Harry and Meghan Markle had an engagement process that led to an intended long contractual relationship, and your buyer deserves the same courtship and emotional connection.
An investment is a bond, you would not plant a seed and walk away, you would nurture the seed feeding it with your knowledge and well research insight of what you believe is right to help the seed grow. You entice the seed above ground, but only when the seed is ready will it raise its head and show-up above ground. You continue with your committed campaign to help the seedling feel comfortable with its changing environment feeding it with experiences to encourage growth and learning then over a period your seedling become a strong plant. The investment in the courtship changes from one of dependency and uncertainty to a partnership based on emotional connection and understanding.
There is a balance between a high drive that tends to close the sales process too soon, and a relationship nurturing process that is boundless. If you drive and PUSH in the seedling stage when the relationship is still dependent, then resentment of the debt and buyer remorse sets in. You want to build a partnership, and this is a mutually beneficial and equitable relationship. The seller has a genuine belief that they have the best solution for their customer specific problem, like a gift you both share. A PULL relationship is one where a buyer is unbounded but freely decides to buy from you and the company you represent, willingly agreeing to the bond.
Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman says that 95% of our purchase decisions take place unconsciously and that we not able to look back through our decision history and find these examples of emotional decisions. Because our conscious logical mind will always make up reasons to justify our unconscious emotional and intuitive decisions.
Psychologists and behavioural economists, in recent years, have shown that our unconscious, emotional decisions are not the least irrational. Our unconscious decisions have their own logic, based on the reptilian and emotional ‘old brains’. This deeply empirical mental processing system is capable of effortlessly processing millions of bits of data without getting overwhelmed. While our conscious mind has a strict bottleneck, is capable of processing only a few pieces of information limited by our working memory.
Sales professionals must recognise buyer decisions are made based on this old emotional brain, but the logical conscious mind justifies the decisions. If sales professionals only offer relevant information to support the quality and service to appeal to a buyer’s logic, buyers get overwhelmed. However, when buyers choose among multiple and complex offers their overloaded brain must revert to decide based on the processing capabilities of the old emotional brain.
5 Stimuli to Court Your Buyer Relationship with Emotion:
- WIIFT (What in it for me) – buyers are only interested in how you solve their problem.
- KISS (Keep it simple stupid) – buyers want simplicity, not complication.
- Memorable start and finish – Good beginnings they make us want to listen to more and great endings make it count.
- Tell Stories – stories drive the emotions.
- Be Visual – visual images and words bring colour to the emotions.
Stories are important because research shows that they activate the region of the brain that processes sights, sounds, tastes, and movement. If you want to influence how a customer feels about you and your product then provide an experience that simulates the emotion by sharing something personal and relatable or a vivid customer story.
The more you use the five stimuli above the better your skill at wakening the buyer’s old emotional brain and decision-making process.
The 6 Buyer Courtship Steps:
- Discover who you are talking to before you talk, research their personality and preferences who do you know in the prospective company that can give you a view. Use LinkedIn to research who you know that knows them. There is a great app Crystal helps you understand yourself, your co-workers, and your customers – try it.
- Use social selling techniques to get on their radar, to listen and learn more – WIIFT. Follow them socially not literally! And follow who they follow (socially). Comment on their posts and send them insights not about you but relevant to their needs.
- After a few exchanges of ask for a meeting. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Memorable start and finish. Practice your opening, offer a firm handshake and build rapport with a smile and light conversation to establish common ground and ask permission to ask discovery questions and record notes.
- Thank them for the meeting, book another provisionally. Follow-up with your actions or report back. Do not rush to sell before the seeding feels there is a mutually beneficial connection. Present all the options including your competitors KISS leaving more out than in for Q&A. Be Visual in your Storytelling including the essential ROI and key discriminators that are specific to them.
- Think of objections as conversations leading to the engagement and welcome them WIIFT. Like the seedling only when the buyer is ready – will they buy. Listen for verbal and visual clues and ask permission to move to the next stage of the relationship. Memorable start and finish – you must pop the questions and propose what the next step is.
- How will the relationship continue into a partnership? Respond to your customer’s requests quickly, solve their problems, get their feedback and recommendations, help them to innovate. Care more about the customer’s needs then they would find elsewhere.
You must continue to simulate their old emotional brain to grow the relationship into an enduring partnership. Because this is just the beginning, not the end.