3 Lizard Brain Hacks to Increase Your Company’s RevenueMarch 6, 2014 By Tim Riesterer
You are not alone. Most organizations believe a customer buying cycle ends in one of two ways—prospects either choose them, or they choose a competitor—and they invest time and money into designing marketing and sales messages that place them in head-to-head competition with each other. But recent research has identified that up to 60 percent of qualified leads don't actually go to a competitor—they simply fall to the wayside because the prospect doesn't choose anyone at all.
The Brain Is Behind a Decision to Change
Believe it or not, this phenomenon can be explained by simple brain science. The part of your brain that analyzes information is called the neocortex, and the part that houses your emotions is the limbic system. A third part, sometimes called the "lizard brain," is where decisions to change are actually made. And the primary motivator for change in this part of the brain is ensuring survival. The lizard brain quickly assesses situations and opportunities to determine if your status quo is safe or unsafe. Unless it senses your current state is in danger, it is inclined to keep you right where you are because it is a known safe place. In selling, making a decision to change appears to be the risky path, which is why prospects and customers choose "no decision."
Wake the Lizard Brain
The most effective way to break through this barrier and win more business is to stimulate your prospects' lizard brain. Here are three Cs to help you with that job:
- Context—You need to show your prospects why their status quo is unsafe, untenable or unsustainable. Typically, this will require pointing out problems, threats and challenges they hadn't considered or weren't even aware of. These unknown needs create a sense of urgency that known, identified problems don't. A dangerous surprise in your prospects' environment will "wake" their lizard brains and send them seeking a new safe alternative.
- Contrast—The lizard brain does not have the capacity for language, so it craves "contrast" to make a decision. It must clearly see contrast between the current state and your recommended future state to appreciate the value of making a decision to change. If there's no contrast, there's no value. Show them a literal side-by-side comparison of how they are doing something today, highlighting the gaps and deficiencies, and comparing that to how they will do it differently and better tomorrow.
- Concrete—The lizard brain hates things that are abstract or complex. It is the simplest part of the brain, so it needs simple visuals that clearly depict the context and contrast described above. Text-heavy communications or metaphorical images will frustrate and freeze the lizard brain. Simple graphics that clearly show the challenges of the current stage and then contrast (using different colors) the recommended new approach will imprint your story on the lizard brain to make it more memorable and remarkable.
Don't rely on your intuition to tell you what kind of messaging works. Don't even rely on what customers tell you, because they don't even realize what's happening in their lizard brains. Trust the decision-making brain science to improve the power of your content.