Left Brain or Right Brain, Which Side Do You Sell To?

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

Left hand, right hand, that is something we all understand.

You have a left hand and you have a right hand and one is more dominant than the other. It’s simple, it’s logical. But what about the left brain, right brain. Surely you only have one brain.

Yes, you only have one brain, yet your brain has two hemispheres and different regions control different functions. The two sides of your brain may look very similar and they cannot work independently of each other, but there’s a huge difference in how each side of our brain responds to situations.

The theory is that people are either left-brain or right-brain dominant and this determines how you process information

The left brain is more verbal, logical and analytical and the right brain is more visual, imaginative and intuitive. This means that people who are left-brain dominant tend to be more analytical and methodical, and people who are right-brain dominant tend to be more creative and artistic.

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It is always important to remember that the two sides of your brain complement each other. They are designed to work together, and the hemispheres are connected by bundles of nerve fibres that act as information highways. The one side of your brain does not function effectively without the other.

20% logic versus 80% emotion

Even though the left brain is more analytical and performs the tasks that require logic, like maths and science, only 20% of our decisions are made in this hemisphere of the brain. On the other hand, the right side of the brain controls tasks that are more creative and imaginative, and 80% of our decisions are made with this side of the brain.

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What this means to the sales industry is that people may shop with logic, but they buy on emotion. And if this is the case, then we need to adjust our sales strategy and no longer sell almost exclusively to Mr. Rational.

The key to becoming a successful salesperson, and avoiding the paralysis for analysis trap, is knowing how to give customers enough logical information to support their emotional decision.

Find the right balance between the emotional and logical sales presentation

If you think about most of the television, print or online advertising that you see, you soon realize that the majority of adverts are lean on facts and big on emotion – 20% logic, 80% creativity.

This is no coincidence; the advertising industry understands that successful advertising sells a story or a lifestyle rather than the bare facts. And you need to apply this type of thinking to your sales strategy. When you deal with a customer, you need to appeal to both sides of their brain, you can’t just sell to the rational side, but you can’t focus exclusively on emotions either. You need to find the right balance.

Buying a new vehicle is seemingly a logical decision, it fulfills a need and it is generally not based on emotion. Or is it?

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When a customer buys a new car, they need to know the basic facts about that vehicle, like price, payment schedules, interest rates, and financing.

You need to ask the right fact-finding questions to determine what your customer’s practical requirements are and what they are ideally looking for in a new vehicle. You need to know which features are important to them.

Apply this information to give them the facts that appeal to them and tell them what they need to know. But avoid getting bogged down in the small details. The rest of your sales presentation should be based on appealing to your customer’s emotions.

If you have asked the right fact-finding questions and paid attention to your customer's responses you will have a good idea about their lifestyle and what appeals to them in a new vehicle, both in terms of features and fun. Use this information to tap into their emotions.

Don’t just tell them about the features of the vehicle, demonstrate them. Encourage the customer to sit in the vehicle, feel the interior, breathe in the new car smell, and take them for test drive. Let them imagine how the car will change their lives or enhance their lifestyle.

Buying is an experience, not a decision

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When your customer leaves your showroom, they might be thinking about some of the facts and figures that you have given them, but they are going to be far more focused on the sales experience. How much did they enjoy the time with you, how did the car make them feel, are they happy, did they feel like you understood their needs, was there a personal connection?

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All these are emotional responses, not logical ones. And does that make logical sense? Not really. Surely a buyer should be looking for the best deal, not the salesperson that made them feel the best. Perhaps. If that were the case, we would do all our shopping online and cut the salesperson out of the process entirely.

We don’t operate like that because we are human and the 20%/80% theory applies to us. That means that it is vitally important to make the car buying experience both logical and emotional. And always keep in mind the 20%/80% balance.

Relationships are built on emotion

Another aspect of the sales process that is connected to left brain, right brain theory is relationship building. In previous articles, we have discussed how building relationships and establishing trust is essential to the sales process. And in order to connect with your customer, you need to speak their language and engage the emotional (right) side of their brain.

Words like imagine, discover, explore, all elicit an emotional response rather than a logical one. Your customers want to know how buying a new car is going to improve their lives, and you have to show them that. And we’re not talking about fuel efficiency, torque, and horsepower.

Those words don’t appeal to our right brains - you connect with your customer by taking them where they want to be, by selling them an idea and then you back that up with facts and figures

The facts and figures have to be there, they are after all the foundation of your product, but they play a supporting role and should not be central to your sales presentation.

There are many vehicles out there that will fulfill your customer's practical needs, but it is up to you to appeal to their emotional needs.

Every time you make your sales presentation, think 20% logic and 80% emotion, and you will soon see much easier it is to close a deal.