Imagine you are having to buy a new house.

Which would you prefer?

  1. to be able to view 40 homes, review all the critical information about the neighborhood, the house construction, the rooms sizes, and the school district or
  2. to view 10 homes and then need to make a decision?

If you are like most people, you choose to view 40 homes and all the information rather than just 10.  After all, it is better to choose from more than less, right?

Ironically, you are MORE likely to make a poor choice of a home and live to regret it if you view too many homes and too much data. You are more likely to have buyers regret.

Why? It seems like the logical thing to do when making a big complex decision is to weigh all information in and the more details the better.  Unfortunately that is not how your brain best operates.

The more complex the decision is the more you need your Front Cortex to quickly weed out information so it focuses only in on key points.  Your Front Cortex is designed to look at around 7 pieces of information effectively.  This is why phone numbers were designed to be 7 digits long. After seven data points, your Front Cortex begins to get “paralysis analysis”.  It literally can’t decipher one piece of information from the other.

Now the other part of your brain at play is your emotion center.  Here is where your dopamine receptors lie.  Your dopamine is your pleasure center and you actually want it to work in tandem with your Front Cortex.  When they work together, your dopamine receptors make quick decisions about the “feeling” a house gives you while your Front Cortex puts a “name” to why you fell that way.

When you separate these two parts of the brain in a decision-making process you often give one part more control than it should. For example, when you have too many bits of data, you begin to “convince” yourself that it is better to get the bigger house with the 45 minute commute as it is more house for your money than the smaller house that is only a 15 minute commute to work each way.  At the time, it will seem like a rational decision but over the years it will take a toll on you mentally as you spend an hour and a half on the road each day.  Suddenly that extra bathroom or bedroom that is only used by guests twice a year doesn’t seem to be such a good trade off for the extra 20 hours a week you lose due to the commute.

It has been found that the bigger the decision you have to make, the more you want to “listen” to the emotional side of your brain. Why? Because that is the side of your brain that is tapped in to your unconscious brain.  Now this doesn’t mean that you succumb to all of your emotions but rather that you listen to them and figure out what they are trying to tell you.

So the lesson here is actually a simple one- the more complex your presentation or your sale, the more you need to simplify what you say. For only when you condense what you say can the listener than tap in to BOTH their emotional side and their Front Cortex.  If you are too detailed, they will stay in their Front Cortex and try to “analyze” what you say.  This will lead to “analysis paralysis”.  Ironically the way the listener tries to calm their brain is to ask you to present even more information to them.  Literally their brain believes if you tell them more, they will finally “get” what you are talking about.

So keep it simple, keep it focused.  Take action today and see what you can do to simplify your key messages to keep the client engaged and focused.