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Pharma Turns to Neuroscience – For Selling Skills

Pharma Turns to Neuroscience – For Selling Skills

A handful of pharmaceutical companies are leading the pack in using science-based selling to meet new market challenges.

Rising Tide Partners has released its 2015 Pharma Selling Trends report. Based on in-depth interviews with customers, industry reps, sales leadership and knowledge experts, the report concludes that in light of recent changes in the industry, from the proliferation of generics to revenue takeover by specialty categories, the companies truly poised to drive significant growth with existing sales teams are on the extremes of the industry spectrum – either leviathans like Amgen and Abbvie, or nimble firebrands like Horizon and Raptor.
Russell P. Granger, President and CEO of Rising Tide Partners said, “It’s not surprising that a science-based industry would embrace the new science-based selling methodologies. But the fact that only the largest and smallest companies appear to be doing it is puzzling. There’s a vast swath in the middle still struggling with the new realities of consolidation, specialty markets, and other seismic shifts that directly impact selling efforts.” He added, “Progressive companies are pursuing what might be characterized as a third phase of pharma selling strategies.  The perks-and-extras era of the 80’s and ’90s gave way to consultative and data-driven approaches in the early 2000s, and now the forward-thinking firms are focused on the neuroscience of influence and persuasion.”
Given the pricing structure for specialty and orphan drugs, which now account for up to 70% of pharmaceutical industry billing according to some studies, gaining even an incremental edge can mean huge leaps in revenue. “Salespeople must be trained to know and recognize the emotional triggers that can help them persuade and influence the wide variety of buyers, decision-makers, recommenders and influencers,” said James Smith, National Managed Care Executive at a well-known pharmaceutical research & development firm specializing in biologics. “And in the current environment, even a single additional sale can mean millions in additional revenue.”
Pharma Selling Trends finds that while many are still trying to get reps to be more consultative and conversant with clinical data, leading-edge companies have gone well beyond what they consider tablestakes expertise. “Empirical evidence, analysis and data are vitally important in our industry, but we know from recent neuroscience research that people don’t make decisions based on facts,” said Mike MacLeod, a thirty-year pharmaceutical sales and marketing veteran and business development consultant to dozens of top-tier firms. “The emotional brain is far more influential than the logical brain when it comes to human decision-making. The risk in failing to use this knowledge is not just that reps will be less effective at getting ‘yes’ decisions, but that they will actively, though unwittingly, encourage a ‘no.’”
David Hoffeld, Founder & CEO of the Hoffeld Group, a leading research and consulting firm on science-based selling, agrees. “If people don’t know these scientific principles or don’t know how to implement them, they contradict them,” he said. “Harvard Business Review analyzed 800 reps in sales meetings and found that 63% of their behaviors drove down performance, while only 37% increased the likelihood of the sale. Why? Because salespeople unknowingly contradict science.”
There’s good news according to Harvard Business Review:

“Persuasion works by appealing to deeply rooted human needs. We can learn to secure consensus, cut deals, and win concessions by artfully employing the scientific principles of influencing people.”

Pharma Selling Trends reveals that this is precisely what some of the most successful companies are doing. “We’ve seen it time and time again over the last few years: companies that embrace a science-based way of selling literally transform their organizations,” said Hoffeld. “They grow sales, they grow market share; average sales go up, sales cycles go down. And the reason is that they’re literally aligning how they sell with how the human brain is wired to buy.”
You can download the complete Pharma Selling Trends 2015 report here.
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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

Reflections on Influence: The Mirroring Technique

Reflections on Influence: The Mirroring Technique

Have you ever been away and met someone from your hometown? You begin to talk about who you know, what restaurants are best, new buildings… and as your conversation unfolds you might begin to hear yourself veering into the regional accent and style you both shared – and your friend is doing it, too. This is a form of mirroring. When we employ this technique it’s usually automatic, subconscious, to get the other person to warm up to us; to reinforce camaraderie and affinity. Mirroring is fundamental to our ability to communicate persuasively. But we need to use it intentionally in order for it to work to mutual advantage.
Mirroring is also an important part of the Friendship Trigger, the foundation of all the emotional triggers that lead to a YES decision.
The mirroring technique has been noted and written about by psychologists for years. What’s interesting is that it’s still top of mind in the field, and for good reason. The mirroring and matching technique is one of the most effective ways to build rapport with strangers, new contacts and potential clients. As we all know, building rapport is one of the most critical aspects to enhance relationships and sales.
Going a little deeper, our ability to mirror the other person’s tone, voice, cadence, and enthusiasm; to match his or her dress and mannerisms – all of these tactics play a significant role in our ability to communicate persuasively. If the person with whom you are talking with is laid back and easygoing, adopt a similar attitude. Match their tone of voice, rate of speech, and gestures. We trust and befriend those we perceive to be like us. When you mirror your partner, you trigger some strong, automatic, positive reactions.
Let’s face it: The true goal of communication – persuasive communication – is to understand and to be understood. That’s hard work. To persuade, to gain willing compliance, you must communicate to understand, not just to inform or educate. Amateurs give out information. Partners use interactive communication to emotionally connect for mutual benefit.
This short video from Carol Kinsey Goman, author of The Nonverbal Advantage, breaks it down:

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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

The Persuasive Power of Curiosity

The Persuasive Power of Curiosity

Brian Grazer is perhaps best known as the other half of the highly successful motion picture duo that includes director Ron Howard. Together, the team produced such popular and critically-acclaimed movies and television shows as Apollo 13, Splash, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights, and Arrested Development. His new book, A Curious Mind, is a treatise on the virtues of curiosity, a well-developed attribute of Grazer’s that he has tuned into something of a lifelong quest. It’s a zigzagging hodgepodge of Hollywood stories, business advice, and personal memoir, all built around the central concept of curiosity.
We know from brain science research and persuasion best practices that an active interest in others yields more than just the acquisition of information. It is foundational to the Friendship Trigger, the basis of any needs profile, and an important source of one’s own intellectual and emotional growth. The route to being persuasive is not to inform or compel others about ourselves – our ideas, our goals, or even our products and solutions – but to inform ourselves about others. And then to traffic in the currency of how they feel over what they think. Intriguingly, Glazer’s experience suggests something even more: that the very mindset – the posture, if you will – of curiosity leads to a richer, more fulfilling life; one which offers more surprises, opportunities, and rewards.
There’s a lot to recommend Glazer’s assertion that curiosity is as fundamental to human endeavor as it is under-appreciated for its power to fuel human achievement. But Grazer doesn’t always connect the dots. What is it exactly about curiosity that not only enriches one’s own life but also engages and influences others? Despite suggestive tidbits about his management style (questions in lieu of commands), as well as many intriguing examples of the author’s “curiosity conversations” with the worlds most accomplished people, the question of how this pursuit really works in a tactical way to amplify Grazer’s life and work remains rather generalized; even vague.
The missing connections here may be due to the book’s lopsided emphasis on Grazer’s inquiries with the famous and powerful, those beyond his own sphere of personal and professional involvement. Because he has little if any follow-on engagements with the majority of his “curiosity conversation” subjects, they feel like a series of fascinating though somewhat superficial “one-offs.” They seem like… well, curiosities.
The few instances where we get to look into how Grazer’s constant posture of curiosity works to advance his everyday relationships with everyday people are illuminating and instructive. I was yearning for more depth and detail on how curiosity works to expand opportunity and creativity; how it serves as a catalyst for better relationships, greater influence, and bigger success. Perhaps I was yearning for a different book: less memoir, more guidance. Alternately thrilling and frustrating, rewarding and incomplete, A Curious Mind is nevertheless full of intriguing notions; a highly valuable addition to any robust personal development archive.

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 147673075X
ISBN-13: 978-1476730752

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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

Making the Hillary Brand Persuasive

Making the Hillary Brand Persuasive

The firestorm of criticism and controversy struck fast and loud. Benghazi? Emailgate? No, branding.

The fact that the public now seizes upon a logo design as the central response to a political campaign launch just goes to show how sophisticated we’ve become about media communications. It’s also something everyone can weigh in on and have some fun with, unlike policy issues or ideology. The level of passion and even vitriol around Clinton’s new campaign logo may have been something of a surprise, but I daresay the campaign is not complaining. For as much as they may have wanted its message to resonate more than its identity design in the campaign announcement video, people are talking. A lot. And not about Hillary’s private email server.

Generating media buzz (and virtually burying Marco Rubio’s announcement in the process) is only part of what the Clinton campaign is achieving so far. Make no mistake: This campaign’s communications organization is already proving itself to be extremely savvy, with some clear competence in successful persuasion methodology. This stuff doesn’t just happen.
In his Inc. article defending the logo design, Edward Cox compiles opinion from branding consultants who point out various attributes being evoked, from Clinton’s “forceful personality style” to the convenient way the logo is likely to function across multiple media channels, sizes and formats. Ashleigh Hansberger of the Motto agency comes close to the mark when he interprets the right-pointing-arrow as “the campaign moving forward.” But it’s undoubtedly meant to suggest more than that. It’s about more than just the campaign, and about more than just momentum.
For branding in general, and identity design in particular, success depends on a great deal more than just a weekend and a whim, Marissa Mayer notwithstanding. When produced by intelligent, experienced shops like Pentagram, visual design decisions are explicitly mapped to strategic imperatives drawn from extensive, often voluminous, research. The trick is to not only create a visual expression of some often esoteric ideas, but also make it look both fresh and inevitable, like it wasn’t the result of copious data mining. Whether or not Pentagram achieved this for its Democratic campaign clients I’ll leave for others to decide, but what is obvious to those of us who traffic in the techniques of influence and persuasion is that Hillary’s people are evidencing some very definite decisions about the emotional triggers they are looking to activate in the amygdala-driven brains of the voting public.

