Imagine the typical B2B considered purchase scenario with a conference room full of stakeholders: steely eyed operations chiefs; no-nonsense facilities managers and engineers; and pragmatic finance and procurement leads. They’re begging for facts and figures to make decisions. (Well, kind of. Allow me to explain.)
Neuroscientist Paul MacLean, PhD, developed a relatively simple model of how the brain works — the triune brain theory — which proffers a theory about how business decisions are made and why they’re always based on emotion.
Decision making begins in the neocortex, the rational part of the brain that objectively gathers and analyzes information. This is why marketers provide so much technical content for decision makers to review. They hope readers will deem their technical content and capabilities as superior, resulting in preference and, ultimately, the order. That’s how it works, right?
Not necessarily. Enter the limbic part of the brain, which makes the unconscious associations that cause you to feel more positively about one option over another. The limbic brain is influenced by words and images which evoke emotion. These “feelings” prompt the neocortex to dig through the facts to find those that justify the emotional connections.
You’ve also probably heard of the “lizard brain” — the prefrontal cortex responsible for our “fight or flight” instincts. In decision making, this part of the brain takes over and lets us know it’s safe to make a recommendation. This is “the “gut feeling” that gains consensus at the table of stakeholders.
Emotion matters — a lot.