How to activate your prospect’s RAS

Did you ever notice when you buy a new car you start noticing more cars just like yours on the road?

This phenomenon is called your RAS or reticular activating system. Everyone’s got an RAS, even prospects for your company’s product or service.

So how do you activate your prospects RAS?

Show them…

something familiar 

something unusual 

something that’s a problem for them  

Anything else, and you’ll rarely get their attention… let alone sell them anything.

How to enter the conversation already going on in your prospect’s mind

Robert Collier, one of the greatest sales copywriters of the early 1900s, once said, “Enter the conversation already going on in your prospects mind.”

Let me give you a real life example of this timeless piece of wisdom and then two examples of how to use it in your sales messaging.

Imagine you’ve been searching for a vacation to Hawaii online…

The next day you start seeing ads for Hawaii on non-travel websites.

Voila, marketers have successfully entered the conversation already going on in your mind by dropping a cookie in your browser.

So, how do you enter your prospect’s mind in B2B selling?


Let’s say you want to reach out to a prospect and the big news story today is the hot weather, or their local football team winning last night, or some big announcement that impacts them.

Whatever it is…. there’s a good chance it’s on your prospect’s mind.

And whatever YOU think your PROSPECT is thinking about makes for a great email subject line and introduction.

Perhaps something like this…

Subject: It’s going to hit 100 degrees today!

Hi John,

It’s going to be a hot one today. Hope you’re cool wherever you are. You know what’s not cool? Pesky sales reps who cold call you every day trying to pitch you stuff. I’ve got an idea that will help you increase revenue and don’t want to be a pest, so if you’d like me to email it to you, just hit reply or call me back.

Voila, you’ve just entered the conversation already going on in your prospect’s mind. The hot weather.  You didn’t just jump into pitching your product. You also mentioned you don’t like pesky sales reps either. So you’ve created some rapport too!

Here’s another…

It’s near the end of August and what are most people thinking about?…

Sending their kids back to school. So, why not tie in your voice message or email with this subject?

For example:

Subject: The kids are back to school next week!

Hi Dave,

Summer’s almost over and it’s the start of another school year. My son’s starting grade 7. How about yours? Maybe since your kids are back in school you’ll have more breathing room. If that’s the case, could I perhaps share an idea that might help you increase revenue? If you’d like me to show it to you, just hit reply or call me back.

You see…

When you enter the conversation already going on in your prospect’s mind you’re going to come across as relevant, helpful, and build instant rapport. And you have a much better chance of getting a response!

Give it a try and start connecting with those hard to reach prospects today.

Tiny little invites

When was the last time you were invited somewhere?

I’m talking a wedding, a birthday, a barbecue… perhaps to church?

Did you attend or decline?

And the person who invited you… did they follow up incessantly every week until you reluctantly agreed to go?

Not likely.

Here’s the thing…

An invitation is an offering of goodwill. There should be no pressure to attend, no bait and switch, and no obligation to buy.

As salespeople how often we actually make invitations to prospects or customers?

No, I’m not talking about sending an email to a prospect with a pitch that includes a link for them to schedule time with you in their calendar. That’s a little audacious isn’t it? Although, I’ve seen this assumptive approach a lot lately.

I’m talking about an invitation to share an idea you have that might help their business. Nothing more, nothing less.


You’d think so…

The challenge with B2B selling is this:

Everyone is trying to yell louder and more often than the next guy… just to get a prospect’s attention.

You need to stop yelling, or begging, or pitching … and start inviting.

There’s a difference between pitching and inviting. And knowing this distinction can make a huge difference in your business development success.

Here’s why:

When you start inviting prospects to spend 5 minutes on a call with you (not 30) to share one idea to improve their business…

When you start inviting prospects to a webinar that will give them some actionable tips to grow their business…

When you start inviting prospects to a new technology demo which will show them how to save time and money in their business…

You eliminate the sales friction.


Because you’re simply extending an invitation which they can either accept or decline and you’re not being pitchy.

You’re seen as someone who isn’t desperate, but has commercial insight to share, not just another aggressive salesperson.

When you start extending tiny little invites to prospects instead of making big pitches or worse yet, attempting to convince them to accept, you’ll feel good about picking up the phone again and you’ll double or triple your long term sales effectiveness.

So, the next time you’re about to pick up the phone, leave a voicemail, or send an email to a prospect, imagine you’re just extending an invitation to a close friend.

Would you say to your friend?

“Hey David, my amazing son is having his 12th birthday party next Saturday. He’s the smartest kid in school! He’s got dozens of friends. You have to come! We barbecue the best burgers on the block. If I don’t hear from you by tomorrow, I’ll follow up with you on Wednesday, October 4th. By the way, don’t forget to invite your wife because I know she makes the gift buying decisions.”


Tiny little invites, no pitches.

(selling comes later)