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NEUROMARKETING 101: Selling To The Old Brain – Discover And Trigger The Buy Buttons In Your Customer’s Brain

Christophe Morin



  • Offers unique insights into how decisions are made by the human brain
  • Describes why the “Old Brain” – also commonly called the “Reptilian Brain” – makes the final decision
  • Unveils the only six stimuli that will directly impact and persuade the “Old Brain”
  • Defines the 4 critical steps that every organization or individual should master to sell effectively
  • Teaches revolutionary techniques that will allow anyone to convey their message in a unique, memorable, and meaningful way

Neuromarketing: Selling to the Old Brain teaches a process that is rational yet fun, scientific yet simple, and repeatable because it is memorable.

Business owners are constantly looking for ways to improve both the articulation and the presentation of their value proposition; whether it is to win an important deal, raise money, or simply increase the effectiveness of internal communication.  As the first Neuromarketing approach, “Selling to the Old Brain” offers a scientific yet simple model that delivers fast and measurable results.  During the workshop participants will practice the four steps on their own business so that they leave with concrete action items they can start implementing immediately.  Through a mixture of teachings, exercises, videos, and stories, the workshop ensures that participants assimilate, integrate, and retain all the concepts.

Neuromarketing is a scientific way to influence (and persuade) every conversation and interaction you have.  It is a method to win every argument, every negotiation, every transaction, every engagement/presentation.  The ability to convince anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

  • Persuasion is a “bottom up effect”.
  • Subliminal Messaging works if you are already leaning or are inclined toward the hidden message.  50 milliseconds is the threshold before we recognize a subliminal message.
  • The “Splashing Effect” – every day we are bombarded by up to 25,000 messages; our brain is programmed to turn or splash these back – unless they gets to the true decision maker.

The true decision maker is not a person; it is an organ – The Brain

  • Neuromarketing speaks to people’s brains, not to them.

Neuromarketing studies several modalities – Facial Imaging, Voice Analysis (sound waves can demonstrate 64 emotions), Biometrics (or Neurophysiological Studies) – heart monitoring, EEG & Eye Tracking, FMRI – Functional MRIs (wear the blood is going and for how long).  All collect objective information of what is occurring at the subconscious level.

Sometimes there are Endocrinal Studies which introduces chemicals into the brain so it can be studied further.  The main such chemical is Oxytocin.

Oxytocin – studied by Paul Zak, it is present in elevated levels in the brain when we experience love, empathy, trust, hugging.  Whenever we are in love, hug another person (at least 8 times per day is recommended) demonstrate empathy we produce Oxytocin.  The higher the level of Oxytocin in your brain the more likely you are to donate more and be more generous.  Giving or getting trust also raises the level of Oxytocin in our brains.

  • Facial Imaging – some are micro
  • Voice Analysis – can show emotions by measuring the speech – tone, volume, pitch, pace, language
  • Biometrics (Neurophysiological) – measures the response to stimuli by the heart rate, connectivity of the skin, amount of sweat produced, etc.  It measure emotions, motivation and cognitive load.  (In messaging, you need to reduce the cognitive load in the target of your message.)
  • EEG & Eye Tracking – measures (1,000 times per minute) emotions, motivation, and cognitive load; there is currently software that, for approximately $100, will conduct a predictive eye tracking study that will be 70-75% accurate as to where the viewers’ attention will be focused.  (The Darth Vader/Passat Commercial)
  • FMRI (Functional MRIs) – you can go as deep inside the brain as you want to measure the amount of energy (blood flow and oxygen) that is being used and consumed in the brain, in various areas of the brain, reacting to what we are seeing and experiencing. (The Southwest Air Print Ad – Air Routes vs. “We get you there faster”)
  • Studies of autistic children have found that they spend less time looking at people’s faces and facial expressions and decoding those expressions; therefore they don’t have the “software” to decode facial expressions like smiles and frowns.  Thus they don’t understand or aren’t aware of the feelings or state of mind of others.
  • The best messaging moves from the negative to the positive.
  • Studies have shown the scary/adverse/negative ads have more impact than playful or humorous ads do on younger subjects (under 25 years of age).  On adults there is no difference between the two.

