Written by Sean McPheat |
You might know the theory that people are either left- or right-brain oriented. This idea separates people into categories depending on how they think. This is definitely a generalisation, as it’s not that you use only your left brain or only your right brain; everyone uses both. It’s just that you prefer to use one side over the other. And so does your prospect.
The essence behind this thinking is that different people prefer to have different ways of thinking presented to them. So your questions can go a long way to helping a prospect thin through the options they might be faced with and then use their preference to determine the right result for them.
Left-brained thinkers tend to be heavily analytical, detail-oriented people. They are verbal, concrete, goal-oriented, logical and systems people. Job descriptions that fit left-brainers well are CEOs, engineers, accountants, scientists, lawyers and controllers.
This is because this favoured side of the brain offers more connections to neurons that communicate through facts and information. The parts of the brain that are located in the left side of the cortex tend to favour more logical thinking and step-by-step processing. If you scanned this person’s brain while they were contemplating your offer, you may see more left-brained signals light up than right-brained, and this would allow them to think in a logical way.
Right-brained thinkers, on the other hand, tend to be more creative, emotional, intuitive people. They may be more nonverbal, visual, holistic (using their intuitive nature), physical, playful and spontaneous. Artists and musicians may naturally fall into this category, but so may others who tend to have to think creatively in their jobs. People like marketing executives, advertising staff and IT personnel might be more adept at thinking in a right-brained way.
The right brain is joined to the left through a rich bridge of connections called the corpus collosum, and this right side tends to deal with more emotional and ‘big-picture’ situations. It appears as if the neurons on this side of the brain have different tasks to accomplish and hence are able to support the creative thinking that many people need to carry out.
Therefore, you need to know how to bond in a different way with these different types of thinker. If you’re a strong left-brainer, and you’re calling on someone who may be in a right-brained industry, you need to adapt effectively. You may have to ask them to elaborate on what they see happening in, say, three to five years. The will have the capacity to think to that abstract level.
You probably wouldn’t ask a left-brainer to project where he sees his company going. It’s better to ask, “If you compared the last 12 months to the upcoming 12 months, what do you see?” Left-brainers can more naturally relate to the detail of 12 months looking backward and forward, but would have more difficulty with what the picture looks like three to five years out — a big difference in your questioning technique and ultimately your ability to bond more easily.
By thinking through how your prospect sees things, you can identify which is their preferential side of the brain. Then you can adapt to their thinking style and see from their angle. It will help you achieve good rapport and definitely build the relationships quicker as they see your ability to see things as they see them.
Originally published: 5 February, 2015