Three Brains in One

Brain.jpgThough the left brain / right brain lateralization is a well-established fact, documented by the research of Nobel-winner Roger Sperry, many people misunderstood what this really means.

While there are definite differences between the functions of the left brain and the right brain, these differences pale in significance when compared with the differences between the Old Brain and the New Brain.

The task of a salesperson or marketer is not to just reach the right brain or the left brain, which are both parts of the New Brain, but to reach the Old Brain which is the seat of emotion and emotional response.

If you want to read the long detailed explanation written by internationally renowned neuroscientists Júlio Rocha do Amaral, MD & Jorge Martins de Oliveira, MD, PhD, follow this link: Limbic System: The Center of Emotions.

The practical, condensed version continues below.

The primitive or Old Brain one is responsible for self-preservation. It is there that the mechanisms of aggression and repetitive behavior are located.

Middle Brain or limbic system, which developed with the emergence of the primitive mammals, commands certain behaviors that are necessary for the survival of all mammals. It is where emotions and feelings, like wrath, fright, passion, love, hate, joy and sadness reside.

The third cerebral unit, the cortex or New Brain, is a highly complex net of neural cells capable of producing a symbolic language, thus enabling man to exercise skillful intellectual tasks such as reading, writing and performing mathematical calculations.

What does all of this have to do with influencing and persuading others? First we must realize that buying decisions are made more with the reptilian old brain and the limbic middle brain than the cortex.

That is why when asked how or why they made a purchase most people can’t explain it. It is an unconscious, emotional process that is not easily understood or explained. To be successful marketers and sales professionals would do well to study the emotional underpinnings of why people buy what they buy. People do not buy products and services; they buy the emotional attachments associated with those products or services.

Take buying a Hummer for example. There is no logical reason for ninety-nine percent of the American public to own a Hummer. Yet why are they such a hit? According to Market Research Guru and former child psychiatrist, Clotaire Rapille, “The Hummer is a car with a strong identity. It’s a car in a uniform. For women, they say it’s a new way to scare men. Wow. And women love the Hummer. They’re not telling you; buy a Hummer because you get better gas mileage. You don’t”.

Yes buying a Hummer is “not logical” as Mr. Spock would say but it sure does appeal to the old reptilian brain’s need to dominate and survive.

What reptilian appeal does your product or service have?

If you can’t answer that you are in trouble, you just don’t know it.