Woo the Buyers Limbic Mind or All Your Sales Efforts are Wasted


If you've driven yourself crazy trying to figure out why so many customers get away, relax. You can't figure it out because... It's not logical. The impulse that makes people buy from one business instead of another is no more logical than the baying of an elk's mating call. In fact, it works exactly the same way, through the limbic system.

The limbic system is instinctive--older than language, faster than thinking. It controls trust. It controls attention and desire. And logic must stand aside until the limbic part of the brain decides something is trustworthy. In primitive times it was constantly alert for danger. Detecting threats spelled the difference between life and death. That function is still important today (although the risks are different).

So here's how the buyer's pattern works.

Step One - Court the limbic system

Provide reasons for the limbic mind to be interested in you. Let it get to know and like your personality, the unique flavor of the business. Once it decides it's interested (or not), it hands the matter off to logic, which waits to be called up.

Step Two - The logical mind evaluates the arguments and facts

It considers the pros and cons and arrives at its best choice.

Step Three - The mind then defers the final decision back to the limbic mind

It says Yes or No. The final decision isn't logical, and rational thinking plays a secondary role. Although it's willing to let you think it runs the show, that's not true.

Step Four - Action

The sale--if you've done it right; or a missed opportunity

Step 2 is supposed to come "after" Step 1. But sales people usually want it first. It doesn't work that way. Most Web sites and business ads start directly with logic, unaware of the vital importance of the limbic system. But getting the buyer to purchase without its blessing is a long shot.

Successful businesses make more money because they speak to the deeper (emotional or instinctive) concerns of their specific market. They engage their buyer's limbic mind in a unique and noteworthy way--a way that matters to them. The value of that company's products and services (which are seldom unique to them) are secondary to making that strong limbic connection. The ability to do so doesn't depend on their size, bankroll, or how long they've been around--but on understanding what their customers really wants.

The Mating Call

You need to send a "mating call" of attraction. By knowing your buyer's desires, you understand they're looking not just for products or services, but the good feeling that they expect to go with them. Your ability to deliver that feeling (in a variety of ways) is evidence of your enhanced value to them. They buy because they want that intangible "something" that makes you stand out from the rest.

Jarring or inconsistent signals turn the limbic mind off They may seem minor, but they cost you big time. The limbic mind doesn't decide by words (content) but by more subtle signals that people send without intending to (context). And its reaction is almost instantaneous. It can be fickle, if you don't continue to amuse, or if you fail to deliver. But it can also be determinedly loyal--when the connection forged with her is strong and personal.

By wooing the limbic system, you'll get the attention of the only buyer that matters. So assess your business practices and promotional materials to ensure they acknowledge its crucial involvement. When they're limbic-friendly, all your other sales efforts will yield greater returns.

© Lynella Grant, 2004


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