Yes, you've heard us bang this drum frequently.
Buying decisions are made emotionally, then justified intellectually.
Most purchases are usually made with the influence of one of these emotions: greed, fear, altruism, envy, pride, or shame.
Neuroscientist Dr. Donald Calne tells us reason lead to conclusions, but emotions lead to action.
Establish an emotionally-based brand relationship, and your core customer will follow you anywhere.
We've said it.
You've heard it.
And many, many people you know walk away saying, "Yes, but it's not for me. That's for other people."
THIS SCREED IS FOR THEM
It's not for you, because you're too smart to do that.
You continually try to up your game in the emotionally evocative, brand-based, customer-winning sweepstakes.
So, in an effort to help those folks see the light (while giving you more ammunition for your GI surplus sales ammo box), we're going to talk about your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.
This is your brain inside a breakfast burrito.
OK, a dated and questionably amusing callback to some 1987 anti-drug advertising that probably inspired more derisive laughter than it did any refusal to take drugs.
Probably because it didn't tap into the right emotion for the drug-decision-making process in the adolescent mind.
But let's forget about deciding to take drugs for just a moment. (After reading this screed, you might even want some drugs. Or a breakfast burrito with a side of crack.)
Instead, let's talk about two successful men.
PHINEAS IS A 25-YEAR OLD CONSTRUCTION FOREMAN
One day on his job site, there's an explosion.
An iron rod is launched into the air.
The rod passes through Phineas' brain.
He's left with a gaping hole in his skull from side to front. Until the rod was removed, he probably had to walk through a door sideways.
Yet Phineas lives to talk about it.
For 13 years, he's in good health. No paralysis. He can speak. He remembers things.
He still has possession of his basic intelligence.
Or does he?
Remember, he'd been a construction foreman. He was a capable man with a flourishing career.
After the accident, not so much.
Phineas becomes impulsive.
He lacks self-discipline.
He's no longer able to hold a steady job or make a breakfast burrito.
Like a man on crack, he can't maintain friendships or other personal relationships.
Interestingly, neither crack nor breakfast burritos have even been invented yet.
He becomes a drifter and dies of an epileptic seizure.
ELIOT, A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, LEARNS HE HAS A BRAIN TUMOR
He goes into surgery.
Removing the tumor unavoidably causes localized damage in the front of Eliot's brain.
Eliot recovers from surgery much the same way Phineas recovers from his own accident.
Eliot's faculties are intact.
He walks, talks and remembers.
But he also becomes impulsive. He lacks self-discipline.
The formerly successful businessman can no longer follow a schedule.
Nor can he prioritize. He focuses intently on unimportant jobs and lets the big tasks slide. Like ignoring the critically important Penske file and spending hours trying to successfully unfold a breakfast burrito.
He collects junk.
He ultimately loses all his savings in a series of bad business decisions.
Even though he's not on crack, Eliot can no longer hold a job.
His wife and family leave.
BOTH MEN SUFFERED BRAIN DAMAGE IN THE AREA THAT LINKS EMOTION TO LOGIC
Unable to bring emotion into the decision making process, neither man is capable of making an intelligent decision.
This problem has been repeatedly observed in clinical situations.
Patients suffer injury to the emotional center of the brain.
Subsequently, they become incapable of making even the simplest decision.
Forget being a construction foreman or a businessman.
These people are thrown into a tailspin at, "Would you like fries with that?" Forget trying to decide whether to smoke crack wrapped in a Del Taco breakfast burrito with a side of refried beans.
Despite being clean and sober and burrito-free, none of these people will ever be able to decide to buy what you sell.
Our man Phineas lived 150 years ago, which explains the lack of crack-laced fast-food breakfast options.
Eliot is a more contemporary case. He potentially has access to highly addictive street drugs and highly processed breakfast foodstuffs, but there is no evidence that he succumbed to either. He was a victim of simple, garden-variety brain damage that prevents his opting for that side of fries.
Both men are profiled in a book by noted neurobiologist, Dr. Antonio R. Damasio.
The book is called Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain.
If you know your top-line, quotational history of western philosophy, René Descartes was the man who gave us, "I think, therefore I am."
Based on the cases of Phineas, Eliot, et al, the obvious implication is that Descartes should have said, "I feel, therefore I am."
Interestingly, that's more or less what Baruch Spinoza said in his magnum opus, Ethics.
But you never hear anyone talk about it.
SPINOZA CALLED DESCARTES ON THE CARPET
Spinoza challenged the Cartesian theory that intellect is separate from the body, or that intellect is separate from "feeling," as it were.
Unfortunately, people like things simple.
Spinoza-think was probably too much more complex than Descartes-think.
And since Spinoza didn't give us a tidy phrase like "cogito ergo sum" that could be printed on a T-shirt, Descartes' snappy distillation survives in popular imagination.
Seriously: brevity is the soul of wit. And T-shirt sales.
Even in the 1600s, in a time free from the rapid pace of maglev trains, jumbo jets, light-pipe digital delivery systems, and crack-addled burrito-slingers in paper hats, not even "Want fries with that?" is as pithy as "cogito ergo sum."
It's simple! It's forceful! It's memorable even if the only Latin words you really understand are "audio," "alias," and "mea culpa," as in, "Oops, I spilled my fries in your lap. Mea culpa. I'm on crack."
And, crack or no crack, it's much easier to reason about things like reason than it is to reason about things like feelings PLUS reason.
But we're getting away from the point, to wit: decisions are clinically proven to be directly linked to emotion.
Which is why making smart decisions--like whether you go to Starbucks, or which radio station is going to run your advertising, or whether you're ever going to even read this overwrought, Tuesday-morning, crack-riddled, pseudo-intellectual prattle--is ineffably linked to emotional intelligence.
Yes, "emotional intelligence."
Another buzz phrase. Eegad.
In essence, emotional intelligence helps you discern whether you're making a buying decision for the right emotional reason.
Like when you're buying that mink-lined bathtub because you're feeling panic that it's the last one of its kind and the salesman has convinced you that your life will be nothing without it when, in reality, you hate the feeling of wet mink and you never bathe anyway.
Fear-based mink bathtub purchases are silly and a sign of stunted (or at least suspended) emotional intelligence.
TRUSTED RELATIONSHIPS ARE FEELING RELATIONSHIPS
In the immediate sales process, a good salesman has an emotional link with the customer.
I buy from you because I like you.
Over the long term, a good brand is no different than a good salesman. The brand establishes an emotional link with the customer.
This is especially significant in any business that has a long sales cycle.
And authenticity is key.
An authentic, emotionally honest brand is just like an authentic, emotionally honest salesman.
The size of the business doesn't matter.
Whether there are 100 employees or just one.
At the center of all of it is your brain.
And the customer's brain.
And the brain's emotional center guides the purchasing process.
It can't be on drugs.
Yet it might still enjoy a breakfast burrito.