Marketing to the Id — Trust-based Sales and Neuromarketing

WHEN YOU STOP learning about sales, you stop growing in sales.  Whether sales is your profession or not, those who achieve the greatest success are perennial learners.

Even when delivering the keynote address at an event, the true masters still take notes when others are teaching.

Buckle up today. We are going to go a little deeper into the sales process. Let’s talk a bit about understanding the psychology of a sale.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Sales psychology concepts change as we learn more about psychological processes. You see, how we make decisions is based upon how we think, what we feel, and how we perceive a given situation.

How prospects make decisions is VERY relevant to the sales process: A decision has to be made in order for someone to buy.

This can be deep stuff. I have studied the psychology of sales extensively. It is one of those areas, though, where the more you know … the more you realize how vast the possibilities are.

I’ve seen the iceberg, but I know there is much more to it than is visible to me.

You do NOT need to dive deeply into this topic, unless it draws you as it has me.  I often simplify some of what I have learned in my advanced sales training studies, because I believe if you understand the ‘why’ behind an approach, you’ll better be able to implement the ‘how.’

[clickToTweet tweet=”A decision has to be made in order for someone to buy.” quote=”A decision has to be made in order for someone to buy.”]

The origins of neuromarketing

Enter the “id”

Sigmund Freud (1836-1939), and Austrian neurologist, is known as “The father of psychoanalysis.”  Much of his work is hotly contested today, but every Psych 101 student learns about the “id.”

Freud id illustration

Freud’s Diagram – The Ego and the Id

Freud described the psyche as a three-part structure: Id, ego, and super-ego. These aren’t physical constructs for Freud, but the basis of one’s individual personality. Of the three, the id (said Freud) is unconscious, timeless, and with you from birth – while the ego and super-ego are formed by experience.

Pop psychiatrists and motivational experts stress the limitless possibilities of the id.

For them, the id is not “unconscious,” but “subconscious.”

And, for the champions of possibility thinking, it is even more than that: The id is “superconscious.” It taps into a force beyond yourself. 

The closest medical science comes to acknowledging the id, perhaps, is in the study of synapses.

Your nervous system is intricate. It allows you to think, feel, and function. Science says communication within your nervous system is accomplished by way of “synapses” – leading neurobiologist Joseph LeDoux to state, “We are our synapses.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”The ego and the id … a Freud diagram. ” quote=”The ego is not sharply separated from the id; its lower portion merges into it…. But the repressed merges into the id as well, and is merely a part of it. The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistances of repression; it can communicate with the ego through the id (Sigmund Freud, 1923).”]

Early success principle adherents spearheaded the sales application of psychology

Marketers long ago recognized the power of the “superconscious” or “mastermind” and developed their own offshoots related to the modern study of neuroscience.

Today, the sales-oriented research by psychiatrists, psychologists, and sales researchers is loosely grouped into a hybrid study known as “neuromarketing.” I doubt there is a professional salesperson today who has not yet read about or heard about, a sales technique that incorporates some form of neuro-based sales.

(Disclaimer: I am a layperson, not a medical doctor or a scientist. As a professional salesperson, the findings and applications of neuromarketing are of real interest to my profession – yet I can only pass on my experience and my understanding)

A study of how and why people buy

Neuromarketing researchers combine medical technologies with biometric insights to observe what happens in the mind when consumers consider and make purchasing decisions.

The goal, for neuromarketing advocates, is to better understand the buying process and help consumers make purchasing decisions.

For example, let’s say your potential customer is a woman from the baby boomer generation. (Me, for example!). Thirty years ago, you may have drawn that woman in by talking about the “golden years” and the “sunset of life.”

That sort of language would have tickled her cortex then – but that language would be considered, by many, to be out-of-date when talking to a 60 year-old woman now.

Today’s boomer women tend to see themselves as just entering the best part of life. They don’t feel like they are ready for the sunset. For them, it’s more like high noon!

And, if boomer women are your primary marketing audience, don’t talk the joys of retirement to them. Talk action. Talk fun. Talk getting out there and doing something you’ve always longed to do … something purposeful and worthwhile.

That gets her neurons going and positions you and your offer in a much more favorable place. Before the advent of neuromarketing, observations like that depended on focus groups and close listening. The neuro-researcher, though, can examine thought sequences and preferences by measuring biophysical responses.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Today’s boomer women tend to see themselves as just entering the best part of life. ” quote=”Today’s boomer women tend to see themselves as just entering the best part of life. They don’t feel like they are ready for the sunset. For them, it’s more like high noon!”]

Neuromarketing often validates what savvy salespeople have always known

From determining which odors elicit the most sales,  the visual and emotional impact of logos and packaging on the potential buyer, to observing neural activity as decisions are made, neuromarketers say their methods are much more reliable than traditional public opinion surveys and focus groups.

Like a lie detector test in a criminal investigation, the EEG and MRI results provide a tangible, accurate picture of what is really going on inside the brain. It’s hard to fool the machine.

A primary tenant of neuromarketing is that our subconscious determines most of our decisions. Furthermore, there are similarities in the subconscious workings of those who share the same age group, gender, job … even political leaning comes into play.

Which automobile would a Democrat prefer?

A Buyology, Inc. study, for example, found a rift between the brand preferences of Democrats and Republicans.

Both camps agreed on Coca-Cola, VISA and Google as typifying the most desired attributes of their respective product line—but it turns out that Democrats are Jeep people, while Republicans have more of a BMW slant. Moreover, Democrats are more likely to be found at a Starbucks. If you want a Republican, though, better check at Dunkin’ Donuts.

This was determined by measuring non-conscious data (id). The neuromarketer sees a treasure trove of marketing tips in such data. Do you? How could data like this be used in your sales efforts?

Whether you believe people are like icebergs, with but a small portion of their true selves showing above water and the rest hidden deep in an unfathonable subconscious reservoir, or whether you are full astride the neuroscience bandwagon the marketing revelations are difficult to dispute.

Is a neuromarketing study better than a focus group?

Does neuromarketing research supplant focus groups and your own insights from customer or client interactions? I don’t think so – but the discipline does offer additional insight.

I am NOT a fan of using any of this research to in some way manipulate someone’s behavior.  But I do believe the more we understand about human behavior, the better we can communicate with, lead and serve others.

That is why I am a fan of TRUST BASED SELLING. Gaining trust and being worthy of someone’s trust has great influence and impact on others in an integrity-driven way.  I hope that makes sense!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Gaining trust and being worthy of someone’s trust has great influence and impact on others.” quote=”Gaining trust and being worthy of someone’s trust has great influence and impact on others in an integrity-driven way.”]

The Inevitable Sale is a Trust-Based Process

A NeruoFocus study for Facebook determined that content deemed as both ‘personally meaningful’ AND presenting an opportunity for learning, scored highest for recall. It made a deeper impact on readers.

Here’s an example, then, of how neuromarketing compliments good ol’ sales savvy: When you consider what might be most important to your customers and provide them with an opportunities for learning in both your presentations and marketing materials, you gain trust and credibility in their eyes.

And that is the basis of trust-based selling.







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