The Brain: about 95% of what is known of the brain is less than 10 years old; some scientists believe we still know nothing about the brain.  It is 2% of our body mass, yet burns up 20% of our energy.  A brain is not fully developed until age 25; the frontal lobe is the last to mature, which is the area that gives us the ability to project time into the future (the ability to calculate the consequences of our actions in the future).  We see and experience the world as the brain interprets it.

Layers of the Brain –

  • The New Brain – the top is the newest part of the brain (approximately 3-4M years old); it is where “Rational Thinking” occurs, thus the “Rational Brain”.  Also knows as the Cortex, it is the slowest part of the brain.  It can read, but doesn’t understand what it is reading (seeing).  This is “System Two”.  It is slow, but smart, has an “on/off” aspect, understands and deals in the past, present and future, requires attention, effortful, conscious and somewhat controllable.  We could not speak or operate our bodies in the way we do without this lobe.  More willing to deal in the uncertain.
  • The Middle Brain – is the Emotional Brain; also known as the “mammalian brain” or the limbic brain.
  • The Reptilian Brain – is the bottom and oldest part of the brain, approximately 500M years old; the Instinctual Brain. This is “System One”.  This part of the brain is fast but limited.  It operates in “immediate experience” – it only operates in the “now”, it does not know or understand the past, present or future.  It is always on and is automatic, effortless, unconscious and uncontrollable – it cannot be controlled – just try to stop breathing; if it weren’t all these we would die.  It likes certainty vs. uncertainty.  System One has a real dominance on our ability to come to a different decision.

*Between System One and System Two, System One always wins.  Whenever there is a conflict between the two systems, System One will always win.  Therefore we should never target the New Brain – System Two.  (The “Stroup Experiment” – reading the color of words as opposed to the actual words themselves.) 

**The Amygdala is the super decision maker – the “super decision maker” – in System One or the Reptilian Brain.  It is the fear or threat control of System One.  It is about the size of an almond, but literally controls our reaction in milliseconds.

What stimulates the Reptilian Brain: There are Six Stimuli –

  • Self-Centered – “me”, speaks to the importance of survival and self-relevance.  Make it personal to me and my survival, success, prosperity and abundance.  Use the word “you” as often as possible to stimulate the engagement of your subject.  It must be relevant to “me” to get to my System One.  (The Jennifer Aniston/Heineken Commercial)
  • Contract – “yes/no”, “go/no go”, “light/dark”.  Success is often determined by your ability to demonstrate the uniqueness of you or your product or service.  Make it easy for the Reptilian Brain to make the decision.  If you keep asking your customers what they want, you will ultimately keep getting more and more information that will lead you to offering your customers more and more choices which is not what they are looking for.  What they actually want is less choices – “there is only 1 choice…us”.  The Reptilian Brain functions best when it has only 1 of 2 options – live or die. (The Sealy Mattress/Kid Commercial)
  • Tangible – get to understanding quickly; make it real and so it can be felt.  Touchable, familiar and concrete; non-abstract, non-verbal.  You need to convert what you want to present into things that will hold and grab the subjects’ attention.  There are far more memories associated and linked to something that is real and tangible that we have experienced previously.  We learn best what we already know.  Can be accomplished through the use of “word play”, analogies and metaphors and props – these will be remembered long after the words are forgotten.  (The Porsche/Candy Bar Commercial and the Scientific Magazine Commercial)
  • Beginning & End – we remember more of what occurs at the beginning and the end of our experiences – Attention Retention.  George Lucas says that a great movie is one with a hot opening and a hot closing (“Indian Jones” & “Star Wars” Movies) and doesn’t screw up in the middle.  Sales presentations should only be 10-12 minutes; you must grab their attention – hijack it – in the first 2 minutes – stories and re-enactments are very strong “grabbers” – light a fire under people’s chairs and present them with the extinguisher, pain reenactment is the shortest way to trigger a buy decision.  Give 3 reasons or claims as to why they need to buy from you.  Close in the final 2 minutes by repeating (what you repeat becomes more urgent, believable and real) what you’ve told them in the “Grabber” and the “Claims”.  (The Kid to Kung Foo Monk/Pepsi Commercial)
  • Visual – some estimates place our understanding as being 50% visually based.  Visual systems are the most dominate in the brain; uses almost 50% of the energy used by the brain.  It is the default mechanism for us.  Our visual abilities are 250% faster than any other ability – the power of a scene and imagery vs. charts, graphs and bullet points.  Resist the temptation of explaining what your product or service does or the benefit it has.  Let the pain and experience tell the story – visual imagery.  Words don’t travel from the bottom up.  Images do!  Blind people, although they cannot see, use their visual systems to comprehend what they experience.  A Princeton study concluded that our selection of a political candidate was 80% based on visual.  (The Olympus Zoom Camera/Safari Commercial)    
  • Emotional – necessary for your message to even work let alone “stick”; emotions are chemicals; E-motions produce motion; E-motions trigger decisions.  The core or primal are:  Fear, Sadness, Disgust, Anger,Anticipation, Joy, Trust,Surprise – all have the power to chemically change the power in your brain.  There is also “Ekamn’s (7) Universal Facial Expressions” which are exactly the same everywhere in the world – contempt, anger, disgust, sadness, fear, and happiness.  Create an “emotional cocktail” – start with a negative emotion and finish with a positive emotion – your success rate increase greatly.  (The Cigarette/Falling Balcony Commercial)

