The Ultimate Decision Maker

Every sales professional from their first day in sales is told, ” get in front of the decision maker”. Makes perfect sense. If you want to sell your product or service the person you need to speak with is the person that has the ability to make a buying decision. However, as Lee Corso on ESPN often says, “Not so fast!”.


I remember visiting my grandparents in Detroit for Christmas as a little boy. It was a small house near some railroad tracks not to far from downtown. One evening after dinner I found myself walking up the stairs to the bedroom where I slept. It was dark at the top of the stairs and as I reached the top step and started to take a right turn Frankenstein lunged at me from out of nowhere. That hideous green scarred face, bolts jutting out of his neck, green hands trying to grab me. The next thing I knew I was flying down the stairs 3 stairs at a time. By the time I hit the ground floor I could hear my uncle’s laugh coming from the top of the stairs. He had put on his Frankenstein mask and hands and thought it would be funny to scare the little kid. Not funny, not funny at all.

So what does this have to do with the ultimate decision maker in sales? Human’s, from their first days on planet earth, made decisions based out of the reptilian brain stem or old brain. When I encountered Frankenstein at the top of the stairs I didn’t engage him in rational thought or conversation. I didn’t stop and think, wow Frankenstein is in our house. I didn’t realize he was that tall. I wonder how fast he runs. Rational thought was not involved at all. The old brain made the decision, RUN!

The old brain is the ultimate decision maker. It’s constantly asking the question, “Is this information that I’m receiving going to kill me or help me live longer?” As a result, all decisions are filtered through the old brain. If that’s the case, we have to learn to speak a language the old brain understands so that it can make a decision. So, what does this language sound like in the sales world?

Let’s look at what it doesn’t sound like. It doesn’t sound like 95% of the Powerpoint presentations used every day in a selling conversation. Nor does it sound like an ROI calculator used to rationally convince a prospect on why they need your product. It also doesn’t sound like all the intimate detail involving your products and services. The vast majority of the messaging or language we use is better suited for the cortex or rational part of the brain, not the old brain. As a matter of fact, when we use rational fact filled language, the old brain gets frustrated, bored and checks out all together.

What language does the old brain like to hear. A language that is simple, provides contrast or uniqueness and communicates emotion. These are just a few of the elements that make it easy for the old brain to make a decision. The challenge is how do you take all the complexity, value and uniqueness of what you sell and translate it into this language?

That’s why companies are working with me. They, like you, are looking to translate the value of their products and services into a language that is simple, unique and memorable. A language that allows the ultimate decision maker to make a favorable decision.

Ok, I’ll give you one of the top elements in this language. Effective use of story telling. But you’ll have to wait until the next post to learn how to tell a story and tie it to something important in your prospects world.