Who is the transportation decision-maker? As freight agents, we all want to make sure we are talking to the person who has the authority to spend money on transportation. But assuming we are, in their book Neuromarketing Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in Your Customer’s Brain*, Patrick Renvoisé and Christophe Morin are referring to the old brain (or reptilian brain) within the person whose pain points you have identified as described in my last blog. Remember that throughout the evolutionary process, the old brain has remained intact to foster the survival of the species, to determine the fight or flight response, to alleviate pain.

Since the old brain will make the ultimate decision on how to alleviate the pain points, Renvoisé and Morin came up with six stimuli to which the old brain responds. They then developed a methodology for crafting your message to the old brain so that you can unlock the transportation decision-making process. Here are their six message building blocks that can help make communication with the old brain more effective, so as freight agents, you can influence the decisions to go in your favor:

  1. Grabbers:For survival reasons, the old brain is most alert at the beginning and end of interactions. A powerful grabber that presents your gain upfront will help make a strong first impression. Examples are mini-dramas, wordplays, rhetorical questions, case studies. I used a wordplay once, and had a customer walking around his office saying, “One Call to One Horn,” all the time. That sure kept us top of mind.
  2. Big Picture: Brain research shows visuals reach the old brain first. This is a bit more difficult in our business, but I included it for you creative freight agents who can come up with a way to visualize the pain before and the solution after using your services.
  3. Claims: Your claims are your selling points, and your prospect needs to be able to understand them easily and to remember them when you’re gone. Keep them simple, short, relevant and focused. Repeat them often during the interaction. The ideal number is three claims. One Horn stands for honesty, reliability and responsiveness. We tell our customers that when a problem arises, we tell the truth, we tell them early on, and we come with a solution, so that they can minimize any potential problems for their customers. We follow our trucks closely and keep our customers informed so that pickups and deliveries are on time as promised. We answer the phone 24/7.
  4. Proofs of Gain: As referred to in my first blog, case studies, examples, and testimonials bring to life the benefits to the self-centered old brain who only cares about itself and its own issues. The book provides a great matrix for building compelling messages to prove why the prospect will benefit from working with you. Renvoisé and Morin recommend you spend 70% of your time here.
  5. Handling Objections: Misunderstandings create objections that can be handled by first paraphrasing to clarify, coupled with positive body language, this sends a message to the old brain that you’re not afraid of the objection, listen and then calmly demonstrate the proof to counter the objection. For valid objections, after restating and getting feedback, offer your own personal opinion and then find something positive to turn it into a benefit. Handling objections is so important, I plan to write another more detailed blog on the subject.
  6. The Close: Ask for the sale. Although I was never formally trained in sales, one thing I always remember is that so many sales people never ask for the sale. Repeating claims at this point is important because the old brain remembers the beginning and the end. Ask what the prospect thinks to elicit positive feedback out loud, so the person will want to defend his or her positive feelings and remain consistent when you ask for the sale. Some of the lines we use are open-ended, not yes or no questions like: “Based on what you heard, which lanes would be most appropriate for us to start out with to demonstrate our ability to…”; and “What are next steps to getting set up with you?”, which assumes that they want to get set up to work with us.

One blog is a very short place to cover this topic. I have no connection with the authors, but highly recommend buying the book so you can delve more deeply and personally flesh out all the great message building blocks to refine your presentation to the old brain, the key decision-maker.

In my next blog, I will examine handling objections during the sales call.

– By Cheryl Biron, President

*Click through for full references on books that inspired us: http://onehorn.com/agents/get-inspired