"Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge." Plato
We could fill stadiums with insights, books, tapes and advice on sales and the behavior that influences sales success. Every day business leaders are inundated with tips on how to increase sales and revenues with a plethora of perspectives on what works and what they could do better. So what does a salesman, a business leader or anyone need to know - in simple terms - about what causes people to do something? What stimulates action? - What is it that influences buyer behavior? Although there are certainly many variables if you had to focus on only one what would it be? I humbly suggest it's the Reticular Activating System in our brain. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) consists of a bundle of densely packed nerve cells located in the central core of the brain stem. It contains nearly 70% of our brains estimated 200 billion nerve cells. The RAS is the gatekeeper or filter that screens what type of information gets through to us. The information we find important enough to pay attention to. Only two categories of information are filtered, pushed forward, and get immediate attention:
1.Information that is valuable and important to us right now.
(An easy way to think of this is when you are planning on buying a new car, and you know that you want a white Mercedes, for example, you start seeing white Mercedes parked and driving all over the place. Or at an airport you would filter out most of the loudspeaker messages except those which mention either your name or flight number.)
2. Information that alerts you to a threat or danger.
You are going jogging in the park and someone mentions that they saw a snake recently while running. Suddenly every stick on the path is noticed whereas previously you paid no attention to them. Or your child is playing outside in the street and you hear a car horn - it immediately is noticed whereas if your child was inside you would pay no attention and it would not filter through.
If you want to make things really simple in sales then focus on the two things that the Reticular Activating system allows through. Some call it "What's In it For Me?" Some say "People Act On Fears" and some simply say that "People buy with their emotions and rationalize the decision with their mind." Any way you look at it Emotion drives Behavior. And it's the Reticular Activating System that regulates our emotions. The Reticular Activating System filters and lets the stuff through that influences behavior - It pays attention to two things:
- Stuff that is Important and valuable to me Right Now
- Stuff that Alerts me to a threat or danger.