SFR 170: Emotional Selling – Stephen Larsen

SFR 170: Emotional Selling

Sep 1st, 2018 anchorwave

Chemicals in the brain are as much a part of selling as the cash itself. Here’s what’s HAPPENING in the brain during a sale…

Most people believe that the buying decisions we make come from the logical side of the brain; we weigh up the facts, and then we make a decision. WRONG.

Man with scales

In reality, it’s our emotions that influence, and even determine the how we spend our money


When I was in college, I started selling door-to-door and doing telemarketing because I wanted to learn how to sell.

The first time I knocked a door, it was one of the freakiest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. It was nerve-racking.

I walked up, knocked on the door, and completely forgot the script. Everything left my brain. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to say, and I was just looking for reasons to get away. It was sooo awkward.

They didn’t have to kick me off. I turned around and walked away. It was a terrible experience. I thought, “This sucks! Why on earth am I doing this door-to-door sales thing?” It was incredibly challenging for me.

smiley face palm on cheek

So, I started trying to learn more about how sales psychology works. I started learning about different chemicals in the brain, and how they affect a person’s willingness to buy in the three cycles of selling.

And thanks to neuroscience, we now understand WHY buyers act. We know what happens inside of a customer’s brain chemically when they go through the selling process – which means that we can reverse engineer the chemical reactions needed to create a sale.

You can’t get good at sales without learning a little bit about how the brain works, and how it subconsciously drives human interaction

Learning about the neuroscience of selling has had a direct impact on the size of my wallet – and I mean that in all seriousness.

Once I understood what I’m about to share with you, my wallet got much fatter


The brain has two sides; a left side (which is logical and analytical) and right side (which is intuitive and subjective).

Brain infographics

Your customer’s decision to buy is based as much on emotional impulses which come from the right side of the brain as the logic from the left side.

In fact, if the emotional part of the brain isn’t onside, and bought into what you’re offering, then you can kiss that sale goodbye.

sorry, I'm just not feeling it


The right side of the brain is the ancient part of the brain that developed to keep humans safe from danger. It’s the part of the brain (sometimes called the ‘Croc Brain’) that responds to any threat with either Fight, Flight, or Freeze.

When the Croc Brain developed, its job was to respond to threats such as saber tooth tigers, or any other predator.

In the modern world, however, it also responds to anything new that it feels might threaten its safety.

hand puppet

The Croc Brain filters most of the incoming messages that your brain receives.

If you spook the Croc Brain when you sell or pitch to a potential customer, your prospect will shut down mentally, or physically move away from you

If you’re pitching on a webinar, they will just turn it off, or decide that your offer isn’t right for them.

Imagine a situation where someone comes up behind you and shouts, “BOOOO!!” At that moment, your Croc Brain kicks in, and you involuntarily feel fear.

Backing away from an offer that spooks the Croc Brain is an equally instinctive action. It happens on a subconscious level – you may not even understand why. You’ll just know that you don’t want to buy.

It doesn’t matter how many logical reasons there are to buy – if the croc brain has raised a red flag – then you won’t get the sale

Don't buy

The Filter goes up, and you’re done. Game Over!


The reason why story is such a powerful tool is that it engages with the Croc Brain on an emotional level and get it to put its guard down.

During the first half of a webinar, you’re actually pitching the Croc Brain

You are trying to get the emotional left brain on side – so that when people see your actual offer, you’ve already bypassed the passed that part of the brain.

It’s a bit like throwing bones to a guard dog so that it starts to associate you with pleasure rather than fear. Then it becomes soft, docile and happy to see you.


This means that the logical left side of the brain can now come on board with all the reasons that you should buy.

You need to understand that this is what is actually happening every time you start to pitch someone. Interesting, right?

There’s also a neat mind game that your customers brain like to play called Cognitive Dissonance. It’s a kind of process the brain goes through to justify any actions you take to make sure that they fit with your self-image and identity.

Put simply, cognitive dissonance is when the logical side of the brain jumps in and justifies whatever the from the emotional brain of your customer desires – closing the sale for you

So, if you’ve done a good job getting the Croc Brain on side during your sales pitch – the customer’s logical brain will help you close the sale. How AWESOME is that?

Let me give you an example:


Here’s how it works…

When you are faced with a buying decision; first, you make your decision on an emotional level, and THEN you use logic to justify your choice.

For Example:

You walk into a store and see a $50 shirt that you like. You’ve promised yourself that you won’t spend any more money on clothes this month, but you really want that shirt – so what happens next?

