Purchase decisions, whether a new business intelligence tool for your organization, or an oversized towel for your bathroom, contains more emotional complexity than you might think. And many times, sales professionals aren’t as helpful as you’d like.
Emotions define who we are. They make us human. But they aren’t always rational.
Building emotional connection through sales is one of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into an interested potential buyer.
Don’t just take our word for it.
The evidence is clear.
Market research company B2B International surveyed 2,000 business decision-makers to better understand how buying decisions are made and the impact of emotion has on each part of the journey.
Turns out, the role emotions play across the entire buyer journey, from beginning to decision, is bigger than imagined.
The data is convincing. Ninety-five percent of buyers state that even before contacting a vendor, feeling a sense of connection to a vendor’s brand is as important as feeling confident about what they do.
Even after the number of vendors have been winnowed to the final two, emotional factors still account for 56% of the final decision.
Some emotions move the needle more than others in sales.
Researchers today believe there are at least 27 distinct categories of emotion. So which emotions are important to consider?
The brands winning business from new customers are the one that evoke a positive emotional response throughout the buyer journey.
According to the same survey, four emotions have the biggest influence on the final vendor choice. They are:
1. Build trust in the vendor’s credibility.
Translated, this means highlighting reliability, expertise, ease of doing business, and customer support.
2. Confidence in the vendor’s ability to deliver.
Empathy rules. Sellers need to understand the buyer’s needs, pain points, fears, and desires to win their confidence. This means speaking directly to the buyer’s problems and communicating capability you have to solve them.
Often overlooked by sellers is the fact that B2B buyers are under a lot of pressure to make the right calls. Picking a good vendor makes them look good to employees, peers, and leadership. A wrong decision reflects poorly on their ability to select and manage vendors, and get the job done. A good decision can elevate their internal status.
3. Optimism about what the vendor could do for the organization.
Brands stand out when they place great emphasis on user experience and empowering buyers.
The reason is simple: buyers believe this vendor will help their business thrive, and as a result, help them achieve their goals.
4. The power of buyer pride.
The pinnacle of emotional engagement occurs when buyers are proud to associate themselves with your brand. You’ve reached this point when you have made the buyer look good in front of colleagues and industry peers.
Buyers want to feel a sense of status and achievement. They want to feel like their vendor relationship gives them a significant advantage over their competitors.
Put the power of emotions in sales processes to work.
It’s easy to understand why putting these four key emotions to work increases the likelihood of winning new business by 50 percent.
While marketers have an obligation to ensure the emotional needs of potential buyers are met throughout the customer journey, the sales presentation brings this together in a way no other piece of collateral can.
Let’s use an example – RaaStr’s own sales deck – to illustrate.
Let’s start with helpful context.
We provide Revenue as a Service™. Our service helps customers transform their sales operations so they can get predictable results without the drama.
Customers turn to us because sales is hard. They choose us because we use a proven process that works. They trust us to deliver.
This is how we use these four emotions to help tell our story.
Begin with an indisputable change.
We never, ever start a sales presentation by talking about ourselves — service, locations, or clients. Nor should you. No one cares.
Instead, we identify an indisputable change affecting the world where our clients’ prospects live. This builds trust by eliciting agreement from the get-go. This shift needs to make the point that the stakes are high. Inaction by the prospective buyer puts the business at a disadvantage.
While our business is built on the idea that selling is hard, the bigger shift taking place is the collapsing attention spans of B2B buyers.
We have a name for this: “Buyer overload.”
We typically connect this indisputable change to the impact on selling. The point, supported by data, is obvious: it is harder than ever to break through everyday noise.
Set up a better possible future.
When you introduce your product or service, do so by positioning its capabilities as transformative gifts capable of taking prospective buyers to a better, future version of their business.
This taps into emotions around empathy and confidence in your ability as a vendor to deliver and make your client look good.
We are intentional about weaving into the conversation any issues we hear regularly from buyers. All are looking for innovative ideas to help solve them. We seek to learn what challenges face prospective buyers and the words they use to explain them.
Then we set up a comparison between the old way and the new way of doing things with this slide:
Show an example of a winner.
You are fighting against a general bias in human psychology that makes people resistant to change. Economists call this “loss aversion.”
The idea is straightforward: when we think about change we focus more on what we might lose rather than on what we might get.
To overcome this you must demonstrate how the change you promise, and what you are asking the prospect to embrace, will likely result in a desirable outcome.
We use case studies to illustrate the business benefit of engaging us to provide sales as a managed service.
Welcome to Sales Nirvana.
While tempting, we continue to resist the urge to jump into the details of our service. We believe the need for context is greater than the value of introducing the nitty-gritty.
Failure to heed this warning can cause prospects to tune out.
Instead, we opt to paint a picture of what Nirvana looks like. We show prospects what our service will help them achieve. This helps instill a feeling of optimism.
We also know from experience that achieving this outcome is hard to do without outside help, whether us or someone else.
Transition to “how.”
At this point in the conversation, we’re often asked “How do we do it?” This invitation to reveal our process is a chance to poke under the hood to show what makes us different.
We call this our blueprint, which consists of eight critical success factors.
Meeting prospects where they are.
Having shared our blueprint, we’re often asked by prospects to describe scenarios of business need where our service is a potential “fit.”
This gives us the opportunity to learn how prospects see themselves and to draw connections between where they need help and what we offer.
How much does it cost?
Everyone asks about price. While different perspectives exist on this topic, our position is clear: the advantages of price transparency outweigh the drawbacks by a country mile.
This is why:
First, it’s efficient. Nobody has time for anything anymore, so unless the action is sure to bring direct benefits, it’s not worth it.
What good does it do for either the buyer or seller if the price point is out of reach? Save yourself the time …. and theirs.
Second, it’s still uncommon for a B2B company to do this, which is why you should. This can give you a leg up if the prospect must call other sales departments and engage in the long process of figuring out the cost of their desired product.
Talking about price increases clients’ trust. Publishing prices shows that a company is confident in the value it delivers for the price.
We are upfront about our prices.
As you would expect, we publish pricing on our website, our sales deck, and other sales aids. We’re not the most expensive, nor the cheapest. Prospects can see the value for themselves.
Make getting started easy.
While not new in the marketplace, many prospects are working with a service like ours for the first time.
Naturally, there are lots of questions. Each one is a chance for us to learn more about the prospect and share our approach, which builds trust and confidence.
This is how we make this point:
Prepare for the unexpected.
While we go into every conversation with a game plan, it’s the prospect who has control.
So be agile. Don’t be afraid to jump around. Each slide serves as context for discussion, not content you must rigidly follow from A to Z.
Every conversation is an opportunity to create trust, instill confidence, demonstrate empathy, build positive association, and tap into the power of buyer pride. Above all, have fun!
We’re happy to help turn your selling and sales aids into repeatable processes and tools that persuade. Contact us to start a conversation.