BrainX 7MTF Blog

A conversation between the world's best educators, corporate trainers, and top researchers

AA-ISP Selects BrainX for CISP® Sales Training and Accreditation Program

Posted on Wed, May 4, 2011 @ 16:05 PM

BrainX selected by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals to deliver their Certified Inside Sales Professional Training and Accreditation program


AA isp CISP Logo resized 600

Today, the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP)[] announced the selection of the BrainX On-line Learning System to deliver their Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP®®) Accreditation program. “The profession of inside sales has grown very rapidly across the globe with new jobs being created at a 10% annual growth rate” stated Larry Reeves, the association’s COO. “Given this growth and the focus, corporations are looking to inside sales as a key component of its sales coverage strategy. We felt a need to both identify and then test the set of competencies and skills required at the individual rep level”, stated Reeves. AA-ISP Founder and CEO, Bob Perkins goes on to note, “For years corporations have made significant investments in hiring, training, and on-boarding inside sales professionals. Yet there remains a need to, quantify, measure, and then test these skills to assure an individual was competent. We selected BrainX [] because their unique on-line learning system. If a salesperson doesn’t meet the required knowledge and skill level the BrainX on-line learning system builds a personal set of Sales Courses and simulations to help the salesperson master the required knowledge and skills so they can pass the accreditation requirements.

“As we looked at on-line systems we saw immediately how The BrainX patented technology would not only help us to present and test the CISP® materials but ultimately helps the learner to master the skills required to be a CISP®… “stated Perkins. As companies are expecting a much higher level of professionalism and sales results from its inside forces, our member community needs something that goes beyond the current training methods. We found part of our answer in the neuroscience of learning and BrainX, a company leading the way in brain research based online learning solutions.

Bruce Lewolt the CEO of BrainX says he is proud that an organization that understands the world of sales training as well as the AA-ISP would recognize the value of personalized sales training that is mastery based.

Having observed, benchmarked, and coached literally thousands of inside sales reps, Perkins and Reeves know just how inconsistent some of these skills can be from rep to rep. Often times inside sales reps know what to do or say on the phone, but they lack the ability to perform it day in and day out on a consistent basis. To consistently perform at a high level the salesperson must have mastery of the knowledge and skills. It must be second nature so they can execute at a sub-conscious level like one does when riding a bike.

Lewolt agrees and added that it is only with this level of mastery that the conscious centers of the brain are freed up to really listen to what the customer is saying well enough to be able to read between the lines and figure out what it really driving the customer.

The BrainX On-line Learning system is an intelligent system that uses a series of knowledge, skill and belief assessments and builds a cognitive learning profile on each learner. The BrainX Digital Tutor uses the first set of assessments to figure out just what each sales person should focus on and combines this with the personal cognitive profile to mold the delivery of the lesson content and simulations in a way that helps each individual master the required set of skills and competencies in the shortest amount of time so they can obtain their CISP®.

“Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that every salesperson who has the drive to reach a high level of performance and be the best, has the support they need to pass the certification”, stated Reeves. “We selected BrainX because of the system’s unique ability to help us meet this goal.” Reeves goes on to say ”In addition to the leading edge learning system, we found the BrainX team to bring knowledge and expertise that has us to develop a better program.”

About the AA-ISP
The American Association of inside Sales Professionals (”AA-ISP”) is dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. As the only association of its kind, the AA-ISP serves as an authoritative resource to leaders and individual sales representatives who want to take their organization and careers to the next level of professionalism and performance. Our mission is accomplished through an industry-specific focus on leadership and individual development, member forums and networking, best practice sharing, individual training, career development, sales accreditation and annual conferences. Learn more at