The emotional part of your brain has already made the decision to buy.

How can I justify buying this

Next, the logical part of your brain starts its mission to come up with the reasons why buying the shirt is a good idea (aka, the theory of cognitive dissonance) – which often goes something like this:

  • You need to buy now, or that shirt will probably go out of stock – buy it now
  • If you buy now, it’ll save you time and money, because you won’t need to come to the store next month – buy the shirt
  • You have an interview/ party/ date that this shirt would be perfect for – you need to buy the shirt
  • This shirt is so stylish that is actually an investment, it’ll go with so many clothes in your wardrobe – buy it ‘cause it’ll save you money in the long run


What’s even more fascinating, is that these decisions are controlled by a powerful mix of brain chemicals that are naturally activated under certain circumstances.

This is a HUGE deal for marketers; because if you know what those chemicals are – and how to trigger them – you can positively influence the buying habits of your customers.

Man hypnotizing

We’re not talking X- Men telekinesis here, but I’m saying that when you understand the levers that cause people to act – then it is possible to pull those levers to trigger responses.

In a very real sense, this is literally the power of mind control


Warning image

Obviously, this is super powerful stuff. So, before we go any further, I need you to promise that you’ll only use what I’m about to reveal to you when it benefits both you and your customer.

I want you to grab your copy of Expert Secrets, raise your right hand, and say after me:

I solemnly swear to use my new-found powers ethically

Stephen Larsen with Expert Secrets

Great! Now that’s out of the way, let me introduce you to your new best friends; Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins – or D.O.S.E, for short.

These chemical kick in at different stages of the selling process. You have to activate them in a specific order if you want to make a sale.

Once you know the pattern, and how to activate these neurochemicals, it’s pretty easy to use them to be more persuasive in your sales process – but remember, it has to be ethical.

So, let’s have a quick look at these four chemicals and the effects they cause in your customer’s brains.


People on their phones

Dopamine is the neurochemical related to the anticipation of pleasure and reward. Dopamine is released when we expect something pleasant.

Every time your phone pings, every time you look at a text, every time someone sends you a message, or you check out Facebook – you get a hit of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical of distraction.

You also get a dopamine hit when you smoke a cigarette, drink alcohol, do drugs, gamble, look at porn, or go shopping. Dopamine is very addictive

What the brain is seeking is a distraction from your current pain – and that can include hard work or boredom.

Dopamine is like the friend who says: “You don’t want to write that webinar script. C’mon, let’s do something fun instead.”

If you want to have more control over your life – figure out where you’re seeking a dopamine hit.

There’s a reason why it’s hard to get a hold of me. I am hard to get a hold of because I control technology, technology does not control me. I don’t seek my dopamine hits from my phone. I’m very purposeful about that.

Dopamine is also the easiest of the four chemicals to activate in your brain. It’s also the most addictive.

Now, you have to understand that your customers crave distraction.

college lecture bored

If you can get them addicted to you in a positive way – that will massively benefit your business.

It’s why you MUST have an attractive character for your brand. It’s why you can’t be boring to listen to or watch.

Dopamine is what keeps your customers interested and coming back for more.


Endorphins are similar to the drug morphine.They help bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being

Endorphins require a little bit more work to produce than dopamine.

You feel endorphins during and after a workout. Endorphins create natural reward circuits in your brain. It’s a carrot and stick rewards system.

military obstacle

If endorphins could speak they would say something like: “I know you don’t want to do this, but keep going – you’ll feel GREAT afterwards.”

When a customer buys a program from you, and you say, “Cool, the first thing I want you to do is today is open up your account, and do X, Y, Z.”

When they do that, BAM, they get an endorphin hit because they checked a box.

People who got straight A’s in school are very familiar with endorphins. They put work in. They follow the system. They check the boxes, and they get a little endorphin hit that makes them feel good.

People happy

People want that endorphin hit. They want to check the box.

You know those people who buy programs and never do anything with it? That is a check the box driven individual. They love endorphins…

They solved the problem emotionally when the product – they checked the box with endorphins inside their head. BAM – they feel great, and that’s all they wanted. They wanted the hit.


Serotonin is the chemical of status. It’s easy to increase someone’s status when you’re selling a product because you give a new identity. They become part of an exclusive group of people that’s separate from the general public.

For Example:

“Hey, what’s up Funnel Hackers? What’s up, 2 Comma X people?” I call people “my mavericks,” to give them a new identity and a boost in status.

