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Incredible Brain Science Behind Influence

Dr. Brynn Winegard is an award-winning professor, speaker, and expert in business and brain sciences.

In this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Dr. Brynn explains what goes on in the brain when we influence both ourselves and others and how we can leverage these findings to our advantage.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Dr. Brynn Winegard
Global Expert in Business-brain Sciences

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Dr. Brynn:

The brain really hasn’t changed that much over the last 20 years. The truth is that in order for brains to change, they change not at the they… I mean, they do change every day at the individual level, but they really change over generations. And so we wouldn’t have seen a huge shift in the last 20 years from the neuroanatomical, what the genome is programmed to create in terms of the brain. However, the brain is very highly neuroplastic, and to your point, the internet and technology has, in fact, changed over the last seven years, more than in all the history of the Earth.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation, Will Barron, Host of The Salesman Podcast, the world’s most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven’t already, make sure to click subscribe. And with that, let’s meet today’s guest.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Hi, I’m Dr. Brynn from doctorbrynn.com, I’m a Business brain expert who specialises in using brain science insights to help business people.

 

Understanding Buyer Psychology and the Buying Brain · [01:29] 

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show, with the legend that is Dr. Brynn, we’re getting into mirror neuron, subconscious, conscious, essentially different ways and platforms and ideas to be able to influence somebody in the sales space, what to do when someone walks into the room for negotiation and they’re super angry, what you can do yourself to calm them down, and a whole lot more. Let’s jump right in. So, with that, let’s tee up the conversation here with somewhat of a loaded question, because I think I know where you might go with it. But, are people’s brains wired to want to buy, in one hand, or are they… And is this binary. Are they, in the other hand, programmed to not be influenced or manipulated?

 

Dr. Brynn:

Yeah, I’m sure that you do know that’s a great question, Will. The answer is both. So it’s just not as simple as that that. So the human brain, at a fundamental level, is designed both to help you survive, so procure as many resources that are going to help you do that, as well as the fact that as a social species, what we are trying to do is not to get duped. So it’s almost like we have a brain that makes us want to both consume, buy, that’s obviously where we get a lot of people who want to shop, they want to eat, they want to… you enjoy the world. Consuming is a real human need. But on the other hand, they also are very highly motivated not to be taken advantage of, lied to, duped, stolen from, thieved from et cetera. So we have a brain that both goes out into the world to try to find resources, as well as really trying to vet the other people that we get those resources from, in order to make sure that they’re not going to take advantage of us. So, the answer is both.

 

How The Buying Brain Has Evolved Over the Past 10, 20 Years · [02:41] 

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. It leads to slightly less simple conversation, perhaps, but a far more interesting one. And on this, Brynn, so I’ve pondered on this, and I don’t think it’s been researched, especially from a sales perspective. But tell me if there’s any data points that coincide with this from other areas. But how has our brain changed in the past 10, 20 years, with regards to being less likely or more likely to be influenced, and wanting to consume, or being trained to consume, with regards to the internet, with regards to consumerism, and all these kind of things? How has that affected our ability to both want to consume, and then not be duped, as well?

 

“The brain really hasn’t changed that much over the last 20 years. The truth is that in order for brains to change, I mean, they do change every day at the individual level, but they really change over generations. And so we wouldn’t have seen a huge shift in the last 20 years from the neuroanatomical, what the genome is programmed to create in terms of the brain. However, the brain is very highly neuroplastic, and to your point, the internet and technology has, in fact, changed over the last seven years, more than in all the history of the Earth. So what that means is that human brains are having a very difficult time keeping up with that. And so we’re seeing spikes in things like anxiety and depression.” – Dr. Brynn · [03:27] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

Right. Well, a couple of things. First, is that the brain really hasn’t changed that much over the last 20 years. The truth is that in order for brains to change, they change, not at the… I mean, they do change every day at the individual level, but they really change over generations. And so we wouldn’t have seen a huge shift in the last 20 years from the neuroanatomical, what the genome is programmed to create in terms of the brain. However, the brain is very highly neuroplastic, and to your point, the internet and technology has, in fact, changed over the last seven years, more than in all the history of the Earth.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So what that means is that human brains are having a very difficult time keeping up with that. And so we’re seeing spikes in things like anxiety and depression. And then certainly, as it relates to the market place, or market scape, consuming and procuring online, what we’re starting to see is high levels of what we call consumer literacy associated with those channels. And that does create not just people with lower attention spans, a lot more likelihood to code-switch, but also a lot more leeriness, weariness, a lot more concern over the possibility of being duped.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Because, as you and I both know, with the proliferation of digital methods and channels to sell to people, really, we’ve had a lot more in the way of scams, and junk mail, and… And so that has certainly affected the consumer literacy out there, and the consumer… what I want to call cynicism. But effectively, the idea that yeah, people are a lot more leery now, because it’s their job, it’s their brains job to protect them. Information, and media, and sources are coming from all angles, especially with digital channels. So yeah, we are seeing an increase in, certainly, levels of anxiety and weariness, associated with procuring, in general.

