#001: A Look Inside the Buying Brain with Scott Halford
In this Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
Scott Halford, author of Activate Your Brain, joins Jeff to talk about how your brain is the most effective tool you have to make you a better salesperson. Like a rockstar who warms up before the concert, you need to warm up your brain if you’re going to rock the sale. If you want to find out how to do that, you’ll want to listen to “A Look Inside the Buying Brain.”
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
- [2:38] Quote of the Day!
- [5:03] Sales Tip of the Day: Compliment your customer!
- [9:25] Our interview with Scott Halford
- [11:33] Keeping a clear brain.
- [14:29] The design of the brain (The Hand Model).
- [17:51] How that design changes interaction.
- [24:41] Your negative emotion is contagious.
More about our guest Scott Halford
Scott Halford is an Emmy Award winning writer and producer, an engaging presenter. His expansive knowledge in the areas of neuroscience, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and the principles of influence add richness and depth to his programs.
Scott is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) through the National Speakers Association.
His book – Activate Your Brain landed at #4 on the Wall Street Journal nonfiction eBook bestsellers list and was the Axiom Business Book Bronze Award Winner.
Links from today’s podcast:
Jeff: So what really goes on in the buying brain? The science is fascinating and understanding it will help you to close more sales. Stay tuned.
Announcer: Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind”, where we take a closer look deep inside your customers’ decision-making mechanism to reverse engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Jeff: Welcome everyone to “The Buyer’s Mind” where we investigate exactly what is going on in the brains of prospects who are considering a purchase. And my take on this is that if I understand the way that a buyer wants to buy, if I understand the process by which they make decisions, I can write my sales presentation accordingly. And this podcast is all about taking a stroll through the buyer’s brain. But we’ll also have fun and celebrate that wonderful world of sales along the way.
I’m your host, Jeff Shore. You can read the full bio in the show notes or you can visit jeffshore.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our free weekly newsletter, a little Saturday morning inspiration to help you on your sales journey. And be sure to stay with us through the podcast because we’ve got a contest that we’re running with the launch of our new podcast and you’re gonna want to hear about the prize at the end of the show. It’s absolutely worth hanging around for, I assure you. I’m joined by our show’s producer, Mr. Paul Murphy. Murph, how you doing? What’s going on in the world of tech out there, my friend?
Paul: Hey, Jeff, thanks for asking. I’m doing great. So back in January was the Consumer Electronics Show. And I’ve got to tell you, there was some really cool tech there. But as the father of three boys, I’ve got to say the coolest thing was programmable LEGOs. They have programmable bricks and motors and you put them together and you can build robots out of your LEGOs. It was very, very cool.
Jeff: That amazing. So robotic LEGOs. We have come a long way. Will they still kill your feet when you step on them, do you suppose?
Paul: I think if you step on them, the thing you’re going to break is your wallet.
Jeff: Yeah. That’s probably true. Twice the pain. There you go. Well, Murph, I’m really excited about today’s show because I find the topic so incredibly interesting. What is happening in the recesses of the brain? And today we’re gonna look not just at the psychology but also at the neuroscience. Hey, does that sound like fun?
Paul: Hmm, sounds a little intimidating.
Jeff: Yeah, don’t worry. My guest today is gonna make it fun and approachable. You’re going to love Scott Halford. He’s a genius, no doubt. But we share a common trait in that we take our work seriously, we take ourselves far less so. And with that, let me bring you the quote of the day. It’s a regular part of each show. We’ll bring some inspirational or sometimes insightful quotes. Today I’m going to throw out not one, not two, but three quotes at you. They all have to do with the subject matter of today’s show, how the brain works.
So let me start with this great quote from the poet Robert Frost. He says, “The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and it doesn’t stop until you get into the office.” Certainly sounds familiar to many of us, I know. Okay, how about this one from Emerson Pugh, “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.” Ooh, now chew on that one for awhile. Now we’re getting deep. All right, here’s my favorite from that wistful philosopher, Dr. Seuss. “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” And there you have it: three quotes that kind of set the mood for today’s podcast.
Now, before I get into my interview, I want to let you know that this podcast is brought to you in part by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank. Now they’re not just our show’s sponsor, they are my lender of choice. I used HomeStreet in my last home purchase and I’ve got to tell you, smoothest transaction ever. And I purchased quite a few homes. Professional, dependable, great rates, great service. And if you’re a real estate professional, you just won’t find better people to work with in taking care of your clients. And they can do it all: banking, home loans, credit lines, everything you need. Go to homestreetbank.com to learn more. That’s homestreetbank.com.