The evidence is not exactly subtle. But it’s absolutely on-point.
The video itself delivers almost entirely on a powerful emotional driver that can be fairly easy to accomplish in direct relationships, but which is devilishly challenging to achieve in media communications: The Friendship Trigger. This is the foundational emotional trigger, the one without which all the other triggers are much less reliable in their potential to persuade. The core of this trigger is sameness, wherein despite all superficial differences, we agree with one another on some fundamental parallels in our nature; about shared experiences or common values.
Clinton’s announcement video delivers on this emotional trigger almost exclusively. And does so in a uniquely effective way. The method conventionally used in political advertising to evoke the (usually absurd) idea that “I’m just like you” is to show the candidate interacting with the kinds of people with whom they want to be identified. This almost never works to activate the Friendship Trigger because most of these recorded events only serve to make the candidate look even more unusual and set-apart. They’re so conspicuously in the spotlight, so obviously the center of attention even as they’re trying to be “one of the folks.” Who exactly is this similar to except other candidates and celebrities? The other problem with look-at-me-I’m-among-the-people optics is that we, as viewers, are observers, not participants.
Clinton’s 2015 campaign announcement video avoids both of these pitfalls by having the candidate herself alone, in a casual sidewalk setting, speaking directly to us, but echoing a series of similar workaday intentions by regular Americans to move, grow, change, connect, and succeed. The candidate is not merely among us. She is one of us. Or so the campaign hopes we’ll believe.
In her 2008 campaign video – imperiously poised in what appears to be a White House room, check-boxing her credentials – Mrs. Clinton launched her campaign not with the Friendship Trigger but with the Authority Trigger. It backfired (as the Authority Trigger is inclined to do if not properly timed), and by the time she regained a hard-won standing as relatable, it was too late. The momentum had turned decisively in favor of her opponent. Triggers matter.
Now back to the logo. That it’s all about forward is evident even to a child. That it’s so massively bold and unequivocal, without nuance even, has been the source of a lot of the criticism. But I would suggest that the Clinton campaign is being ham-handed like a fox. The forward or future concept addresses what is almost certainly the single biggest liability that Mrs. Clinton faces in her bid for the presidency: that she represents the past. When evaluating the vast mix of elements that combine to create a brand, a hierarchy must be created, and in many cases – certainly in the case of a political campaign in the age of information and social media – the identity design, the logo mark, sits atop the messaging priority pyramid because of its ubiquitous visibility… It will. Be. Everywhere.
The Clinton campaign has chosen forward to the future as their brand essence not just because it’s a tried-and-true political campaign concept, but because it evokes the sharpest (check out how sharp those arrow points are) possible contrast to what is likely to be her greatest political challenge. Hillary launched her campaign with the Friendship Trigger, but her identity design is all about the Contrast Trigger.

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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

Derren Brown Masterfully Triggers Yes out of Simon Pegg

Derren Brown Masterfully Triggers Yes out of Simon Pegg

No one knows how to Trigger a YES like entertainers do. And of all the world’s most engaging entertainers, there is perhaps no one more persuasive than Derren Brown.
Never heard of him? Brown is one of the world’s leading mentalists, which is like a magician who operates as much on linguistic and social trickery as he does on illusion and sleight of hand. Brown has established a complete portfolio of mind-blowing tricks, including bamboozling a group of impressionable citizens into knocking over an armored car (it was fake, but still).
One of my favorite tricks, however, was the one he pulled on well-known British actor Simon Pegg. I’d rather not spoil it for you, so have a look below before you continue reading:

Brown’s brilliant mental maneuver isn’t only awe-inspiring for purposes of pure novelty. He exercises the 7 Triggers with more gusto than almost any persuader I have ever seen.
Brown uses the Friendship Trigger by establishing that he has bought Simon Pegg a present. This very present is something he told him he would get him for his birthday far before their meeting, signaling that he is indeed a real buddy. He also speaks to him in a direct, honest, simple and friendly way when they meet.
Brown’s explanation of the feeling you get when you receive a present as well as his live dissection of the possibilities surrounding the box establish him as a leading thinker in the particular topic he is presenting to Pegg, exercising the Authority Trigger.
The key to the trick as a whole (SPOILER ALERT! Watch the video now before reading any further) is to create an environment that takes the participant in the experiment (Pegg) halfway to a specified psychological habitat, then allow that person’s mind to fill in the gaps in a way that makes sense, a classic case of the Consistency Trigger.
The Reciprocity Trigger allows Brown to get a little from Pegg each time he gives him a little information. This trigger is less the focus of the trick than the Consistency Trigger is, but the entire experiment has a reciprocal feel to it as well.
Brown offers Pegg the opportunity to take his old preferred top present, a leather jacket, rather than his newly preferred present, a BMX Bike. This sets up a clear yet distinct set of choices: the Contrast Trigger in action.
Brown offers Pegg plenty of reasons to choose the present he winds up with. While these are mostly indirect, they still show hints of the Reason Why Trigger.
Finally, Brown allows Pegg to choose his own present and determine whether or not the item in the box is exactly what he wants. He decided it is, pinpointing the present as perfect for him. Even the Hope Trigger has an impact.
Derren Brown’s amazing usage of the 7 Triggers permeates much of his routine, reminding us that anyone is capable of engaging in a little mentalism once in a while. Now go out there, buy someone a gift, and trick them into liking it.
To see how this kind of persuasion can help in the context of keeping your employees, check out our pieces on using the 7 Triggers to create employee bonding and trust.
 
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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

Robots Have Hearts? They Do Now.

Robots Have Hearts? They Do Now.

It was only a matter of time. After years of pop culture fiction addressing the possibilities that robots could take on human characteristics, scientists have finally built a robot that recognizes emotions. Meet SoftBank’s Pepper, an adorable little humanoid that uses sensors to read facial expressions and tone. An amazing (dare I say?) specie of artificial life, Pepper will be made available to the Japanese public in February of 2015, putting us at the dawn of an entirely new era of human-robot interaction.
Robots still have a long way to go before they replace therapists or the guests at your dinner party. Humanoids need to progress not only toward a more human look but also through the Uncanny Valley before they’re generally accepted into society. But Pepper is an amazing step toward leveraging intelligent robotic life in ways that imitate humanity.
The question now is how far we can- and should- carry that. Today machines perform basic chores such as cleaning the living room, moving heavy items or washing dishes. In the future, they may be capable of swaying the masses with emotionally charged speeches. Only time will tell.
Check out SoftBank’s promo for Pepper below. And to learn more about the emotional brain as it relates to artificial intelligence, read our article on emotion’s role in the future of thinking.

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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES

Persuasion: The Most Important Skill in the C-Suite

Persuasion: The Most Important Skill in the C-Suite

Business professionals seeking to climb the corporate ladder face a wide array of obstacles and challenges. Internal candidate competition, external market conditions affecting budget, difficult-to-maneuver company policy… all of this and more can trip up fast-rising stars on their way to the C-Suite.
Of course, once you reach the corner office, everything is honk-dory, right? Think again. C-Level executives not only can’t stop learning, but must continue learning to stay where they are.
What kind of skill sets should they focus on? According to a study consisting of 32 interviews with top talent search consultants at a global executive placement firm, a “strong combination of technical skills and soft skills” comprises the core makeup hiring parties seek in C-Level players.
Strongly mentioned in the survey as well were team-building skills, beckoning a rather important question: Shouldn’t persuasive ability serve as one of the great building blocks of the executive skill set? Creating common ground and cooperative interaction between team members relies entirely on the ability to persuade other to come to your side.
To take that skill set and need one step farther, C-Level executives must be well-versed in both theory and practice. In the words of the study, they may be “expected to apply an analytical lens to team management and to be familiar with best practices (as opposed to managing by gut).”
In other words, C-Level executives require a set of tools that will help them get the job done, not just a gut go-to. But nothing suggests these tools have to come in the form a magic mixture or unusual equation. Smart executives will leverage the power of emotion for persuasion and lean on an understanding of people rather than process.
This is where 7 Triggers provides C-Level leaders the most support. By teaching executives an intimate knowledge of emotional triggers and how to either layer these triggers or use the perfect one for a given situation, our literature brings something actionable to the table for those looking to not only make it big but stay big, too.
As one consultant in the study said:
“[Leaders] need to be constantly testing how people are responding to them… and open to adjusting their style—both in how they communicate with different groups of people and how they change their leadership approach to suit the situation.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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Source: LATEST TRIGGER CHRONICLES