To Get Results, Woo the Gator Brain

Going before a judge for parole? Your chances of getting what you want will increase if the judge has a full stomach, according to a study done in Israel. No matter how much we’d like to think we make decisions based on critical, rational thinking, it’s often – more often than we’d like to think – based on our gator brain, the reactive, emotional aspect of our thinking which is a remnant of our reptilian heritage. How we can woo the gator (as in alligator) brain was the subject of Yale Professor Zoe Chance’s keynote at the recent LMA conference.

To capture this part of the mind, we need to focus on three things. First is ease: You have to make it easy for people to do business with you; make it easy for them to say “yes.”  Think about how you can eliminate obstacles, and recognize that it’s not just about price.  Amazon isn’t the cheapest around; it’s just the easiest around. And keep humor in mind, as humor is great way to get past resistance.

Attention is also important in terms of wooing the gator brain. No matter what we say about multitasking, the gator brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. How you capture attention at the moment of decision-making is critical. Consider the “when” – when is somebody going to be making a decision about using my service – and grab their attention at that time.

Implementation questions are also important and engender commitment.  Zoe used the example of exercising and how implementation increased when people were asked questions, such as “When will you exercise?” “Where will you exercise?” and most importantly, “What will you do if you an encounter an obstacle to getting it done?”

Lastly, to get the emotional brain’s attention you need to foster trust. Not only do you need to build trust, you need to understand how not to lose it and how to fix it if you do. Study after study shows that clients and customers can become even more loyal after an “oopsie,” if you implement a strong save. In addition, an important question to ask is, “What would it take…What would it take for you to switch providers?” This empowers the prospect, which can shed a positive light on you and your service.

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