Neurosales is a discipline that translates the findings of neuroscience in practical and applicable tips to the business and sales relationship with customers.
Below we share with you the complete transcript of the interview held with Agustín Marqués and Marcos Abollado, Overlap’s experts in Neurosales, for the industry-leading HR and Training magazine “Equipos y Talento”. They will be responsible for leading the Neurosales workshop, called “Neurosales: How to activate the customer’s on/off button” that will be presented on February 3 & 4 in Madrid and Barcelona.
Reserve your spot at: http://www.overlap.net/formulario/conferencia-neurosales
Q. What is Neurosales?
A. Neurosales is a discipline that translates the findings of neuroscience in practical and applicable tips to the business and sales relationship with customers.
Q. Is it a new sales process?
A. It is a way of practicing the sale that gets adapted to the process the client already has established. It is focused on the person and not the steps of the sales process, therefore it can be adapted to any type of sale. In fact, it is applicable to any type of job. All of us, whether salespeople or not, sell every day: our views in a meeting, our ideas of a project, to our boss, colleagues, spouse, children, etc. Neuroscience’s angle towards the sale gives us light of how we make decisions, where most are subconscious, especially when talking about the fascinating subject of how the male vs. female brain works.
Q. The word “neuro” is also associated to Neuromarketing, Neuroleadership, etc. Does the “neuro” part make each discipline harder to understand?
A. We have all heard of certain biochemicals that affect the brain (e.g. endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, etc.), and we address what the real applications are of this knowledge.
We work with another set of terms by stepping out of the sales world for a second and working in a real situation. Here is an example:
“Imagine a father reading on the sofa in the living room. Meanwhile, two of his children are playing ball in the kitchen and he tells them to stop playing with it because they are going to break something. The children continue playing and a large noise is heard: a glass jar is shattered. The father gets up very angry and yells at them that their punishment will be not being able to play video games for three months…”
In this situation, the father is the victim of “decisional blindness”. In other words, due to the emotion created, his ability to reason and give a “fair” punishment vanishes. We can conclude here that being emotional takes away the freedom to make a decision. This happens with both negative and positive emotions and is one of the ways of applying neuroscience to sales.
Q. It’s a very easy example to understand… What other keys do you work on in your Neurosales presentation?
A. To be brief, I’ll explain a couple:
- Our brain contains several regions and forms of segmentation. The best known area is the hemispheric division; however, we approach a division with direct implications for decision-making. We actually have three types of brains: the reptilian, limbic and rational brain (II). Each has a function in our lives. Only one is rational and yet is not exactly the most involved in decision making, so if sales messages are directed to the rational brain, we are missing out on potential opportunities. (An example of a bad practice would argue a service based on its characteristics without seeing how it would apply the product to the customer’s actual situation).
- There are two thought process systems, fast and slow. In the first, the brain consumes little energy and therefore this is the usual day to day thought processing system used. The second slower thought processing system requires more “effort” and therefore is not frequently used. “The brain tends to always spend less energy” (III). This means that there are tactics that help sales through the “fast” system of thought (IV) and knowing these tactics is key to achieving sales objectives (e.g. the tactic of simple arguments and visual examples).
- The mind does not distinguish from the real and imaginary: This means that brain activity in an imagined situation is similar to that experienced in the same real situation. An example of how to accomplish this tactic would be to position the client with details as if he/she would have already purchased the service and also talking to the customer as if he/she were the protagonist of the story. The customer’s brain generates the same type of reward as if he/she already had it and was enjoying it.
- The mind searches for different and original things. “If you are one more, you will be one less”. In other words, I have to work on how I want my customer to remember me by after my time with them.
Q. You are constantly referring to the sources of your statements… Why?
A. When someone refers to astrology or physics in a classroom, no one argues with the facts. However, when you talk about persuasive communication or male vs. female behavior, everyone has an opinion. The fact is when we base ourselves on scientific studies, it helps build authority.
Those who have developed the Neurosales product in Overlap are experts in sales, leadership and learning. We have researched experts in neuroscience and managed to apply neuroscience not only to sales, but also to the manager’s role in his/her leadership execution and why it is so important to put each statement in a scientific framework. This does not mean that the debate takes place in the classroom, but it is aimed at the implementation in the job role.
Q. I have understood that you include some of your own key applications, i.e. not based on scientific studies. What are they?
A. It would be pretentious for us to say that we invented something entirely new. This has been developed as a result of observing sales positions in different companies and extracting some key points related to the research analyzed in the field of neuroscience. Having said all that, we are proud of the reception that this Neurosales topic is having. Below is a summary:
- “Lies of control”: In short, through the knowledge and sales process control indicators, we reach a minimum level of excellence and in the long term we must turn to other variables such as achievement motivation, team confidence, attitude toward the product/service, and even the company’s vision.
- “The three levels of exchange”: think of your own job. If you only work and in return they give you a paycheck, we are talking about a first level of exchange (i.e. win-win). If they also share information on results with you and ask for your opinion on certain decisions, then you feel that they are counting on you. Finally, if they share the company’s vision with you and establish emotional ties, we arrive to the level of “I am the Company”. Something similar occurs in the relationship we have with customers, where the job consists of what level of exchange you are going to have with each customer and how to ascend up these levels.
- “Sales success formula”: I won’t go into the complete formula now, but I’ll share some variables we develop and that we detected to be keys for success, not only in sales, but in professional performance:
a. Subjective capability: we always talk about “aptitude”. In this formula, we don’t talk about if we are able to do something, but instead if we BELIEVE we are able to do it.
b. Experience: Everyone’s background affects how we see reality and act on it. With experience we emphasize the error on ourselves, by seeing it as a failure or as a learning point.
c. Personality: Within the personality, we focus on attitude towards life (50% of personality) and the “epigénesis” (V), which is the idea that our destiny is genetically determined, but the evolution of our brain mechanisms allow us to choose and plan our actions.
Q. What simple advice would you give us to apply this to any personal or sales relationship?
- Be present: our brain is in the past or future 46% of the day. The first advice is to be present with the other person and there for the other person always.
- Respect: This person is perfect and has good intentions. In coaching, they call this “distinction”, between accepting and resigning. If someone criticizes me or I don’t like their way of thinking or acting, I accept it. From that perspective we will succeed in enjoying any relationship and sales situation, and it will also be visible and help the sale.
- Empower: Empower ourselves especially, but it is also important to empower others too. As to how to do it, this is a tip I constantly put into practice: before having a conversation or important meeting, speak to yourself and fill yourself up with energy (I’m not saying what words to use in front of the mirror, but you can imagine them). On the other hand, after a meeting that has not gone well, you can speak to yourself to empower yourself and return to a successful mental state, based on what you have learned (failure is nothing more than a difference between what we expected and what has happened, but the difference is what you allow to learn from it).
(I) Harvard and Yale Universities, among others: “95% of our decisions are subconscious”
(II) The triune brain evolution, MacLean, P.
(III) Dra. Katherine Benziger
(IV) The science of persuasion, Cialdini R.B.
(V) LʼHomme de vérité, Jean-Pierre Changeux
Agustín Marqués and Marcos Abollado, Overlap’s experts in Neurosales