Organizations sometimes wonder why their sales teams fall short of monthly revenue targets. Although teams consistently meet many of their key performance indicators (KPIs) – number of calls per day, proposals submitted, follow up inquiries – some are unable to ultimately hit their sales numbers.
At first glance, they appear to be doing everything right. However, when it comes to the most crucial part of the sales cycle – closing the deal – they falter.
Sure, sales associates may need help on strengthening their ability to close, but often the issue is not closing. Surprisingly, many sales teams struggle to make an emotional connection with prospects and this is what leads to many of those eventual customers going elsewhere. Customers not only make decisions based on logic, they regularly incorporate an emotional feeling into the process, sometimes unknowingly.
As noted in a FastCompany article, The Myth Of Rational Decision-Making, Nobel laureate Herbert Simon believed, “In order to have anything like a complete theory of human rationality, we have to understand what role emotion plays in it,” as indicated in his 1983 book Reason In Human Affairs. Other research referenced in the FastCompany article also illustrate that emotions play a vital role in the decisions we make.
What does this have to do with sales?
Here’s the thing, the research suggests that our emotional state influences how we make decisions. It’s also true that emotions impact whether prospects can relate to you and ultimately buy from you or whether they end up choosing your competitors.
Though human beings incorporate elements of logic in decision-making, emotions play a critical role in purchasing decisions. When organizations understand this, it can significantly alter how they approach the sales process. Instead of going in for the hard sell, they might be better served seeking to create an emotional connection with prospects.
How sales teams can make an emotional connection with prospects
- Show concern and interest in the prospect
People are attracted to those that show interest in them. Moreover, prospects are likely to convert to buying customers when they believe you have their best interest at heart. At the end of the day, it’s about the prospect, their company, family or friends and how you can help them solve their problems. Ask probing questions to understand what they are looking for, and then listen intently as they share their pain points.
People love to feel appreciated and to feel like they matter. By listening to and empathizing with your prospect, you help them gradually begin to associate the positive feeling of being cared for by your brand. This goes a long way when it comes time to actually ask for the sale.
- Don’t sell a product, sell a solution
Tap into your prospects’ emotions by sharing the benefits delivered by your products or services and how it will ultimately provide a solution to their problem. Paint a picture of how their life, or professional circumstances, would change by choosing what you’re offering. Let them see what they could accomplish when they buy from you. To do this, you will need to incorporate emotion-evoking words and imagery into your messaging.
At this point, you should have a clear idea of who your customer is and what it is they want. Knowing their concerns and desires will help you create a road map tailored specifically for them in order to get them to where they want to be.
- Train your sales team in emotional intelligence marketing
Now that we know prospects incorporate emotions into buying decisions, organizations should invest in training their sales teams in learning how to build an emotional connection with prospects.
By not implementing proven emotional intelligence methodologies, organizations often times leave a great deal of revenue on the table.
Colleen Stanley, President and Chief Selling Officer of SalesLeadership Inc., states in a Salesforce.com article, Why High-EQ Sales Cultures Win More Business Writing, that organizations often overlook one of the most important reasons why business is won. The emotional intelligence (EQ) is just as important as creating disruptive, high-quality products.
Regardless of the industry, today’s prospects have multiple options available to them. More often than we realize, customers choose brands that make an emotional connection and demonstrate that they have their best interest in mind.