Now, coming up in just a few minutes, you’re gonna love this interview with Scott Halford, author of “Activate Your Brain” and one of the most interesting people that I have ever met. I know Scott through our mutual involvement in the National Speakers Association where that man is a legend. Seriously, he’s swamped in the hallways whenever he is at the conventions there. And he has achieved that status by taking something incredibly geeky–brain chemistry–and making it really easy to understand. Now, moreover, I’ve got to tell you this. Scott Halford is just a really, really good guy. I’m proud to call him a friend of mine, so stay tuned for that.
Now, before we get to Scott, I want to bring you our sales tips of the day, a regular feature in “The Buyer’s Mind” podcast. And today’s tip is to compliment your customer. I want to talk about raising your customer’s confidence. One way to raise their confidence is through your compliments. When we complement our customer, we assure them of their approach, of their intelligence, and of their decision-making ability. And all these things raise confidence.
Now, here’s the thing. You’ve got to mean it because compliments that are meant only to schmooze are seen from a mile away. It’s totally disingenuous. So how do you avoid that? Well, look for a place to compliment. Seek it out. If you look, you’ll find it. And when you find it, say it.
I remember once I was on a business trip in Phoenix and I got there, I was there for a few days. And I realized that after Phoenix I was moving on to Columbus, Ohio. Well, here’s the problem. I had dressed for Phoenix and in Phoenix, the attire was khakis and a polo shirt. I had forgotten that I was going up to Columbus, where I needed to wear a suit. And I didn’t pack a suit. So I go into a Men’s Warehouse in Phoenix and frankly, I was just there to buy a suit. I didn’t need the whole spiel, I didn’t need the whole sales presentation. And I just walked right over to the suits and I just started looking.
And this gentleman walked up to me, right from the very beginning and he said, “You look like a man on a mission.” Now right from the very beginning, it was a little mini compliment that broke the ice and it led to a conversation that I otherwise might have been reluctant to have. And I just let him know right from the very beginning, “Look, I’m on a business trip. I forgot to pack a suit. I don’t know how I did it but I forgot to pack a suit. I didn’t want to buy a suit but here I am and I’ve got to buy a suit.” He said, “Great. If I can ask you just a couple of quick questions, I’ll make sure I can get this done as painlessly as possible,” which is exactly what I wanted. And he asked me right from the very beginning, he said, “Are you looking to replace a suit that perhaps has worn out or are you looking to fill a hole in the suit line up?”
What a great question and not something that I had considered. I said, “Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking that I need a lighter gray suit. My suits are all on the darker side.” He said, “Oh, good for you. A lot of men just don’t have the guts and yet it’s such a great look when you’re wearing that light gray. So let’s find that.” So here we go. That compliment on his part led to confidence. It also led to a stronger relationship and by the time we were done I was in and out of the store with my needs taken care of. Great service. If you want the opportunity to raise your customers’ confidence, look for those genuine heartfelt compliments.
All right, coming up in just a moment we’re going to interview Scott Halford. Before we do that, I want to tell you about the number one issue that plagues sales professionals and it’s probably not what you think. What gets in the way of making more sales? In my very strong opinion, the number one thing that holds us back: our comfort addiction. We all struggle with the desire for comfort. But sales is an uncomfortable job. The best in the business have mastered their discomfort. It’s not that they’re never uncomfortable. It’s just that they know how to respond when they are uncomfortable. The best in the business realize that when others shy away from discomfort, there is opportunity. Every discomfort provides opportunity to face it and when facing it, to grow stronger.
It’s very simple. There is no growth without discomfort. And if we can re-engineer discomfort and see it as a good thing, as a profitable thing, it can absolutely transform our sales presentation, our approach to our business. And that’s why I wrote the book “Be Bold and Win the Sale”. It was published by McGraw-Hill, it’s one of the highest rated sales books of all time on amazon.com. And you can use this book to boost your confidence in times of discomfort. If you want to take your performance to an entirely new level, buy the book. Because it’s not a book, it’s a journey and it will change your life. You can go to amazon.com right now to buy “Be Bold and Win the Sale.”
