Tag: lizard brain

A Lizard, A Wolf, and A Human walk into a bar

bar image

This is a story of how our three brains, (lizard, wolf and human) go to a bar and decide what to drink.

It illustrates what part each of your brain play in the decision making process of sales and marketing.

The Lizard, the Wolf and the Human walk into a bar….

The Lizard immediately sees a pool table and runs to start a game….

He then sees the dart boards and leaves his game to start playing darts…

Then the karaoke machine start up and he has to run over to start singing…

The lizard flits from activity to activity,  this shiny object to the next…

The Wolf immediately surveys the room to find the “IN” crowd….

She instantly categories everyone in the bar and makes her way over to the group where she belongs….

They sit, they talk, they laugh, and have a great old time…

The Human sits down at the bar….

He reads religiously through the menu noting all the choices…

He scans the walls looking for any drink special…

He asks for calorie information and the latest reviews…

He spends his time weighing the individual merits of each choice…

The Lizard and the Wolf decide they want a drink…

They head up to the bar…

The Lizard say, “Hey that looks interesting, let’s have that…”

The Wolf looks around to see if that is a socially acceptable choice, and then says, “Ok let’s have that…”

Meanwhile the Human has spend a half and hour weighing each choice and has narrowed it down to the top 15 choices…

The bartender comes to take their order…

She takes the Lizard’s and Wolf’s order and turns to the Human and says, “What about you?”

The Human looks bewildered for a moment and says….

“I’ll have what they are having…”

“Besides it is supposed to have a rich body, and a robust taste.”

Sales is about getting the Lizard’s attention….

Winning the Wolf’s confidence…

And not over complicating things for the Human.

The human brain exists to justify and rationalize the decisions we make in the other two brains….

If left to itself, the human brain would never make a decision.  it would spend forever weighing the choices.  By giving it too many choices we can kill the sale.  It needs just enough choices and facts to justify the decision.  And then claim credit for the decision.



Marketing to the Lizard Brain


There’s a part of your brain called the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is designed to screen out everything else except things that matter to you.

Remember the last time you picked out a car and bought a new car. You are driving down the road and all of a sudden you notice that every damn person in the world seemed to pick the same car, in the same color as yours. Before you bought the car you never noticed any of them before. But now, as you drive from that time on, you notice other people who are driving the same car. Your mind will be picking out other people who have the same car as you do.

That’s the reticular activating system at work,

It looks for things that catch your attention and screens out other things that don’t make much difference. It’s part of the lizard brain.

So how do you use that system to be able to get people’s attention?

Back in early caveman days, it learned to protect us from danger. It pays attention to things:
That are new
That are different
That are novel
That threaten us
and helps us avoid things that could be dangerous

By using that fact, and crafting your message in a way that will affect a person in that lizard brain, you’ll be able to get their attention.

One of the principles that happens in that part of the brain, is that we are twice as likely to be motivated to avoid about losing something, then to gain something new.

Let’s say I were to give you $10 every time you did a certain activity. That may or may not be a motivation for you. $10 in this day in age is not that great amount of money, but let’s say every time I caught you not doing it, you had to give me $10.

Which of those would be more motivational to you?

If you’re like most people the thought of losing $10 as opposed to gaining $10, is twice as motivating.

When you’re talking to somebody getting their attention may mean talking in terms of what they are losing instead of what they can gain.

Great headlines to get your attention might be “How to avoid losing or wasting 95% of your marketing dollars.”