Most of us have come across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs at some time in our school years. He was one of the first to try and determine what drove people to make the decisions they do. Maslow basically said that after we took care of our physiological needs such as food and shelter, we then began making decisions based on our emotional needs.
A number of years later, a psychologist working at Princeton University, named Danielle Kahneman, also began researching what drives the decision-making process. In 2002 he won the Nobel Prize for economics. How did a psychologist win a Nobel Prize in economics? He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all of us make all of our decisions based on emotion. This is true regardless of gender, race or culture. Even those of us who like to believe we can remove emotion from our decision-making process, still make decisions based on our emotions. We are just quicker to then rationalize our decisions with our facts and figures.
We can debate his findings, however, he did win a Nobel Prize proving his theories. The question then becomes, how do we utilize these findings in our sales process to assist us to sell more, in less time and have more fun doing it?
1. Appeal to emotions.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling business to business, or directly to end consumers. They all utilize emotion in making their decisions. What emotions might they be feeling before making their decisions? Fear? Fear of failure. Fear that your product or service will fall short of promises. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of what that mistake could cost them in their businesses. Maybe just fear of change in itself. The emotion could be something as simple as frustration.
Emotions such as fear, greed, jealousy and others can be very powerful. If you are going to try to overcome these emotions or swing them in your favor just using facts, figures and logic, it is going to be a challenge. You will have some success mostly because other sales teams are all trying to do it the same way.
2. Drill down to specifics.
If you truly want to sell more, in less time, and have more fun doing it, you must bring emotion into your sales process. The first step is to determine what emotions are driving your prospect’s or client’s decisions. This is done by asking asking the right questions to drill deeper into the client’s needs and feelings about those needs. Ask what they want. Then ask why they want it. Keep drilling down deeper by asking “why?” again. Continue drilling down with responses like, “Can you be more specific? Tell me more about that.” You can also use reflective statements to go deeper. “I believe you are telling me this is important to you because…” Then be quiet and let them elaborate. You will know when they are expressing the emotion that is driving their decision. Their eyes will light up. Their body language will show it. The tone of their voice will give it away.
Once you discover the real emotion behind their decision-making process, you then need to utilize emotion in your sales process. There are a number of great techniques to assist your sales teams in doing this. The intent here is to either have them experience a positive emotion with regards to your product or service, or at the very least pit emotion experienced with purchasing your product against the negative emotions they are feeling.
3. Build a bridge to benefits.
Most sales courses try to do this by teaching us always to use “features and benefits” in our selling process. Features are facts about our product or service. The benefit, is supposed to appeal to the emotional need that our product will satisfy. However, 99% of the time when you ask the salesperson to give you a feature and benefit about their product, they will simply state two facts. Facts do not appeal to emotions on their own. The main reason this happens is because earlier on in the process they failed to determine what emotion in the prospect to appeal to. If we can teach them to dig deeper in the process and determine these emotions, we can then teach them how to utilize them later in their sales process.
One simple technique is a simple bridge. Every time someone on your sales team states what they feel is a feature and benefit, get them to add one of these bridges. “And the real benefit to you is…” “What this means to you is…” Usually the feature and benefit are both facts. However when you add one of these bridges, they will naturally appeal to the emotional needs of the client.
4. Restate the emotional benefit and close.
The next step is to state the emotional benefit in your close. “Mr. Prospect, you purchase our product and implement it into your process and this is what will happen. One year from now, your bottle neck in your production line no longer exists. The benefit is you are producing more, quicker and cheaper than you ever have which means you are making more money than ever. The real benefit to you is you are going to be able to pass on a thriving and successful business worry free to your kids.”
Learning the communication skills to bring emotion into your sales process is truly the way to sell more, in less time, and have more fun doing it.