About BrainX
BrainX is the next generation of online learning and Talent Management!
BrainX is the first system to combine patented intelligent learning technology with mastery-based, learning strategies. BrainX participated in the landmark research on the neurobiology of effective sales training and used this research to design the BrainX system. The result is a system that accepts any type of content (e.g. product training, sales training, negotiation training) and stores the content in a way that allows the BrainX Digital Tutor to understand the content. The BrainX system figures out just what each person already knows along with what they need to learn. The system uses this information along with the understanding of the lesson content to build personalized lessons that teach each person just what they need: to know; to be able to do; and to believe about why something needs to be done in the correct way. With BrainX the days of one size fits all sales training courses are gone forever. The BrainX system also builds a cognitive learning profile on each learner and uses this information to customize the way lessons are taught and to determine how much post lesson reinforcement each sales person needs. This approach is so effective that when compared to traditional online learning, BrainX users achieve mastery in 50% less time.

Instead of superficial learning, which is quickly forgotten, the BrainX system is research proven to teach content to the point of mastery. Mastery ensures that material won’t be forgotten and produces the long-term adaptive reasoning skills required to dramatically improve sales performance.

Learn more at   

About the CISP®®

The Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP®) Accreditation is the Industry’s first and only professional inside sales credential. The CISP® accreditation was developed to establish and measure the fundamental skills and competencies critical for today’s Inside Sales Professionals. From the quality of the preparatory content to the thoroughness of the “live” sales call examination, the CISP® delivers the highest standard of excellence. Organizations can hire a CISP® with confidence, knowing they are serious about their careers and have the skills to be successful in today’s demanding selling environment.

The CISP® program will be unveiled at the upcoming 2011 Inside Sales Leadership Summit which will be held May 10th and 11th in Minneapolis, MN.

Learn more at

Topics: AA-ISP, Inside Sales, CISP, Certified Inside Sales Professional Training, Neurobiology of Sales, BrainX, Sales Training, American Association of Inside Sales People, CISP Training, Certified Inside Sales Professional Certification, Neurobiology of Sales Training

Is working memory capacity the real reason why sales training fails?

Posted on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 @ 22:03 PM


Salespeople know they should listen more than they talk and if you ask them, they can rapidly list the steps in your selling process.  Yet when they are in front of a client they almost always talk too much and fail to execute properly on the steps in your selling process. Recent neuroscience research on working memory capacity explains why this happens. It also suggests the solution to the problem.

Working memory is the number of items that you can hold and manipulate in your brain for a purpose. For example, the number of steps in a sales process and the number of pieces of information about a client that you can hold in your head and manipulate to determine what you should say or do next.  Healthy adults can normally hold between three to five items in working memory. This means that if your working memory capacity is five, you can hold and manipulate five items at a time: Add a sixth item and the brain is forced to dump one of the items to make room for the sixth.

To experience the impact of your own working memory limitations try to solve the following two problems. Read each problem only one time and then look away as you try to solve them in your head.

  1. Multiply ten times one thousand, then double the number and add ten.


Were you able to solve the problem? Are you feeling confident? Now try the second problem. Remember, you must solve the problem in your head with no pencil or calculator. To get the full experience don’t give up easily. Instead try hard to solve this problem in your head.


  1. Please read the following problem only once and then look away as you try to solve it in your head. Multiply 267 times 431.

Welcome back! How far did you get before you forgot one of the two numbers in the problem? Don’t feel bad – almost no one can do this problem in their head. The question is why? After all, if most people have a pencil and paper they know the multiplication rules well enough to easily solve this problem.

The reason the average person can’t solve this problem in their head is that they lack the number of working memory slots required to remember the problem, the steps required to solve the problem, and the results of each step.

The fact that you couldn’t answer the second question is interesting. However, the epiphany comes when you ask yourself how you were able to answer the first question. After all, if you use the rules of multiplication the first problem actually involves more steps.

The reason you were able to answer the first question is that in school most of us mastered the use of 10’s. Mastery means that your brain wrote a separate program for solving problems involving 10’s in the same way it wrote a program for riding a bike. Since mastery-based programming runs automatically without using working memory capacity, you had slots available to remember the components of the problem and still solve the problem. When you read multiply 10 times 1000 your brain subconsciously ran the 10’s program and placed 10,000 in one of your working memory slots.