Stephen Larsen at FHL

When we give a 3 Comma Club Award to somebody, that’s a status increase. “BAM! Have a serotonin hit.”

If Serotonin could speak it would say: “Hey, you’re great – you’re fantastic. I want to hang out with you and listen to what you have to say.”

It’s why we take pictures of ourselves with famous people.

I took a picture with Tony. I took a picture with Russell. I took a picture with JP.

It gives us a status increase and a serotonin boost. You literally give your brain a hit of chemicals.. Boom!

Stephen Larsen with JP Sears


Oxytocin is the neurochemical associated with friendship, love, empathy, trust, and relationship-building

Oxytocin is very powerful. It’s the hardest chemical for your brain to manufacture, and it’s the neurochemical that we seek the most.

Oxytocin is the chemical of connection.

Stephen Larsen on stage hugging someone

Without oxytocin, some other neurochemicals can still leave us feeling a bit unsatisfied.

Oxytocin can make you do crazy things. It’s the neurochemical that’s activated when you fall in love, join a community where you feel that you belong, or have a baby.

Stephen Larsen family

If oxytocin could speak, it would say: You really mean a lot to me. I feel so special when I’m around you. I really want you to be part of my life

Anytime you feel a deep connection with an individual or a group – you get a hit of oxytocin. You feel a special connection that you will defend ferociously

BOOM! So that’s a quick look at all those powerful neurochemicals – Now, let’s look at HOW (and WHERE) you can use them in your sales process to increase the thickness of your wallet.


Boom have some dopamine

There are three stages in the selling cycle. If you want to make money – then you have to get good at all three of them.

Knowing which neurochemicals to activate at the right time is a total game changer. I challenge you to take action on what I’m about to tell you. You can thank me later ?

  1. The Marketing Phase – This is storytelling for the sake of creating a desire to purchase.
  2. The Selling Phase – Creating the offer that fulfills the promise that your story made.
  3. The Closing Phase – Getting the cash; the logical reasons to act now.

Here’s what happens to your brain chemicals in the Marketing Phase:

dopamine oxytocin serotonin endorphins

  • The marketing phase is emotional. It’s the storytelling part
  • If you want to get the Croc Brain on side – you need to use stories
  • Story is the tool that you use to give your customers an oxytocin hit
  • Oxytocin is triggered by connection to YOU, not your product.
  • If you make your stories and delivery entertaining you are creating a dopamine hit. They are enjoying and anticipating the thrill of the next thing you are going to say
  • You invite your audience to shed their old identity, and to “BECOME” someone new with an increased status (A Funnel Hacker, for example) BAM! That’s a serotonin hit
  • You create endorphins by asking people to take action: “Come over to the chat box real quick. Tell me how you’re doin? Where are you from?” They tick the box and BAM! Endorphin hit

Here’s what happens to your brain chemicals in the Selling Phase:

Stephen Larsen on stage with two others

  • The selling phase is where you start to transition to the more logical side of things
  • Even though we think it’s logical – it’s actually still emotional – remember cognitive dissonance ?
  • You give them the offer that fulfills the promises your story has made – the potential of belonging, status, and connection are triggered by Serotonin and Oxytocin
  • Your customer is anticipating the positive effects of buying your product with a dopamine hit
  • They look forward to the feel-good endorphin rush they’ll get when they click the BUY NOW button

Here’s what happens to your brain chemicals in the Closing Phase:

I feel so good about buying this

  • The close is the logical reasons to act now – selling and closing are not the same thing
  • If you done a good job of weaving all the D.O.S.E neurochemicals into the first two phases – then you have a strong chance of closing the sale
  • Your customers will have emotionally and logically sold themselves on the value of your offer


why did I but another course

After the sale has been made – and the D.O.S. E chemicals start to die down – you want to prevent buyer’s remorse from setting in.

If your stories have done a good job breaking beliefs and shifting your customer’s identity – then the logical side of the brain come in with its mission to justify why the product that your customer has bought represents their identity.

yay looking forward to my results

This means that their choice has to feel like a good one, otherwise their core identity will be called into question.

The logical part of the brain starts to justify their choice by saying, says, “This is me. I’m a smart buyer. I need this to be successful.”

If you have a success path in place to look after your customers post purchase, this also helps to keep the D.O.S.E chemicals activated – so that people say engaged with your product and get results.

Powerful stuff, right? I really hope you take action on this one. And let me know what results you get!

Until next time – Keep Crushing It!

Hey, you want me to speak at your next event or Mastermind? Let me know what I can share that would be most valuable by going to, and book my time now.

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