If you have participated in traditional sales training and learned how to create and deliver a compelling value proposition, you are probably doing it wrong! The old school training strongly reinforces the need to create a logical argument to influence executive-level contacts. The approach was to do research to validate your points, anticipate reactions, and overcome objections. Most every salesperson has been trained this way. Recent research related to selling and persuasion suggests 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 you have been led to believe. In his book, “Descartes’ Error,” Antonio Demasio, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, explains emotions are involved in almost every decision we make, and they create preferences which lead to our decisions. The role of emotion is frequently underestimated as it relates to persuasion.
Sales strategies involve planning, building credibility, and designing compelling messaging. They also include leveraging personal agendas AND triggering emotional responses to your key points. This is well beyond the logical and linear construct you were taught. Consider the very point of making a choice is arguably always based on emotion!
Dr. Herbert Simon, American Nobel Laureate, states emotions skew or can completely determine most of the decisions that we make in a day.
The question then becomes: what emotions should you elicit during the sales process? Simple! Either a sense of excitement over the gain could be realized or a disturbed feeling about the potential threats could result in loss. Consider anyone who wants to lose weight? Either they are motivated by a sense of excitement to look and feel better, or perhaps they just heard from the doctor that there could be dire results if they do not lose weight. The bottom line – 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. Don’t forget it is not all about your solution but what your solution can do for your contact.
When you are selling, go deep and look beneath the surface to find hidden emotional needs. Every one of your contacts has a personal agenda. Tying your value proposition to their personal agenda will quickly result in an emotional connection to 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.
Not only will you sell more when you sell emotionally, you will feel more satisfied knowing you helped someone achieve something important to them. Your clients will be happier as well, as they will appreciate your relationship and gain much value with their purchase.
Mastering the art and science of creating value propositions that trigger emotions and leveraging 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!
Personal Challenge: 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 is their personal agenda? How can you best provide value?