Selling to the Real Buyer: The “Old Brain”

August 12, 2014


Traditionally, sales reps are taught to secure a meeting with the real decision maker when working to close the deal. However, there is one more decision-making influence to consider when selling — the amygdala, or what is often referred to as the “Old Brain” because it was one of the first areas of the brain to develop.

Although we have evolved as a species, this part of the brain has an important job: to keep you safe. It’s not logical or rational in making purchasing decisions, which is exactly why sales professionals need to pay attention to it and adjust their sales strategy accordingly.

When the “Old Brain” doesn’t feel safe, it often sends a sales meeting into a “survival meeting,” which is not good for building trust and sales.

Here’s four common mistakes sales reps make that sends a person into fight-or-flight mode, and tips on how to overcome them:

1. Sales professionals still subscribe to the “always be closing" approach

They ask questions they hope will lead to a sale, even when the buyer isn’t necessarily read to buy. This commonly does not result in a sale because the prospect didn’t feel safe during the meeting. Rather than subscribing to the ABC method of sales, give the prospect control and choice.

2. Sales professionals are often too enthusiastic

If you’re in a meeting with a prospect who is a little more low-key, observe and adjust your energy level to that of your prospect. Our “Old Brain” encourages us to buy from people we like and who like us. After a meeting, follow your prospect on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn so that you can continue the conversation on a different level - one they might now be more comfortable with.

3. Sales professionals try to overtly overcome objections

Instead of overcoming objections during a sales meeting, bring them up. Use it to start a conversation around the potential challenges of implementing your product or service. For example, if your prospect is really busy, discuss how much time it will take to execute some of these changes. Your candor establishes trust with prospects and keeps the conversation safe and open.

4. Prospect to the old brain

Have you ever received a prospecting email from a sales professional that was automated or flat? The brain is hard-wired for comfort and it’s not at ease responding to a sales rep who hasn’t established a relationship or common ground in the conversation. Before reaching out, research your prospects and include information that shows you’ve done your homework in your email.

Use this knowledge to your advantage by understanding and targeting the “Old Brain” and its needs. Doing so will keep the buyer safe to create bigger sales conversations.