Today's Reading

Is the buyer's brain awake yet? Not a chance! So, how do elite salespeople start a presentation?

Using research, their referral source, or an inside coach, they start their presentations with an understanding of the customer needs.

Studies of buyer behavior with fMRI machines show that in 95 percent of the cases, a description of the buyer's needs will cause an immediate conversation between the buyer and the seller. Now, we have the buyer's decision-making old brain immediately awake and engaged with us. The buyer's old brain lights up like a Christmas tree!

Always start your presentation with an understanding of the customer's needs.

Last year, I was in Toronto delivering a sales presentation to fifteen CEOs in the small-and medium-sized business market. One of the CEOs was a young woman running a full-service digital marketing agency, and when I mentioned the importance of starting presentations with the customer needs, she leaned forward in her seat and began to speak!

"Wow, I have a presentation tomorrow with the largest telecom company in Ontario," she said enthusiastically. "There are four firms presenting to a group of senior buyers. The other three companies are large; one of them is the incumbent, and they have had the job for four years. I'm pretty sure they invited me so that they can 'check the box' that they talked to a small business... What do I have to lose?" she continued with a broad smile. "I'm going to blow up my presentation and start with my understanding of their needs. I know what they are."

"Great! Let me know how it goes," I answered.

She emailed me two days later and was extremely excited to share that she had won the opportunity. Eureka!

Another example of the first old brain activator (ME ME ME Focus) is the answer to this question: Are buyers' decision-making old brains stimulated by listening to salespeople talk? Hardly.

Most salespeople have learned one of the key selling skills is to 'listen' to the customer. In fact, many sales trainers advise that we should use our mouth and ears in the proportion that the man upstairs gave them to us. That is, listen twice as much as we talk.

Studies with fMRI machines show when we engage with another person to talk about what they are really interested in (e.g., their background, their needs, their passion, their company, etc.), more positive hormones (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) are released in their brain than when making money, falling in love, or eating a great meal!

Therefore, before interacting with another person (buyer, banker, channel partner, etc.), thoroughly research them. Use websites (e.g., LinkedIn) and social media to thoroughly know them so you can get them talking about what they love to talk about. They'll feel great, and their old brains will transfer these great feelings to you.


The second old brain activator is Simple, Easy-to-Grasp Ideas. Our hominid brain can understand all kinds of complex concepts, but the decision-making old brain cannot.

When a sales person says, "We have a flexible, integrated, and scalable solution with fifteen exit waypoints," the buyer's new brain thinks, "Great!"

But how about the buyer's old brain? The old brain is totally confused. It does not hear words, facts, or figures. Will a confused brain make a decision?


The practical application of the second old brain activators is one we all know: keep it simple.

Last year, I participated in the annual meeting of the Human Capital Management Association in Las Vegas, and I had some time to look around between keynotes. There were about twenty vendors that had set up ten-by-ten-foot booths in the convention center meeting room.

Here is some very easy advice on how to design a trade show booth: keep it simple.

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