Top Sales Performers Understand Humans are Emotionally Driven

By Jeff Shore

Let’s imagine you are in the market for a computer. You head to the nearest retailer with good intentions.

When a friendly salesperson greets you, you’re browsing in the computer section for only a few minutes. As expected, this salesperson knows all about computers and gets into the details – fast. He’s quickly talking about terabytes, RAM, screen resolution, and gaming speed.

And you’re lost. You’re brain was lost at terabytes, and when he finished the sentence with gaming speed, you knew this was headed in the wrong direction.

You politely stop the salesperson and explain that you need something that can browse the internet. The only gaming I do is on my phone. Most of us are technically illiterate – we don’t understand how computers work, and we don’t really want to understand.

We just want an easy, user-friendly computer experience. Click a button and watch puppies tripping over each other on the lawn.

People don’t buy shovels – they buy holes.

Customers buy the solution to their problem, not the tool that gets them there.

For example, I don’t much care about my oven. I care about my meals.

Feel free to insert a thousand other examples here. There’s no end to the stories that illustrate this point.

Why is it that most sales demonstrations are based on facts and features?

The real problem is that customers make purchase decisions based on emotions. Humans are emotionally driven.

Take emotion away, and a customer cannot decide. Medical studies show that people with brain injuries affecting their emotional “wiring” were significantly less capable of making decisions.

Here are three ways to engage your customer emotionally to make purchasing decisions easier.

Create “Anticipated Memories”

This is one of my favorite concepts, courtesy of Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and founder of behavioral economics. We think of the future in terms of anticipated memories.

Simply put, anticipated memories are opportunities to take a current moment and anticipate how we will remember it in the future: “How am I going to look back at this moment?”

The sales professional’s job is to bring clarity to anticipated memories. As we paint pictures that create a positive anticipated state, we engage the customer’s emotions.

Explain the Product in Life Stories

These stories can be your own, but they are most potent when they tell the tale of other customers.

These are not testimonials like we usually think (“Bob was great – we recommend this product to everyone on the planet”). These stories tell how people who purchased your product have experienced life improvement.

This approach utilizes what Robert Cialdini refers to as “social proof.”

Social proof is a highly influential emotional trigger. It occurs when we see (or hear about) other people taking a specific action and become more inclined to take that action. It’s a powerful way to emotionally engage your customer.

Remove Uncertainty with Confirmation Questions

Lastly, your customer will more fully engage emotionally in purchasing as you relieve their doubts and uncertainties. You accomplish this by consistently asking confirmation questions.

This is easy. It needs to be intentional and conversational. Asking questions like, “Do you like that?”, “Does that make sense?” and “Is that what you were looking for?” all serve to move your customer through the process.

Each answer removes a little bit more uncertainty and encourages more engagement.

Remember, your demonstration should be the fun part of the purchase process. You make it that way when you create a truly customer-driven experience.

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About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is the Founder and CEO of Shore Consulting, Inc. a company specializing in psychology-based sales training programs. Using these modern, game-changing techniques, Jeff Shore’s clients delivered over 145,000 new homes generating $54 billion in revenue last year.