Appealing to Emotions in Business
By Kenrick Cleveland+
Building Rapport, Eliciting Criteria, Nonverbal Persuasion
You know what’s overrated? Rationality. I know, I know, it’s important to have your feet firmly planted on the ground in order to grow roots, in order to have a foundation, a base from which to work. But in business the idea of rationality has become supreme and I think we’ve lost something in the transition from ‘mom and pop’ business to faceless corporations that is an integral part of selling our products or services, especially when dealing with an affluent clientele.
Our viability as people who sell, is intrinsically linked to our client’s and prospect’s emotions and their other-than-conscious minds. In past posts/articles, I’ve gotten very detailed about ‘how’ to access these emotions (i.e. eliciting their criteria, creating rapport), and I’d like to discuss here more the ‘why’ of the process.
Our emotions drive us. Core emotions and our DNA are what make us take action. We are primitive beings ruled by the same things our ancient ancestors were ruled by. They didn’t have to contend with a bombardment of products or services vying for their business. They worried about the very basics: food, shelter, sex, fight or flight and had no concept of choice, luxury or affluence.
When we interact with a prospect, this should be a thought we hold foremost in our minds: appeal to the core. Gut instincts are far more powerful than the rational mind. Making the rational and the core emotions mesh, is our job.
Gut reactions happen instantly. In his book ‘Blink’, Malcolm Gladwell discusses rapid cognition, that which happens in the blink of an eye. He writes about thinking without thinking. Our emotional processes take only 1/5th of the time our rational brain takes to assimilate.
Think of this in terms of how sales used to be and how they are now. Despite the fact that at our cores we’re like cavemen, we are incredibly sophisticated. If you consider even back to the fifties, sixties and seventies, the ‘features and benefits’ style of sales, the Dale Carnegie method, these were passable at the time, but as our choices have grown in the marketplace, so have our BS detectors. We know when someone’s being slick with us and it doesn’t feel good.
Now think of how good it feels to be understood, and at ease, and the fact that this response is absolutely duplicatable with the right training. Accessing our prospect’s values, eliciting their criteria, and with sincerity, honesty and integrity, combining it with what our products or our services, all make for an emotional alchemy that is easy to feel good about.
In our advanced state of civilization (depending on your perspective) we are given amazing choices and opportunities. There are products and services available to us that even a generation ago, wouldn’t have been dreamed up. In this ever expanding atmosphere it seems likely that those of us who know how to access the core and our prospect’s emotions are going to be the ones capable of rising to the top in our given fields. By elevating emotions and partially bypassing rationality, we find ourselves with incredible persuasion power.
Until Next Time,
Kenrick E. Cleveland