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VOL. 42 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 12, 2018

One stop, one start start the new year off right

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The start of a new year is a time of both reflection and motivation. Many of us develop a goal list for the upcoming year, and those goals often have “stops” and “starts” associated with them.

At the start of this new year, I’d like to offer one stop and one start for marketing and sales teams.

First, the stop. Stop thinking that your marketing and sales pitches should be about you. They shouldn’t, and here’s why: “Breaking through” and being relevant is hard in today’s environment. There’s simply more information flung at us today than our human brains can handle.

A neuromarketing expert, Dr. Christophe Morin of Sales Brain, describes the effect as a splashing of most information off of our brain and into nothingness. Think about all of those marketing and sales dollars spent in messaging, and then think about the likelihood that they’re facing constant rejection.

You can make it easier for your audience to find relevance in you if you make your message about them. Morin’s mandate is to “stop splashing and start convincing.”

Which brings us to the 2018 start: Start convincing.

As humans, our brains absorb information in a specific sequence. Many of you will be surprised to learn that logic and reason are not our brain’s first function.

Rather, instinct and emotion do their jobs first, before we can even start to apply fact-based tasks such as reading and evaluating. We can’t control these first-response parts of our brain. Their function is effortless, subconscious and very, very quick.

This is the part of the brain to which we should start communicating. Morin describes it as a bottom-up effect.

So how to start?

1. Understand your audience

Uncover their fears, frustrations and pain. Open-ended questions will help you achieve the most meaningful diagnosis, but quantitative surveys of a large audience could also work.

2. Appeal to the brain’s instinctual and emotional functions

Six universal emotions are common to all of us. Four can be particularly useful in sales and marketing. Happiness causes us to seek out more of the same. Surprise causes us to pay attention. Disgust causes us to reject the offending stimulus. And fear – the king of all decision drivers – triggers our primal fight-or-flight response and our need to placate, at least temporarily, that which we fear.

3. Develop emotion-based messaging that addresses your audience’s pain

When people are presented a solution to their ailments, they feel in control and aren’t in a primal state of uncertainty. Thus, the instinctual and emotional parts of the brain can be put at ease and the more reason-based tasks of convincing and closing can commence.

Catherine (Kitty) Taylor, vice president of innovation at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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