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll come on to that, and we’ll come on how people, perhaps, have an information overload, and specifically, how we can deal with a potential buyer has a tiny attention span, and myself as a millennial, how millennials are going into buying positions, and having 15 apps on the phone, having two emails go off at once, having this go off, and how to deal with someone in that scenario, and how we can add value to them. Not even influence them, but how we can best serve an individual who is like that. We’ll come on to that in a second.

 

What is Neuroplasticity and the Myths Associated with Neuroplasticity? · [05:44] 

 

Will Barron:

But just something that you mentioned here, and I just want to double down on for the audience, who might not be familiar with this. But what is, in a nutshell, neuroplasticity, and is it… I assume this misconception, we’re only plastic, our brains, when we are kids, and then it’s cemented, and we’re set in our ways, or does this continue on into adult life?

 

Dr. Brynn:

Right. Okay. So, neuroplasticity, it’s a great question, Will, it’s the brains propensity, at the neuronal level, two wire differently. So literally, neurons, which have synapses and little… I want to call them like ganglion cells that attach to one another, neuroplasticity is the propensity for that neuron to attach to other neurons. The truth is that you’re neuroplastic through your life. We used to think that, to your point, and neuroplasticity went to zero after puberty. So basically, you were most neuroplastic when you were born, and then as you aged and into puberty, that neuroplasticity was slow, and it does. And then we projected that basically, you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks, neuroplasticity went to zero.

 

“Your brain is very expensive to operate. It uses up to 40% of all the oxygen that you breathe in, and 40% of all of the calories that you eat, which I sometimes joke is one heck of a grocery bill.” – Dr. Brynn · [07:04] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

But what we’re finding is that, in fact, neuroplasticity remains lower levels, obviously, but it remains throughout a person’s life. One of the things we say, as neuroscientists, as an example, is that neurons that fire together, wire together. Your brain is very expensive to operate. So it uses up to 40% of all the oxygen that you breathe in, and 40% of all of the calories that you eat, which I sometimes joke is one heck of a grocery bill. Your brain is very expensive.

 

“Your brain is very expensive. And so what it tries to do is every time you have a thought, a new stimulus, or you’re in a new environment, your brain tries to create economies. So by the time you’ve seen something twice, there’s a neural network in there that says, oh, we know what this is, we’re going to lay down neurons for it, so that the next time you experience it, see it, try it, do it, or are in that environment, there’s literally a neural network ready to go so that that brain doesn’t use as much oxygen and glycogen and glucose in order to have that same thought process.” – Dr. Brynn · [07:16] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so what it tries to do is every time you have a thought, a new stimulus, you’re in a new environment, your brain tries to create economies. So by the time you’ve seen something twice, that there’s a neural network in there that says, oh, we know what this is, we’re going to lay down neurons for it, so that the next time you experience it, see it, try it, do it, or in that environment, next time, there’s literally a neural network ready to go, so that that brain doesn’t use as much oxygen and glycogen and glucose in order to have that same thought process.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So, it’s all a lot of neuroplastic discussion to say, your brain is trying to be the most efficient, effective, fuel-economic thing it can be for you. And so for that reason, yes, your brain is always changing, and it’s changing in accordance with trying to be the most efficient thing it can be for you.

 

How Much of Building Trust Comes Down to the Effects of Neuroplasticity · [08:16]  

 

Will Barron:

So is the answer then… I feel like there’s a rabbit hole we can go down here, that we could speak on for the next four hours, Brynn . But to wrap this point up, to get… to build trust with someone, clearly, there’s multiple levels, and there’s multiple elements to this. But it seems like just number of impressions over time, whether it’s your face, your voice, there’s a cadence of people seeing your emails and replying to emails, Robert Cialdini has a great book, Influence, which ties into this and the laws of consistency and repetition, how much of building trust, and building, perhaps, this neural network that allows people to go, “Oh, I’ve seen that before, that might be safe,” as opposed to, “I’ve not seen that before, I’ll avoid that”? How much of it comes down to just being in front of an individual day in day out?

 

Dr. Brynn:

It’s a great question. The truth is yeah, we know. And Cialdini, he didn’t talk about the neuroscience of it, but he definitely knew what the principal was, which was that consistency and repetition drives what we call familiarity, and familiarity drives what we call liking, and that was one of Cialdini six principles. And liking drives purchase intent, in B2B or B2C. So what we know, and there are other great historical kind of… We all rests on the shoulders of giants, as neuroscientists, but there’s great psychological literature that talks about… they were given a bunch of…

 

Dr. Brynn:

The boot camp in it is that they were given, as an example, a bunch of subjects, the name Charles Manson, who is, of course, a serial killer… Charles Manson, and then they went away for 10 years, and they brought them back, and they said, “Is that name familiar to you?” And they said, “Yeah, it is. It is. I can’t place it, but it is familiar to me.” “Would you be likely to invite Charles Manson to a dinner party,” some equivalent thereof. And more often than not, the subjects said yes, because they dissociated what he was known for, and they resociated the fact that he was familiar, and the brain likes what is familiar.

