If you have been through traditional sales training that outlines how to create and deliver a compelling value proposition…..you are probably doing it wrong! The old school training approach strongly reinforces the need to construct a logical argument to influence Executive-level contacts. Do research to validate your points, anticipate reactions, and overcome resistance with evidence. Most every salesperson has been trained this way. Interestingly, recent research related to selling and persuasion suggests that without a focus on building an emotional engagement you will face a lower win-rate and revenue.
Decisions are made using emotion AND logic, but maybe not in the order or magnitude that you have been led to believe. In an article published by Forbes titled, “Leadership Is All About Emotional Persuasion,” the premise that you need to structure a logical argument to achieve a greater number of decisions is opposed. “Decision making is fundamentally emotional.” Recent brain research by noted neuroscientist Antonio Demasio shows that if you incapacitate the part of the brain where emotions reside, people cannot make decisions. The role of emotion is frequently underestimated as it relates to persuasion.
Playing a game of sales “chess” involves strategic planning, building credibility, and designing compelling messaging. It also includes leveraging personal agendas AND triggering emotional responses to your key points. This is well beyond the logical and linear construct you were taught. Consider that the very point of making a choice is arguably always based on emotion!
The question then becomes: what emotions should you elicit during the sales process? Simple! Either a sense of excitement over the gain that could be realized or a disturbed feeling about the potential threats that could result in loss. Consider infomercials. Why do they run as often as they do? Because they work! In 30 - 60 seconds you are persuaded to either dial a number or visit a website. Their message? A very exciting future or the ability to avoid impending disaster!
Emotions regarding gain or loss can be triggered in a business contact in several important areas. Revenue, margin, competitive advantage, and even market share. You can develop a sense of excitement or disturb based on the impact of your solution. Do not forget it is not all about your solution but what your solution can do for your contact.
Alongside of evoking emotion is your ability to help your contacts achieve their personal agendas. Every one of your contacts has a personal agenda. Tying your value proposition to their personal agenda will VERY quickly result in support for your idea or proposal. Examples include promotions, bonuses, or credibility with peers or management. It could also be about leaving a legacy or security in their position.
Mastering the art and science of creating value propositions that trigger emotions and leverage personal agendas are the two most powerful aspects of persuading your contacts to take action and politically back your ideas. When planning your next contact remember: emotion creates action, and action creates results.
Begin evaluating every interaction with your contacts to intentionally create an emotional reaction. Does your message elicit the response of being either excited or disturbed? What evidence do you have?