All right, well, let’s get to our interview. I met Scott Halford several years ago at a National Speakers Association convention. And Scott, by the way, is an absolute legend at the NSA. He’s in the Speakers Hall of Fame. He’s earned about every designation that you can find along the way. And frankly, he’s mobbed in the halls when he’s at one of the conventions. But his passion is all about taking this very complicated instrument, the human brain, and making it real easy for just about anyone to understand. And it’s really his life study.
And I read his book “Activate Your Brain” last year. I found it to be incredibly insightful and downright fun to read. And I said it there, a fun read on the subject of the way that the brain works. I was writing in margins. I even shot Scott a couple of emails saying, “What about this? And how does that work over here?” So today we’re gonna learn what’s happening in the deep recesses of your buyer’s brain. So welcome to the program the Emmy-award-winning Scott Halford. Scott, so glad to have you with us.
Scott: Great to be here.
Paul: Wow, what an introduction, Jeff.
Jeff: Well, hey, listen, Emmy-award-winning, what’s the backstory there? That’s a claim to fame that most people do not have.
Scott: I had a television career for 10 years and I produced documentaries. And eventually along the way, some time or another, they’re gonna give you an award just because you’ve been there for awhile.
Jeff: That’s awesome. Fantastic. Love it, love it. Give us a little bit of context for your work. You had a passion to understand how the brain works and you’ve really built a career out of that. It is that simple?
Scott: Yeah. It is relatively that simple. I work with executives and scientists and physicians and people who are interested in the science of behavior. So, you know, we hear people talk about how to create success and how to be the best that you can and get the most you can. And all the audiences I speak to are incredibly cynical and they want the science, so I actually went and studied the science. And there is science, so that’s always good news for those people who need a little bit of the nails to it all.
Jeff: Yeah. Give us the, sort of the big idea thought for our listeners. Is there one thing that you want sales and marketing professionals to take away from the conversation that would help them to better understand what’s going on in the brains of their customers?
Scott: Yeah, two things. One is that everything starts with you, the individual, that you’ve got to take care of you first. You’ve got to take care of your brain and all of the things that go with that. If you ever hope to have a chance of being able to mirror somebody else and really kind of do mentalization, then that means that when you’re sitting across from someone else, picking up on all of the cues, not just social cues but actually ticks that your brain can add up and give you information about them. But you can’t do that if you’ve got a messy brain, you can’t do that if you’re fatigued, you can’t do that if you’re stressed out.
And that’s where a lot of people miss. You know, they go into a sales call and were like, “I said all the words and I did all of the things they said to do to close the deal and it still didn’t happen.” And what they’re missing on is the connection and that connection happens because of our brains.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Really interesting and I was just reading about this, it was in Robert Cialdini’s book, his new book, “Pre-Suasion”, where he was talking about even in test preparation, the idea of taking a few moments before the test not to cram your notes but just to calm your brain and it has a really powerful impact on how you’re gonna perform in that test because you’re at ease and you just think better when you’re at ease. Right?
Scott: That’s right. Well, and when you think about it, you know, if you were a rock star and hopefully your listeners consider themselves that. But if you were a literal rock star, you wouldn’t go out on the stage without warming up your voice or your instrument or both before every single performance. And your brain is your instrument. That’s the thing for the rest of us who aren’t on stage.
Our brain is our instrument and most people don’t take the time to do the things they need to do in order to warm it up. They walk into a meeting cold, they don’t take into consideration the time of day that the meetings happen, which has a big influence on the brain, or how they have eaten or how rested they are. And those are all things that influence how people interact.
So basically the idea is that the context in which a request is made predicts the outcome of the request. And if the context is negative because someone’s tired or underfed or just got chewed out by somebody or is stressed out, that’s a very different reaction to a request than if someone heard good news or is rested, fed, and has really put themselves in a positive frame of mind.
Jeff: Scott, describe the hand model for how the brain is constructed. This really helped me to be able to get a sense of the way that my brain is constructed in component parts by thinking about the human hand. Describe that to us.
