 “Everything you do in life is based on your brains determination to
minimise danger or maximise reward.  Minimise danger, maximise
reward is the organising principle of the brain.”
Dr Evian Gordon
Author of “Integrative Neuroscience”

Although the “stay away” and the “towards reward” drives are active all the time in the human brain, it is the away from drive that is stronger and faster.  If we consider the almost constant dangers our primitive ancestors experienced it makes evolutionary sense to prioritise keeping us safe.

This perhaps explains the fact that metaphorically speaking people will be prepared to pay more for help to climb out of a hole than to stop themselves falling into the hole in the first place!

At a conscious and particularly unconscious level (about 95% of all cognitive activity occurs below conscious awareness in the more primitive parts of the brain) your customer’s brain will be constantly asking “stay away” from pain and “towards reward” questions such as:

Does this ease my pain / solve my problems / ease my frustrations / reduce my stress / keep my job safe / get my boss off my back / stop me getting sacked / stop me looking stupid, incompetent, incapable?

Does this bring me pleasure / make me look good / get me approval / get me some more time / make me more money / help me to achieve results / make a wise decision / be positively recognised / achieve my targets / get my bonus / get me promoted?

When you are asking questions of your customers in order to understand their needs, make sure that you uncover the problems and pain they are experiencing.  If you can show their brains how to move away from these to something more rewarding then they will be interested.

Take a close look at your sales proposals and presentations.  Do they incorporate and harness these powerful motivating forces?  Do you clearly show your customer’s brain how it can “stay away” from pain and move “towards reward”? 

Help your customer to understand the costs and impact associated with the current problems or challenges they are experiencing. Help them to realise what this is costing them.  The more “stay away” motivation you can stimulate the less likely they are to do nothing.

If you are selling business to business three types of "pain" that you can stimulate are financial (money wasted, lost or not gained etc), emotional (stress, frustration, low morale etc) and strategic (things that are preventing the customer from getting to where they want to get to with their business.

Then show them the rewards and benefits of a desirable future state that they will experience once their problems have been solved by the purchase of your product and service.  Provide the “towards reward” motivation for your customer’s brain to move towards.

When you have these two motivating forces activated position your product or service as the vehicle that will take them from where they are now to where they want to be.  You can position yourself as the enabler that helps them to achieve their desired goals.

When you do this your customer’s brain is going to say “yes” to your proposal.

Simon Hazeldine MSc FinstSMM is an international speaker and consultant in the areas of sales, negotiation, performance leadership and applied neuroscience. 
He is the bestselling author of five business books:
  • Neuro-Sell: How Neuroscience Can Power Your Sales Success
  • Bare Knuckle Selling
  • Bare Knuckle Negotiating
  • Bare Knuckle Customer Service
  • The Inner Winner
To learn more about Simon's keynote speeches and other services please visit:

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