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An overview for buyers and sellers of businesses in the changing and evolving printing and related industries.

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How Your Client's Brain Responds to Your Sales Pitch – and Why They Say No

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Last week, I blogged on Neuromarketing, which explains how the brain reacts to marketing. You don’t need to be a neuroscientist to understand these concepts, but understanding how the brain makes decisions can be critical in dealing with your clients, your employees, and even yourself.

The basis for Neuromarketing centers on the three regions of the brain:  The old brain, the new brain and the middle brain.  The new brain is the most recently evolved portion, and it processes rational data.  It “thinks.” The middle brain “feels,” as it processes emotions and gut feelings.  

The true decision-maker is the old brain.  It takes into account the signals from the other two parts of the brain, but it has the final say in decisions.  The old brain is also the least evolved portion of the brain, and is why even the best owners make some really horrendous decisions.

Why is the old brain so lousy at making the right call?  Basically, you can’t teach an old brain new tricks.  The least-evolved section of your brain isn’t as adept to understanding many of the new technologies and more complex concepts.

The old brain relies more on a flight-or-fight mentality.  It’s self-centered, and more emotional.  It asks, “Will it help or hurt?”  It wants clear-cut decisions, ones that it can comprehend in a heartbeat.  It responds strongly to visuals.

Knowing how the brain responds, you should be able to tailor your messaging – be it a sales pitch, a PowerPoint, or even your website – to speak directly to the old brain.  I’d advocate the following structure in any kind of messaging you deliver.

Part 1 – Identify their pain.  According to the book Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin, “Since the old 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 is feeling.  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 pain your prospect is experiencing, not the features of your product.”

This may be contrary to some schools of thought.  I hear people wanting to talk about only the positive nature of their product, or more likely, they just want to talk about themselves.  They’re wondering, “What’s in it for me?” and “How will you relieve my pain.”

As a result, whatever you rollout should always be a solution to your client’s pain.  “Making the wrong call on an M&A could cost you millions” will generate a bigger response than, “We’re the number one provider of M&A advice.”  

Part 2 – Differentiate your claims.  Why is it that whenever you go to a website, all companies want to talk about is themselves?  “We are the leading manufacturer…”  “We are the number one distributor…”

Essentially, these mean zip to a client and his/her old brain.  The noggin needs to know how you make its life different if it chooses your product.  If you can find a way that delivers the pain relief that’s unique, that should be the centerpiece of your message.

Part 3 – Demonstrate the gain.  This is a tough one, especially with younger companies.  The old brain doesn’t like complicated information or intangible data.  It wants “solid proof” of how it will benefit from what you’re offering.  Concrete evidence is critical.
Testimonials do exceptionally well in these cases, particularly ones from industry peers.  It’s important to “demonstrate,” in this case, and not just describe.  Prove that your solutions have worked better for people.  

What if you’re a young company, with only a few clients in the fold?  In this case, you need to sell a prospect on your vision of the future.  Show how your evolving product will deliver the concrete pain-relief they need.  If you have solid credentials and the concept is sound, this approach can work.

Part 4 – Speak to the old brain.  As I mentioned earlier in the post, your communication should appeal directly to the old brain’s way of thinking.  The old brain is self-centered, so always use the word “you” in your communication and your presentations.

As we’ve stated before, be sure to show contrast in your communication, and keep things tangible.  The old brain is a skimmer, and unless it sees what it’s looking for – security, relief from pain – it will move right along.

If you think this is marketing hoo-hah, I not only encourage your to read Neuromarketing and the research that’s surrounding the field, but also think about your own experiences in life.  When have you seen bright people make bad decisions?  When has the most obvious conclusions been shunned for something that appears self-centered?  

Use these tactics in your communications, be it sales or marketing.  But use them.  You’ll automatically improve your prospects for closing the deal, and generate additional revenue in the process.  Did you hear that, old brain?

Photo by: wadem.

 

Rock LaManna is the President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance.  The LaManna Alliance helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic transition – including mergers, acquisitions, organic growth, and exit / succession plans.

Comments

A brilliant blog post. Marketing e-mails, social media posts, webinars, etc. should show potential customers that you want to hear about and understand their pain. They should also show that you know the industry and that you can do something to help them. Thanks!
Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:47 AM by Melissa Sienicki
Thank you for the supportive comment Melissa. Stay tuned for more creative content.
Posted @ Friday, June 14, 2013 7:46 AM by Rock LaManna
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