Apr 23 2022 / Round the Table Magazine
Neuro-selling used to be considered experimental, but the science of finding the buy button in the consumer’s brain is becoming more established thanks to groundbreaking studies in neurology and backing from such disciplines as psychology and anthropology.
Despite consumers claiming they compare competing brands and prices when making a purchase decision, research by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman found that they really don’t. In his book “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market,” Zaltman contends that only 5% of buying decisions are rational while 95% are made by the subconscious, emotional part of the brain.
To increase the success of your presentation, you must accompany facts and figures with an appeal to the subconscious mind. The mind has three parts, according to the triune brain model proposed by physician and neuroscientist Paul MacLean. The oldest part of the brain is what he called reptilian. It’s the brain’s first filter, the part that distinguishes between friend or foe, threat or someone who can be trusted. The limbic, also called paleomammalian, is the emotional part of the brain. This is where memories, loyalty and value judgments live. The third part is the neocortex or neomammalian. This is the rational part where abstract thinking and conscious decision making occur.
I want to share with you my experience about the power of neuro-selling when I applied this approach to financial services.
One day, when I was leaving a meeting, I ran into a friend who is a small-business owner. During our casual conversation, she mentioned pension plans, and I told her that I am an expert on El Salvador’s pension system reform. I offered to meet with her to dive deeper into this topic. She said she and her business partner would like that and invited me to visit her office.
I arrived at her office two days later, and she introduced me to her business partner. As we started talking, I learned what they did but, more importantly, I discovered their fears and what causes them pain. They both have children, and they told me their two greatest worries are not having enough resources for a decent retirement and their children being unable to continue their education if something tragic happened to the business partners.
I took this opportunity to tell them about a friend of mine, who is a successful businessman and shared their same fears. I told them how a life insurance policy helped mitigate those worries and now he has peace of mind, knowing that if something happens to him, his son would be able to continue studying.
By the time I left their office, I had already offered the business partners three customized solutions. I returned two days later with the proposals my team and I put together and gave them recommendations. I closed two life cases that day totaling $1 million. They bought universal life insurance, so not only would their children be protected and be able to finish their studies in case their mothers died, but the business partners also would have a decent retirement.
In this example, I appealed to the reptilian part of the brain by building trust and establishing a bond through my knowledge about pension reform. I approached them with the strategy that people don’t buy a product; they buy based on sensations and feelings. These partners expressed their fears, so instead of presenting facts and figures about insurance policies, I kept the process simple with a story about a client who was in their shoes and found a solution.
Here are the neuro-selling techniques that work best for me when presenting insurance:
- Differentiate. Find out how you can be different from your competitors. Advisors are offering essentially the same products, which makes buying decisions difficult for consumers. However, you can be the difference by finding a way to stand out.
- Don’t be a threat. If you come on too strong with the hard sell, your prospects will flee because they think you see them as a transaction. Ask the right questions and find out what their biggest fears are. You’ll be able to offer a solution for that pain.
- Storytelling. It is a helpful tool, considering that we’ve loved hearing stories since we were children. Storytelling helps people visualize numbers, which is how we speak to the subconscious mind. Build trust and help people make a purchase decision.
- Don’t forget the rational. While purchases are irrational and based on feelings, there’s no harm in reinforcing the purchase process by providing data, numbers and statistics. These facts remind clients they are making a good purchase.
- Finally, below are more recommendations that have helped me win over my clients:
- Consider hyper-personalization. When we customize a product to make it suit the unique needs of clients, in their minds we make them feel good, which reinforces their purchase decision.
- Know your prospect and client. Don’t address a woman the same way you would address a man. Each person has different motivators. We need to know what buttons to push for triggering the purchase decision.
- The opening of a meeting is crucial. Within the first five minutes after thanking the clients for meeting and introducing yourself, state in a powerful and brief manner what you do and how you can help. “We help parents pay their children’s education once they are gone.” Reassure them by mentioning how much time you need and that the process will be confidential.
- How you close can determine whether clients will buy. End the session by telling a story about a previous experience that helps clients understand how the product can be applied to their situation. Then use a call to action with a powerful closing sentence like, “Life insurance is like a love letter from you long after you are gone.”
- Select useful keywords. The right word can trigger the purchase decision in people’s minds. Use verbs like achieve, make, transcend and conquer. However, there is a specific word that is the most important of all the keywords: the name of your prospect.
When you want to influence people, ask yourself what worry are you easing, what pleasing experience are you providing and how you can save them some energy. Keep this in mind and your sales will double.
Walter Ramirez Madrid is a 2-year MDRT member from San Salvador, El Salvador. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.