Now let’s examine the brain of a salesperson that just completed a sales training event. The next week they are out in the field trying to recall and use a specific strategy for overcoming objections. In this case it is an objection that a customer just raised in the form of a question.

To properly respond to the objection, the sales person must keep the following items in working memory:

  1. Hold the question the customer asked. (One slot if it is a simple question, two or more slots if it is a multipart question.)

Minimum: 1 slot

  1. Recall and hold the strategy for effectively answering client objections. (One slot for the current step in the process and one slot for remembering where you are in the process.)

Minimum: 2 slots

  1. Recall the facts about your products or services and determine which ones to use in your answer. (This requires a minimum of two slots in order to compare one item to the next.)

Minimum: 2 slots

Danger – at this point most sales people are already out of working memory capacity. The next thing they bring into working memory leaves the brain with no choice but to dump something to make room for the new item. Often this is a critical part of the client’s question.

As bad as this seems, it is actually worse. This is because the salesperson is probably stressed out by the objection. The emotion of stress or anxiety takes up at least one working memory slot if the stress is mild, and almost all of working memory if it is extreme.

Before we leave this exercise, let’s count the rest of the slots a sales person would need in order to effectively execute the ‘overcoming objections’ strategy.

  1. Recall the customer’s primary goals and objectives for needing your products and services in the first place and formulate your response in a way that uses this information.

Minimum: 2 slots

  1. Some systems stress the importance of remembering the personality style of the client and using this information to determine how detailed or brief your answer should be.

Minimum: 1 slot

  1. Use the right emotions .For example, some systems teach a specific method for the level of emotion and energy you should have in your response based on the emotions and energy of the prospect’s question. Of course this must have been remembered.

Minimum: 1 slot

If we count up just the minimum numbers and don’t account for any spaces taken up by emotions, we come in at nine slots. This is far more than the average person’s brain possesses. Yet, everyday millions of sales people effectively execute on this and similar strategies for overcoming objections. The reason they can exceed their working memory limitation is the same reason you can do mental math involving 10’s. The salesperson practiced the strategy on enough different days to stimulate their brain to grow the connections required to reach mastery.

Of course, if the sales person hasn’t mastered the strategy disaster often strikes.  Instead of listening to the customer and effectively executing on the objection handling strategy the sales person interrupts the customer mid-sentence to blurt out information.  The sales person does this out of fear that they will soon forget the important point – which they will as soon as the next thought enters working memory and bumps out the important point.

The most important conclusion regarding working memory is that nothing should be taught in your sales training courses unless it is important enough to teach to the point of mastery. Lots of extra nice-to-know information might make your sales training seminar seem more interesting, but in the long run you are doing your sales people a disservice because during the pressure of the selling situation these extra, un-mastered pieces of information or strategy tips will take up too much working memory capacity. 

Topics: Overcoming objections, Sales Training, Working Memory

Getting students to take responsibility for their learning success

Posted on Sat, Mar 12, 2011 @ 20:03 PM

Teachers continually struggle with students who think they shouldn’t have to do any work or studying. They have no intrinsic motivation to learn and refuse to think about their futures, even their immediate futures. This pervasive disdain for accountability seems to explain the uncomfortably high failure rate in our schools. Many students do not feel it is their responsibility to learn and develop. They feel it will come deus ex machina with no effort on their part.

 Unfortunately, in a desire to see our students succeed, teachers and administrators have repeatedly lowered their expectations of students. BrainX, I feel, has gone the other way taking the onus off of the teacher and put it squarely on the shoulders of the student. The student is shown exactly what they need to learn, provided with an effective means to learn it and powerful reinforcement after it has been learned. The entire research based learning process is supported by the teacher but the student must choose to put in the effort to learn. We are more guides and mentors now than nannies.

