This is a literal transcript of John Asher’s program on CRM Radio in December of 2017. You may quote from this transcript if credit is given to John Asher, the title of the radio program (CRM Radio).
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How Recent Neuroscientists’ Study Results Apply to Human Communications & Decision Making
The program host is John Asher and the CRM Commentator is Paul Roberts.
John Asher: The topic today is some of the new information we've learned now from the last three years. From this explosion of information about Neuroscience and how it applies to sales and marketing.
There's now a worldwide forum of Neuroscientists in 70 countries sharing their latest research, their latest studies. They're really interested ... The Neuroscientists are really in how our brains interact with other humans, how we make decisions.
To them it's all about human communications and decision making. If you ask most Neuroscientists, "What do you know about sales and marketing?" They'll say, "Well, nothing. Hello, I'm a scientist." So our job as a company has really been, how do you take all these studies, all this great new information and show people how it simply applies to sales and marketing. What sales people can change about their behavior tomorrow based on what we're learning. That's essentially what we're after.
Paul Roberts: Okay. So I'll let you do a little riff on that. What have they found? What are they learning? It's amazing to me that Neuroscience has anything to do with Sales in any way, shape, or form. But we've always said it's about the psychology of the sale.
John Asher: Exactly, exactly. So psychology, and Neuroscience, Sales and Marketing are all totally connected. We didn't think so a while back, but now we know for sure.
One thing to really recognize is how the brain works and makes decisions. Simply, there's three parts of our brain. The lizard brain, been around for 500 million years. It's all about the fight, flight, [inaudible 00:02:52] that functions.
Second about 150 billion years ago, with the advent of vertebrae of mammals like a whale, the emotional brain came [inaudible 00:03:04]. It's all about excitement, engagement, emotion. Only stores pictures [inaudible 00:03:09] words.
Then, about two million years ago, [inaudible 00:03:12] primates including us humans, the rational brain came on the scene. The rational brain is something we're using every day. [inaudible 00:03:24], the conscious brain. It's all about the facts, figures, complex thinking.
To further simplify it, Neuroscientists will lump the lizard brain, or reptilian brain, and the emotional brain into the old brain because they're both 150 million years old. The rational brain as the new brain.
We now know, from many studies at mental hospitals, where people have lost their old brain through injury or disease, that all decisions are made by the emotional brain, not the new brain. An example would be, many of us have heard this statement, we decide on emotion and justify with logic. Agreed, Paul? Many of us have heard this.
Paul Roberts: I've heard that many, many times, yeah.
John Asher: Many times.
Paul Roberts: That's why the car dealer puts you in the car first. To picture it, to feel it, to drive it, to get your emotions running, picture yourself in it. Then, later on he says, "Hey, it's a good buy."
John Asher: Exactly. That's a great example. So, we now know all decisions are made emotionally. We're ready to apply it to Sales when you're talking about Business to Business Sales. If your company and two others are in a hot competition and all three companies have great experience, great quality, great service, reasonable prices. In other words, in the buyers mind, they're all tied for first with the logic. Then, which one does the buyer choose?
Well, we really know the buyer chooses the salesperson that they feel the best about. The one they felt the best rapport. The one they liked the best. Another way to think about the logic part is, if there's three companies in a hot competition, yours and another are tied for first in the buyers mind. Then, there's an average company.
The buyer is not gonna chose the average company, even though they may like the salesperson the best because that company doesn't have the logic to justify the emotional buy. So, that's a simple explanation on how we decide on emotion, then justify it with logic applies to Business to Business Sales.
Of course, what it means to sales people is, your company's gotta have the right stuff. But, just because you've got the right stuff, does not mean you're gonna get the sale.
Paul Roberts: So it isn't enough to build a better mouse trap in the world of beat a path to your door here anymore. You've got to somehow create an emotional experience to bring them there.
John Asher: Exactly. So we now know, from many of these studies around the world where people are fitted with what are called functional MRI machines. So think of an MRI kind of built into a helmet. All kinds of techniques are tried on them. We can see what parts of the brain react when various techniques are tried.
We now know that there are six stimuli that will wake up the buyers old brain, where decisions are made. So if you're a salesperson and you have an interaction with a buyer and you're not waking up the buyers old brain with any of these six stimuli, closing rates are zero.
