DO EMOTIONS SELL? OF COURSE THEY DO! We buy the sizzle, not the bacon. We buy the promise, not the perfume. We buy the lifestyle, not the house. The vast majority of people buy based on emotion, not logic. They decide to buy because “it feels right,” then use logic to justify the decision to themselves. Therefore, the better you are at making an emotional connection between the prospect and whatever you’re selling, the easier you’ll find it to close sales. Your job as a salesperson is to help prospects see the benefits that they will gain from owning your product.

Benefits all have an emotional hook; that’s what makes them different from features and that’s why they are effective for selling, while reciting a list of features just makes a prospect’s eyes glaze over. You can and should start the benefit-connection process right from the first moment of contact.

Do Not Start By Pushing Your Product’s Benefits. Instead, Start By Talking About YOUR Benefits

At this point the prospect does not know or care about your product; your first step must be to show why you are a reliable source of information. The prospect has to believe in you first before he will believe what you have to say about your product. So start by telling your prospect what you do, in a compelling way. Do not load your introduction with technical terminology.

Remember, The Goal Is To Connect On An Emotional Level, Not A Logical One

Customers make purchasing decisions because they have carefully considered a set of good information, right? Wrong. Customers make decisions at the gut level.

Buying Decisions Are Nearly Always The Result Of A Change In The Buyer’s Emotional State

While information may help change that emotional state, it’s the emotion that’s key, not the information.

Buying decisions stem from the interplay of six emotions:

  1. “If I make a decision now, I’ll be rewarded.”
  2. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
  3. “If I make a decision now, I’ll help others.”
  4. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
  5. “If I make a decision now, I’ll look smart.”
  6. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’ll look stupid.”

A successful sales approach either creates or augments one or more of these emotions. When enough of these emotions are present the change occurs within the buyer’s emotional state and a purchase decision becomes inevitable.


There are two potential approaches for emotional selling: the positive approach and the negative approach.

The Negative Approach is far more commonly used by salespeople. Essentially, it means presenting your product as a cure or prevention for the prospect’s biggest pain.

The Positive Approach, on the other hand, presents the product as something that will cause good things to happen in the future. Most prospects respond better to one approach or the other, so it’s a good idea to probe early on as to which type of prospect you have.

The best time to determine which approach to use is early in your presentation, as part of your qualifying questions.   It is often safest to start with emotionally positive questions, as your prospect is likely to find them less intrusive than negative questions. Positive qualifying questions might include, “Where do you see yourself a year from now? What do you hope to gain from this meeting? How long have you been thinking about making a purchase?” and so on. These questions touch on his positive emotions related to the product and give you some clue as to his expectations.

Negative questions elicit a fear reaction, so some prospects will be touchy about answering them. These questions might include, “What’s your biggest problem right now? How long have you had this problem? How important is it to you to resolve it?” and so on. You can see that some of the positive and negative questions are quite similar: for example, “How long have you been thinking about making a purchase?” and “How long have you had the problem?” are pretty close.

The difference is that the first one puts a focus on what the prospect hopes to gain, while the second focuses on an issue that he wants to solve. The first elicits hope, while the second elicits fear.

Once you’ve covered the basics and learned a bit about your prospect, you can make your emotional connections more specific for the prospect.  For example, if you learn that he is considering buying insurance because his wife is worried about being left without financial support, you can ask something like, “How do you think Clara will feel about this policy option?” By using his wife’s name in connection with the product, you make it far more real to him and he will start picturing what will happen after he buys from you which makes it far more likely that he will in fact decide to buy.

Emotions Are The Primary Reason Why Buyers Prefer Brand Name Products

After all, many of the products we buy are available as generic and store brands with the same ingredients and at cheaper prices. Why do we decide to pay more for brand name products?

Emotions really lead us to buy certain brands for two important reasons:

  1. We perceive them as being better for us.
  1. They make a statement about us.

Almost everything we choose makes a statement about us, our homes, the kind of furniture we select, our friends, our clothes, even the charity we support. People give to a charity from the heart and not from the head. But we are largely motivated by what makes us feel good, especially when it comes to our purchasing decisions.

Take a moment and recall a great sales experience whether you were the customer or the client. What made it great and what did you feel as you interacted with the person providing the product or service? More than likely, you felt the three emotions, universal to human experience that people need in order to feel motivated to do business with someone:

  1. Trust: People feel they can depend on you that you mean what you say and you’ll do what you say.
  1. Confidence: They feel you have the goods, the know-how, the competence, and expertise to meet their needs.
  1. A Feeling of Empathy: They feel you have their interests at heart and that you’ll take care of them throughout the transaction and beyond.

Most people believe that the choices they make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives. In reality emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions. “Emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions.” Says, Antonio Damasio, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences which lead to decisions.

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