A 2023 study conducted by McKinsey found that 70% of B2B executives say that emotion plays a significant role in the decision-making process.
And Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman argues that 95% of our buying decisions happen in our subconscious, which is a literal hotbed of emotions.
If you want to level-up your sales game, you’ll really want to lock into what I’m sharing today. I’m covering everything from the mindset of prospects, to what makes them tick emotionally, and how you can tap into emotions to make every call count.
Let’s get right into it.
The Descartes’ Error
You know I’m big on reading to improve my mind and gain peak-performance. One book I recently picked up is called Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. In it, the highly-respected neuroscientist Antonio Damasio shares a profound realization: We are nothing without our emotions.
Take our emotions away and we can’t make decisions. And I’m not just talking about buying decisions. We can’t make any decisions. Without emotion, we can’t even decide on our favorite color!
What This Means for B2B Sales
You can imagine what this means for sales. After all, think about how people make decisions. Think about how YOU make decisions. For instance, let’s say you want to buy a boat. When you’re walking around the showroom and looking at the Sea Rays or Baja Marine Outlaws, you aren’t thinking about the fuel capacity or what the thing is made of… at least not at first. You’re thinking about spending time with family and friends on the water, how the sun feels on your skin, how your neighbors look at you with envy in their eyes. This is all emotion! And that’s how you buy products and services.
Why would it be any different in the B2B world? Well… it’s not. And that’s good news for salespeople. It allows you to key in on the one constant in sales: emotion. And it allows you to strategize new ways to ethically tap into the emotions of your prospects to close more deals. So the million-dollar question remains… HOW do you do that? Below I’ll show you how.
The 3 Emotional Drivers in Sales
One of the biggest emotional drivers in sales is the fear of missing out, or FOMO. Your prospects don’t want to pass up an opportunity to invest in their growth and success. And they certainly don’t want their competitors to get a head start on them with new products, technology, or services hitting the market.
Your prospects know that there are consequences to inaction. If they are presented with a promising opportunity only to sit on it, or sleep on it, or put it on the back-burner, it can mean tens of thousands — or even millions — in lost revenue.
So you can leverage this emotional trigger by creating urgency around buying your product or service. Another approach is to create exclusivity, communicating that your product or the price is available until X day, or only available to certain buyers. And again, be sure to deal ethically here. The point is to demand action from your prospects.
People think in the past and the future. That’s it. Anytime you have a thought in the present, count it as a blessing, as it rarely happens. Knowing this, we can paint pictures of a future reality that is filled with hope. Talk about emotions! Do your best to articulate a transformed future in every conversation. The cardinal sin in sales, after all, is focusing on features or even benefits. There is no emotional current in these.
You must give your prospect a visceral sense of the power they will yield, or the money they will make, or the inventory they will save, or the [name the transformation] after buying from you. And what that will do for them personally… not their company! To the extent that you achieve this is the extent that you will WIN in the game of sales. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you learn nothing else from this article, please walk away knowing that you must sell a future transformation… not a product or service.
Identity & Belonging
Everyone desires to be a part of a tribe. We were created for it. A handful of brands jump to mind when I think about tribe, identity, and belonging. I think Corvette, Mercedes, and especially Harley Davidson. How about Nike and designer labels like Versace or Louis V. For firearms we’ve got Glock and Henry. (If you’re a Glock guy, you’re a Glock guy… and nobody is changing your mind.)
These brands have done a stellar job with their branding. When people purchase their products, they are instantly adopted into a tribe of like-minded people. This is not rational at all. It’s 100% emotionally-driven. But it works.
In the same way, you have to communicate this same sort of tribal identity and belonging to your prospects. If they buy your product, they are instantly among an exclusive group of like-minded people. No longer outcasts, they are now in the in-crowd. Even if your company doesn’t have the best branding, YOU can build the brand in every conversation. Make it your personal mission to do this and you’ll tap right into an emotional vein.
There’s nothing in the world as fascinating as sales. It’s a virtual chess game on every call. And once you recognize that every decision is a decision based on emotion, you’ll find ways to move the chess pieces to accomplish your strategy.
So remember that three main emotional drivers are FOMO, presenting a transformed future, and identity and belonging. You can (and should!) pull these emotional triggers on every sales call — and especially in the closing stage of the sale.
And remember that practice makes perfect… or near perfect. You have to consciously be thinking in this direction, and run drills on these emotional drivers.
Do this enough and it will become second nature.
So go out there and learn to dominate the emotional landscape. You’ve got this.
Until next time…