Scott: Yeah, so Dan Siegal out of UCLA, who is a neurobiologist, I saw him do it and I went, “Wow, okay, that’s perfect.” So basically the hand model is if you touch your arm, that’s basically your spinal cord that goes up into your brain, the central nervous system. And then if you make a fist and touch the bottom of that fist, that’s the reptilian brain. It’s the very ancient piece of the brain. It’s on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It has things in it that allow your brain to scan every five to seven seconds for danger and threats in the environment, which is really important to pay attention to. It’s actually one of the organizing principles of behavior, that very aspect that we’re really good at finding things that are dangerous. And your clients are too and you are as well. And so, just be ready. We want to pay attention to the fact that we’re keenly sensitive to dangerous things.
Then the second part of the brain, what we call the mammal brain, is right in the middle of it. So if you took your hand, made a four with your thumb in the middle and then closed your other fingers on top of that thumb, that would basically be what your brain would look like. But in the middle, in that thumb, is the emotional part of your brain. And that’s on 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And that’s all filled with the emotional stuff, which is something that is messy. That limbic system is what we call it, the limbic system, is something that all mammals have and the thing that humans have is something that actually regulates it. So if we didn’t have the regulator, we would be an emotional mess. We would eat everything and hit everything and be angry at everything that came along that we felt bad about. And yet we need to be able to regulate that, the emotional kind of thing because if we don’t, then we end up in jail or we end up with a real big problem.
So the final part, the part of the brain that actually goes over the thumb, that’s the prefrontal cortex. That’s the human part of the brain and the human part of the brain is the innovating, the executive control. That’s the thing that gives us our intelligence and creates everything we see in the material world. No other beast has the kind of prefrontal cortex we do and so no other beast can make what we make. Which is really stunning when you think about it and it also regulates that limbic system. So that if you feel like you want to choke the person sitting across from you, that’s the emotional part of the brain, the human part of the brain says, “Not such a good idea. Maybe wait a second and think of something different to do.” And yeah, that’s how that works.
Jeff: That’s cool. I wonder how many people just listening to this podcast were physically making a fist. I found myself stopping and going, “Okay, the thumb and then the four fingers go over it.” My guess is that probably everybody was doing it at the same time. But it’s an interesting way to be able to look at the way that these three component parts work together. I’m looking at it and asking if I’m a consumer and I’m walking into a store, I’m gonna meet a sales person for the first time and if I’ve got some sort of hang-up about that, if I’ve got some sort of psychological baggage that I’m carrying through the door, it may not be entirely psychological. It might be based just on which part of my brain is firing as I’m going to meet that sales person for the first time.
Scott: Yeah, absolutely. And then when you look aggregately kind of what happens in the brain, there’s a piece in the limbic system called the amygdala–I just like to say it–and the amygdala is your chief relevance detecting sentinels. So they help you figure out what’s most relevant in your environment and it puts dangerous things on top and put rewarding things on bottom so that you pay attention to those things. It’s what allowed us to survive all the dangerous things in all of our history. But what happens is that it stores every emotional event you’ve have experienced in your life. And so when you meet somebody for the first time, say you sit down with a client and you meet them and you just kind of get this kind of “ummm” feeling. And we’ve all had that, right? Where you meet someone and they don’t have to say a lot but you just kind of feel like you’re not connected and you don’t like them, right? You’ve had that?
Scott: Well, that data has been stored in your amygdala and maybe somebody that looked like that, acted like that, sounded like that, treated you like that, has been in your past and you had a bad experience with them. And the amygdala encodes that and then what it does is it sends on these molecules of emotion into the neuropeptides of your brain. And since you don’t feel anything in your brain, it goes right down from the central nervous system to the enteric nervous system, which is your stomach. That’s why you get gut sensations because your gut is lined in the same neuropeptides. And that’s where you feel awe and love and disgust and fear. It’s all in your gut, around your gut and your heart.
Jeff: Yeah. That idea of actually being in the gut is real. That really does happen.
Scott: Yeah. So it’s a piece of data. It’s not a go button, it’s not a green light, it’s not a red light. It’s a yellow light. It’s like a piece of data that says, “Pay attention to this.” Don’t ignore your gut. Your gut’s not gonna give you an answer but what it is saying is investigate. Stop and ask yourself some questions. If you’re getting ready to do a deal and it just doesn’t feel right, it’s not telling you that it’s wrong. It’s telling you that you’re sensitive to something is missing that you might not be able to pinpoint at that time.