 

“The more that you’re in front of a client, the more your name is known to them, the more they feel as though you are approximate, that you are familiar, that you know people they know, then that starts to build trust with them, even though they’re not, on a subconscious level, they’re not aware that you’re building trust with them. But the idea there is that their brain is saying, we’ve heard that name before, it’s familiar to us. Familiarity drives liking, liking drives purchase intent.” – Dr. Brynn · [10:12] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so the answer is, absolutely. The more that you’re in front of a client, the more your name is known to them, the more they feel as though you are approximate, that you are familiar, that you know people they know, then absolutely, that starts to build trust with them, even though they’re not… it’s on a subconscious level, they’re not aware that you’re building trust with them. But the idea there is that their brain is saying, we’ve heard that name before, it’s familiar to us. Familiarity drives liking, liking drives purchase intent.

 

How to Get and Hold a Person’s Attention By  Influencing the Buyer’s Working Attention Span · [10:59]

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So other than changing our names to a serial killer from 20 years ago, who’s now dropped out the news, clearly [inaudible [00:10:47]. Sometimes I wonder how far the audience will go to be successful in sales. I wouldn’t advise that, I’m sure you’re not advising that either, Brynn. But with that said, if we’re dealing with someone who has a super short attention span, and I’m in this boat, trying to knock myself out of it, so I’m taking all this on board personally, as well, Brynn, how do we engage with someone on…

 

Will Barron:

Whether we need to do something with our body, our brains, or whatever we need to think about and contemplate their brains and how it’s wired, how do we get their attention, whether in a meeting, perhaps, keep their attention, and then get these impressions over and over and over, when, perhaps, they’re interested, but they can’t pay attention to us?

 

“The average adult male in the United States has about seven seconds of working attention span, and the average goldfish has eight. So we have, as an example, very short attention spans, and shortening all the time, independent of your generation.” – Dr. Brynn · [11:47] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

Yeah. Well, okay. So it’s a billion-dollar question. If we have that answer, we’d all be… everyone would be buying all of our products. The truth is that, to your point, millennials, as an example, have what we know is the working attention span of about three seconds. Now, the average adult male in the United States has about seven seconds of working attention span, and the average goldfish has eight. So we have, as an example, very short attention spans, and shortening all the time, independent of your generation.

 

“If they’re not paying attention to you, you’re not getting through. And unfortunately, there’s no way around that.” – Dr. Brynn · [12:05] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

So the short answer is, if they’re not paying attention to you, you’re not getting through. And unfortunately, there’s no way around that. Now, what I often say, especially in B2B sales, is there’s no way of getting around that, if you’re not known to the person, for sure, because then they’re going to just tune you out, effectively. The best way, really, is to get in front of them, and be really present, physically, with them. And I know the temptation, especially with millennials, and the younger they get, and with technology, the temptation is to use email, text message, social media. Anything but getting in front of people, we don’t want to pick up the phone, that’s better. Video conferencing, like we’re doing, that’s even one step better than telephone.

 

“Ultimately, the ideal circumstance for getting someone to trust you and believe in you is to be in front of them physically.” – Dr. Brynn · [12:50] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

And then ultimately, the ideal circumstance for getting someone to trust you and believe in you is to be in front of them physically. And the reason for that… In one of my keynotes called Neuro Selling, what I do is unravel the brain like an onion. And what I show you is that, effectively, we’re very highly subconscious, we’re very highly social, we’re very emotional. But in there, in that emotional brain, is a circuit or a series of circuits called the mirror neuron system, which you’ve probably heard of before.

 

Dr. Brynn:

It’s exactly as it sounds, it’s a series of neurons that are designed to mimic the other person that you’re talking to, and to be able to… I don’t know if you’ve ever had an argument, Will, with your spouse, where you say like, “I’m not a mind reader, I didn’t know.” The truth is-

 

Will Barron:

No comment.

 

Dr. Brynn:

… you don’t… No comment.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Dr. Brynn:

You are, in fact, a bit of a mind reader for the things that matter to you, not necessarily for the things that matter to them. But the things that matter to you or whether or not you can trust them, whether or not they are trustworthy, whether or not they’re trying to thief from you, dupe you, lie to you. And so you are, in fact, subconsciously constantly monitoring another person’s brain state through this mirror neuron system, but it only works in-person. And so that is the key piece.

 

Dr. Brynn:

If you want someone to trust you, engage with you, be influenced by you, you’ve got to get in front of them, because they can’t tell… That mirror neuron system, it doesn’t work very well when the lines of communication are impoverished. So, if they can’t smell you, literally feel your energy, you’ve impoverished your communication one step. If they can’t see your face, your facial expressions, your body language…

 

“93% of communication is nonverbal, which means that the mirror neuron system is taking more than what we’re saying, it’s taking a lot more information in order to decide if this person is trustworthy, if we want to be influenced by them. So as you impoverish the media that you’re using to communicate with somebody, you get further and further away from their mirror neuron system, which means there’s no way for them to test or assert for themselves whether they can trust you, which means you’re less and less likely to have any level of engagement, and therefore, influence over them.” – Dr. Brynn · [14:30] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

There’s 92, 93, it goes up every year… 93% of communication is nonverbal, which means that the mirror neuron system is taking more than what we’re saying, it’s taking a lot more information in order to decide if this person is trustworthy, if we want to be influenced by them, and then so on and so on. So as you impoverish the media that you’re using to communicate with somebody, you get further and further away from their mirror neuron system, which means there’s no way for them to test or assert for themselves whether they can trust you, which means you’re less and less likely lead to have any level of engagement, and therefore, influence over them.