Trent Nicholson

High School English Teacher

Topics: Student Motivation, Intrinsic Motivation, BrainX, Research based learning process

Brain Research on Test Taking Strategies: There is no such thing as a naturally bad test taker – True!

Posted on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 @ 16:01 PM

Scientists have mapped the entire human genome and there is no gene for test taking - so no one is naturally bad at it. However, researchers have shown that if a student believes they are a naturally bad test taker or for any other reason fears the test, their brain will engage the fight or flight mechanisms the moment they sit down to take the test.

Here is how Jack Schafer PhD describes the fight or flight mechanism.

 In humans, incoming signals from the five senses are directed to the thalamus, often described as the gateway to the brain. The thalamus divides each incoming signal into two separate signals. One signal goes to the limbic system, more specifically the amygdala. The amygdala is the processing center for our emotional responses. The other signal goes to the reasoning parts of our brain in the cortex.

The pathway to the amygdala is shorter than the pathway to the cortex, allowing the amygdala to process the incoming signal first. If the incoming signal matches a previously known threat, the amygdala secretes hormones that trigger the fight/flight response. One function of the fight/flight response is to inhibit the second signal from reaching the cortex, preventing the logical evaluation of the incoming information. The body then goes into automatic response mode.

Here is an example for how the fight/flight response works and why it is so important. If you walk down a road and happen upon a rattlesnake, the normal reaction is to immediately jump out of harm’s way. The amygdala causes this automatic response. Once at a safe distance, you can logically evaluate the snake’s potential threat. This automatic response increases your chances of survival. Had the automatic response not engaged, you would have stood in the road and observed the characteristics of the snake, such as the rattling sound and the shape of the head, and would have logically come to the conclusion that the snake was poisonous, but too late to avoid a snake bite.

Test anxiety is another form of the fight/flight response. Students who know the test material backwards and forwards still might have difficulty recalling the information if they perceive the test as a threat, or have the fear that they are bad test takers. In both of these cases, it is the primary emotion of fear that causes the student's fight/flight response to engage. This response reduces the student's ability to engage their cortex to recall and effectively use the information they have learned to answer the questions on the test.

Here are two strategies for overcoming the fight or flight response that produces poor test performance:


  1. Learn to control your fight or flight response. Just before you start a test, tell yourself to calm down and that the test is not a threat. Just telling yourself to calm down actually works because you feel empowered and less threatened. It also causes your cortex to send a signal to your limbic system to dampen the fight/flight response. Remind yourself that you know the material and tell yourself that you are actually happy to have the opportunity to demonstrate what you know; the fight or flight mechanism.
  2. Learn to recognize the signals that you are entering the fight/flight mode. If you start to feel the jitters and a surge of adrenalin, recognize that these are the first signs that your brain is entering the fight/flight mode. Stephen Daugherty PhD, who is one of the leading experts on test taking strategies, suggests that when you find yourself entering fight/flight during a test, the best thing to do is take a short mental time out. Push your chair a few inches away from the desk. Close your eyes or at least take your attention off the test and think about something relaxing. When you feel the jitters and tension go away, remind yourself that you know this material and go back to answering questions on the test.

The Smashing Silos Research Staff


Topics: Test Taking Strategies, Brain Research

Brain Research on Intelligence and Working Memory: IQ is fixed by the age of 15 – Myth:

Posted on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 @ 16:01 PM

Researchers often break total intelligence into two categories. The first they call Fluid Intelligence or IQ, which is your raw ability to perceive relationships, reason and solve problems independent of any specific experience or education. The second is the sum total of everything you have experienced and learned. This is often called Crystallized Intelligence. It is the two working together that produce your total intelligence.

While education and training can clearly improve Crystallized Intelligence, it was thought that Fluid Intelligence was fixed by some point in the teen-age years. This belief has recently been called into question.

