Today's Reading

The best way to show the buyer's old brain a clear difference is to have a unique selling proposition (USP) highlighting a benefit for your product or service that makes it unique. If you do, the buyer's old brain can make a quick decision. To show this clear distinction, you must use words such as "unique," "only," and "top-rated." Additionally, not only must it be different from your competition, but it also must be relevant to your buyer.

For example, our company has the following two USPs:

First, we are the only global sales training company where every trainer is a former CEO.

This USP accounts for half of the new business we get. Many CEOs would like it if their sales trainer wasn't just a trainer but was also able to understand all areas of business, including marketing, engineering, operations, and human resources.

Second, we are the only global sales training company where every trainer has a technical or marketing background.

As the world becomes more technical, this USP is extremely relevant to many buyers. Many CEOs of technical companies would like their sales trainer to have credibility with technical salespeople.


Develop a USP for your company. The buyer will understand your company is unique and will make the easy decision to choose you. There is an additional practical application of the reason to have a strong USP. If you do not have a USP, buyers don't see a significant difference between your company and your competition. Therefore, most buyers will keep looking, and your sales process becomes stalled. Or the buyer's old brain will view your offering as a commodity and will start negotiating your prices.

For companies selling a pure commodity, it may be difficult to develop a USP. Diesel oil would be an example where the buyer only really cares about price and availability. In this case, the second-best approach to wake up the buyer's old decision-making brain with the Clear Distinction activator is to develop a why for your company.

Many of us would like to do business with a company that has a compelling why. Simon Sinek was the first to popularize this idea in his widely followed TED Talk, "Start with Why." He says:

"Every company can describe what they do. Every company can describe how they do it. Very few companies can describe why they do what they do."

In cases where companies can clearly describe why they do what they do (sometimes described as the company's purpose), they can better connect with prospects and customers. As a relevant example, the why for our company is making the complex simple. You can see the ASHER why at work as you read this book!


The fifth old brain activator is about Vivid Images. Written words have little influence on the old brain. The old brain only stores images/pictures and uses them for pattern matching when it sees new images. Facts and figures often have less impact.

Videos—which are really just a series of pictures—can be powerful sales tools. At the end of a recent Institute for Excellence in Sales keynote speech I gave on the subject of using videos, a CEO came up to chat. She said, "I love your ideas about the importance of videos. I understand their power for companies selling products, but I'm a service provider, so I'm not really sure what videos I could make."

I shared a couple of websites for service providers who have done a great job with videos so she could see some examples. Three months later, she emailed me with a link to her website with videos that she and her team had developed. They were great! I asked her if they were helping her closing rates. She replied, "Last month my closing rates essentially doubled from 23 percent to 41 percent."

Here is another example. We have a client who is a commercial insurance broker. Its staff act as brokers between companies who need commercial insurance, which comes in four distinct types, and large insurance companies who provide the insurance policies. Many of their ongoing customers would be using the brokers for two of the four lines of insurance. When their customers would need a third line of insurance, their CFOs would routinely go get their own quotes from insurances companies worldwide instead of going through their broker.

After hearing their frustrations, I suggested that they make a one-minute video of what they do and show it to their current customers. They did. When the brokers showed the video, the universal reaction was, "Oh! That's what you do!" Customers' old brains were able to comprehend the video much more quickly than the company's traditional brochures.

Use the power of video. Wake up the buyer's old brain with self- explanatory pictures and videos in your presentations, in your
proposals, and on your website.

This excerpt ends on page 19 of the hardcover edition.

Monday we begin the book How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World by Neil Irwin.

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