Jeff: Yeah because it would seem to me that we’re having to deal with what’s in the unconscious at this point because if the amygdala is activated, it’s not necessarily bringing it right to the prefrontal cortex of your brain to say, “Here it is. This is the message loud and clear. Pay attention.” There are things that are happening in our unconscious that we have to try and unpack a little bit, yes?
Scott: Yeah, yeah. And we call it the non-conscious because unconscious is when you’re asleep. Non-conscious…and it is a non-conscious thing. So conscious is what you choose to think today. Conscious is how you feel, you know, that you feel sad or anxious. And emotion is non-conscious. So if I come up behind you and I scare you–bam–you go, “Jeff! Aaah!” and you’ve got that startle response, that’s an emotion. You don’t get to choose that and you’re not conscious about it.
What you are conscious about is what you feel, then what you think, and then what you choose to do with it. So what happens is the non-conscious, as you were connoting in the amygdala, that’s giving you some news that if you’re paying attention, you can give it cognition. You can go, “All right, so let me investigate this. Maybe this client is not for real or maybe I’m not connecting with them in the right way or this interview is not going right with them.” Lots of different things that could be happening. So I think where people fall off the pony on this one is that they’re all looking at the gut feeling’s got to give you the answer. And it doesn’t. It just is a way to warn you to pay attention to some other things.
Jeff: When you look at the field of psychology, we’ve had that around for a very, very long time. But in the book “Activate Your Brain”, you state that what we know about the brain is actually very–or relatively–very recent information, very recent discovery. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Scott: Yeah, so psychology is really the…I mean, the easiest way to put it…I’m sure psychologists around the world will completely…you’ll get a lot of phone calls. Either that or I will. Psychology is basically the guess of behavior. It’s the guess about behavior. So we didn’t have ways to look inside your brain until recently and so we made guesses and we looked at trends. And many of the guesses actually were incredibly accurate hundreds of years ago.
But then when we could look inside your brain, if you get a Ph.D. in psychology now, you’re going to be doing neuroimaging. You’re going to be looking in the brain and seeing the architecture that activates when somebody gets angry, when somebody is afraid, when somebody does feel disconnected from you. And so now we don’t have to guess about it. We can see that certain things put people on edge. We can see certain things create unsafety.
And for your, for anyone listening out there the thing you want to pay attention to as a salesperson is the most difficult situation you can ever put yourself in is to create an emotional threat. And the brain, remember, has a lot of architecture to detect danger. So when you walk in and the very first thing you do is you meet someone for the first time, that’s a threat, believe it or not. You can be all smiley and they can be all smiley and you shake hands. If we look inside your brain, we actually see the amygdala engorge a bit. It’s not huge but it’s enough to say we narrow our behaviors. We’re on our best behavior, right? We are polite and you don’t get a lot of who I am. The more I get to know you, the looser I become, right?
So if you think about your sales relationships with those customers you just love a lot, they’re typically…you can go and have a drink with them or coffee and you’re a lot looser. They might become your advocate and it’s because you’ve decreased the threat and increased safety, which basically the increasing of safety in the brain is literally the increasing of trust. It’s the molecules of trust. So safety’s the key here, you know, creating safety in the brain.
Jeff: I was reading…boy, it’s been a couple years now. But I read Dr. Marc Schoen’s book from UCLA called “Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You”. And part of his premise is that the threat sensitivity is based on just a little bit of discomfort that gets interpreted as a threat. And then what happens, we want to flee from that danger, even though it’s not necessarily in our best interest to run away. I find that interesting that even in the way that our brain is wired, it’s not always doing us a favor in the way that we respond.
Scott: Right. So the architecture’s so old. I mean, the last time scientists believed the brain actually evolved was 30,000 years ago. And so we’ve been hanging out with really old architecture that paid attention to saber-toothed tigers and wombats and poisonous things. And now the danger is you, right? Now the danger is a client not signing a contract. Now the danger is a missed deadline or not getting your monthly target. Those are dangers in your brain and they’re additive.
If I’m a sales guy and I haven’t hit my quota, that increases the neurochemistry in my brain that leads to stress. Well then if I go and meet with a client and I met them with that stress in me, because of a set of neurons that allowed them to read me and me to read them–they’re called “mirror neurons”–they pick up on emotional cues that are unspoken. And so they can feel you. That’s why it’s really important to kind of have your home game all cleaned up. You’ve got to make sure that when you walk into a client’s office, that you’re not bringing baggage in. They can read desperation, even if it doesn’t come through in your words. You’ve got to really pay attention to de-threatening yourself.
