No matter how logical your prospect seems, most humans buy with their hearts. Buyers–especially business owners–like to believe that purchases are based on logic, data, and necessity. Actually, purchasing decisions are one of the most emotionally-charged choices that humans make.
In his book Descartes Error, neuroscience professor Antonio Damasio says that almost every decision humans make is driven by emotion. Functional MRI scans of the brain show that consumers primarily use emotions rather than information when considering which brand to buy. Additionally, advertising research cited by Psychology Today suggests that emotionally-driven marketing has 300% more influence than data-driven ads.
Whether it’s greed, fear, or love that makes your clients move, there is a perfect sales response that will keep them hungry to buy. All you have to do is listen.
Greed – “If I buy now, I will have more than the other guy.”
Customer Profile: Customers who are driven by greed are often at the top of their field. They have learned how to see an opportunity for more than their share of the pie, and usually take it. Often times, they seize opportunities they don’t even need, especially if they think it will pay off in the long run.
Strategy: Highlight the financial benefits of your product, especially how it might negatively impact a competitor. Search out competing prices and services and explain how your product can help them open up a previously unseen and lucrative market.
Pitch: “I know Company B has a lot invested in television marketing right now. Instead, you could put your investment in worldwide digital marketing and bring in profits that would blow their local sales out of the water.”
Fear – “If I don’t buy now, I will seriously screw up my business.”
Customer Profile: This is a customer who has a lot to lose. Either they are at the very top of their game, or at the bottom. One misstep could really affect whether or not their business can continue to compete in the marketplace.
Strategy: Discover and try to understand (and ultimately abate) the fear that your customer is protecting. Are they afraid that a younger, more 21st-century competitor is going to steal their market share? Do they worry that their product is being peddled to the wrong demographic? Once you know what they’re afraid of, you can show them a way that your product will help them sleep better at night.
Pitch: “It’s true that your slow service and poor customer reviews are probably driving down your overall sales. Fortunately, we specialize in fast responses, and you’ll start seeing positive press immediately.”
Altruism – “If I buy now, I’m doing something good for the world.”
Customer Profile: The altruistic customer is going to become more and more prevalent as Millennials transition into more responsible business roles. In a 2011 report from the Career Advisory Board and Harris Interactive, the number one most important requirement for workers born after 1980 was “a sense of purpose.” They are looking to buy in a way that will make them feel as though they are a part of something that will make a difference.
Strategy: Given the choice between two cups of coffee to buy, the altruistic buyer will choose the one in the 100% recycled cup. So, find ways to enhance your business that will slowly but surely save the world. Use local labor. Create marketing campaigns that offer advice and help with no strings attached. Develop your corporate culture to stand for something besides making money.
Pitch: “We’d love to have you on, not just as a customer, but as a part of our business family. We’re trying to make our community safer with these playgrounds, and you’re a vital part of that process.”
Envy – “I want to buy now so I can have what he/she/they have.”
Customer Profile: This is a customer who is very aware of the pros and cons of their business, but who is determined to push the boundaries so that they can compete with the best. The only thing is, there is always someone who has a little bit more or better. They’ll do anything to get to that next level of prestige and success.
Strategy: This is where testimonials are often very effective. Find out what your client wishes that their company looked like. Then, subtly highlight the areas where your client is not making the grade. That gives you the perfect emotional setup to show how your product will give your client the kind of honor and notoriety that they truly desire.
Pitch: “As you can see, when we started working with Generic Company 1, they were doing the same amount of business as you were. On the Premium Plan, they saw a 42% sales increase in just three months. That’s completely attainable for your organization.”
Pride – “If I buy now, it will make me look good.”
Customer Profile: This is a customer for whom image is everything. They have the clothes, car, and company to prove that they are the best at what they do. These prospects are looking for ways that will keep their organization on top, in addition to maintaining the image that is so intimidating to other competitors.
Strategy: This is a company who wants your best and brightest ideas, but also who will take time to vet every one. Make sure that your newest products and services are brought to them first, as they may take longer than others to make a final decision. Focus your pitch on the future, and how this product or service will help them maintain their competitive edge.
Pitch: “I haven’t sold anyone this package, because I wanted to give you the first look. No one in our market has even seen this yet, and it will make the other guys look like they’re stuck in the stone ages.”
Shame – “If I don’t buy now, I’ll look like an idiot.”
Customer Profile: This customer is also affected by image, although he or she has more fear that confidence. While the stakes are just as high as for the proud customer, the shame-driven customer is afraid that not buying will significantly impact their image negatively, causing them to lose their position of leadership.
Strategy: Discover what your client believes is the worst possible outcome for his or her buying decision. Highlight how companies who didn’t use your product or service failed at their sales objectives. Then, positively support your product by showing the success that your prospect can expect from buying now.
Pitch: “You’re right to be worried about the consequences of not investing in new equipment. Competitor A didn’t, and now they’re going out of business. But, Competitor B bought a $4,000 package with us, and now they can’t keep up with their orders.”
As your organization comes closer to really understanding the main emotional motivations that drive its customers, you will be more likely to respond to their needs with your products. Spend more time listening to and understanding what best motivates your prospects to buy. You’ll be able to develop the perfect emotional pitch that will hit their hot buttons and motivate them to act now.