Business Tips

The Science of Selling – Part One

Welcome to the new series of blog posts from AWE Business networking.

Since we last posted, our network has grown and we have welcomed business partners from a wide variety of sectors.

I want to make sure our posts are equally relevant to all of our members; that they provide value and ultimately help you make the most of your AWE membership and your bottom line.

The common ground

We are all business owners, entrepreneurs or managers charged with the responsibility of promoting our business to prospective customers. That’s possibly why you joined AWE business networking in the first place.


I’ve taken that shared interest and armed with the indisputable fact that we are all human beings and not robots I have combined my lifelong obsession with psychology and the human brain with my million years of marketing experience to produce the definitive guide to marketing your product or service to your customers, whilst taking advantage of the very best in cutting edge neuroscience research.

That’s a bit of a mouthful so I’m going to call it ‘Neuromarketing – Using Science to Sell.’

Your Client’s brain – and yours for that matter.

Your client’s brain is emotional and in part logical and in part a data storage device laced with lashings of prejudice. 

Before you stand up on a table to pronounce that you are not prejudiced, consider what prejudice is:

If you think you will like something over something else then you have pre judged that the original something is better – meaning of course that the secondary something is of lesser value.

This works with people too. Place yourself in the following scenario:

  • Two people come into your office and want to do business with you.
  • Person ‘a’ smells wonderful, is physically attractive and is dressed smartly. They smile and offer you their hand to shake.
  • Person ‘b’ is dressed in dirty jeans and t shirt and is visibly overweight. They wipe sweat from their hand and offer it for you to shake.
  • You can only shake one person’s hand – the one who you will consider doing business with.
  • Three seconds to make your mind up. Which one are you going with?

No matter which person you chose I’m betting you had an opinion on both of those people, without even knowing them. In reality you may shake both hands but you WILL have an early opinion of both.

I know I would.

To be prejudiced is to be human.

How does this relate to marketing?

You have a product or you provide a specialised service and your survival depends upon your ability to convince your ideal customer that they should part with their hard-earned money to purchase what it is that you have to offer.

The decision your customers make is an emotional one. That is not to say that there is no logic or reasoning involved but according to Professor Stephen Peters and leading neuroscientists the emotional part of your brain is ALWAYS the first to react. Once your emotional brain has formed an opinion and made a decision it looks to the logical decision to support the decision that has already been made!

Consider what happens when you receive a cold sales call:

Your mobile phone rings, up on the display is a message saying:

Possible Spam Caller.

What is your initial thought?

Perhaps something like:

For *#%$%^&*% sake, kindly leave me alone!!

Internally, your cognitive process was:

  1. I automatically don’t like this call coming through to me (emotional part)
  2. I am going to tell him / her to go away. (logical part)
  3. I am checking on my other memories of annoying sales calls to strengthen my resolve. (data store influenced by emotional part)

You have developed an opinion of the caller before even picking up the phone.

Are YOU that cold caller?

What separates you from that cold caller?

You have at least one thing in common – you want to sell something to someone and receive money for doing so. The more you sell, the more money you make.

Oh and…

You are offering what you see as a valuable service well worth the money you are asking in return.

I am, of course discounting the spam callers here who offer you gold bullion and 50 free lines on the lottery in exchange for your account details. In my free time I delight in wasting their time by pretending to go along with their scams – then publishing the results.

So, what separates you from that cold caller?

Much in the same way you wouldn’t approach an attractive stranger in the street, get down on one knee, declare undying love, propose, then suggest possible baby names (I hope), you wouldn’t expect someone to part with their hard-earned money without first establishing and developing a relationship with you.

Cold sales callers are often disliked because you have not chosen to speak with them. They have contacted you and metaphorically proposed marriage, with no genuine interest in setting up and maintaining a ‘real’ relationship between you and them.

Develop ‘real’ relationships and not just with your customers

When I first started out in business, I had the idea that I should do everything myself, either because I couldn’t trust anyone else or because I simply didn’t have the money to hire another skilled worker.

I built up a relatively successful marketing company, the larger we (I) grew the more skills I had to learn and the more hours I spent at work.

I was simultaneously a copywriter, a content writer, a marketer, an author, a salesperson, an SEO practitioner, a media buyer, a script writer, an artistic and commercial director, a project supervisor, a bookkeeper… oh and a leaflet deliverer when distribution staff didn’t turn in.

As a single father I wanted also to spend time with my two children too and had to be there for all parental moral and social responsibilities.

There were simply not enough hours in the day

It got to a stage where I couldn’t remember what excited me about this business in the first place and in the end, I lost the business and had a complete breakdown.

Not long before the business went under, I met with Duncan Bannatyne (Dragons Den) who I greatly admired. One piece of advice he gave stuck with me and that was:

“Work smarter, not harder.”

He explained that there was a ceiling in what one person can achieve on their own and that delegation was key.

It was only after my breakdown and a loss of nearly £84,000 I was finally ready to listen.

I realised that people (and businesses) grow stronger together. I also realised that it’s completely fine NOT to be the world’s leading expert in every area. By undertaking tasks that I hate on my own, I am in fact, depriving someone who loves that task from gainful employment or a meaningful business relationship.

By sharing the responsibility, I am also inviting others to share in the success of my achievements.

I’ve always been the type of person who will help another (be it business or personal) and by changing my mindset and inviting people in I now have people around me that I can call upon if I need help and advice.  

Business networking groups

Find a good business networking community.

As one of the co-owners of AWE Business networking in the North East, I feel privileged to witness what happens when like minded business professionals come together. By regularly turning up week after week, members develop a rapport and a unique relationship with one another. They become involved in and have a vested interest in helping one another succeed.  

Our members do pass referrals – but more than that they understand the power of a strong relationship and are there to offer advice and help in any way they can.

It is not a quick game, it’s not a ‘hire me now’ and here’s my business card situation.

If you really want to succeed you must be willing to develop relationships and help others – in essence become a strong part of an active business community.

I would strongly advise researching and becoming part of the right business networking group or at the very least don’t live and operate in a bubble. Once I broke out and started communicating with likeminded professionals my quality of life increased and I could spend more time doing what I loved, not to mention being the father that I always wanted to be.

If you are wanting to connect with clients in the North East then you can contact AWE business networking here.

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