An example would be-
Paul Roberts: Well, you gotta give us more than an example. You've gotta give us the six of them here so we know what they are. We gotta have a check list to hit these buttons. These emotional hot buttons.
John Asher: Exactly. So the first one is, the old brain is me, me, me focused. So we're all worried about our own safety, our own happiness, our own success. So the way you would practically apply this to sales is this, according to Harvard, it has the biggest research department on Sales.
There are about 25 million Salespeople in the US right now selling Business to Business. Five to ten percent are known as elite, the top ones bringing in the most business. The rest are average, untrained. It explained why the turnover rate for Salespeople in the US is 37 percent per year.
Paul Roberts: Wow.
John Asher: So, when you watch an average Salesperson give a presentation, here's the architecture of their presentation; Here's the vision of our company. Here's the picture of our new facilities. Here's a list of our seven integrated IT Technologies. Let's start with IT Technology number one.
Paul Roberts: Right.
John Asher: So where do you think dull is the buyers old brain awake yet?
Paul Roberts: No. I'm asleep.
John Asher: When you watch the elite Salespeople give a presentation, it's totally different. It's totally upside down. Their first slide, their first television screen, their first-
Paul Roberts: Image they put out there, yeah. Right.
John Asher: Yeah, whatever they're gonna put out. The title of that first slide is, here is our understanding of your needs. It means you've gotta be, as a Salesperson, a great researcher, a great preparer. Have an inside coach to fill you in. From these functional MRI machine studies, we know that in 95 percent of the cases, it will cause immediate conversation to ensue with the buyer.
After that fairly long conversation about their needs is complete, how many slides in that 21 slide deck does the Salesperson have to show? Not too many. Maybe one, or two, or three. It's gonna be different in every presentation because the needs are different.
Paul Roberts: Because you woke them up, you're talking to me. That's what I'm looking for, yeah.
John Asher: Exactly. That's one example of the stimuli, the first one immediately focus. It just totally upsets what we've all thought about the best way to give a presentation.
The second stimuli is, it's gotta be easy, simple to grasp ideas. The emotional brain does not hear words, does not hear facts, does not hear figures, it only stores pictures. Our rational brains ... If the Salesperson say something like this, we've got an integrated, scalable solution with [inaudible 00:09:25] points, the buyers rational brain goes, "Yay, great." But how about the buyers old brain?
Paul Roberts: Yada, yada, yada, yak, yak, yak. Blah, blah, blah.
John Asher: The buyer is totally confused. Yeah, totally confused. I know you know the answer to this question, will a confused brain make a decision?
Paul Roberts: No. You confuse them, you lose them.
John Asher: You confuse them, you lose them.
The third stimuli is the beginning and the end. The reason is, the brain is a huge organ, the third largest. It has a hundred billion neurons. Each neuron had 10 thousand synapsis or connections. So for the brain to make a decision, a complex decision, it takes a ton of energy.
So over a 150 million years, the old brain has learned to develop shortcuts, or rules of thumb, or cognitive biases, or tendencies. The Neuroscientists call these heuristics. That, in almost every case, will give us our answer. But in some cases, kind of lead us astray.
Example of that would be the third stimuli, that is the beginning and the end. That is the old brain is awake in the beginning, goes to sleep in the middle, and then may wake up in the end.
So if you had a friend who's a pastor and you ask him, "When you went to Theological Seminary, how do they train you to give a good sermon?" Well, they'll all say the same thing. Tell the congregation what you're gonna tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. So all sermons follow that architecture.
The great sermons, the passage starts with a biblical passage, brings it to life from an emotional standpoint. The congregation is totally awake and engaged. Then, when the pastor gets into the details, the congregation goes into the snooze mode.
Paul Roberts: You've been watching me in church, haven't you? Okay, go ahead.
John Asher: Then, in the end if the pastor knows what they're doing, they'll bring it to life again with emotion and tell us how to apply it to our daily lives.
What this means to us in Sales is this, not only do you have to focus on the customer, stimuli number one. Stimuli number two, explain your products and services in simple terms. But, you've gotta realize that the buyers old brain is awake at the beginning and the end.
So at every interaction, whether it's in person, on the phone, LinkedIn, email always start and end with emotion or with the bang.
Paul Roberts: Does that also apply to then when you ask for the close. I'm in my 60's here, I was taught a million years ago, always be closing. ABC always be closing. What does it take, three or four trial closes before you get there.
