Join Jeff Bloomfield for an in-depth discussion in this video The three-layered brain, part of The Science of Sales.
- Have you ever made an impulse purchase and within a few hours thought, "Man, why did I buy that?" How about the opposite side of the coin where you spent days or even weeks researching so that you could come to logical decision to ensure that you're buying the right thing? Believe it or not, recent research in neuroscience has shown us that the process by which you made both of those purchases is the same. Today's lesson is all about how our brain works through the process of things like making a connection, building trust, and ultimately making a buying decision.
I'll preface the rest of this lesson by simply saying that brain research is accelerating faster than your need to upgrade the operating system on your smart phone. So, what we know today will continue to evolve as we gain new insight. What I'm going to share with you today is a simplified approach to a complex brain but done so in a way that should make perfect sense to you as a professional communicator. Let's just dive right in. I like to describe the brain in three layers. The first layer is the outer shell or covering of the brain.
It's called the Neocortex. This is the area you see with all the funky folds and ridges. The Neocortex is responsible for things like logic, analytical thought, processing of facts and data, and where our ability to understand and articulate language. It's also the area that allows us to recognize and judge situations and information. I refer to the Neocortex as the Thinking Brain. The next area of layer down in the brain is what we know as the Limbic system.
This is a complex and complicated part of the brain responsible for all emotions, your ability to be social, your memory, and sensory input stations like visualization, etc. The Limbic system is critical as it stores and houses not just what we've experienced in life but how we feel about what we've experienced. As such I refer to the Limbic system as the Feeling Brain. The deepest layer of the brain, the area that includes the brain stem and the cerebellum is the Root Brain.
You may see other people who refer to this area as the Reptilian Brain. This area is responsible for safety, avoidance, survival, balance, and your involuntary actions like breathing, etc. This area is your Instinctive Brain. Based on the limited information I just gave you about these three areas or layers, which area do you think is responsible for making a buying decision? If you're like most people, you'll likely said, "Well, sometimes we use the Neocortex "to make logical decisions and other times "we use the Limbic system to make more emotional decisions." That's what we used to think for decades.
What we now understand though is that every decision we make begins as an emotional, instinctive decision using our Limbic and Root areas and then is rationalized with the logic in the Neocortex. This is quite profound in particular to you as a sales person. What this means is that our core decision making revolves around our instincts and emotions first and then gets backed up with the facts. When sales people communicate they tend to use primarily facts and figures.
The buyer has to use his or her Neocortex to process this information. Which, oh, by the way, is the same area responsible for judgement and skepticism. When you communicate this way, you're not only speaking to the wrong part of the brain for decision making, you're actually speaking to the part of the brain designed to prevent decision making. However, when you communicate in such as way that evokes emotion, visualization, and the other senses, you bypass the judgmental Neocortex and you penetrate directly into the Limbic system in the Root Brain.
This inside out approach to communicating versus the typical outside in approach makes all the difference in your ability to connect and influence others. After all, people buy from people they trust, right? The last time I checked, trust is a feeling or emotion. Guess where that's created in the brain? You got it, the Limbic system. Evaluate your own communication approach. Are you someone who primarily speaks in facts, figures, features, and opinions? Or are you effective at generating emotion and connection through a more narrative and visual communication style? The more you can use stories and effective techniques that generate emotion and connection first the better you'll be able to connect and the result will be higher trust and higher sales.
- The trust continuum and the trust matrix
- The three-layered brain and five neuro-elements
- Creating connections
- Establishing credibility
- Handling objections