4 Ways To Press Those Reptilian Buying Buttons

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

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Every person you have ever met has a strategy they use to make decisions. Whether it’s to go for a particular food or to choose a particular career, the way people decide is hard-wired into the parts of our brains that are designed for the job.

Scientists realised long ago that we have, not one brain, but three. Understanding the roles of these different brains is fundamental to tapping into the decision-making processes that people use. Let’s look at some of the information covered within our Advanced Sales Training programmes.

Understanding The Reptilian Hot Button

The newest of our brains is called the neo-cortex. This is the outer layer of the cerebrum and is responsible for the seat of consciousness. We sometimes call this our ‘grey matter’ as the neurons making up this part appears grey in its many folds.

The ‘mid-brain’ is, as it suggests, in the middle of our heads and is responsible for our emotional connections and visual, auditory and body movements.

Our ‘first-brain’ or ‘reptilian brain’ is responsible for our instinctive reactions and drives our unconscious decisions.

And it’s this section, in our oldest, always-on, uncontrollable part of our heads, that can drive our deepest buying-decision motivations.
When we make decisions, we like to think that we are being rational, logical, well-reasoned, consistent, and objective. We try to justify our decisions and make them seem sensible to us.

Little do we know that really, we are being hoodwinked by our irrational, emotive and instinctive part of our brain. It’s the emotion vs logic pull.

This can be seen as our ‘buying button’ that, when pressed, initiates our thought processes that helps us determine what is good or right for us. We are wired to avoid pain and go towards gain.

Patrick Renvoise in his book ‘Neuromarketing’ shows that there are six stimuli that drive unconscious decision-making.

He discusses how our unconscious brain can be influenced to make decisions based around drivers we have little or no control over.

The six are;

  • being self-centred, so marketing that refers to ‘me’ is more persuasive than a general marketing message.
  • offering contrast, so we can see the difference between where we are now and where we wish to be
  • being tangible, allowing us to recognise the benefits rather than having to think them through ourselves
  • have a natural beginning and end, helping us determine what the journey is between one and the other
  • being visual, appealing to the optic nerves that react 50 times quicker than our auditory nerves
  • connecting emotionally, making us ‘feel’ differently about the experience

Each of these are key drivers to buyer’s decisions, so if we are to appeal to the ‘senses’ of our prospective buyers, we have to direct them towards making decisions that are in keeping with their reptilian instincts, so it feels right for them, even though they may not be able to ‘rationalise’ it in their own minds.

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Buying Buttons

These ‘buying buttons’ can be pressed at various times during the sales process. Remember, these are not to be used to manipulate the buyer, as they will see through it and will consciously be aware of the pressure you are putting them through.

Instead, these buttons can be pressed by appealing to the emotional processes that drive every human’s decision-making. Here are four ways it can be done:

• Diagnose the pain they are currently experiencing.

They may not see the pain itself, but your solution may initiate that pain when they see what could be better. Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant and been happy with your choice, only to see someone else receive a different meal that seems tastier or more appetising than yours? You were happy up to that point. What changed? Seeing there was something better than what you were currently happy with! So, the pain to your buyer associated with their current position may not be obvious, until your solution shows them what they COULD be experiencing.

• Differentiate your claims.

This means showing the contrast between what they currently experience and what you could offer. These differentials create incongruence between their current position and what future benefits they could be enjoying

• Demonstrate the gains.

This is where you show them, through examples, testimonials and proofs what they could gain from using your solutions. We all like to have risk minimised before we decide, and this will help convince the buyer the decision is low risk.

• Deliver to the reptilian brain.

This means highlighting what they will instinctively benefit from by choosing you. These basic needs that must be fulfilled before decisions are made will be easier for the buyer to assimilate if they are carried out in these four steps.

Selling the way your buyer buys is beneficial in so many ways, both to you and to the buyer’s business. It’s what we cover a lot on in our Sales Training Courses. By being on the same wavelength as the buyer, you make it easier for decisions to be made, not having to resort to tricks or manipulation in gaining agreement. You also will find it easier to find and press the ‘buy’ button inside every buyer’s head.

Please check out these B2B Sales Techniques for more tips and techniques and learn how to properly Critique A Sales Meeting so you continuously improve your sales approach.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 12 May, 2015

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