But you're saying, if they're asleep, maybe you're wasting your time. Maybe you should close after you wake them up again.
John Asher: Exactly. There's always good timing for closes. That's exactly right.
Paul Roberts: Well, this is a good time for a commercial here. Let's take a quick break and talk about a couple of our sponsors and some other information we want to pass along. Then, we'll come back more and talk about the Neuroscience of Sales here.
We're gonna talk about how recent Neuroscientists studies apply to human communication and decision making. That's a fancy way of saying how to make your brain wake up and hear what you're saying. Right after this.
We just want to quickly remind everybody that you all rely on a CRM system, we know that. It's usually a love / hate relationship. Most CRM systems, well they're expensive. Salespeople don't use them. You're probably paying for features you don't even want.
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Our guest has a new book out, which is called Close Deals Faster, The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method. It's available for purchase on Amazon right now. It's a handbook which distills decades of experience and study into 15 shortcuts, which every B2B Salesperson should be using in their day to day selling activities. They simply work. Any Sales Manager can raise the performance of his or her team by going over the shortcuts at every sales meeting. Go check it out, Close Deals Faster, The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method.
One more quick book you might want to check out. We keep promoting this book because it works so well. Mary Lou Tyler's book on Predictable Prospecting. In it she shows how to add qualified opportunities to your sales pipeline ensuring consistent and predictable, there's the word we're always looking for, predictable revenue growth. You can get started right away turning your business into a sales machine. Simply download her free sample chapter at maryloutyler, just like it sounds, maryloutyler.com. Predictable Prospecting.
Alright back to our guest, John Asher. Before we start up again, where do we find the book, Close Deals Faster. Is that through Amazon, through your site? Where can we find that?
John Asher: Pretty much anywhere. It was published on October 24th on Amazon. The Amazon reserve sold out in 15 minutes.
Paul Roberts: Wow, wow. You woke my brain up when you said that. There you go.
John Asher: Actually, Paul, you never know. They may have only had three in reserve.
Paul Roberts: Well that's true, that's true. But it sounds good.
John Asher: That's right, it sounds good. It's been doing very well. You can get it on Amazon, of course, or on our website.
Paul Roberts: Close Deals Faster, 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method. Why 15? Fifteen seems like one of those odd numbers. Everybody does five, or three, or something.
John Asher: Well, you know there's ... The way we organize it is there's five factors for success in Sales. You'd recognize them all. Product knowledge, sales aptitude, selling skills, motivation, and sales process. There are 10 skills. Within the first eight skills ... there's about two shortcuts per skill, or 15.
Paul Roberts: Okay. There you go, alright. A logical process to follow here. Let's go back to, you were talking about the lizard brain, and the emotional brain, and the old brain, and all that. That brain seems to be winning these days.
Whether it's politics, whether it's ads on TV where it's all emotion. The wind is blowing through their hair, they're riding a horse and you're wondering, is this for hemorrhoids, is this for beauty products. It's all about evoking an emotion.
It's all about getting people whipped up. Then, maybe we'll get them to take action. Does the logical brain have less and less play in this?
John Asher: The way to think about it is again, we buy on emotion and justify with logic. So you must have the logic to get the emotional buy.
Paul Roberts: So you can't close without the logic, but you can't get them hooked without the emotion.
John Asher: In other words, we're not gonna buy stuff that doesn't work, even though we like the salesperson.
Paul Roberts: Or we like the ... But, aren't there a lot of brands these days? It's all about branding. It's that image. If you own this, you're gonna be the guy on the Harley, you're gonna be the woman in the commercial, you're gonna be the person behind the wheel of this car.
It's all about creating just such an urgent desire that, boy you'll justify it in any way, shape, or form to have that aspiration.
John Asher: Yes. Well, you know that really leads us into another group. There's six stimuli, we talked about three of them. There's also 50 cognitive biases, or shortcuts, or rules of thumb, or tendencies. Neuroscience has called them heuristics.
All of them apply to Sales and Marketing. I'll just give you a couple of interesting examples.
Paul Roberts: Okay.
John Asher: One is called the single option aversion. Multiple studies show that if you offer the buyer one option, 10 percent will buy it. If you offer two similar options, 64 percent will buy one. That's a difference, if you're good at math, at 640 percent increase in closing difference. It's called a single option aversion.
