Modern sales reps often rely on cold, hard facts to sell to B2B buyers, but you can’t ignore the other, very powerful side of sales: emotion.

While some prospects are most interested in ROI and time to value, others base decisions more on how they feel about the product overall. However, every single buyer uses some combination of both logic and emotion to make business decisions.

As a sales rep, when is the right time to appeal to someone’s emotions, and when do you present the facts directly? You can’t rely too much on either side of the equation. Here’s how to combine the ideal mix of emotional selling and factual evidence to convince your prospects to buy.

Emotion or Logic?

Research has shown that the more complex the sale, the more difficult it is for buyers to make a decision based on logical reasons alone. It may seem counterintuitive, but a 2011 study of used car buyers illustrates this point clearly. In the experiment, buyers had to choose between cars rated in four different categories like gas mileage and safety. In this instance, logical buyers were 15% better at choosing the best car according to the data. However, when researchers added in 12 ratings for every car, buyers who chose with emotion were 42% better than logical buyers at selecting the best car.

This study and many others have clearly shown that buyer’s conscious, logical minds can be overwhelmed when given too much information about a product. In fact, the logical mind can only process up to four pieces of new information at a time. Because of this, emotion often wins even in what should be an entirely logical decision.

Rely on Emotion

Thanks to the logical failures of the human brain, reps in the complicated world of B2B sales should lean more heavily on emotions to convince prospects to buy. Reps should first focus on building an emotional connection with buyers, gaining their trust, and getting to their personal pain points. These emotional tactics are very effective in helping the rep profile the buyer, and understand what they want and need.

If, for example, a prospect is struggling to understand their business’ data, the rep should seek to understand not just how that affects the entire business, but also how it affects the buyer personally. Maybe that person spends 3 hours every Sunday struggling to build reports, often feeling exhausted and frustrated by the poor results. That’s where the rep can come in and offer an emotional lifeline – what if a product could solve all of these problems? You want to help the prospect feel hopeful and excited that they could improve their lives by buying your product.

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Follow Up with Facts

Though emotion is vital in complex decision-making, that doesn’t mean reps should ignore the facts and figures completely. However, based on the used car study, you should keep your facts simple, powerful, and easy to understand. You may be selling to a highly intelligent business executive, but even the smartest prospect can be frozen by in place by analysis paralysis.

Instead of throwing out a million facts and figures and hoping one sticks, you should tailor your data to the prospect’s emotional responses to your product so far. For example, if you discovered a prospect’s pain point is the high expense and low ROI of their current vendor, you should focus on your product’s high ROI and business value. These facts should serve as logical support for the emotional connection you’ve already made with the prospect.
With a combination of emotional connections and factual evidence, you should be able to close deals faster and more efficiently than ever before. Customize your emotional appeals to each unique prospect, find out what’s important to them, and then follow up with the facts to turn a buyer into a believer.
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