Neuromarketing is the process by which you speak, advertise, and sell directly to your prospects in a way they’ll truly grasp.
Breaking it down, neuromarketing is a style of marketing designed to sell specifically to the brain. It studies how the brain works and crafts specially designed messages that target the brain’s decision-making region. Regardless if you’re new to sales or a veteran, using neuromarketing techniques can help give you a leg up on your competition.
Neuromarketing is marketing, but it takes it a step further by understanding not only who your prospects are but also how best to approach them. Eminent SEO states: “The biggest advantage of neuromarketing is that it can fill in the gaps left by traditional marketing methods.”
When it comes to neuromarketing, SalesBrain is one of the leading experts on the subject. This blog will cover some of their top tips and how you, as an insurance agent, can apply them to your current process to ultimately sell more.
For a brief overview, watch the video below. We’ll delve into each of these sections further throughout this blog.
The Breakdown of the Brain
The brain is made of two halves that work together: the left and the right hemispheres.
The left hemisphere is the center of linear thinking such as language, logic, and mathematics. The right hemisphere is the center of conceptual thoughts such as art, music, creativity, and inspiration.
Image Source: How It Works
Bringing the two together is a bridge called the corpus callosum. This gateway allows the two halves of your brain to communicate and function properly. The corpus callosum is essential to your body performing as one unit.
The 3 Distinctive Parts of the Brain
The brain is split into 3 distinctive parts that communicate with and influence each other. Each has its own specialized function that works in tandem with the others to help you function, think, and make decisions on a day-to-day basis.
- The New Brain. This is the thinking component of the brain. It processes rationalized data.
- The Middle Brain. This is the part of the brain that feels. It deals with and processes emotions and is responsible for those gut feelings you have.
- The Old Brain (Reptilian Brain). This is the deciding portion of the brain. It takes into account the input from the two other parts (Middle and New), but it’s the one that ultimately makes the decision.
Image Source: SalesBrain
As you can probably guess, the Old Brain is the oldest part of the brain. It’s been around for roughly 45,000 years. To put that into perspective, consider the following:
- Spoken words have been around for about 40,000 years
- Written language has been around for about 10,000 years
What’s important to note about these time variances is that since there is a large discrepancy between the age of the Old Brain and the age of written language, the Old Brain struggles to comprehend the written word. In terms of evolution, it just has not had the time to catch up.
Like I said above, the Old Brain is the decision-maker. Being the oldest part, it also houses our most primal selves and our instincts. It determines which sensory inputs will go to the new brain and what decisions will be accepted.
With all of these characteristics, it’s absolutely crucial that you understand how to communicate with the Old Brain in order to improve your odds of conversion.
The 6 Ways to Stimulate the Old Brain
Image Source: SalesBrain
Sales Brain identifies 6 stimuli that have an impact and connect with the Old Brain:
- Tangible Input
- The Beginning and The End
- Visual Stimulation
Let’s break each one down and discuss how you can adopt it into your sales pitch as a life and health insurance agent.
The term “self-centered” comes with a bad rap. However, in terms of species survival and instincts, being self-centered can mean the difference between existing and not. Remember, the Old Brain is the oldest part of the brain and houses our instincts and reptilian nature. It would only make sense that it is inherently self-centered.
Humans are, generally, rather self-centered creatures. The vast majority of decisions we make and the things we do are with ourselves in mind. Our self-centered nature is connected directly with our resilience and our ability to not only survive, but to thrive.
How you can use it: Make sure to focus the conversation on them. In fact, 100% of the conversation should be focused this way—meaning you should hardly be saying “I”. Your audience must hear what this plan can do for them.
An example: “You need to have coverage, but you mentioned the rate you currently have isn’t working. Here’s a plan that can offer you similar coverage but at a lesser rate. Would you like to learn more about what this plan has to offer you?”
By definition, contrast is a comparison by which to show unlikeness or differences. A really easy example would be the colors black and white; they are the perfect contrast as they are complete opposites of one another.
Using contrast language allows the Old Brain to make quick decisions that don’t weigh heavy on the mind. Without the provided contrast, the Old Brain will delay making the decision—or worse, make no decision at all.
How you can use it: Use verbiage and paint a picture of what life would be like with the product vs. what it’d be like without. Use words like before/after, with/without, risky/safe, and slow/fast.
These help to illustrate the difference and better iterate to the Old Brain the necessity of your product or service and why the change needs to take place.
WARNING: Using contrast verbiage is an easy way to over-promise something and be disingenuous to your prospects and clients. Ensure what you’re saying is both doable and true.
Tangible input is when we scan for the familiarities in an unfamiliar scene.
Think of it as when you search for a friendly face in a crowd or try to find a pattern in a math problem or puzzle. It’s our brain grasping to find something recognizable or concrete with which it can connect.
How you can use it: Use actionable phrases like less money, easy to use, 24/7 access. These short phrases have a lot of power and resonate with the Old Brain.
Using assertive, descriptive language helps the Old Brain understand. It cannot process a flexible solution. It needs black or white; it cannot comprehend grays.
Therefore, simpler, easier-to-grasp concepts, ideas, and language are better suited for Old Brain communication.
The Beginning and The End
When was the last time you listened to a song the whole way through or actually read something word-for-word?
Are you even reading every word of this blog?
Our society is full of skimmers and scanners who sift through content to glean the vital pieces of information. That’s why presenters always clamor to either be the first or last to go because they know their audience is most captive at the beginning and the end of a long day of presentations.