And that’s why maintaining your brain all along the way is so important. Like mindfulness. I think the best sales guys and marketing people, they get quiet. They take 10 minutes and just go inside their head. And it sounds so woo-woo but now you can see the science behind it. It says you’re getting ready for your game. You don’t want your client to read unflattering messages about you on your face and through the ticks that we provide. We want them to pick up on calm. We want them to pick up on safety. And those aren’t going to happen if you just came out of a bottom spanking from your sales manager who told you you’d better go out and close this deal because you’re late for the quarter, you’re behind in the quarter. You’ve got to recalibrate before you go in there.
Jeff: So much of what you’re talking about is the idea that what I am feeling…not only what I’m feeling in my gut, if you will, but what I’m experiencing even in my brain chemistry really is contagious, that my customer’s gonna see that, they’re gonna know it. And even at a subconscious level, they’re going to adopt that to some extent or it’s going to trigger a corresponding flee reaction from my customer.
Scott: You hit the nail on the head. So a guy named Oxner out of Columbia and another one named Gross out of Stanford came together and studied if you’re married and you walk in, or in a relationship, and you walk into the house and you’re in a bad mood, you don’t have to say one word and the cortisol level that you have as being the angry person or upset and the other glucocorticoids and blood pressure, the levels of that are picked up by the partner through no words whatsoever and their cortisol levels, blood pressure, glucocorticoids match yours.
So we pick up on each other because emotions are contagious and negative emotions are more contagious, again, because we have more architecture to notice it. So even though you don’t know what’s going on, it absolutely is happening. And the way to dissipate that glucose, by the way, is so when you do walk in and you’re in a bad mood, as opposed to saying, “How was your day? Anything wrong?” and you go, “I’m fine,” right? You’re really not fine and what happens is in the mind of the person who is relatively calm is they’re filling in the blank with the most negative information, that it has to do with them. So you want to do a favor and just say, “Oh, I just had the worst day at the office. I just need a few minutes.” And Oxner and Gross found that just mentioning that lowered glucose, the glucocorticoids and cortisol in both subjects.
And it’s the same…again, you know, walk into a client’s office and you’ve got this intensity going on. They’re gonna feel it and it’s not gonna go well because think about yourself. When you’re sitting there, you’re buying a car and you feel the intensity of your salesperson because, again, they’ve been spanked and end of the month and get your deals closed. You feel that. We shy away from it. It’s repelling. So that’s why it really does become, the zen salesperson does makes sense.
Scott: And it’s kind of counterintuitive because you want the energy of the sales but there’s got to be a calmness because that’s safer.
Jeff: Yeah. But great stuff, great stuff. Let me encourage you all, first of all, buy the book “Activate the Brain”. You can go to amazon.com right now and buy the book “Activate the Brain”. And I’m telling you, it’s not just really insightful but it really is an enjoyable read, you’ll enjoy reading it. And then you can go to scotthelford.com to see everything that Scott has to offer, including checking out his blogs. Really, really interesting stuff and it’ll make you better as a sales professional. So Scott Halford, thank you so much for your time. Great interview. I have a sense that there’s a whole lot more that we could unpack. So I’m hoping you come back on this show again in the future because I feel like we were just getting started there.
Scott: I’d love to. Great being here.
Jeff: Thank you, Scott. Okay, well Murph, that was incredible. Heady stuff but really, really cool stuff. And I took a ton of notes on that. First impressions, what did you think?
Paul: Yeah, my takeaway was about the negative emotions and how you end up actually kind of projecting them. I came home the other night and was trying to find a bill that I knew was gonna be due soon and started hunting around to try and find it. My wife had been watching TV, she came upstairs to find me and my panic turned into her panic and my negative emotion ended up taking her from a place of peace to a place of stress.
Jeff: Well, boy, you know what? He said that, that the negative emotions are more contagious than the positive emotions. Look, I’ve always had that sense that emotions are absolutely contagious and I think we know that intuitively. But the negative emotion is more contagious than positive emotion. And I think that that relates to salespeople in a couple of different ways.