 

The Difference in Effectiveness Between an In-person Meeting and a Virtual Meeting? · [15:30]

 

Will Barron:

So clearly, we’ve… And I say clearly. I assume most people… I’ve done this many times, especially with my sarcastic British humour, sent an email, it doesn’t have the effect that it’s supposed to, and I get a nasty email back calling me all sorts. Clearly, there’s an missing element of potential miscommunication over email. Text, the same, phone, the same, because you’ve got a little bit more, you’ve got that vocal tonality, which really helps. But what’s the difference between a in-person meeting, and then a video conference, like what we’re doing here? So for all the audio listeners, you can watch all the video content over at salesman.org, that we’ve put out.

 

Will Barron:

Maybe it’s not quite photorealistic, but as cameras get high definition, as… I don’t know, at some point in the future, there’ll be some holographic system, I’m sure, and we’ve all said, 99% of businesses will be moving towards that, because air travel is expensive, and all these kind of things. So unless you’re doing a deal a couple of million Dollars or Pounds or Euros in size, it’s very likely that your organisation isn’t flying you out different places to get it done. So with all that said, what is the gap between a really good… the best video conferencing that we can do right now, and then in-person? And then the next question will be, if there’s anything that we can do to reduce that gap.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Yeah. So the mirror neuron system, your brain is using all five of your senses. And the other thing about video conferencing is we’re often sitting, so there’s not a lot of body language that you can detect from a person, because it’s a bit of a contrived position that your body is in. And so sitting maybe at a meeting as an example… But, the other thing is that, yeah, when you are in front of somebody… I know this is going to sound a little too… maybe a little too much. But you’re literally smelling them, you can sense their energy, you can sense their vibe, you can sense whether or not they are starting to perspire, or if they feel anxious. A lot of that… We can’t really even put it into words, you can’t put your finger on it, but you just get a feeling, a sense about somebody, that is much easier to mask through video conferencing, and it’s much harder to be able to detect through video conferencing.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So, when you’re in person, those are tools, those five senses. Literally, taste, smell, touch, those are tools that your body uses to… and your brain, therefore, uses to be able to detect whether that person is lying to you, is trustworthy, what their agenda might be, is self-interested. And so here’s what’s interesting. As a species, as as animals as we are, we actually are social in our in our organisation, and so we have natural tells, it’s called. That humans have ways that they give up, give away, they have a tell, for whether they’re lying, or whether they believe that what they’re doing…. they don’t believe in what they’re selling, as an example, if they don’t believe in the organisation they’re selling for, if they doubt that this product is actually a good fit for the customer.

 

Dr. Brynn:

What you’ll start to see is that person will have tells. So their eyes will start to flicker in specific ways, and in ways, by the way, that you know how to read, you just didn’t know you knew how to read. It’s a very tacit, subconscious process, and knowledge that you have, that we develop over the course of our life. They will start to perspire, they will potentially start to fidget. And so things that we sometimes measure in the laboratory, things like galvanic skin response, or eye movements, actually, as humans, we didn’t need technology to measure it for us, we know. We know that those are tells that a person is getting anxious, that a person might not believe in what they’re selling, there’s something off, there’s something wrong. You can’t tell all that as readily through video conferencing, as you can tell in an immediate sales context, an immediate person-to-person interaction.

 

How to Manage Non-Verbal Gestures that Can Make or Break a Sales Conversation · [19:00] 

 

Will Barron:

So is the solution if… So say we are meeting in person. Is the solution to [inaudible [00:19:07] just described there of… I don’t know, I guess you can measure with technology galvanic skin response. [inaudible [00:19:14] be holding onto someone’s wrist and seeing if you can measure it yourself. But all these subtle things, whether it’s eye flicking, perspiration… Clearly, if someone is sweating, they’re fidgeting, and you’re negotiating, you might be in a position where you make them feel uncomfortable, and it’s not going to be… it’s going to turn into an emotional conversation, rather than a logical one.

 

Will Barron:

And if you’re both on the same side, if you both are trying to achieve the same thing, clearly, we can perhaps use our subconscious, and we’ll more come on to that in a second, to judge whether we should push, whether should hold back, and all this some comes somewhat naturally. But with all that said, if we are in a conversation, and we sense some of… No, we’ll go from the other direction. If we’re in a conversation, and we feel we are doing some of this, is the solution… is the best solution to learn to hide it all, and essentially lie… And clearly, this is a massively loaded question. Or, is the solution to, if we’re not sure about our product and the value of it, to learn the value of the product, so that we cascade of this the correct behaviours from the top down, as opposed to trying to mask them?

