I’m fascinated with the brain and gravitate to anything written about this intriguing organ. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ron Bonnstetter, Senior VP of R&D at TTI. I hope you enjoy Dr. Ron’s guest post:  “Speaking to the Decision Maker – The Hidden Brain”

The ultimate goal of marketing research is to separate YOU from the competition. One way to accomplish this goal is to understand the “WHY” and not just the “what “and “how” of human interactions. This month I would like to introduce four books dealing with the subconscious mind, with a primary focus on “Neuro Marketing”. (See references below.) The rationale for these selections is based on evidence that as many as 95% of buyer decisions are made by the subconscious mind. While that is scary, it also means we must expand our awareness and realize that information alone may not close the deal.

The primary take away is that when marketing a solution, there are key steps that must be followed. These include:

Step 1. Diagnose their pain.
In other words, you must have a clear understanding of the problem before you EVER suggest a remedy. In the future, I will expand on this process by helping develop active listening, sometimes referred to as deep listening skills. We will also discuss the role of probing questions and the need for open-ended questions. Ultimately step one requires that you “Get at what people don’t know they don’t know!”

Step 2. Show your uniqueness by differentiating your claims.
If you are not selling uniqueness, you are selling as much for your competitors as you are yourself. Don’t just sell the idea, sell the unique process and product!

Step 3. Prove your claims by demonstrating your gains.
The subconscious wants things clear-cut and simple. While information is crucial, it has been shown that testimonials are more powerful than your word and an actual demonstration speaks volumes about your belief in the product and willingness to prove it.

Step 4. Deliver the message to the hidden brain.

Remember that the hidden brain:
1. Is self-centered, (Direct your message to the person by using YOU and YOUR often.)
2. Requires contrast,
3. Only responds to tangible input,
4. Only listens to the beginning and end of a presentation,
5. Needs visual stimuli, and
6. Is triggered by emotions.

My hope is that you find these comments intriguing enough that you will pick up one of these books and will give serious thought to these emerging findings that offer insights into our decision making processes.


Lehrer, J. (2010) How We Decide. Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York.
Pradeep, A. K. (2010) The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey.
Renvoise, P. & Morin, C. (2007) Neuro Marketing. Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tennessee.
Vedantam, S. (2010) The Hidden Brain: How Our Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives. Random House Publishing, New York, New York.

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