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Customers buy when they feel good about the relationship they’ve established with the sales person – people trumps process. It is our natural tendency to buy based on emotion and then to justify our decision with left brain logic. Therefore, we need to engage the customer’s right side in order to connect with them in a way that causes them to desire our solution.


One of the more popular topics of discussion these days is the impact of emotional intelligence on teambuilding, customer relationships and the art of selling. Another important way to improve your emotional intelligence in the area of selling is by identifying and understanding the four primary personality styles. Competitive Excellence uses a color coded system by Insight Learning which categorizes your personality as Blue, Gold, Green or Orange. The question we’d like to ask is, how do we better engage the brain during the selling process?

Which side of the brain are you selling to?
Most of you know that the brain is divided it two hemisphere’s which, the left and the right. People are dominant on only one. The left side of the brain is all about information, text, logic and rationale. The right side of the brain is about feeling, emotions, images, patterns and perceptions. Basically, the left brain is about task and the right is about relationships. Based on this it would make more sense to sell to the right side of the brain, right? Yet we don’t.

The Customer’s Brain
Customers buy when they feel good about the relationship they’ve established with the sales person – people trumps process. It is our natural tendency to buy based on emotion and then to justify our decision with left brain logic. Therefore, we need to engage the customer’s right side in order to connect with them in a way that causes them to desire our solution.

So how can we better engage the right side of the brain?  It’s been said that the right side of the brain buys and the left side returns. We’ve been taught as sales professionals to focus on the benefits of our products and services. Stating the benefits and features of products and services engages the left side of your brain. The left side wants the details. The left side is also where your short term memory resides. Since the right side of your brain is where long term memory resides, wouldn’t it make more sense to engage your long term memory when it comes to selling? The way to engage the right side of the brain is by reaching its emotions, feelings and imagination and making the entire selling process memorable. When we use words like imagine or discover it engages our right brain to envision what results we would like from someone’s products or services. A great example of this is the commercial by George Zimmer, CEO of The Men’s Warehouse where he says in his ad “you’re going to love the way you look, I guarantee it!” That hits the right brain and attracts us to take him at his word.

Customers are attracted to uniqueness in your offerings and how it can impact their future. Imagine, discover, experience, enjoy are all words that engage us to think of the result of buying from you. We can connect with customers by taking them where they want to be and that means more than conveying features and benefits. It’s about trust and building long term relationships.

Another important phase of the selling process is identifying your customer’s personality style and anticipating their behavior during the sales process. Who will ask the tough questions, who will buy mainly on trust, and who buys impulsively? A colleague of mine, Kevin Daum is the author of ROAR (an acronym for working with customers) which can be found in Barnes & Noble. Kevin has a unique approach to selling to the four different buyers by relating them to the four sons from the Passover Seder – with a slight modification. They are the Wise buyer, the Cynical, the Simple and the Disinterested. His book is a story told by a friend sitting in one of the best Delicatessens of New York City. Kevin also shares how to build a powerful value proposition for your business. I highly recommend Kevin’s book – it has strong correlations to the “Four People You Should Know” process that I use.

The next time you’re in a selling situation, consider your prospect – which side of the brain are they using and how can you better serve it.

About the author

Stu Schlackman

Stu Schlackman

Stu has spent over 25 years in sales management, sales and sales training with…

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