The Binary Code of Human Behavior – by Michael D. Goodman

I first heard the truism “people buy emotionally and justify with logic” from Tom Hopkins in what must have been the mid-‘70s. He had gotten it from J. Douglas Edwards, I suspect in the ‘50s, and I frankly dismissed it as another tired, old bumper-sticker bromide that had little value to me or anyone in sales. That was my first mistake.

When you think about that statement, if it is true (and it is), what it means is that every time any human gives up anything to get something he wants, it is always for an emotional payoff.

Just because the payoff is in the form of a feeling (an emotion), it doesn’t mean we recognize it or even see it coming when it happens. Like putting water on a toothbrush either before or after you put the toothpaste on, it has long since been relegated to a habit, one you no longer consciously think of when doing it in the morning. Many of our feelings (emotions) are now habits of thought.

Diving much deeper into this conversation leads us to the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, a deep look into human behavior and emotions, which would take us far afield to explore here. Suffice to say that, in the nerve transmitters in our brain, what we think and what we feel are almost simultaneous and definitely connected. What we think about leads us to what we feel and remember; many of our thoughts are habitual.

So one day, I had this wild-haired notion. I have lots of them and many just go away on their own, but every once in a while, one takes root and I have to chase it down to understand it. In this case, the thought was, “If we created computers in our own image, and the lowest level programmable operating system of a computer was the binary code, what would the binary code for a human be?” Fess up, that is not the kind of thought you want to move into an altered state and begin trying to figure out, is it?

Well, remember that bromide earlier: “people buy emotionally and justify with logic”? Apparently, the binary code of a human operates at the emotional level. So what two emotions would make up the lowest level of programmable human behavior? And if I can find those two things, how does that help me?

The first answer, the binary code of human behavior, is simply this: “People always move to a feeling of being loved or lovability and always away from the fear of loss of love or lovability.” When we buy something, when we give up something we own in order to get something we want, it is always for the feeling of being loved or to avoid the fear of losing love. Wait, you say, that can’t be; I don’t feel those things at all.

It is easy to fight the notion when we don’t recognize those feelings as motivation to action, and it is almost impossible to ever recognize those feelings in the moment because of that other thing we talked about: habits of thought. It doesn’t mean they are not there; it simply means that we don’t see them come and go. However, once we accept that this thought / feeling / love / fear thing is going on inside our psyche, then we can begin the process of reverse engineering our thinking. By observing our emotions, or our buyers’ emotions, we can actually begin reading what they are thinking.

So, you tell me, is that a powerful thought or what? How powerful a force for change can we be by simply understanding what our prospects are feeling and thinking? Just for a moment, beyond revenue, into changing everything that is important to you from people you love to the community you live in, how much more can you make this a better place to live?

Salespeople spend their entire lives getting better at creating change. There are none better prepared to lead the charge to create change that has real value. Understanding the binary code for human behavior can step up the horsepower. Use it in good health, and for healthy good.

Lovingly submitted,
Michael D. Goodman


A little over 35 years ago, Michael D. Goodman was terminated from his first position as a sales person. The person who fired him also happened to be his dad.  Neither knew much about sales, sales processes or what it took to be successful as a sales person or a sales manager.  Michael used the frustration and upset over this moment and fueled an intense lifetime of learning what makes for the most dignified, integral and effective selling models.  Using what he has learned, he has become a top-ranked sales professional and for the last ten years, a consultant, coach, speaker and trainer in sales.

Michael is the author of the Solomon Sales System, the founder of the International Sales Pros Association, the President of Revenue Kinetics, LLC and the creator of the American Sales Academy.  He has helped thousands of sales professionals, and hundreds of companies of all sizes improve their skills, processes, people and systems to improve revenue growth up to 80% in the first 24 months.

Michael believes that learning sales is really a study on creating effective change in anything and developing relationships intentionally for the greater good.  Further, that salespeople are the unsung heroes in the battle on a bad economy.  You can reach Michael through his website at