Emotional Selling

I was finishing my morning walk and stopped in to the local Starbucks and saw some people having a heated discussion where one person was obviously trying to convince the other to adopt his view on whatever it was they were talking about. The discussion was very emotional (and quite passionate), and it started me thinking about how we as a sales community use our emotions in the course of selling. There is a difference between being emotional and passionate and it can be a fine line. That’s a subject for another time….

When you are working with clients or prospects, do you let your emotions get in the way? I can say that in my earlier selling years, there were a few times when clients have said or done something that I might have misconstrued or misinterpreted and taken offense. This colored how I felt about them and directly affected my ability to communicate effectively. When that happens, it becomes very difficult for the client to communicate back, and then the sales campaign becomes tenuous.

I have seen salespeople on my various teams get upset and emotional with clients or prospects after a call because they are upset at things that occurred during the call. Even more dangerous is a salesperson going on a call carrying some emotional baggage based on something that has occurred during the sales campaign. I think it’s normal for us to get upset at times. It’s important that we are judicious about what we get upset about. Clients not calling or emailing us back in a timeframe that we would like, is one example I have heard sales communities complain about for years. The frustration that builds sometimes becomes anger and we get emotional. The fact is there could be and usually are myriad reasons why we are not called back – and it is rarely personal.

The key learning point here is to make sure that you don’t use emotions to create a difficult situation for the client and put yourself in a no-win situation. This is especially true if the emotions are not rooted in fact or reality.

It is critical that we as the sales community replace emotions with a cooler head. I love to tell people on my sales teams to “wear your business hat.” This means to use your ability to look at the facts of the situation and then rely on your business instincts to analyze the situation and react accordingly. A very good friend of mine always says to me “facts don’t lie.” If a client or prospect is “pushing your buttons,” then take the higher road and keep the sales campaign professional and respectful. As soon as we get emotional, we lose the upper hand and the sales campaign is crippled.

My last thought and another key learning point is that the better you are at proactively communicating throughout the sales campaign, the more likely you are to prevent any “emotional selling” and close more business.

Good Selling!

4 thoughts on “Emotional Selling”

  1. We all have good days and not so good days and so do our customers. The sales professional is always attuned to the mood and behaviors of his or her customer. If it’s not a good time to present your product, recognize the fact and reschedule your presentation. The sensitivity that you show differentiates you from the competition and is frequently rewarded by the customer through a private apppointment or even the order.

    This is especially important for those selling in the healthcare field. Your customer may have just lost a patient or shared bad news with a patient. But these issues can and do happen to everyone and it’s important to realize that life goes on regardless of your desire to close the sale today.

    So when your customer puts you off, consider that they might just be having a bad day and a better day is right around the corner. Your patience will be recognized and your frustration level will lead you into a better state of mind for the next customer.

    If your customer continues to put you off, consider prospecting somewhere else or changing your strategy or approach. Ask a manager for assistance, that’s why they are there – to help!

  2. Todd,
    In sales training at one of my previous companies, the SVP of sales held that a customer’s buying decision was first and EMOTIONAL decision and that only then did Reason come in to play as people began to rationalize a decision they had already made.

    Do you agree with my ex-SVP of sales? Are buying decisions emotional first and rational second? If so, how does that affect the selling process?

  3. Emotional communication is very powerful. I’ve heard public speaking experts tell how an audience will remember very little of what they hear in a speech but that they will remember forever how that speech made them FEEL

  4. Great questions-I do agree with the SVP- to a point. Some clients can get very caught up in the excitement of the product or service that is being proposed- to the point of making a decision in favor of that proposal. I have examples of clients really seeing a bigger picture than the company was ready to accept and they became early adopters-and this was based on more emotion that rationality. My essential belief is that both emotions and rationality play a role, bit neither is absolute.

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