 

Dr. Brynn:

Absolutely. So trying to mask them… And there’s great new research that shows this. So your galvanic skin response, you don’t have to touch somebody to know that it’s happening. And the reason is because you can smell it. So there are pheromones released, you’re not even aware that your olfactory bulb is starting to detect that. You wouldn’t be able to say that you are smelling it, but it does, it’s something that you can sense in the environment, it’s part of that energy the person is giving off, as an example.

 

Dr. Brynn:

There’s grainy research that shows, as an example, that is your anxiety increases, as your heart rate increases, as your sweat glands start to be activated, if you start to try to mask that or cover it, it actually increases the anxiety, again, through that mirror neuron system that’s happening in a completely subconscious way, the other person isn’t aware that that’s happening. As your anxiety increases, blood pressure, hypertension, the other person’s blood pressure or tension, anxiety levels increase, and they resent you for it.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So tests were then done to show if the person, as an example was honest about it, then, okay, now, how I’m feeling make sense in comparison to how this person seems to be responding to me. However, if that person continued to mask it, the tension continued to rise, and your liking scale, so how likely you were to like that person, want to deal with that person, want to do business with that person, decreased, because you could sense something was off.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So it’s much better, obviously, to know your product, believe in your product. I remember early in my career, I had a product I didn’t… not only did I not use, I didn’t like, and I was in charge of selling it. You have to find your love for it, and you have to find the value in it, and certainly, relative to competition, and be very up in terms of the technical specs. As a scientist, you can imagine that that’s where I found my love for the product, was through the science, and figuring out that it was, in fact, scientifically, chemically, superior to the other products on the market.

 

Dr. Brynn:

But, as an example, if you don’t do that work, and you’re in that meeting, and your anxiety is starting to spike, and that you can tell… Even if you can’t tell that that other person is detecting it, if they are detecting it, they will not be able to put their finger on it, but they won’t like you as much, they won’t be as likely to engage, they will detect that something is off, and they will be much more likely to, ultimately, not to procure, not to buy, not to go with you, not to sign the contract. And they will find rationale for why that is, and it will, honestly, come down to the fact that you were anxious and didn’t own up to it, that they could detect there was something off there.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So you’re absolutely better off to try to dispel the tension. If you don’t do the work of loving your product that you’re selling, or, for another reason, altogether, you’re feeling very anxious, you have to… And I sometimes teach a whole course in how to start managing your own nervous system and physiology to try to decrease that anxiety, so that you come across cool, calm, and collected, and confident, and in a legitimate, authentic, genuine way, so that they feel, when they really look at person to person, they’re looking in your eyes, they get a really good sense that you are, in fact, telling the truth.

 

Dr. Brynn:

You have to dispel the tension for yourself, you have to try to calm yourself down, and or be some level of earnest and honest, give them something that tells them, this person is anxious, and it’s because they might not think this is the best solution, best product, best service, whatever, for me. But if you’re honest about it, it calms your own anxiety detection centres and their detection centres, as well.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. So say, in the equation, now, one half of it, we’ve somewhat solved, even though we’ve only touched on the surface level of this, Brynn. We’ve got ourselves relaxed, we’re confident, we’re comfortable in the product, perhaps we’ve looked at the environments, if we’re inviting them into our space, and it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, there’s a bottle of water there, whatever it is, and the individual that we’re going to be negotiating with… but it’s a negotiation to get a deal done, as opposed to no crush them, or get more money out of them, or however…

 

How to Handle an Anxious and Uncomfortable Buyer · [24:32] 

 

Will Barron:

We’re not we’re not trying to Donald Trump them kind of thing, we’re not like ’80s negotiating here, we’re trying to get the deal done, and it’s going to be beneficial for everyone else. Well, perhaps they come in, and they’re sweating, and they’re stressed, and the rabbit got run over this morning, or they has accident on their way over, and they’re running late. Is it enough for us to remain calm and collected, and rely on the mirror neurons to reflect back at us? Or, is there anything else that we can do from that perspective to… I want to talk about the brain side of things. Is there anything else we can do to, I guess, influence our subconscious into [inaudible [00:24:59] round to our state?

 

Dr. Brynn:

So first part of that question is, yes, you’re exactly right, they will, eventually, come to our mirror neuron system. As long as you can avoid feeling anxious from them, that reverberation of that energy, they will. They’ll come a little bit to our side. So what happens is… And it’s not perfect science, exactly, but over the… Once you meet with somebody, two near neuron systems meet up. And over the course of that first five minutes, there is a negotiation, at the subconscious level, that’s happening, that you’re basically… And usually, it’s in the form of small talk.

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so sometimes they make a joke about how you’ll be talking about something totally onerous that makes… It’s chitchat, small talk, completely inconsequential. But what it is, is a moment for your mirror neuron systems to have a little dance, or to negotiate amongst themselves, to be able to decide if we are basically firing similarly. You know, when you’ve met somebody, and that was a very easy negotiation, because you literally said, “This is like my sister from another mister, this is a brother from another mother, this person… We get along wild fire, I don’t know, it’s amazing.”

