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Are people Categorizing you without your permission? And are you important enough?

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Powerful Thinking Powerful Results

Powerful Thinking Powerful Results

Are people categorizing you without your permission?

And are you important enough?

By Douglas Vermeeren

Our brain and mind work in mysterious ways. These ways can have a significant impact on our relationships with others and can be very influential factors on the success of our business or the lack of it.

One of the functions that we experience regularly can be readily observed. It is called split second categorizing.  Let me first explain what it is and then share some examples. After the examples I will include some exercises on how you can prepare for this brain science phenomenon and use it to find your ideal customers and improve your business.

What is split second categorizing?

One of the significant ways our brain is wired is to be on the alert and ready to respond immediately. One of the ways it does this can be found in the way it sorts information. Generally speaking our mind does not take the time to sort information it receives so it tries to find a short hand way to categorize things.  For example if I say to you think of the color blue. Your mind doesn’t go through a million shades of blue to consider options. It simply selects a generic blue and that is what you see. In other words, your mind tries to satisfy requests for information as quickly as possible. This sit he same process that creates stereotypes in our mind.  Here is another word list that your mind will immediately find a common generic answer or stereotype for. As you read these take a second to notice the picture your mind creates:

Sales man




School Teacher



Garbage man

Postal worker

Business man


Financial Planner

Real Estate agent

Did you notice your mind finding generic or stereotypical responses to these words? Did you notice that your mind also filled in the blanks on settings or context surrounding these words. For example, did you school teacher stand at a chalk board? Did your doctor have a stethoscope? Was your scientist in a lab coat? Did your salesman have a brief case and was he knocking on your door? Most likely you saw some of the same images. These examples of visual shorthand are common in western society. Are the images you saw perfect, complete or in some cases even accurate to some of the people you may know who have these occupations? Chances are you immediately recognize many exceptions to categorizing your mind did. In fact, most of the categorizing we initial do overlooks the people we know that are actually in these professions. Was your first reaction someone that you know in these roles? Probably not. Recognition and association takes too long in the mind. Your brain is wired for speed. Any answer first – correct or specific answer second.

It’s this split second categorizing that has kept us safe. Our brain first separates all things into safe or unsafe. (Or friendly/unfriendly). Then next your brain will sort things into answering whether an object or thing can serve you or it can’t. (Survival mode again.) If it decides that it is something can serve you your brain will further categorize it as to risks involved through association. The brain at this point begins to analyze more critically. it is still categorizing but it is investing more time investigating. (ie. Will it cost too much? Can it really do what I think it can? Is there a risk to explore further?)

This is how our mind works even in business relationships. Here’s the example that I promised. Return in your mind to a recent networking event you may have attended. Preferably a breakfast or lunch meeting where everyone was gathered around a table with the opportunity to introduce themselves. Remember how you felt as different people introduced themselves and their business opportunities. Some of these people were very interesting to you, but you heard enough, you didn’t need to know more. Some of these people were not interesting to you at all.  And lastly, perhaps a few were extremely interesting to you and you knew you needed to connect with them.  What was the difference? This is split second categorizing at work.

You immediately categorized these people into those that could serve your interests and those that could not. Is it true that those same people may have actually had something valuable that could have helped your business. perhaps. But the way they presented themselves and their opportunities caused your brain to categorize them as unimportant to you. And because of that presentation you will most likely never follow up with them or do business with them.

So how can you keep from being categorized as unimportant? How can you be categorized as relevant to others? This important question will have a significant impact on the number of leads you generate. And because of that it will have an immediate effect on your company’s bottom line.

You need to find a way to be categorized as important.  And here are a few suggestions that will help you do that:

(Before I share these suggestions I want to let you know there is a great worksheet for Maximum Results coaching members that will help you be more successful in making your business and brand more important to others. In addition, in our members only area there are more tools for our coaching students that will allow you to sell more, create stronger customer loyalty and become categorized as the expert in your industry. Be sure to check it out at

  1. Understand who your customers are

Only by understanding who your customers really are and what they really want can you create offers that they categorize as relevant to them. By categorizing and profiling your clients first you can begin to recognize how they are going to categorize you. You can profile them based on their sex, age, occupation, income, social status and even education. In this day and age we are encouraged to be politically correct yet the truth is our brain still categorizes people according to race, gender, religious affiliations and so forth. Be sure that you also take these things into consideration.

  1. Recognize their needs and apprehensions

The more you understand and categorize your customers the more you will be able to anticipate what their true needs are and their true apprehensions. I use the word ‘true’ intentionally because in my experience most business owners I have met have never invested the time and effort to truly know how their customers categorize. These business owners assume that since they are in serving a specific industry that they get what their customers want and they know how to communicate it to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ways customers categorize changes regularly and the way they need to be marketed to also changes regularly. Buzz words change meaning over time. Opportunities that were once hot become stale. And a negative experience with one brand can paint the entire industry. To be success you must include as part of your strategy a constant mission to stay relevant and important to your clients.

  1. Craft your presentation 

Even if you understand how your customers categorize you will need to invest a substantial amount of time crafting your presentation. A big part of your emphasis should be on the beginning of your presentation. It is said that first impressions are based on the first three seconds of an interaction. This is split second categorizing at work.  I find one of the strongest ways to begin is to use something called ‘pattern priming.’ (We talk more about pattern priming within the coaching program. It is a powerful tool for persuasion and increasing sales.) In a very simply application pattern priming at the beginning of your presentation could include questions that your prospect needs to have answered. Great examples are the questions/statements/headlines that appear on the cover of magazines and newspapers. For example: 5 easy ways to tell if your boyfriend is cheating on you, The number one reason you can’t lose weight, 3 mistakes that business owners make that keep them broke, How I survived an abusive marriage, How to make a million dollars without trying.

Split second categorizing is something that you will never be able to escape. If you learn how to use it to your benefit it can be a great asset for finding your customers and becoming important to them. We only invest in the things that we value. And the first way to increase your bottom line is become relevant to those who can purchase your products and services.

Douglas Vermeeren

Douglas Vermeeren,

Douglas Vermeeren has conducted extensive research into the lives of more than 400 of the world’s top achievers. Douglas Vermeeren knows what they did to get to the top and he can show you how.  He appears regularly on ABC, FOX, CNN, CTV, CBC and is known as the modern day Napoleon Hill. He is the author of 3 books in the Guerrilla Marketing series and is the creator of the hit personal development films The Opus & The Gratitude Experiment. His results based coaching program MAXIMUM RESULTS is currently among the fastest growing in the nation and franchises are now available in selected markets! If you want to make more money as a coach please contact us. For more information on Doug and his programs go to or

Written by douglasvermeeren

July 5, 2013 at 2:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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