How to Manufacture a Hormone

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Fri, 2006-08-04 12:47.
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Have you ever gone to a movie and known how it was going to end after watching the first few minutes? Or a movie where every action can be easily anticipated? These movies tend not to be very enjoyable.

However, the opposite is true when you watch a movie that keeps you in suspense until the very end when it reaches a credible but surprising ending. Any movie that is not predictable is more enjoyable.

What forces in our minds make us perceive one movie as a lot better than another? I have a theory that I strongly believe comes pretty close to the answer: “The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion which it eventually successfully reaches, the more positive, enjoyable, or stimulating the experience.”

I taught this concept at my seminar for many years, and one day one of my students brought me a copy of a media newsletter that confirmed what I had been teaching. The article claimed that a missing element was responsible for advertising failure—a lack of whole-brain appeal.

It then went on to explain how science is rapidly discovering that different parts of the brain perform different functions. Some brain researchers suggest that human beings experience the most pleasure when all these parts of the brain are engaged in pleasurable levels of stimulation and activity.

The four brain parts discussed were those that control thought, intuition, sensation, and emotion. The theory suggests that advertising which pleasurably engages the senses, emotions, and thought process, as well as our innate intuition, will tend to be successful.

Advertising that merely grabs the attention of the senses will tend to be only temporarily attractive. Most advertising tests today reflect the power of day-after recall but fail to predict the response from whole-brain advertising.

Let’s look at how whole-brain advertising applies to writing effective advertising copy. If you make your copy too obvious, the reader feels either looked down on or bored. Provide a little suspense, so that the reader has to come to a conclusion on her own using intuition, thought, sensation, and emotion, and you’ve got a very good force working for you. Let me cite an example from an ad I wrote on digital watches.

The ad was for an alarm chronograph digital watch. At the time, Seiko was the standard of comparison for this type of watch. They were the first out with the new technology. The following paragraph from the ad best exemplifies what I’m talking about:

The Seiko chronograph alarm sells for $300. The watch costs jewelers $150. And jewelers love the item, not only because of the excellent reputation of the Seiko brand, but because it’s probably America’s best-selling new expensive digital watch. And Seiko can’t supply enough of them to their dealers.

Now, note what I didn’t say but what was still rather obvious. Read the quote again to see if you pick it up. What I didn’t say was that the jewelers were making a small fortune each time they sold a Seiko. I didn’t have to say it, yet the readers could come to their own conclusion all by themselves using their intuition, thought, and emotions. Had I made it too obvious, by adding the line “and jewelers are making a small fortune,” it would have not been as powerful. The mind had to work a little to reach a conclusion through its own thought processes.

This is a very subtle but powerful concept. It’s the difference between talking down to a prospect and making the prospect feel you are talking directly to him. And it is one of the most difficult theories to understand.

To get a better appreciation for the theory, think back in your life to times when you had to work hard to achieve something and how much more you appreciated what you achieved. I remember all the work I had to go through to get my instrument rating after getting my private pilot’s license. It took me months of flying and study, not to mention thousands of dollars in expense. When I finally received my instrument rating, it was one of the big thrills of my life.

In contrast, when I took my commercial rating test, it was simple. Not that much study, very little flying, and within a few weeks I had the rating. Sure I was proud that I was finally a commercial pilot, but nowhere near as proud as I was of my instrument rating. Working hard for a successful conclusion brings a great deal of personal satisfaction.

The same holds true for the mind and the thinking process. Anything that causes the mind to work hard to reach a conclusion creates a positive, enjoyable, or stimulating effect on the brain. The opposite is true if the mind does not have to work because the conclusion is obvious.

You appreciate that sale to a difficult client a lot more than the one to the pushover who bought during the very first minute. When a very difficult product is given to me to sell and I am successful, I get great pleasure from it. But give me a really easy product—something that is already in demand—and I don’t have the same feeling of satisfaction.

When Hemingway described beautiful women in his books, he was never very specific. He used general terms and let his readers imagine the women.

So it is with selling in person. If you make your sales pitch too obvious, the prospect will feel either patronized or bored. Make the prospect think, in order to come to a conclusion, and you create a very stimulating mental effect.

I’m convinced that there is a chemical effect in the brain that secretes wonderful-feeling hormones each time we have to stretch our minds a little. This effect can make a dramatic difference in how effective you are at getting your prospect to exchange his or her hard-earned money for your product or service.

How would this apply in the selling process? Very simple. Too often we talk too much. We reveal too much of the pitch without allowing the prospect’s mind and intelligence to be engaged. Simply realizing how this powerful psychological trigger works will help you craft a good sales presentation that makes your prospect’s brain experience an enjoyable and stimulating time, by allowing him or her to reach—on their own—the conclusions that you’ve crafted for them to reach.

The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion that it eventually successfully reaches, the more positive, enjoyable, or stimulating the experience. It’s as simple as manufacturing hormones.

Triggers by Joe Sugarman

Million Dollar Mailings