“Yeah, right!” You’re thinking this is a bunch of hooey: “all buying decisions are emotional.” “My customers give a lot of thought about what they buy from me.” Or “It’s how I present the opportunity to prospects that convinces them to buy.” Or “When the price and benefits align, that’s when the customer buys.” These are all true statements. But think back to the beginning of a successful sales event. Didn’t you first have to earn the respect of the prospect. Wasn’t your first encounter all about building rapport; getting them to like you enough to be comfortable answering your tough questions? Great salespeople know prospects don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
All Buying Decisions Are Emotional
Yes, that’s true. It took a while for my “engineering mind” to understand it. But think about it. For consumer products marketing works hard to make an emotional attachment to a brand. I like Coca Cola. The real one made with sugar and sold in glass bottles. Now my ability to taste is not particularly well developed so I couldn’t discriminate between Coke or Pepsi in a blind taste test. In fact all colas taste pretty much the same to me. But I only buy Coca Cola made with sugar in glass bottles. This is emotional attachment to the brand is it not? Ever bought a home or a car? Didn’t how you felt about the vehicle or house tip the decision? True after you made the selection, then the rational mind cataloged all the reasons it was a good decision. Still wondering whether all buying decisions are emotional?
Find The Pain
Pain is a very strong emotion. We all will do most anything to get rid of or avoid pain. When changing buyer behavior, great salespeople either find the pain or create the pain in the buyer. They know all buying decisions are emotional. When I was first married we lived in a comfortable one-bedroom apartment. Large enough for our needs and small enough not to require much upkeep. So we could spend more time doing fun things. Then along comes the baby. One bedroom was not enough for the growing family. We felt the “growing pains” of our family and bought a house. The house we chose just “felt right” to us. Conveniently the mortgage was affordable. Whether personal purchases or commercial sales nobody makes a change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. (Read “No Pain No Change” here.)
Emotions Show Our Humanity
Great salespeople connect with their customers on an emotional level. Mutually beneficial long-term relationships are built on trust and confidence. Another way to say it is “people buy from people who they like and respect.” I’m not suggesting we use emotions to manipulate prospects but to connect on a personal level.
When I was the sales manager for a metal fabricator we were proposing to work on a new cancer center at a hospital. The project was being managed by a construction management company but the hospital was controlling the purchasing process. Our presentation to the purchasing team was made by the president of the company. Years earlier his wife had given birth to twin girls. One of the twins needed months of care in the hospital. At the end of the technical presentation our president told the story of his daughters’ first months. He was sincere in his praise for the medical team who cared for his daughter. I watched as he spoke and saw each person in the room was touched by his story. Some months later I was visiting with the buyer for the project. She told me it was capability as a metal fabricator which got us the opportunity to bid but it was the emotional connection that won us the work. When I wonder whether it’s true that all buying decisions are emotional I remember this story.
What You Can Do Right Now Since All Buying Decisions Are Emotional
- Remember how using emotion connected you to customers
- List the ways you can build trust with a prospect
- Write six general questions to use to discover or create pain