It turns out that the biggest single component of Fluid Intelligence or IQ is the working memory capacity: This is your ability to hold and manipulate things in memory. For example, to hold all the components of a math problem in your head and solve the problem, or, in a conversation with someone, to remember a person's complete statement, analyze the statement, and come up with a logical response. It is this second component of being able to logically process the information that separates working memory from short-term memory, which you use to temporarily remember a phone number while you dial it on your phone.

Working memory capacity was thought to be fixed until researchers like Martin Buschkuehl, Susanne Jaeggi and John Jonides, all from the University of Michigan, demonstrated that with the right practice it can be increased. Increasing working memory capacity improves IQ, which makes the statement in our header a myth. Increasing working memory capacity also seems to be effective for improving behavior and academic outcomes for people with ADHD.

The Smashing Silos Research Staff


Topics: IQ, ADHD, Brain Research, Intelligence

Motivation Theory: Offering cash payments for good test scores improves learning outcomes - Myth!

Posted on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 @ 16:01 PM

Offering cash payments or gift certificates for good grades actually decreases learning outcomes in the long run, and often encourages cheating. This is especially true for courses in technical subjects or mathematics.

A few research studies have shown that cash payments produce a limited improvement in behaviors that are easy for the student - like wearing a uniform or going to the library. However, when the task takes diligent work, like learning math concepts, the payments are actually detrimental in the long run.

The best way to get a student to do something that requires diligent work is to increase their intrinsic motivation to learn. Some have argued that if a student has very low intrinsic motivation to learn, cash payments or other significant extrinsic forms of motivation might jump start the learning process and give students a positive experience that eventually leads to an increased intrinsic motivation to learn.


Two of the most respected researchers in this field are Richard Ryan PhD and Edward Deci PhD who both work at the University of Rochester. Their research shows that cash payments and other significant extrinsic forms of motivation actually decrease a student's natural internal motivation. They also have developed and tested an effective system for building internal motivation to learn.

 The Smashing Silos Research Staff

Brain Research and Learning Styles: Teaching students about learning styles and trying to match instructional strategies to learning styles improves learning outcomes - Myth

Posted on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 @ 21:12 PM

Over the next week we will post the research on each of the four options. Here is the first post:

Learning Styles - Myth:

The latest research shows that trying to match instructional strategies to an individual's learning style (verbal, visual, kinesthetic) is ineffective. In fact there is almost no support for thinking that learning styles exist.

The most comprehensive study to date on learning styles was done by the respected researchers Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer and Bjork. The study called Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence was published in the December 2008 edition of Psychological Science in the Public Interest. It turns out that this myth is actually counterproductive because teaching students about learning styles leads to the false conclusion that they are not capable of learning if material is presented in a method that doesn't match their learning style.

Unfortunately, selling learning styles has become a big business. A search of learning styles on Amazon produced over four thousand books and products that promote the myth of Learning Styles.

The Smashing Silos Research Staff

Topics: learning styles, motivation

Can You Spot the Myths?

Posted on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 @ 02:11 AM

Which of the following ideas are myths and which are true?

1. Learning Styles

-  The latest research shows that teaching learners about learning styles and trying to match instructional strategies to an individual’s learning style (verbal, visual, kinesthetic) improves learning outcomes.

2. Motivation

-  The latest research shows that offering cash payment or other valuable extrinsic rewards for good test scores (on courses that cover technical or mathematical related subjects) improves learning outcomes.

3. IQ

-  The latest research shows that IQ is fixed in most children by the age of 15. After it is fixed, students can always learn more, but IQ cannot be improved. 

4. Test Taking Ability

-  There is no such thing as a naturally bad test taker; yet, if an adult learner believes he is a naturally bad test taker, when he starts a test the fight or flight systems activate in the brain and retard higher-level thinking skills required to do well on the test. In short, a person’s belief about his test taking ability becomes self-fulfilling.

Topics: IQ, learning styles, motivation, test taking ability, Bruce Lewolt