a lizard walks into a mall

If you live in the US, you were blitzed by the annual December holiday shopping frenzy. You may enjoy the celebrations or be an unwilling audience for the seasonal music piped everywhere and the daily barrage of Doorbuster ads.

You may even be among the 35 million Americans who claim they “dislike being nice” during the holidays.

But guaranteed, the holiday season pushes buttons in all of us, beginning in our prehistoric brain.

This oldest section of our human brain dates back 450 million years, long before we turned into the thinking, feeling mammals we are today.

Your inner crocodile has one agenda: your survival.

It tells you what you already knew. Everything really is all about you. Your internal lizard is on constant alert, only understanding fear and anger, threats to your safety and promises of sex. The reptilian brain produces our fight/flight/freeze responses.

What does this have to do with the holidays?

The trappings of the season may not look Jurassic, but did somebody try to jump in the queue ahead of you for this year’s must-have gadget at Toys-R-Us? After you’ve waited patiently for 20 minutes? Watch out.

Stressed out planning that family celebration that includes a cousin who gripes about everything and hates your dog? Feeling a little like flight or fight?

For your customer, every day has some not-so-great holiday in it. 

Guess what part of your customer’s brain has been going off like fireworks during this year of daily crises?  Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, civil war, continuing economic instability.

Yep, that reptilian brain has been overloaded by this year’s events.  The basic threads of our survival net have snapped.  And this impacts how your customer responds to your offers.

What does this mean to your customer and for your marketing?

You must deliver safety before you can sell. 

Recognize that your prospect may be asking a different question today when they evaluate your product.  Before the economic turmoil of the past few years, your customer was likely asking, “what will I gain in this purchase?” Now an added question is, “what can I lose by buying this?”

Now more than ever you must tell people clearly, up front, what’s in it for them.  Increase your buyer’s sense of security and safety through your messaging and delivery.  Examine your sales pitches and your marketing collateral.  Focus on how your product reduces their pain or improves their livelihood.

Reduce uncertainty.  Offer stronger guarantees.  Consider developing full-solution programs that assure your buyer his or her problem will be completely taken care of.  Emphasize the post-purchase support you offer.  Explain the buying process the buyer will experience so there are no surprises.

The bottom line 

In the best of times, our inner reptile applauds our buying decisions.  These may not be the best of times for many of your customers.  Understand and do what you can to reduce fear, heighten confidence, and deliver reassurance to your customers – and they’ll reward you for it.

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