Reticular Activation System (RAS) and Increasing Sales
By Guest Blogger Bob Beaulaurier
Henry Ford once famously said, “whether you believe you can succeed or not…you’re right.” Ford was saying that the Reticular Activation System (RAS) in your brain is triggered by what you think which results in your actions. Or your customers’ actions.
With all our high-tech imaging equipment and the ability to watch individual neurons fire, we don’t know exactly how the RAS works. However, it is possible that lots of the magic in the brain is happening because of your RAS.
Think of the red sports car story. If you buy a red sports car, all of a sudden they seem to appear everywhere. Think about when you bought your current car, and you know what I’m talking about. Same thing with that fancy ski or rain coat that your colleague shows up wearing. You notice because your RAS has been activated.
Schools have “pep rallies” and cheerleaders for the same reason. These events drum up team spirit and drive attendance. Awareness with emotional appeal gets much of the high school to the game.
How does this affect you? To a degree, you can control your RAS. To grow your business you must believe there is business available. Recently, I did some work for an upscale car dealership. At the beginning, this dealership was not the top dealer of their brand in the city. Now, they’re the top dealership in the country! Naturally, not all of this has to do with RAS; the dealership moved to a better location. A busy location with a good pedestal sign and parking visible from the nearby stoplight is a formula that can increase many retailer’s business 20%. How? It helps people see the sign with the deal, they can see the product and they can visualize entering the store after easily finding parking.
Sometimes, it’s your sales person who needs help with visualization. As a part of our research, we conducted some focus groups about the sales experience at the dealership. We had past customers talking about their experiences. One gentleman recounted showing up in shorts and a t-shirt, getting bad service and going down the street to buy from a competitor instead of my client. This guy claimed to be a stock broker simply off work. He had a bonus, literally a blank check, in his pocket to buy the car he was beside when the sales person approached him. Unfortunately for my client, the salesman determined the guy was a shopper and not a buyer.
Similarly, I had lunch next to a real estate broker. At the time, I didn’t know the guy’s profession. I gave him my card but didn’t receive one in return. Strange in hindsight, but I wasn’t wearing my Brooks Brother’s suit and I didn’t say I was looking for real estate and it was a charity event luncheon. The guy had no doubt given out cards there and people aren’t leasing or buying property in this market, right? Wrong!
Change your RAS: 80% to 90% of the economy is moving. Maybe not as much as we’d like, but it is moving and many people, sales forces included, are unproductively focusing on the “unemployment rate.” Sometimes your RAS is telling you they are unemployed and GNP is in the toilet when sales are “under your nose.” Or, “behind your nose” in the case of the RAS.