I would like you to do something for me.

Take your left and right index finger and point them to your head. The area to point them at is just behind your ears on each side toward the top of the ear. Now if you push really really hard…. No, that might hurt and not be good for you.

But if you could push your fingers into your head, where the fingers meet is where “Liz” is.

Who or what is “Liz”? Only the greatest influencer in our lives…..

This is the area of the brain that Neurological Science calls the “Lizard Brain” or the primitive part of the brain. It is the part of the brain that is found in all other species of animals and reptiles and is still with each of us today.

The scary thing is “Liz” may be more in control than you think! Maybe that thing you did or said the other night really wasn’t you! Maybe it was “Liz”!

Here is how this works. “Liz” is made up of several parts, each with its own purpose. For simplicity we lump them together as “Liz”. All the inputs from outside and inside our body go though various parts of “Liz” first.

So when we see or hear something, that signal goes through our nervous system, to “Liz” and then to the “Cortex”, the top part of the brain, where logic and analysis takes place.

“Liz” does not think, but rather reacts to inputs. This is the Fight or Flight part of the brain and runs on raw emotion without logic. Most of the time we are not aware of how “Liz” is reacting until our body has already responded!

This is where a knee jerk reaction or a blush comes from. “Liz” is reacting and the cortex has not yet taken control. Scientists indicate there is about a quarter of a second delay between “Liz” and the Cortex. This delay is enough for our body to react in ways we may not always want it to.

So what has this got to do with me as a salesperson, manager or parent?

Everything! Especially if we want to persuade or influence others.

Here are several quick points to consider:
• “Liz” holds all our emotions, experiences and prejudices.
• “Liz” is reactionary and acts based on emotions rather than logic.
• “Liz” tries to protect us from the environment based on past experiences.
• “Liz” acts without us consciously knowing it until our body responds.
• “Liz” has a dramatic influence on our decisions and choices.
• “Liz” can be programmed if you work at it.
• “Liz” is a big part of intuition.

Ok, are you feeling good about this or not so good about this? This is a good moment to be very aware of your feelings and thinking. It will give you insight into how “Liz” is influencing you! It’s that little voice in the back of your head that we generally ignore.

So how can we use “Liz” more to our advantage, especially in persuasion?

1. Understand that most decisions and choices people make are not all logic. “Liz” is under the surface influencing this choice. So understanding the “Emotional” part of the decision maker becomes very important. Remember, the decision maker may not even be aware of how “Liz” is influencing them. Your ability to questions and uncover the emotional hot buttons will give you insight. ie Using the 4th & 5th level questions helps to uncover these clues.
2. Because “Liz” picks up inputs from the environment and reads subtleties that the Cortex does not, we need to be aware of our own body language and motions. An unconscious body movement or look can be interrupted by “Liz” and change the entire interaction. ie As a young boy he was often hit by a raised hand. In your enthusiastic presentation you repeatedly raise your hand in a similar manner. His “Liz” ducks and is fearful and angry, no sale here.
3. If “Liz” is uncomfortable or sensing danger or fear in anyway, the chances of a positive choice are remote. We have to address any potential fears or resistance up front so “Liz” can relax and not go into “Fight or Flight” response. If you’re getting a NO and the proposal is a no-brainer in favor of the client, you’re probably up against some fear from “Liz”. ie The fear of loss is a far greater motivator than the promise of gain. This loss can be Ego, comfort, stability, change etc.
4. The idea of first impressions is highly controlled by “Liz” and past experiences. Liking someone or disliking someone is many times determined at an unconscious level and can not be explained by the other party. “For some reason I just did not like him.” “For some reason I just really feel comfortable with her.” Here “Liz” has taken in some subtle input and influenced the outcome. ie Prejudice such as “fat people are dumb” “blondes are ditzy” “I hate green”.
5. Because “Liz” reacts to fear the more you can reduce this fear the more receptive the person becomes. The clearer expectations are understood and clearly stated the less fear there is. Setting clear expectations for both parties goes a long way in doing this. ie you can expect these 3 things from us. We also expect these items from you as our customer.
6. To understand “Liz” and get her on your side requires a total focus on the other person. Look for subtle changes and language when certain words or questions are posed. Listening and observation are key in getting insight into how their “Liz” is reacting.

If you can be more aware of your own “Liz” it will help you to understand this influence in others.

For more on this I would recommend Kevin Hogan’s new book The Secret Language of Business or The Psychology of Persuasion. Also Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

The real key is to be aware that logic is not the key component in our decision making. “Liz” is always present.

Till next week, Listen, Listen and Listen some more!
Harlan Goerger, National Director of Training

© Harlan Goerger, 4-2008

Author's Bio: 

With over 25 years of business consulting, training and development, Harlan has the experiance. The Co-author of The Selling Gap, he has developed several new approaches to sales for todays market. Web sites are www.BusArc.com and www.TheSellingGap.com