• Peter Attwood

How to Use Neuroscience to Increase Sales


By Dr Stan Rodski, Neuroscientist and Psychologist

‘SELLING’ IS A MENTAL GAME…. Neuroscience has a lot to tell us about SALES, particularly around the way our brains work- that is, how they process information, how we learn, and how we can take advantage of our greater understanding of brain-to-brain processes? For centuries, researchers believed that our brains operated like machines, with information ‘hard wired’ into our neurons. Fixed after a certain point in time, it was believed that our brains lacked flexibility and would never recover from certain losses (i.e. strokes). Research over the past generation has proven all this to be false. In fact, our thoughts and experiences can change the structure and function of our brains, creating neural pathways even into old age. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity.



Real changes can occur by challenging the brain on a consistent basis. When the brain is challenged and engaged performing an activity, new neural pathways and remapping can take place. Being original and open to new ways can speak to the positive effects of neuroplasticity.

There’s a real world analogy to remapping.

Imagine you are caught in a traffic jam on the freeway and your normal route home has been shut down. The act of finding a new solution to an old problem (the commute) is akin to how the brain works its neuroplasticity magic.

Cognitive flexibility is generally required when learning new tasks, and necessary in selling and marketing success. Individuals must constantly think outside the box to sell their product and keep the customer interested. Successful advertising campaigns sometimes use original concepts to breathe new life into old products, whether changing the product target audience or the item packaging itself.


Reframing negative emotions before BIG events using neuroplasticity principles is critical to SUCCESS.

How you show up to a customer is critical. Before any customer engagement you need to pause and ask yourself these four questions:

How are you feeling?What are you thinking?Are you excited about the meeting and what you have to say?Have you remembered everything you need?

Now, let’s say that you’re feeling anxious, perhaps because you forgot a key slide for your presentation. One impulse may be to ignore those feelings and take charge of the situation. BUT this could also offer instead an opportunity to re-frame your thinking.

Look for options by asking yourself, ‘How else can I view this situation?’ Once you can reframe how you are feeling, you can begin to re-focus your attention. Ask yourself, ‘What am I here to do?’ Your response could be ‘I am here to share information about our product, to demonstrate how it can be used and the benefits the customer will experience from it. Your focus of attention is now on the product and its value – and not on you and feeling anxious.’


Our brains are pattern- making organs that have been programmed to look for cues, visual and emotional, that will determine the resulting behaviour. Most of these cues are picked up by the brain and acted on before we are consciously aware. These cues will TRIGGER us into either a threat or reward state.

If your customers are triggered into a threat state, they will likely walk away from a deal because ‘it just doesn’t feel right.’ However, if your customers are triggered into a reward state they will most likely buy from you because ‘it feels good’.

How do we make it feel good for customers to buy from us?

We need to create an environment with our customer that:

Alleviates uncertaintyConnects emotionally with the customer

Includes the customer in the products visionProvides a contrast to allow the customer’s brain to choose or decideShows how you can provide a tangible solution.

By taking these steps you have begun to create a brain friendly platform for customers to move towards a reward state, engage with you and most often to BUY FROM YOU.


The goal here is to extend beyond just sharpening one’s selling skills. Learning throughout the life span helps us to maintain and preserve cognitive abilities by stimulating the brain and creating new neural connections. Staying active and keeping your brain occupied with challenging activities is CRITICAL.

Don’t be afraid to try new ways of performing older well- known tasks and always be flexible in your daily tasks. Doing this will keep your brain ‘razor sharp and focused’.

Dr Stan Rodski

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