Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow
MYTH: If you rattle off all logical reasons a customer should buy your diesel product or service, you’ll close the sale.
FACT: As much as you’d like to believe that good ole ‘nuts-and-bolts’ logic drives a diesel buyer’s decision, raw emotion and intuition drive the bulk of most buying decisions
What Can a Princeton Psychologist Teach You about Your Diesel Business?
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking: Nothing. Much.
But hear us out. Brains make buying decisions, so you can gain an edge in influencing those buying decisions if you understand brain mechanics. Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman has studied how our “new brains” and our “old brains” work together—or, just as often, work against one another, and he explains a career’s worth of research in Thinking Fast and Slow (2011).
The oldest part of the brain is the amygdalae, two almond-shaped structures at the base of our brains. (The word ‘amygdala’ comes from the Greek word for ‘almond.’) When you hear people talking about the ‘reptile brain’ or ‘thinking from the gut,’ they’re talking about the amygdalae, which developed during the earliest phase of human evolution. That old brain is the key to the survival of our species—it thinks very, very fast and it relies on intuition and emotion for its speed. When we encounter new ideas (such as whether we want that diesel part we just saw or not), the old brain kicks in first, Kahneman explains.
Conscious, logical thought happens in the newer parts of the human brain—the prefrontal cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex. The new brain is all about logic, planning, judgement, and emotional control. In contrast to the old brain, the new brain “thinks slow,” Kahneman explains. The new brain eventually has a chance to weigh in, but not before the lightening-quick old brain has had quite a say in what the buyer is thinking.
Yeah, we are capable of exporting rational thought from our slower new brains to help us process what the bullet-quick old brain has already told us, but we don’t always do that. In the old days of human evolution, this brain laziness worked to our advantage. Our big, hungry brains consume about 20 percent of our available energy during our waking hours, so our brains have evolved to consume as little energy as possible. This evolutionarily advantageous brain laziness often prevails even today, when most of us have plenty of available fuel. Try as we might to think logically, we often fail to fully engage the our rational, “thinking slow” brains.
That’s why the old brain influences buying decisions far more than we’d like to think. To be optimally effective, your diesel business’s sales and marketing strategies should appeal to the old brain just as effectively as they do the new brain. In our next post [link], we’ll share sales trainer John Asher’s 6 ways to do just that.
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