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Emotional Sales and Marketing
January 06, 2012

Emotional Sales and Marketing

Emotional sales and marketing is not about throwing tantrums but about forging an emotional connection with your customers!


I recently wrote about the Anatomy of an Ad in my series of articles on advertising and it struck me that emotion is a key ingredient to any successful sales and marketing effort. What I mean by this is that in order to win customers, you must first engage them and the way to do this is by creating emotional resonance. Successful advertising is all about creating an emotional reaction in people based on the common emotions of fear, curiosity, excitement and any of the other emotions that the best art and stories bring out in us. In fact, a great way to look at your business-building activities is to see this in terms of telling your own story.

Every good story is about a central character who faces challenges and then overcomes them; that, simply put, is the formula that has been around for centuries and pervades everything from ancient mythology to movies to current pulp fiction. In the past, a business story was about the business itself and you have no doubt seen countless "Our Story" write-ups on everything from brochures to websites to newsletters that are put out by the marketing machines of major corporation. How about a twist on this tale? How about making your customer the central focus of your story? As for the problem, well that is simple: the problem is whatever pain or challenge you help them overcome!

Before you get to tell your story, however, you must reach out to prospects - not customers! - who are not necessarily interested in you or what you do. What are they interested in? Themselves! As a starting point, therefore, your sales and marketing should be first and foremost about your customer. Perhaps you can start by telling their story and the way to do this is to make the starting point of your messaging about them or the problem of theirs that you are going to solve. Here are some openers that will no doubt be familiar to you but which follow this formula for intertwining your customer story with your own: "Long day at the office?" "Are you tired of...?" "Do you wish you could...?"

What each of these openers does is set the scene for the starting point of your story. Granted, these lines are more apropros to advertising and may not be appropriate for all sales and marketing communications. Nevertheless, you can create your own messaging around the same premise and start of by talking about your customer: where they are at today, the problems they are facing and what a brighter future - with your help! - looks like. Let's say that you are selling office stationery; instead of the traditional promotional approach of talking about how great you are and the high quality of your stationery and how you always deliver on time and so forth, try taking a step back and think about your customer: what is a day in their life like and how can you create an emotional connection that will get them excited?

What you do should be your whole life and world and what you are trying to do is to transfer this excitement to your customers. While office stationery may not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, to you it should be and for the brief period that you have your customer's attention, you should get them just about excited as you are about what you do. The way to do that, once again, is to paint a picture of them and their normal routine and then keep turning up the excitement level as you describe the problems they are currently facing and, finally, the solution: you! "Tired of broken pencils, inkless printers and late deliveries?" Enter the fun and friendly Acme Stationery Supplies rep with top quality stationery supplies and service and a warm smile to boot! Not to mention great cost savings...

I hope this example does not sound trite and that you appreciate the point I am trying to get across. You may have heard of the expression, "talk to people at their level"; in sales and marketing what this means is to start wherever your customer is at and then go from there. So, instead of all of the fanfare and loud music and noises of traditional promotion, how about starting with a more low-key approach that is more familiar to the everyday life of your customer? At the very least, make sure you picture or talk about their current situation and then add some zing! to it with your pitch. Think about the now-famous Viagara ads that you see on TV: the genius of those ads is that they paint a picture of everyday, normal people who are feeling extraordinary because they now have a healthy sex life.

I am not saying that you should try and convince your customers that using your product(s) and service(s) will make them feel like supermen and superwomen (maybe it will!). What I mean is that you need to figure out a way to create excitement and to stir your customers' emoitons: are they currently bored or depressed or feel like they are missing out on something? Are they afraid of something bad happening that you can help prevent? Or are they simply wasting a lot of time and money doing things the old way when they can be doing them your way? Figure out the emotional stepping stones that you want to take them down and remember that the starting point is always where they are today! Another example of great advertising is the Microsoft ad campaign that asks, "Where do you want to go today?"

Start with now, then lead the way to a better future by figuring out the emotional "hot buttons" that will get your customers to react!


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