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April 10, 2008

Heart Brain

My dad was a minister of religion and preached in the Cape in the 1950s. Believe it or not, he had groupies following him around. Ok, not as many as the Rolling Stones would have had, but enough to be noticed. I asked him, "What is it that attracted all these females to you?" His answer was simple and is a valuable lesson for all of us in sales and marketing. "Get the head and the heart and the body will soon follow," he said.

When I teach influencing strategies, I always say, "Sell on emotion … sell to the heart." We’ve all heard that people buy first on emotion and then justify with logic. Well I’ve bought into this strategy without really knowing the science behind it.

The other day I was reading a book called The Da Vinci Method by Garret Loporto and discovered the science behind my dad’s remarks.

"Groundbreaking research in the field of neurocardiology has established that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated information encoding and processing centre, with an extensive intrinsic nervous system sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a ‘heart brain.’" J. Andrew Armour, M.D., Ph.D

It turns out that a little more than 60 percent of heart cells are actually neural cells that are identical to those found in the brain. They operate through the same connecting ganglia and use the same types of neurotransmitters found in the brain. And we thought the heart was just a muscle. Interestingly, it seems that your stomach also has neural cells that are identical to those in the brain and that’s why you get a ‘gut feeling’ (Thanks to Richard Mulvey for that gem).

In short, your heart literally has thoughts! Half of your heart’s neural cells process information from all over your body and keeps your body’s processes harmonised. The rest of your heart’s neural cells are connected with the emotional centres of your brain. – The Da Vinci Method.

So, it seems that we do think with our heart and savvy sales people in the know will make sure that they tap into the emotion first before going to the logic.

Jacques de Villiers is a sales training and influence expert in South Africa

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