Whenever our human brains detect a sales pitch, our shields naturally go up. I think of it like the shields that protected the Enterprise in Star Trek.
“Captain, the Romulans have entered our airspace!”
It’s a natural response because of the way our brains evolved. The oldest part of our brain is the reptilian brain. That’s where our fight or flight response comes from. But it is also that part of our brain that evaluates any sales pitch that comes our way.The reality is that the reptilian brain is the source of your prospects first reaction to your sales pitch, and that part of the brain is very picky about what it pays attention to. After all its first priority is survival. It does not have a lot of time to get bogged down with details.
So we are selling to a brain that likes clear, concise facts. It wants to choose between two easily understood options and it wants you to get to the point fast so it can do it quickly. PowerPoint presentations typically put our brains to sleep, because this part of our brain is looking for strong summarizing points, points of contrast and/or something unexpected.
To successfully sell or pitch your idea, product, service or anything else you’ll have to keep your prospect’s shields from going up by appealing to your prospect’s reptilian brain.
I combined this concept with the Theory of Constraints Solutions for Sales and the Theory of Constraints Buy-In processes to create a process for presenting Mafia Offers. (It’s published in Chapter 22, Mafia Offers: Dealing with a Market Constraint, in the Theory of Constraints Handbook.)
Presenting Mafia Offers
Here’s a short excerpt of where the Theory of Constraints buy-in process is reviewed in light of the reptilian brain:
Step 1: Agree on the Problem
Since the old reptilian brain is self-centered and concerned with its own survival above all else, it is highly interested in solutions that will alleviate any pain it’s feeling or problems with which it’s dealing. That is why humans spend more time and energy avoiding pain or looking to destroy pain than we devote to gaining higher levels of comfort. Focus on the problems and pain your prospect is experiencing, not the features of your products or service.17
Which magazine do you think men are more likely to buy? A men’s health magazine with the cover, “Lose Your Gut Fast” or a similar magazine with the cover, “Get Six-Pack Abs”? One study showed that over 80 percent of men chose the first cover—“Lose Your Gut Fast.” Why? People are more interested in avoiding (or reducing) pain than they are in increasing pleasure. (Excerpt from Stephen Shapiro’s August 7, 2007 newsletter.)
Step 2: Agree on the Direction of the Solution
Have you noticed that a large portion of all Websites and brochures start with the same sentence, “We are one of the leading providers of …”? Or, they have a picture of their building on the home page. If you’re sitting in a presentation, have you noticed that most start by the presenter expounding on the history of the company?
This blah, blah, blah is the typical way most people approach their market. Such empty claims, neutral statements, or general filling of silence work against you. To reach the old brain you should say (and prove) a contrasted statement because the old brain responds favorably to clear, solid contrast. Powerful, unique solutions attract prospects because they highlight the difference, gap, or disruption the old brain is proactively looking for to justify a quick decision.
Step 3: Agree the Solution Solves the Problem
Focusing on the unique benefits of your solution is all well and good, but technically it doesn’t prove anything. Remember, the old brain prefers tangible, simple, straightforward information over complicated or abstract concepts. It needs solid proof of how your solutions will enable it to survive or benefit. Since the old brain can’t decide unless it feels secure, you need to concretely demonstrate, not just describe, the gain your prospects will experience from your product or service—the results of a specific solution to their problem—in a way that satisfies the old brain’s need for concrete evidence. So it’s not just about value, it’s about proven value or proven risk reduction.
This has implications not only for our Mafia Offers, but also for how we approach prospects in our emails, Websites, and brochures. There are implications on how we describe the problem, how we describe our Mafia Offer, and how we agree or prove that our offer will provide the results.
Here’s the NEW news — I’ve done a lot more testing on applying the combination of neuroscience and the Theory of Constraints tools, and they work like a charm together. So if you’re having trouble selling your products, services, yourself, or your ideas I recommend understanding how to sell to the reptilian brain, that’s how we present Mafia Offers.
To do that you can read the long list of books I’ve read or let me simplify it for you with some options:
- Read Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain
- Read Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
- Read my Chapter 22 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook. It provides a short summary and can get you started fast. I know your reptilian brain will like it.
Any one of these 3 would get you started. And just knowing a little about what it takes to keep your prospects shields from going up can go a long way.
Wishing you success,
Dr Lisa Lang
P.S. Here are the 5 most common marketing mistakes: