How Your Brain Makes Buying Decisions

Your brain is a wonderful thing, because it watches out for you at all times.

Not surprisingly, it believes most advertising is a giant waste of time.

And because your brain loves efficiency, it handles the “nothing to see here, folks” decision so quickly, that it’s almost as though you never saw the ad in the first place.

How does that happen?

Your brain contains a network of cells that connect your spinal cord to different parts of your brain. This network is called, the Reticular Formation, or the RAS (Reticular Activating System).

One of the RAS’s jobs is something called, “habituation.”

Habituation is a process where the brain learns to ignore irrelevant information, while remaining on high alert for other info.

How does the RAS decide what’s irrelevant?

The RAS red-flags messages that are repetitive and meaningless stimuli. So the more something repeats itself, the most likely our RAS will flag it as useless.

Over time, this system of red flags creates your customer’s unique BS filtration system.

But what does that have to do with marketing?

When you understand why people buy (including the reasons people are willing to talk about, and the reasons they’re not willing to talk about), then you can craft messages that have meaning to that person.

This will help you in two ways:

  1. You can create messages that bypass an over-active RAS, and
  2. You can create messages that are so relevant, you don’t have to worry about tripping a person’s BS detector, in the first place.

The net effect? You look like a hero.

And you sell more of your stuff.

Which means you can make more money and change people’s lives for the better.

So, how does your prospect experience your message?

When you use the right marketing message, the prospect’s brain sends a signal that says, “This might be relevant. Pay attention.”

(Between you and me, the brain is a skeptical creature. But hey, you made it through it’s first line of defense, so take the win!)

Think of it this way: When you hear someone yell your name, your RAS sends you a series of questions that beg for an answer…

“Who yelled my name?


Do they have snacks?

Is the house on fire?

What is so darn important that yelling seemed like a good idea?” etc.

Marketers take advantage of this phenomenon by using techniques like “hooks” and “grabbers” to get attention.

But as you now know, “habituation” is the brain’s natural defense against the onslaught of marketing. Which means, over time, a cool new marketing hook will become lost in the noise of daily life. Essentially, making your marketing meaningless.

The way to solve the problem of habituation is to craft marketing messages that work with the RAS, rather than fighting it.

You can do that by:

  1. Doing detailed research, so that you deeply understand your customers’ desires, hopes, and fears, and…
  2. Constructing your message so it rings true to your market’s hidden motivations This will help you appeal to the deepest part of your buyer’s brain, without getting “flagged.” And from there…
  3. Guide the customer through the sales process as smoothly as possible, so you don’t accidentally create objections, or reasons for the customer to change their mind about buying from you.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply