By Jeff Kalter
If you know someone who calls himself an “Apple fanboy” or have a friend who is rabidly loyal to Pepsi, then you’ve seen the power of emotional branding.
As consumers, we’re used to companies playing on our emotions to sell us everything from toothpaste to beer to smartphones. But have you ever stopped to consider that the same people who believe that sparkling white teeth will make them more attractive are also buying software, office equipment and business insurance? Every article on B2B sales discusses the need to establish trust, build relationships and increase customer lifetime value. But how do you get there?
It’s not by reciting scripts, reading off lists of facts or talking feeds and speeds. As Elmer Wheeler explained, “Don’t sell the steak—sell the sizzle!”
In other words, spark a buyer’s emotions. Here are five ways to do just that.
1.Understand How the Brain Buys
It turns out that 95% of the buying decision occurs in our subconscious or unconscious mind. Our conscious thoughts focus on the information used to justify our emotional decisions.
Here’s how it works:
There are three main sections in our brains. The lizard brain (our most primal brain) and the limbic (which controls emotions) make 95% of the buying decision. The third area—the neocortex—is the rational brain. After emotions have kicked in, the neocortex uses facts and features to justify an emotional buying decision.
First, you need to get the lizard brain on board. Since this is where our survival responses are made, you want to calm the lizard brain. Assure it that not only is there no danger, but that there are advantages to listening to your message.
You sell the lizard brain with big, simple ideas, especially those that contrast where the buyer is now with where they can be with your product or service. For instance, their life will be easier, they’ll have more time, or they’ll look like the hero at work. Give the lizard brain a reason to listen. Explain how you offer a safe solution to a business problem.
Once the lizard brain is convinced that your message has merit, it allows other parts of the brain to engage with your message. Now that you can reach the emotional center of the brain, use your best storytelling skills to create compelling scenarios and memorable emotional images.
With consumers you may trigger interest by tapping into their desires for popularity, attractiveness, fitness, wealth and the like, but remember B2B buyers are human too. They have plenty of emotional triggers.
2. Use Emotional Triggers to Unleash the Desire to Buy
With the B2B sale, you want to trigger slightly different emotions than with the consumer sale. Here are a few strategies to try:
- Fear is a powerful trigger and comes in many forms. There’s fear of failure, lost ROI, or declining market share. And fear that the competition will get ahead. There’s even fear of the unknown—unforeseen problems that could rob a business of customers, reputation and even revenue in the future.