Paul Roberts: How about three options? I was always taught three, good, better, best. If you do good, better, best, they usually pick the one in the middle. The three bears analogy. This one's too hot, this one's too cold, this one's just perfect.
John Asher: It's pretty close to being right, but it's not quite right. Let me explain three of them. The first is the single option aversion, never just offer one.
The second bias that applies to this is called the choice paradox bias. That is never offer more than three.
Paul Roberts: Yes, right.
John Asher: Because if you offer more than three, the old brain becomes confused.
Paul Roberts: Yes, absolutely. I remember years ago, I went to buy a car. I had kind of two in my mind, they showed me a third one and I started to get a little confused. They showed me the whole product line, I ended up walking out. I didn't know what to buy anymore.
John Asher: Exactly, exactly. That's actually why car dealers ... If you buy a car today, you don't have a ton of options. There's like three packages [crosstalk 00:19:33]-
Paul Roberts: Yeah, right.
John Asher: ... because of this. The real answer is, either offer two or three. Never only and never more than three.
Paul Roberts: Gotcha. Okay. I'd agree with that. That's been my experience, yeah.
John Asher: These are [inaudible 00:19:48] application to restaurants. If you go to a nice restaurant that has specials, how many do they have typically?
Paul Roberts: A couple.
John Asher: Two or three.
Paul Roberts: Two or three, never just one.
John Asher: [crosstalk 00:19:58]-
Paul Roberts: Yeah, right.
John Asher: Never one, never five, two or three because of that.
Paul Roberts: Okay.
John Asher: Another bias that's a very interesting one is called the compliment bias. We are biased towards people that compliment us, our old brain is. Actually, the highest compliment that you can give another person is, I like you.
From the MASH series, the actor McClain Stevenson, he has this famous statement. He said, "You know, my wife tricked me into marrying her." Somebody said, "Well what do you mean by that." He said, "She said she likes me."
So the real lesson for salespeople is as soon as you can, when you meet a new prospect, do great research, be ready to compliment something. Their website, their spaces, how you were treated by their receptionist. You don't have to necessarily compliment them about their shirt.
Paul Roberts: Right. So many people will-
John Asher: [crosstalk 00:21:05] compliment other people.
Paul Roberts: So many people will say something in a meeting and suddenly I've heard people pipe up and say, "Oh, I like that." I guess that's why they're pandering to their old brain here.
John Asher: Yeah. So what happens when you compliment another person, it literally, from an old brain standpoint, makes their whole day. For example, I'm an outgoing person, an extrovert. I get in an elevator, I talk to about 100 percent of the people that are in the elevator with me.
About half the time, I can figure out how to give them a compliment. You don't compliment everybody. But if there is something worth complimenting, about half the time I will. From a play it forward standpoint, I know I have literally made their whole day.
Paul Roberts: Amazing. Yeah, because nobody else is complimented them. Alright, well, I wish I could compliment you with more time, but we're coming to the end here. Any final thoughts, wrap ups? You've teased us, you've tantalized us, tell us about the book again and how do people find you.
John Asher: It's real simple, go to our website asherstrategies.com to find out about the services, and products, and that sort of thing. If you want the book, just go to Amazon. That's the easiest way to get it.
Paul Roberts: Okay. The book is called?
John Asher: Close Deals Faster ... Actually, if you wanted to buy in bulk, there's a special discount on our website. You can buy directly from the publisher.
Paul Roberts: Yeah, maybe you want to give it to all your Sales staff or something. Buy a bunch of them and get them motivated here, get them talking.
John Asher: Yep. That has happened already.
Paul Roberts: I'll bet.
John Asher: That's a good thing.
Paul Roberts: Well, we like you. We like you a lot. I don't know if that's gonna make your day here or not, but we like what you're saying. Give us again the website and how do people get in touch with you.
John Asher: Good. Paul, you've been a great interviewer. Thank you.
Paul Roberts: Alright. How do they reach you again? What's the website again?
John Asher: Asherstrategies.com.
Paul Roberts: Okay. What kind of operations do you work with? Do you work with anybody? Small, large, medium ... any-
John Asher: Basically selling to companies that sell to other businesses, so B2B. Typically, 10 million to a couple of billion. Mid market is pretty much our sweet spot.
Paul Roberts: Okay. Alright, well we appreciate you taking time out to join us here today. John Asher, right here on CRM Radio Today.
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