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Are You Selling to Your Prospects’ Heads or Their Hearts?
Prospects decide to buy based on their emotions and justify that decision with their logic. The successful entrepreneur appeals to the prospect’s heart first by telling him or her how great s/he’ll feel as a result of purchasing.
It’s sad but true: Many entrepreneurs create their sales messages to appeal to a prospect’s logical, rational side, despite the fact that it’s the prospect’s emotional reaction that will determine whether or not a sale is actually made.
What’s with that?
Back in the good old days, people spoke of the importance of selling “benefits versus features ”. In other words, don’t waste your time and energy giving the performance parameters of your widget; instead, focus on the desirable outcomes which that widget’s performance creates for the client. This principle has often been described by the shorthand phrase “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
An even more useful way to think of this is in terms of “ how they’ll feel versus what you do”. We tend to get so excited about our product or service that we can talk a mile a minute about what we do and how we do it. While it’s obviously crucial to be thoroughly familiar with the product/service one offers, it’s even more crucial to realize that every prospect, in the back of her mind, is implicitly asking, “Why do I care about all that?”
Naturally, it’s important to tell the prospect what’s in it for them to purchase from you. However, it’s even more vital to tell them in a way that makes it easy for them to buy. To do this, you have to appeal to their emotions. Why? Because all of us, whether we admit it or not, make the “buy” decision emotionally, and then we justify that decision rationally.
Think of an avid golfer who’s seduced by promises of more powerful drives and more accurate putts—and all he has to do is purchase XYZ brand of clubs. As he writes the check or pulls out his plastic, the unconscious back story that’s playing sounds like this: Everybody knows that golfing is a terrific way to do business in an easygoing setting. Who knows how many millions of dollars in deals have been closed on golf courses? And I keep hearing how relationship marketing is so crucial. These new clubs will make me feel more confident in taking clients out for a game; in fact, they actually give me a way to deepen my business relationships!
The fact is that this story—generated by our hero’s logical/rational side—sounds pretty good. However, the reality is that it was his emotions that drove his buying decision. Here’s the real back story: I want, therefore I buy.
So how do you engage your prospect’s emotions? You tell him how his purchase will make him feel. You make him yearn for what you have to offer. You don’t want to use words of cold logic. You want to bombard him with passionate, feeling-based words. Tell him he’ll feel powerful, confident, successful, sexy, admired. Once you’ve hooked his heart, his head—and his money—will follow.
Now, let me hasten to add something so that I don’t come off as totally crass or manipulative. The only reason any of us remains in business is that we provide something of value to our clients; we meet a pressing need of theirs; we create the outcomes they desire. The situation could be as dire as someone being willing to pay for a slew of specialists at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic because that’s their best chance of being cured of a debilitating or fatal illness. It could be something as mundane as a person buying all new underwear because they’re tired of feeling poor when they wear the stuff where the elastic is all stretched out.
Regardless how serious a consumer’s problem may look (or not look) to an outsider, his problem is important to him. And it’s very important to us, as service providers who can offer a solution to that problem, to speak to the prospect in a way he can hear with his heart.
Learn more about the author, Kathleen Watson.
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