Your DNA determines your buying decisions. That is hard to accept, because that would mean we don’t have as much control over our behaviors as we want to have. We think that we can use our will-power to control our purchases and our habits. But the evidence shows that this is not really true. We still buy things we shouldn’t, and our habits—well, our habits are making us fat, even though we try to force ourselves to eat healthy and to get more exercise.

In this article, I’ll lay out for you some of the scientific evidence that shows that our DNA has a lot of influence over our daily behaviors, and even what we think about things.

But why is this important? If it is really true, then from a marketing and sales standpoint, we can use this information to our advantage. If we know that there is a person out there who’s DNA is telling them to get a product similar to the one we’re selling, wouldn’t it make sense to find that particular person and put our product under their nose? Of course it would. The desire would meet up with the opportunity, and the result should be an easy sale.

That is what Personality Marketing is all about. It is classifying the people that are susceptible to our marketing message, and then tailoring our copy to hit all their triggers and cause them to buy our products. You’re not going to target “everyone.” You’re only going after a specific personality type.

Our Genes Determine Personality

We want to believe that our personality is determined by our environment. Right? I can say that as a parent, that I hope I can have some influence over how my kids turn out. But what I’m finding out that as my kids get older, their personalities are beyond my control. I have one daughter that is an SP, and she is a bundle of high-intensity energy. Another daughter is an SJ, and she is more reserved like me.

The two girls are only a few years apart, and they do everything together in the same environment. But yet they are radically different. I wish I could turn down the energy level of the SP daughter, and make her more like the SJ one. From my own personal perspective, my energy is sucked dry by the SP daughter, and I’m whooped by 9 p.m. at night.

As scientist are digging into the human genome, they are uncovering the subtle differences in the DNA that causes one person to have one personality trait, and another to have a different one.

For example, according to recent research from 2010, there is a gene in people that determines how likely they are to be altruistic. The scientists set up a test where 100 participants were to memorize a series of numbers and then repeat them back as accurately as possible. They received a small sum of money for their accuracy in the test. Afterwards, they could take the money home, or donate any portion of it to a charitable cause.

But before the actual test began, each of the participants had their cheek swabbed to extract DNA for genetic analysis.

The findings were remarkable. Participants with a certain gene donated twice as much money as those that lacked the gene.

The personality trait of “generosity,” as we talked about previously, has been noticed at a very high level in those people that are in the SP temperament (as defined by the MBTI assessment). It seems that from this study, the genetic scientists have just now found out what the psychologists have known since the 1950’s.

The DNA test only confirmed what was suspected, that our genes have a massive influence over our behavior.

How Do We Use This fact?

What this means is that people (prospects) are inclined to act in a specific way. If we align our marketing message with the way they want to go, it creates comfort and trust. And we can then guide them through the opening of our sales funnel.

Going back to that study, what would have happened if the scientists actually wanted to raise money for a charity. They could have swabbed the participants, and sent the ones without the altruism gene home early. That would have saved them a lot of time, because now they would only be making their presentation to people that are already inclined to be generous.

Wow! Imagine how much time you could save if you only made a sales presentation to people that had the characteristics that made them inclined to be receptive to your message?

Moving Your Prospect to The “Yes” Zone

Here is another way of thinking about this. You have a person, we’ll call him “your prospect,” that wants to go in an easterly direction. But to get him to buy our product, we need him to go south. Do you understand so far?

How do we get him to go south? That is the basic question of selling. How do we move him in the direction we want?

There are two ways. First, we could push on him when he gets close to our doorstep, to try to force him in through to our sales target.

In other words, if he was in the middle of a of a compass-rose and he was facing East, we’d have to come in from the North and try to push him to the South. What do you think is going to happen?

Right. He is going to resist, and get angry that we’re trying to push him in a direction that he doesn’t want to go.

The other method takes a little bit more effort on our part as the salesman. We have to plan ahead. By that, I mean we need catch the prospect further back in time and to station ourselves well in front of the prospect. Now he is further to the west and walking toward the east. As he moves along, we come up besides him and start walking with him. But this time we’re on his left side (the south side). And instead of pushing hard on him, we are making him comfortable. You know what? He likes it; and he wants to come closer to us. Now at this point, we make a slight side-step motion to the south. The prospect, desiring to be close to us, moves with us. We’re still going in an Easterly direction, which makes him happy, but over time we’re moving on a diagonal to the our destination and goal–closing the sale.

When you plan ahead, and use the language and phrases the prospect wants to hear, he will allow himself to be led to where you want him to go. You still have to keep him pointed in the direction he wanted to go, but you can take a side-step on occasion that puts you closer to the final goal – which is the completion of the sale.

The Personality Marketing system is a way to gently merge along side with the prospect. He is still on his terms and in his comfort zone. But he likes what you’re saying to him, and he’ll allow himself to be nudged a little bit. If you plan far enough in advance, and you position yourself well upstream of your final destination, you will have enough time to get him on a direct path to your sales target.

That in a nutshell is what Personality Marketing is about. We don’t change the prospect, we change how we are doing business.

A Third Method Of Changing The Prospect’s Direction

I was watching the television program NOVA recently, and they had a segment on understanding and controlling the brain.

What they showed was that you could actually take a strong magnet and actually control the brain. It was pretty brute force, but it was possible.

Can you imagine as a marketing person how this might be used? The person walks into your store, and you whack him with a powerful magnetic pulse; and suddenly he is putty in your hands. You can then pull out his wallet, and remove all the cash.

Obviously, this is a long way from reality, but sooner or later, some con-artist is going to try it. I’ll go ahead and make that prediction now.

But personally, I would allow the customer to have a choice in the matter, as there is an ethical consideration in the situation. Otherwise, what is to stop some other marketer from hitting me with a magnetic pulse and taking all my money?


Your brain, and the prospects brain are pre-wired to be inclined to do certain things from birth. Scientists are confirming this by finding out what each of the genes in our DNA controls. But you don’t really need to be too concerned about what each gene does from a marketing and sales standpoint. The reason is that the research is mostly confirming what we already know about behavior; as it has been mapped out already.

All you really need is the “map.” And that you can get from the Personality Marketing Manual. It explains what each type of personality will be inclined to do in any given situation. If you know that in advance, you can plan your marketing strategy to position yourself ahead of the prospect and gently guide him to the final sales objective.

If you would like to get this manual, drop me an email note today.


Controlling the Brain – PBS Video

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

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