Buying is More Emotional Than Intellectual

‘ROI’ is an acronym that all sales people should understand. We are taught to provide a Return on Investment to get the deal done during sales 101. We are told that a deal needs a strong ROI in order to justify the rate of return for both parties in a typical transaction.

While a strong ROI is important in my experience, it rarely closes the deal. I have seen sales situations in which we’ve had a slam dunk ROI that would save millions of dollars and weeks of time yet didn’t close the deal. On other occasions, I have seen leaner ROI’s purchased not because of the financial realities of any given deal term, but rather by the emotional attachment the client sensed in the solution.

Human decision making is connected to the emotional decision-making area of the brain. This part is called the Amygdala and it is the smallest and deepest part of the limbic system of the brain (that’s as deep as we will go into the human physiology). Ultimate buying decisions are more influenced by emotions than intellect. You have a better chance of moving the sale process along by exciting or disturbing a prospect rather than listing the fact-based reasons they should buy. Advertisements are great examples of what excites or disturbs people to take action. I recently purchased a car. It was a car that I have had my eye on for years yet in my mind it was too expensive. I knew financially that it was not a good business decision. I know that a car depreciates from the moment you walk out of the dealer’s door. Cars, to me, are a mode of transportation that can get you from here to there whether it’s a Fiat or a Maserati. So why would I pay so much more for basic transportation? The TV commercials for my car created an atmosphere of success, beauty and privilege. Intellectually, I knew that the car provides none of this for me, yet in my Amygdala I became excited about the fact that I would be perceived as successful. The same holds true for disturbing potential buyers. There are commercials today asking if I have enough money for my retirement. The company advertising the investment service uses economists to demonstrate that most likely I do not have enough money for retirement. The economists then excites me by telling me that even the small amount of cash in my pocket today can change my future…all in a 30 second commercial. Intellectually, we have all known since our parents signed us up for our first checking account that we need to save for the future. Yet, less than half of all Boomers actually have enough saved for retirement. Having known this fact for years it still only became relevant to my personal situation through a simple TV commercial targeted at my age group that personally disturbed me regarding my own financial situation. My emotional fear will make me act, not the compounding interest calculator used by my accountant to explain the very same reality.

So how does this relate to what you sell every day? I have a supposition that although each business says they are unique, you should interpret this as all companies have processes that are similar especially when in the same industry just with a different vernacular. They all have a back office process, a production process, a sales process, and a customer service process to name a few. Intellectually you could have the perfect solution for their business. So why do some in this industry buy from you and some don’t? The ROI was the same for each. Could it be that in one case you found a way to ‘excite or disturb’ the prospect enough to emotionally involve them in the decision making process? Conversely, was the non-buyer not emotionally involved enough to ink the deal?

Another old adage is that people buy from people. I agree. If that wasn’t the case, I should be able to sell all services on line with a basic ROI calculator. I could task two different sales reps to call on the same type of business; same size of business with the same need and same ROI. The result, one customer buys and one doesn’t. One pays more and buys more than the other. Why? The facts; ROI and need were the same for both. What if one buyer was having a rough day? What if one buyer was just promoted and wanted to show everyone his new power? What if the sales rep made an inappropriate comment during the introduction? We can’t control the buyer’s emotional state, yet we can recognize it and adapt our approach to the customer. Showing an ROI calculation is not going to get the job done in these situations. Understanding the emotional connection to you and the proposed solution is more important in these situations.

Some ideas to consider in helping to understand the emotional connection with a buyer are:

1. You must be able to ‘relate’ to the buyer before you can ‘position’ your value. Relate means to connect in a professional and personal way. Demonstrate, for example, that you understand what is happening in the buyers’ market and their day to day operations. This demonstrates your interest, your understanding and expertise. Bring them something. No, not a pen with your logo or collateral material, rather teach them something about what is happening in the market. Think of this as if you were invited to someone’s home for dinner. They have cooked and cleaned all day. When you arrive, do you come empty handed? (If you say yes to this question then maybe sales isn’t for you…). No, you bring a dessert or a bottle of wine. The same goes for a prospect call. Make the prospect feel like they are speaking to someone who is going to make them smarter; someone who is going to provide them important market information; someone who is respecting how busy they are and wants something for spending valuable time with you. Being able to relate is not positioning your solution.

2. You must believe that you are an equal with the prospect. Everyone is sizing up each other. The prospect is looking to see if you are worthy to deal with his or her position. If they think you cannot bring anything new or valuable when relating, their value for you and your service goes down. Emotionally they will not invest any more time with you. If you get the emotional investment being seen as a peer, this will go a long way during the negotiation stage.

3. Negotiations are 25% fact and 75% emotional. Have you ever had a prospect that understands the value and knows they should pay the price you want, yet still wants a further discount? Have you ever held your ground and not given the discount and the customer walked away? To me, this is neither rational nor intellectual yet an emotional game to win. It’s like playing poker. The old adage goes; if you do not know who the sucker is at the table…it’s you! The same premise goes during negotiations. If you know how emotionally invested the client is in the solution (supply chain shuts down without the solution, the product needs to launch in 30 days; this is truly one of a kind solution; the solution is already embedded and the cost to remove it and then take a chance on a replacement product), then you know how far and wide you can price and discount. Expect that everyone on the prospect side gets involved wants a ‘win’. Price and negotiate with this in mind.

4. Do not negotiate against yourself when you become nervous or impatient. Confidence and patience are two attributes great sales people need to sell emotionally big ticket deals. When you get nervous you attempt to expedite things that may need to take its due course. The prospect knows how you get paid and at the end of the quarter they may get a better deal. Let them ask for something before you offer. They may be more nervous than you.

5. Big risk equals big reward. If you do not believe in the value of the solution and your understanding of the client’s emotional connection to it then you will get far less than what you may deserve. Asking for a very (perceived) high price sometimes signals higher value to a prospect. It will also indicate the prospects perceived value. Remember, the more emotional the prospect gets negotiating the price, the more they want the solution. Your ability to articulate the value and the value to their emotional connection with confidence will get you the higher deals.

If you are a feature and benefit type sales person, remember to feature something that emotionally connects with the client and the benefit is a clear value driver their emotional side.[/fusion_text][one_third last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][/one_third][two_third last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Jay Ryan is the EVP & Head of Sales for Accuity’s Americas and Global Team. Accuity, part of the publically traded Reed Elsevier, is the leading provider of payment and AML data and software. Based in Skokie (Chicago) Ill., Mr. Ryan has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience with Fortune 500 companies and small private equity driven organizations. Having focused his career in selling data, market research and software, Mr. Ryan has needed to implement emotional sales skills when selling in particular intangible services like data and consulting.[/fusion_text][/two_third][/fullwidth]