 

Dr. Brynn:

You’ve known the opposite, as well. When you’ve gone through that first five minutes, there’s this negotiation chit chat, small talk, and you are not hitting it off, and you don’t know, you will walk away after an hour’s meeting and say, “I don’t know what it is, I can’t put my finger on it, but I just don’t like that guy.” That happens because your mirror neuron systems really could not connect in a way that you could agree on how they were going to fire.

 

Dr. Brynn:

So, to your question, yes, as long as you can stay as relaxed, and calm, cool, collected, confident in yourself, their mirror neuron system will come on side. Now, it depends on what happened to them. Because they feel like you’re way too cool, calm, and collected for this negotiation… which most sales calls, most sales discussions are a form of negotiation, for sure, I’m going to give you something and you’re going to spend money to get it. And so we are negotiating price, and terms, and contract.

 

Dr. Brynn:

When that’s happening, if they feel like you’re just very different from them, there’s just no… they would have to come way too far, then that meeting of minds, literally, meeting of minds of mirror neuron systems, it won’t happen very, very effectively. So they could decide that you’re just way too calm, way too confident, way too charismatic, too slick. You’ll often hear words about salespeople exactly like that. That person is just too… I don’t know what it was, almost slimy. And what they’re experiencing is that there’s just not enough nervous activity, there’s not enough meeting of minds. So you do have to come a little bit their direction, as well, in order to be able to help them.

 

“Every conversation between two strangers or two people meeting up is really immediate friend or foe. Is this person a friend, or is this person a foe? And the way that we quickly dispel it through language is by driving towards similarities. And so every conversation, usually, is the quickest route to something that’s similar between us. There’s some shared experience, or some shared opinion, or some shared feeling. It can even be as simple as we’re wearing the same colour shirt, or yeah, traffic was terrible this morning for me, as well.” – Dr. Brynn · [27:57] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

The second thing to do… So, obviously, you’re going to meet in-person, you’re going to try to stay cool, calm, and collected yourself, you’re going to try to drive toward what I call similarities. And so every conversation between two strangers or two people meet up, is really immediate friend or foe. Is this person a friend, or is this person a foe? And the way that we determine that through language is… or to quickly dispel it through language, that we would be a foe, is by driving towards similarities.

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so every conversation, usually, is the quickest route to something that’s similar between us. There’s some shared experience, or some shared opinion, or some shared feeling, as an example. And so what you can do is as you get together in person, you maintain your nervous networks, and you drive towards similarity between two people, between yourself and that person, something you share. It can even be as simple as, we’re wearing the same colour shirt, or yeah, traffic was terrible this morning for me, as well, or whatever that that point of connection is, will allow…

 

Dr. Brynn:

What they can see is what the mirror neuron system loves, which is the three C’s, I call them, but compromise, cooperation, and collaboration, is probably the third one. There’s sometimes a fourth, but let’s go with collaboration. And the idea there is that what you’re what you’re showing is a willingness to collaborate toward coming to their mind state, toward coming to their brain state, how their energy and physiology is working right now, you’re willing to come halfway. And so drive towards similarities.

 

Dr. Brynn:

I don’t know if you’ve ever done negotiation training, Will, but one of the things we often recommend, as an example, is literally, physically, mirroring the person. And so in your body language, you would actually start to adopt postures, positions, a nature that’s like there’s, especially at first, in order… What you can do is ease their mirror neuron system into your very similar brain space that you’re in. And so we do that with language by driving towards similarities, we do that with our bodies by mirroring what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

 

“The human brain is highly social. In your brain, 80% of all neural networks are dedicated to social processing. And if they’re not dedicated, they’re involved, they’re affiliated with social processing. And so if you can take the first however long it takes, five, 10 minutes to calm that person, and get them on side, that will help, at least, to get their mirror neuron system on side with your mirror neuron system.” – Dr. Brynn · [30:08] 

 

Dr. Brynn:

All of these tools or tricks are designed to calm them, but also, to have that negotiation between the mirror neuron systems go very well, so that they are on side, and we are starting to see eye-to-eye. So then the third thing, of course, is that you wouldn’t start into business terms, contractual obligations, any of the business stuff, right away. The truth is the human brain is very highly social. So in your brain, 80% of all neural networks are dedicated to social processing. And if they’re not dedicated, they’re involved, they’re affiliated with social processing.

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so if you can take the first however long it takes, five, 10 minutes to calm that person, and get them on side… The best way to connect with someone is socially. And so take the time to have the chit chat, allow those mirror neuron systems to connect, and to coordinate, and drive towards similarity, as you mirror them physically. And that will help, at least, to get their mirror neuron system on side with your mirror neuron system.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing. Well, I’ve got one further question on this. And this all makes total sense. And it should do, because it’s been programmed into our brain for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s why we survive as tribes, which are then built into communities, and all the rest of it. We could probably do five hours on the history of the brain, and how it was wired that way from the very beginning. But I’ve got one question, I don’t know if you know the answer, I don’t know if anyone knows the answer. But what you’re describing here is a quite an Eastern way of doing business.

