What Is Your Reticular Activating System And How To Use It In Sales

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Businessman holding question markThere’s a universal law that states you attract what you focus on. By focusing on ways you can be productive in sales, you tend to see things that add to that productivity. And it works the opposite way, too. Have you noticed that when you focus on how bad things are, more bad things seem to crop up?

This is all due to a specific part of our brain called the reticular activating system. This operates to provide an awareness of what is around us, deleting things that are natural and obvious to us, and highlighting things that are different.

For example, do you remember when you first drove your current car? Did you happen to immediately notice every other similar car on the road, the same make and model? And you thought you were unique in your taste!

Well, that is an example of your reticular activating system working for you. It determines what you focus on and what you pay attention to. Interestingly, the brain mainly notices differences, so it will remember specific occasions in the past that had an emotional effect on you, and will delete those days that just seem to melt into each other because nothing special happened.

This is useful when you are dealing with customers who are maybe seeing lots of suppliers before they make up their mind on who to choose.

If you think that they will be paying attention to anything that is different, how about sending your proposal in a different packaging? Make it stand out, rather than being exactly like everyone else.

Think of ways that you can make an impression on your prospect that will be different. Highlight ways that others have used your products. Send them a DVD with customers actually using it, so your prospect can see it in action. Record satisfied clients on DVD, saying how they think you are so brilliant, anyone else would be a fool not to use you! (My tongue is only slightly in my cheek!)

If you know that your client will be using their reticular activating system too, it will give you the incentive to make yourself different from the crowd. Think what you can do to be different and watch more prospects take note.

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 19 November, 2010

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