Introducing the Hacker’s Guide to Fitness

Since the time I started this blog, I’ve used it to write about a variety of topics. Increasingly what excites me most is the idea of sharing the insight & learning I’ve had in finding smarter & more sustainable ways to improve my fitness & health. Much of this knowledge is not commonplace and even perhaps counter-intuitive. So I recently started a new blog with this purpose, called the Hacker’s Guide to Fitness. A hack is basically a smart way to solve a tough problem.

Follow this if you’d like to stay informed on topics related to fitness.


How to Sell : 3 Insights from Neuroscience

Dilbert on Sales.Selling is an art they say… you have to be born a salesman. But neuroscience is now throwing light on how selling actually works so we can all perhaps learn to be better salespeople.

Over the last year working with Kadence International, I’ve had the opportunity to measure response to different sales pitches using a neurometric method called Visceral (Disclosure : I helped develop the technology) that passively measures the reaction of the sales prospect during a simulated sales call. Here’s what we are learning:

1/ Keep it Short

The single most consistent finding is that everyone’s engagement declines during the course of a sales call. And by the end of a 15-minute pitch, engagement levels could be up to 20% lower than at start. So if you haven’t got their attention up front its all downhill from there.

2/ Ask, Don’t Tell

So when do you think people are more engaged – when they are talking or when you are talking ? Its remarkable how much engagement increases when the salesperson is having a conversation and how much it falls when it turns into a monologue. So equip your sales people with questions they can ask, at every step.

3/ Don’t Rely on Body Language

Research suggests that 80% of communication is from body language – what neuroscience is now revealing is that body language could be misleading. We’re learning that body language is reflective of personality type – so an extrovert is likely to appear interested in your product and an introvert could appear disinterested whereas their emotional engagement could be exactly the opposite. And many typical sales prospects (doctors, IT managers) are likely to be cerebral / introverted personalities so it makes it difficult to read who you’re winning with. The better approach is to set-up tangible follow-on actions that you can measure all your prospects against.

Interested in learning more? Feel free to reach me at : sraj(at)kadence(dot)com.

Kadence’s Neurometric Technology shortlisted for MRS Health Innovation Award!

Yippee!!! MRS is the world’s largest research organization with a presence in over 60 countries. Great to see that they’ve shortlisted us in their annual healthcare research innovation category. Congrats and best wishes to the other two contestants!


Healthcare Research

Building sales aids that sell: Via neurometric measurement of a sales simulation by Kieron Mathews, Kadence International USA and Siva Raj, Bausch & Lomb

Dealing with busy Teens: ‘PKU and you’, how understanding patients with a rare metabolic disorder helped Nutricia to engage with young teens using anoOnline market research community by Robert Dossin, InSites Consulting and Sarah Manley, Nutricia

LEO Pharma NPD: How research innovation, with early patient input, directly influenced a product development decision by Janet Gunner, James Hindhaugh & Kevin Savage, Trufflenet Health

VisceralVisceral is a really cool product that I had the opportunity to work on in partnership with Kadence International while I was at Bausch + Lomb and I’m now helping develop further while at Kadence. Its a radically different approach to building sales aids & results in a sales pitch that is very tight and impactful.

Traditionally sales aids have been developed by showing the sales prospect (e.g. a doctor) the material in a research setting (typically by a specialist moderator) – by asking them to provide feedback / critical response to the material presented. This tends to have many issues – the response tends to be over-rational, secondly there is no effective way of determining if the prospect has been ‘sold’ by the material since you typically see most people give a positive response. Also I’ve personally found that this tends to result in sales aids that are ‘information heavy’ – perhaps as a result of the critical / review approach. Importantly, this completely ignores the fact that in the real world, the sales call is rarely about reading or showing the sales aid – the most effective sales calls are about asking the right questions and establishing a relationship – then using the sales aid (if you absolutely must) to visually illustrate a point or provide supporting data.

So how is Visceral different – firstly it uses a live sales simulation where a real sales rep pitches a prospect (say a doctor) who is invited to a central facility, while all of us watch secretly from the backroom! During the sales pitch we observe & record the doctor’s reaction but also measure the intensity of their emotional response by using a wrist worn heart rate monitor that transmits data via bluetooth smart to an ipad, allowing us to see real-time their reaction to specific pitch. In addition, we also measure the nature of their emotional reaction (valence in technical terms) by using facial coding to determine if its a positive or negative reaction – also streaming real-time.

Below is an example output – as you’ll see with this data it becomes really easy to determine if the respondent had a strong reaction to the material and which parts of the material evoked a reaction. The reality is that our brains remember the stuff that is emotionally meaningful to us and decision-making is mostly an emotional affair – so from both perspectives this is hugely insightful. All of this is very non-invasive – all that the user does is wear a watch which they pretty much forget about within a few minutes of starting to talk.


BTW negative emotion is not a bad thing – a lot of times you see initial negative reaction when the prospect is confronted with information that may go against their accepted beliefs. No emotion is the really bad thing – it means your entire sales call has been an utter waste of time.

For those of you doing qualitative market research it would be a surprise to see such quantified results – this is one of the biggest benefits of the approach. It makes a hitherto subjective methodology much more objective that both clients and creative agencies can use with confidence and hopefully result in sales aids that not just inform but actually sell.

If you’re interested in learning how this technology could help you develop better sales & marketing material drop me a note at sraj (at) kadence (dot) com.