 

The Art and Science of Good Emotional Intelligence During a Sales Conversation · [31:10] 

 

Will Barron:

People from China, when I’ve been in Thailand, they will sit down for an hour, they’ll have a cup of tea, they’ll have a chat about families, and then will do five, 10 minutes of business in a straight, comfortable negotiation at the end of the meeting. Whereas in the Western world, everyone is, I’ve only got 10 minutes, I’ve only got 15 minutes. This best be important, we’ll get down to… Getting down to business is saying that people regular use. How do we frame up… very practically for the audience here, because, again, everyone will be going, this makes total sense.

 

Will Barron:

And perhaps if you deal in… Obviously, I’m in the UK. If you’re in the US, Canada, wherever it is, it’s one thing to know five, 10 minutes of conversation before a negotiation, before just a sales demo, or whatever it is, is going to build rapport, build that know, like, and trust that we all want and, essentially, crave, as salespeople, to be able to do our jobs. How do we frame up, perhaps, even a conversation in this Western busy world, with millennials like me, with things going off every two seconds? How do we frame up that conversation to ask questions, to find commonalities, to then build that like, to then be able to have a business conversation at the end of it, rather than at the beginning of it?

 

Dr. Brynn:

It’s a good question. I don’t know if I know the answer to that. I think it’s part of the art and science of-

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Dr. Brynn:

… good emotional intelligence. So EQ, emotional intelligence, is part of knowing how to do that. What is the context? What is that person like? You would never go into a sales conversation, very likely, without knowing something about the person, their role, you probably looked them up on LinkedIn, I hope, you get to know them as much as possible, beforehand, that’s going to help you immensely, of course. And really, yeah, what you’re trying to do is do the soft skills stuff that is so challenging as humans, but is to try to figure out what those points of connection are. What is that person’s agenda? What are their pain points? What keeps them up at night? What do they really want out of this? What is their hang ups or challenges?

 

Dr. Brynn:

Yeah, it’s a billion-dollar question, again, but… And I don’t have all the answers to everything, but from a brain-based perspective, you’re trying to do as much recon as you can about that person, so that you can put them at ease as quickly as possible, and really try to figure out what it is that makes them tick. And we don’t always get it right. If we did, we’d all be very rich salespeople. And we don’t always know the answer, and sometimes you can’t figure it out before you’re… And sometimes we never do, we never figure it out, and so we lose the sale.

 

Dr. Brynn:

But the idea there is that you’re trying to do… with all of your spidey senses, your subconscious, your mirror neuron system, your brain, your emotional intelligence, you’re really trying to get to the core of what that person needs and wants, and how you, your product, and its technical specifications, or whatever, how it can answer to that need set. And of course, we start with the predominant processing in the brain, which is the social component. But from which, of course, we have emotions, and we could go there for probably another five hours, but the idea is, yeah, you’re trying to put that person at ease, you’re trying to draw that connection point, you’re trying to… with all of the ways that you have at your disposal, you’re trying to figure out how you can quickly get them feeling comfortable and situated in the whatever product, service, good, contract that you’re proposing.

 

The Importance of Being Yourself and Having a Unique Personality in Sales · [35:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Yep. And final thing on this, just to put an exclamation mark on it, because this is something that I’m… Clearly, I’m no sales manager, sales leader. That might be coming in the next few years from when I’m hiring the team over here. But this is something that I see regularly when I listen to sales agents, when I interact with them and have chatted with them behind the scenes. There is a seemingly alarming difference between someone who just good at sales, and it’s difficult to measure what they’re good at. 

 

Will Barron:

I think what we’re describing here is, essentially, some of those intangibles that make someone who just… whether it’s natural, whether it’s the upbringing, whether it’s the… they have the chatty gene, they have the gene of emotional intelligence, whatever it is, that they’re great at it. You get some people who are learning, and they’re in the midst of this. I know, when I first got into sales, I had an issue of being corporate, of being, hi, I’m Will from XYZ company, we do want to free… hang up kind of thing.

 

Will Barron:

Clearly, that’s the opposite of what we’re talking about here. So is it fair to say, just to wrap up this conversation, Brynn, that it’s important to be yourself,, to have some personality to allow… to maybe even be a little bit vulnerable, to allow people to open up and be vulnerable back to you? Is that a fair thing to say, to to wrap up the conversation here?

 

Dr. Brynn:

It’s perfectly well said, I wouldn’t even try to recap it. That’s perfect. Yep, absolutely.

 

Dr. Brynn’s Advise to Her Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [36:11]

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, with that, Brynn, I’ve got one final question I ask everyone that comes on the show. And I know you’re not a “quota carrying” B2B sales professional, but I’m sure you have an insight for this, and that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give her to help her become better at selling?

 

Dr. Brynn:

Ooh, better at selling. I think it was… Going back to the piece that you just mentioned, was I came from a corporate background in marketing, moreover, but definitely, very regimented, structured, get right down to business. Especially as a female it was professional first, and don’t let your person show through, and don’t let your personality show through. So I think that’s exactly the piece of insight, information, advice I might give myself, is you’ve got to be yourself, you’ve got to find your position in… and your comfort zone, and your interest set, and so on in the space, so that you can be more genuinely and authentically yourself. And the sooner you find that, to your point, the sooner that you put other people at ease, and that the whole process becomes a tonne easier.

