Are you a student of human behavior? If you are in sales, you probably should be. It’s a simple fact of psychology, people’s decision are driven by emotion and then justified intellectually. In other words, people buy things because they want them, they need them and they fill an emotional void. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sports cars or software or cleaning supplies, if people don’t connect with your offering emotionally they won’t buy it.
As human beings we all have voices in our heads. I am sure that comes as no surprise to many of us! In most cases we all have three: a parent, an adult and a child. The parent acts as the authority figure or the rules agent. The child runs on emotion and it speaks to you when you are happy, sad, angry or elated. The adult is the logical figure that adds reason and rationale to all situations.
Unfortunately, most sales people are trained to sell to the adult. They are trained to study features and benefits. They calculate ROI and come up with creative pricing models to incentivize action. Unfortunately, while all of those elements play a role in the buying process the decision is not driven by any of them.
Let’s pretend for a second that on your drive home you pulled into a Porsche dealership and took a shiny new 911 GT3 out for a cruise. You instantly connected with the vehicle. You feel 20 years younger and the adrenaline is coursing through your veins. The feeling of exhilaration was so strong you decided to purchase the car. Congratulations, your child just bought you a Porsche!
On the ride home, you start to have second thoughts. Maybe you have three kids and this car only has two seats. Perhaps you play golf and there is no trunk for your clubs, well that’s foolish. Or maybe the thought of three college tuitions on the horizon gave you some pangs of fear. Your parent has just kicked in and is applying judgement to your purchase.
Alas, a voice of reason enters the discussion in your head and proclaims: a Porsche isn’t a purchase, it’s an investment! If cared for properly it will be worth more in 10 years. Plus, the dealer gave you a discount, threw in maintenance and interest free financing. It was a one-time deal! People will see you driving that car and see you as a success. It will be a boost for your business and your career! Congratulations, your adult has just convinced you (and hopefully your significant other) that you made a great decision!
Here’s the rule: people buy emotionally and justify intellectually. If you are selling on features and benefits you are selling to the wrong person. You must help your prospect identify a problem that they are committed to solving and let them see how your offering rids them of their pain. Only then have they emotionally committed to the purchase! Go find your prospects child and get them to want it. Your sales cycle will shorten and your buyer’s level of commitment will skyrocket!