Sunday, 3 November 2013

Why Salespeople Get Rejected

The reason that so many sales people get rejected by their prospective customer is to do with their lack of understanding about how the human brain functions.

According to neuroscience research, we are aware of only about 5 percent of our mental processes, so the vast majority of our decisions, actions, feelings and behaviour are dependent on the 95 percent of brain activity that is beyond our conscious awareness.

“At least 95 percent of all cognition occurs below awareness in the shadows of the mind while, at most, only 5 percent occurs in high-order consciousness.”
Gerald Zaltman
Author of “How Customers Think”

This unconscious processing influences feelings, decision-making, behaviour and actions. Indeed the vast majority of thoughts and feelings that influence your customer’s behaviour and decisions about whether to purchase your product or service occur in the unconscious mind.

“Most of what we do very minute of every day is unconscious”
Paul Whelan
Neuroscientist University of Wisconsin

 Although the human species has evolved, the brain has not changed significantly in over 100,000 years and the largely unconscious and more primitive parts of the brain (known as the reptilian and limbic systems) continue to exert a powerful and largely unconscious influence upon us.   And it is this unconscious influence that can lead to salespeople getting rejected.

When the human brain meets a stranger for the first time, such as meeting a salesperson, the primitive parts of it conduct a threat response and decide if the stranger is friend or foe. If the primitive parts of the brain feel uncomfortable or threatened by the salesperson then the automatic fight/flight/freeze response is triggered.  This can happen in a fraction of a second and part of this process includes the shutting out of some message receptors in the brain to shut down, effectively rejecting the salesperson and their potential sales approach.

Salespeople are largely ignorant of the influence the primitive, instinctive and unconscious areas of the brain have on people’s decision making processes and as a result they experience very high levels of rejection from prospective customers.  Salespeople who are too pushy will experience high rejection rates because they are making the unconscious parts of the prospective customer’s brain feel uncomfortable.

When a salesperson makes a prospective customer’s brain feel higher degrees of psychological comfort by being non-threatening and welcoming then their success rate will improve dramatically.


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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