 

Dr. Brynn:

And you know what you stand for, you know what you are willing to do, say, you know what your barriers and limits are. And I think once you allow yourself to shine through in all of that, that becomes a lot more clear, and then business becomes a lot easier to do. And no, you’re right, I’m not, nominally, a B2B sales professional, but my business is B2B, and I sell every day. So I’m a salesperson in the B2B space. And yeah. So I know very well, that the sooner that you’re kind of… your authentic self in that, you find your your comfort zone in that space, I think the sooner that other people can detect that, and that they can feel that you’re you, you’re selling what you sell.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Another piece might be, if I had to say, Will, is at know who your customers aren’t. And that’s something that has come up in my business, a little bit of a departure strictly from brain science. But the idea is that you can’t… Especially in an experiential service-based business, like mine, you have to be willing to say, “You’re not my ideal customer,” or, “That’s not my ideal context. My service is not a fit for you.” And I think the sooner you can get there, that’s another piece that is… it’s barrier setting, but it also allows people to say, “Hey, she or he is the real deal. That person knows what they’re good at, and what they don’t know, and what they’re not good at, and who they shouldn’t be selling to.”

 

Dr. Brynn:

And so I think that’s another parameter that I had to set in my business, once I got comfortable with it, presenting my whole person and personality, and not being so corporate, necessarily. Which is so tempting, especially when you’re young and new. But once I figured that out, I was also able to figure out… Listen, I often get calls, and I love that, in the funnel. But I’ll often have conversations with people that I say, “Listen, I’m very happy to refer you to somebody, but I’m not a fit… This isn’t a fit for you, and here’s why.” And I think that’s also… generates a lot of goodwill, and people really get a sense that you’re authentic, and that you wouldn’t force a square peg into a round hole, that you would be honest with them about what the solution looks like for them and for their business. So-

 

When You Do the Right things, It Always Comes Back Around · [39:35]

 

Will Barron:

[crosstalk [00:39:21]. You’re playing the long game, right? So you refer someone now, they move jobs, change company, they know Sony might be a good fit. And not that there’s… I don’t think there’s a spiritual element to this, but is your experience… This is my experience. Is your experience that when you do the right thing, it all comes back around?

 

Dr. Brynn:

I think so, exactly. And that that same customer will say to someone else later, a prospect… that same prospect will say to someone else later, “Listen, she told me exactly when her services are useful.” And so they actually make for really good ambassadors and lead generators, because once you’ve been able to explain to them what you definitely do, and what you definitely don’t do, then they’re very capable of being able to resell you, frankly. So yeah, it does come back around.

 

Dr. Brynn:

There is absolutely goodwill generated, both with… That customer says, “Thanks, you saved me time and money.” With the person that you refer them to, it builds your own network. And then with the offshoots, with the people that they refer you to, that lead generation, really does become a much more authentic experience, because that person’s been able to sort of parameterize the same things for them, that you would have otherwise. So, yeah, absolutely, you’re right about that, it comes full circle. It’s a love fest. It feels good for everyone involved.

 

Will Barron:

We’ll finish with this, Brynn. The reason I touched on that was… And this ties it back to the show itself, is the opposite of that is a sales professional, who is desperate. And I get it. Look, if you have to close two deals before the end of the quarter, or you’re not going to hit your target, or that you’re going to be let go, if you’re desperate, it comes across on the phone, nevermind in person, or a video call, or whatever it is, and you just you’re just nuking your own opportunities there.

 

Parting Thoughts · [41:35]

 

Will Barron:

And, of course, that all comes from having a healthy pipeline and everything else that we talked about the show in the sales process. But I know, and I’ve experienced, I’m sure you have, the audience, as well, that get on a roll, everything’s going well, you’re just try to help people, and it all comes around. And again, I don’t think there’s any kind of karma, I don’t there’s a spiritual element to this, I just think if you help enough people, just statistically, it comes back to help you. And with that, Brynn, I want you tell us a little bit about the website where we can find you, and then about the awesome keynotes that you do, as well. Just to comment on that, just to… As research for this episode, I went on your website, saw a bunch of them, and it looks fantastic.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Oh, thanks, Will. Yeah. Well, yes, people can find me at drbrynn.com. There’ll be a list of all my latest articles, latest TV appearances, the keynotes that I offer, of course, of which there are six. And what I look to is gleaning insights from neuroscience that can help business people. And so sometimes it’s salespeople, but it can also be about how to be more motivated, more productive, how to structure your day, all those types of things. So yeah, thank you. Come and find me at drbrynn.com.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I’ll link to that in the show notes to this episode, with a few links. Find some of the other stuff we talked about over at salesman.org. And with that, Dr. Brynn, I want to thank you for your time, your insights on this, I’ve had a great time chatting with you, and for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Dr. Brynn:

Thanks, Will, thanks for having me. Thanks, everybody, for listening. (silence).

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