ü  The “Iceberg” graph – we see what people WISH for, WANT and NEED (right at the water line), but below the water line is their PAIN and FEAR.

ü  The best messaging moves from the negative to the positive.  Start with the BAD NEWS first

Four Steps to Reptilian Success:Pain, Claim, Gain, Deliver

  1. Diagnose the Pain – find out what their pain and fear is, what are they trying to avoid.  This is the “strainer” by which you put all of your claims – don’t “Spray and Pray”.  (The Mother-Daughter/Bathroom Cleaner Commercial)
  1. Differentiate Your Claim – must do this quickly – visually it must take less than 5 seconds, verbally in about 10 seconds – visual is obviously better.  Build/write a three chapter book, a chapter for each of your Claims.  Identify and passionately defend the 3 Claims – don’t “Spray and Pray”.  (The LED Projector ad for “Ages 3 and Up” or Epson makes even Albert Einstein look brighter)
  1. Demonstrate the Gain – the value vs. the cost.  The brain can understand 3 values: financial, strategic (a cut/reduction of risk or uncertainty), and personal or psychological – the emotional benefit to your subject.  The quality of your evidence needs to be powerful, compelling and outstanding.  Don’t spend too much time on the gain.  All you need to demonstrate is that the value is greater than the cost.  A customer’s story is the best proof.  Don’t say and spray.  Give 3 specifics – don’t “Spray and Pray”.
  1. Deliver to the Reptilian Brain – customer testimonials; if you use demos make sure they are relevant; data works if it is shocking and bold, visual is better.  In messaging, you need to reduce the cognitive load in the brain and maximize the understanding in the brain. 


VA3 Sources of ValueCustomerCaseDemoDataVision

vThree powerful questions:

o   Are you as successful as you want to be or you can be?

o   What if youcould improve the performance of your business and your own performance as a business owner, executive and leader?

o   How passionate or committed are you to that?

Reading List:

“The Morale Molecule” – Dr. Paul Zak

“Thinking Fast and Slow” – Daniel Kahneman (System One rules all else)

“Made to Stick” – Chip Heath & Dan Heath

“Blink” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Incognito” – David Eagleman

“Brain Rules” – John Medina

“Predictability” – Daniel Ariely (we are irrational; but we are predictably irrational)

ü  70% of people who buy business books leave them on the shelf and never read them (because it is taxing on our brains).

Also the SalesBrain website ( has a wealth of knowledge and material.

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