Use this to make your presentations stronger. Create anticipation and excitement with powerful openers and strong deliverables at the end. Avoid placing the important parts in the middle.
How you can use it: Plug the beginning of your pitch with all the important information (whats and whys) and end it with a solution to meet those needs (hows and whens).
They say a picture is worth a thousand words—and for the Old Brain, this is definitely true. Remember, the Old Brain cannot comprehend or interpret the written word; it needs visuals to help it understand.
Visual interpretation is crucial to our lives and our survival. We are hardwired to make decisions that are mostly based on visual input; you cross a road if you see that it’s clear, you don’t listen for cars or feel for the rumbles.
How you can use it: Use visual aids like graphs and charts to better illustrate your point and help your prospect better grasp what you’re saying.
Take it a step further and incorporate visually-appealing colors. Color is important to the brain. Consider the two graphs below. They’re the same graph, but the color usage significantly affects how you engage with and consume each.
Humans are emotional creatures; many of our decisions are based on emotions alone. It’s connected to our self-centered view.
We remember better when we have an emotional tie to the memory. For example, I can clearly remember where I was and what I was doing when 9/11 happened; my parents can clearly remember the day when the first man walked on the moon.
How you can use it: Connect your pitch to their emotions and passions. Figure out where those lie and integrate them into your conversation. It just simply is not an option for you to ignore their emotions.
Some examples could include:
- Focus on how life insurance would benefit their growing family/spouse/partner.
- Discuss how life insurance would cover debts (like student debt) that aren’t forgiven with the holder’s passing.
- Show how the benefits of health insurance outweigh the costs (monthly cost vs. the cost of emergency surgery like appendicitis, broken leg, etc.).
- Describe why a cancer plan is important to have as it helps cover out-of-pocket expenses for them and their family. Point out that cancer isn’t something one faces alone; the whole family will be there facing it together.
Make it personal for them and tell stories! Insurance is an industry where making it personal is completely welcomed and expected.
The 4 Steps to Communicating with the Old Brain
Image Source: SalesBrain
We discussed the six stimuli that trigger the Old Brain’s attention, but here are the 4 steps—the 4 D’s—to using those stimuli and actually communicating with the Old Brain.
- Diagnose the Pain
- Differentiate Your Claims
- Demonstrate the Gain
- Deliver to the Old Brain
Diagnose the Pain
A big part of connecting with the Old Brain is listening.
You can’t diagnose until you understand. You can’t understand until you listen.
It should come as no surprise to you that listening is an integral part of being a successful insurance agent. Listen to the connotations and the underlying messages. Rely on both your eyes and ears to hear and see the microexpressions your prospects are giving you.
Here are some tips for listening more closely:
- Determine if their pain is financial, personal, or strategic
- Ask open-ended questions
- Restate back to them what they’ve said to ensure you understand
- Inquire and reflect
Differentiate Your Claims
What makes you different from all the other insurance agencies out there?
It has to go beyond just the products you offer. Many agencies offer very similar products. So what makes you different?
Your prospects want to create a relationship with you built on trust, loyalty, and understanding. If they don’t feel you can provide all three for them, then they’ll search elsewhere for someone who can.
Ask yourself: How are you different and why does that matter to them?
The Old Brain is self-centered; it doesn’t care if you’re different for difference sake. It wants to know how that difference benefits it.
Demonstrate the Gain
There are four great ways to demonstrate the gain to your prospects:
- Customer Story 80-100% proof
- A demo 60-100% proof
- Data 20-60% proof
- A vision 10-40% proof (a story of your own)
Customer stories are the most powerful sales tools you can use. These include case studies, written testimonials, and video testimonials. They are powerful because they are genuine.
Think of how often you shop online and read the reviews from previous purchasers to determine if you want to buy. We hold customer reviews, testimonials, and stories in high regard, and they significantly impact our final decision.
Remember, the “gut reaction” occurs in the Middle Brain, which converses with the Old Brain to determine what you should do. If your Middle Brain believes your customer stories lack authenticity, it will trigger a gut reaction that will deter the Old Brain.
The other three can be powerful, too, but nothing is as powerful as a customer’s story or their testimonial.
If you are lacking testimonials, reviews, or case studies, then revisit those top clients of yours and ask. As my mom always said, “the worst they can do is say no.”
To learn more about gathering reviews for your insurance agency, check out our two-part blog series:
Deliver to the Old Brain
Humans are not rational creatures. Rather, we make the bulk of our decisions based on emotions, gut reactions, and instinct. The Old Brain, as the decision-maker in the brain, takes these emotions and uses them to determine our final decisions.
This is why it’s crucial to sell to the Old Brain.
Yes, it interprets the opinions of the Middle and the New Brains, but the Old Brain ultimately makes the decision. Using the tactics above to appeal to and better communicate with the Old Brain means better conversations with your prospects and a better chance at conversion.
It’s digging down to the most basic part of who we are and finding a common connection. From there, you can build the relationship, strengthen it, and, hopefully, use it for future gains like improved client retention, referrals, and testimonials/reviews.
Using a combination of all the tools above will help put you in a more direct conversation with the Old Brain itself. Get rid of the fancy-fare and the small talk. Get down to the meat of why you’re there, why they’re looking, and what you can actually do for them.
The rest is all fluff.
Once you engage with the Old Brain and open that channel of communication, your odds of conversion can rapidly improve.
Why? Because your prospect will just get it.
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This blog was originally published on May 1, 2018, and updated on March 10, 2020.