One is if you’re carrying negativity, it’s going to be contagious whether you want it to or not. I’m not sure that we have a lot of choice in this. But I also look at the flip side. When I am seeing some sort of negative behavior from my customer, the behavior is really the manifestation or the last step in a very complicated mental process that ended up being that behavior. We can respond to the behavior or we can seek to try and figure out, okay, what is that based on? There was a lot going on in this buyer’s brain.
So if the customer is feeling closed or protective in some way, I think it’s up to us, I think the onus is on us to try and figure out what’s really going on there. But I think we tend to over-respond to the behavior and that’s what triggers our next emotion. Did that make sense?
Paul: Yeah, thanks for bringing clarity to that. I guess the other thing was just understanding that I need to calm my brain before I walk into a new situation.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. And a big part of his book is about that, it’s about brain health. He also talked about this idea of the brain creating an emotional threat, that the brain architecture is rigged to sense danger. Much more than its rigged to sense positive., it’s the number one job of our brain is to keep us alive. So the brain ends up being a little bit rigged to sense danger and then we take something that’s even moderately uncomfortable and we interpret that as a threat.
And we can look at examples all over the place. It could be at a sales environment. It could just be in a conversation with your significant other where he or she says something that just triggers an emotional threat and I sense, uh-oh, there’s danger right here and I respond accordingly. So that whole concept of our brain interpreting discomfort as a threat sensitivity and then it triggering the how do I get out of this is really, really interesting to me because it speaks to how we communicate on a much deeper level than just on the surface, right?
Paul: Well, and understanding that when we need new people, that that’s a threat. That was an interesting observation. And I hadn’t really thought about it before but it kind of makes sense.
Jeff: I guess my main takeaway from the conversation with Scott Halford is to say that it’s one thing to understand your customer’s brain but you’re probably better off understanding your own brain first. And that’s the big idea, that’s the key takeaway from Scott Halford. Really fantastic and I definitely want to have them back again. Great interview.
Hey, as we get to the conclusion of this show, I always want to leave you with a big dose of motivation here. And so I want to just make this suggestion to you. Don’t live for your weekend. Whatever your weekend is, whether you take Saturday and Sunday off or you’re off in the middle of the week, don’t live for your weekend.
It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “Oh, thank god it’s Friday,” or, “I hate Monday.” It’s not the way that I want to live my life. I want to live to change the lives of my customers. And I’ve got to tell you for me, what does that mean? It means I love the weekend and I also love the work week because I have the opportunity to make a difference. And here’s a suggestion for you. When you get to the last day of your work week, whether it’s Friday or whatever it is, get into this habit. I love this habit. I do it every single week. Take a victory lap.
At the end of the week, and if you really want to do this right, do it every single day. Just ask yourself, “Who’s life did I change? How did I make a difference?” We spend a lot of time thinking about the negatives. I want to suggest celebrate the victories. Celebrate what went right. This is a great way for you to look at it and say, “Maybe I had a bad day or even a bad week. But here’s a difference that I made.” And when we do that, we’re marking progress more than perfection. Just recommend that to you here. Take the time, get into the habit, take a victory lap. Hey, you’ve earned it, right?
Hey, at the beginning of the show, I told you that there would be a contest and here it is for my faithful listeners. Get ready, you have the chance to win the Bose Quiet Comfort 25 acoustic noise canceling headphones. These are amazing. I love my headphones. I love these when I’m traveling. I love them when I’m listening to the podcast or when I want to hear great quality music. And for the winner, you can take you choice of either the over the ear or the noise canceling ear buds. I love these so much that I actually own both of these. So you listen to “The Buyer’s Mind” while you’re working out, you get both a physical and a mental workout at the same time with your Bose headphones.
I’m also giving away several Shore Consulting swag bags. That’s five books, a coffee mug, motivational CD, and a bag to carry it all in. Now all you have to do is download all of “The Buyer’s Mind” episodes on iTunes and subscribe to the podcast and then leave a quick review. That’s gonna take you just 30 seconds. And then go over to jeffshore.com/podcast and click on the contest link. You just enter your email address and the name you use to write the review on iTunes and we’ll pick the winners from there. Ten lucky people are going to win the Shore Consulting swag bag and remember the grand prize, the Bose Quiet Comfort 25 acoustic noise canceling headphones or the noise canceling Quiet Comfort 20 Earbuds, you can take your pick. All right, good luck with that. That’s a wrap on our podcast, “The Buyer’s Mind”. Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.