Brainfluence Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Brainfluence will help you get more sales by revealing people’s subconscious thinking and their motivations in the decision-making process they use when buying.

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Brainfluence Summary

I was once talking with a person who was getting a degree in communications and specializing in marketing. This person was trying to tell me that psychology wasn’t really science and didn’t have any use in the practical world. 

I found myself trying to persuade them that the study of the brain was very real and extremely useful. But it wasn’t working, they seemed stuck in their ways. Then it hit me. 

Marketing IS psychology!

We often think of selling as just hiring a sales team and pushing them to meet quotas. But the reality is that it’s got a lot more to do with understanding how our brains interact with our environment. 

This is why Roger Dooley’s book Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing is so important. If you want to understand the science of selling so you can have more success, this is the book for you!

These are 3 of my favorite lessons from this book:

  1. Putting a baby on your ad will make it more effective.
  2. If you’re trying to talk someone into making a purchase, meet in person and speak into their right ear.
  3. The element of surprise is one of the best ways of getting people’s attention so they buy more.

Let’s dive right in to discover the secrets of psychology that make selling easier!

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Lesson 1: Ads are more effective when they contain pictures of babies.

If you’re scrolling through social media, how often do you stop on posts that only contain text? I find myself paying attention to anything with images more than anything else. 

But not all pictures are created equally when it comes to marketing. It’s always better to use photos of people’s faces to get more attention. And the best way to get people to notice you is to include a baby’s face!

Research confirms this, too. Scientists have found that it only takes a few hundred milliseconds for the part of the brain associated with emotion to light up after seeing a picture of a baby. 

This makes sense evolutionarily as well. Babies can’t take care of themselves and are more vulnerable to predators. If they pull at our feelings, however, we take care of them and their odds of surviving increase. It’s hard-wired into everyone to pay attention to babies’ faces, so use them!

And for some more bonus attention points, make the baby in your image look at what you’re trying to sell. James Breeze, a usability specialist from Australia, teaches that our eyes will go to wherever the people in an ad are looking.

In simple terms, when you use the face of an infant that is looking at the viewer, people will just look at them. But if the kid is looking at a subscription box, product, or headline, that’s where your audience will direct their eyes!

Lesson 2: Meet with people in person and speak into their right ear to make them more likely to listen to you.

Engaging people’s senses is another powerful tool of persuasion that Dooley teaches. And one of the best ways to take advantage of this is by marketing to people in person. 

Some might argue that getting right to business is important, but this doesn’t usually work so well. Instead, start with small talk and you’ll see a much better end result. 

Perhaps you’ve heard of the ultimatum game. Two participants get an amount of money and one gets to split it while the other has to choose whether or not to take the split. If the individual deciding whether to accept the offer declines, neither wins. 

This sounds fun, but what does this have to do with the power of small talk when selling? Research by Al Roth shows that letting the subjects talk before the game has dramatic effects on outcomes. 83% more offers are fair, and only 5% get rejected. In other words, casual conversation goes a long way!

And as long as you’re talking to someone, make sure that you’re on their right side. Studies done by scientists at the University Gabriele d’Annunzio in Italy discovered that people trust information spoken into the right ear. Even when making requests you have a higher chance of success by following this pattern.

One place the researchers observed this was in nightclubs. They discovered that most people talked into each other’s right ears. In testing this by asking people for cigarettes, they had more success by speaking into their right ear.

Lesson 3: To get people’s attention and make them buy more, surprise them.


I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that one, were you? But you’re probably listening to me now, right? That’s because I surprised you with something you didn’t expect. Let’s look at how this works on a psychological level.

UK researchers have identified the hippocampus as the place in our brains that allows us to predict what will happen next. This small part of the brain uses the sequence of events that we normally follow when we get certain cues to anticipate the next event. 

For example, when your brain saw “Lesson 3” above, it used the information it got when you read what came in lessons 1 and 2 to predict what would happen next. When I used the surprising word pineapple first instead of going into why surprise works, it got you to react. 

One way you can practice this is by replacing a word in a common phrase. If you have a coffee shop, for example, you might use “coffee it up” instead of “cough it up.” You can also try to surprise people with a unique design or image as well.

This technique even dates back to the days and writings of Shakespeare. He would often misuse words or invent new words altogether. Some scholars say that this is the main reason that his writings are so popular even today. 

So if you want to make people pay attention to whatever you’re selling, put a bird on it. I mean, surprise them!

Brainfluence Review

Brainfluence is an awesome and super useful book. I really like psychology, and seeing how it applies to selling is really fascinating. These tips might seem small, but I’m certain that trying them out is going to have a big impact on your sales!

Who would I recommend the Brainfluence summary to?

The 38-year-old blogger who would like to know how to get people to listen to him more, the 24-year-old marketing student that is doing summer sales, and anyone whose job requires them to sell.

Last Updated on September 8, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.