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Tap into Your Prospects' Emotions and Increase Sales

Tap into Your Prospects' Emotions and Increase Sales

May 27, 2008

The next time you find yourself asking, 'What do our prospects need?' . . . stop!

Most likely, no one needs your product or service. We need food, shelter and clothing. But do we really need a $40,000 car? A vacation home? A boat? Five TVs in our home? Six computers? A china set? A cell phone? Microwave? A Starbucks double latte with a shot of espresso?

There's a hierarchy of needs. Once the basic needs are met then you move into what I call 'wants.' And in the U.S. most of our basic needs are met. So it's usually the 'wants' we're trying to sell.

Logic alone isn't enough of a marketing appeal because consumers really don't need most of our products and services. Therefore, you need to tap into your prospects' emotional hot buttons to appeal to their 'wants' to make the sale.

I recommend a four-point marketing system that I call, 'Pain, agitate, solve and story,' or PASS.

Before we go any farther, however, I need you to make a commitment that you will only use this information to help others. Tapping into emotional hot buttons is a very powerful technique that can be used for the wrong reasons; so I ask you to use this information to improve the lives of your customers.

My system taps into emotions to sell. That's why it's so powerful. First, you want to find your prospects' pain. Find out what keeps them up at night. What do they worry about? Next, you want to agitate those fears or worries in your marketing or ads. Talk about what may eventually happen if they do nothing. Show how much worse things may get. Next, show how you can relieve or solve that pain with your product or service. Finally, tell a story about how you've relieved other people's pain.

People buy based on emotions and then they rationalize it based on logic. This is something that has taken me years to learn but has been proven successful over and over. A $60,000 sports car becomes a reward for years of hard work. A vacation home is an investment. That Starbucks cup of coffee is a treat. But first, we fall in love with the vacation home, the car and cup of coffee. Then we rationalize why it's a smart purchase.

Many Americans today aren't thinking about the next day. That's one of the reasons we have such low levels of savings in consumers' bank accounts. Instead, most of us want to satisfy our wants and desires today.

Emotional Hot Button #1

The most powerful hot button you can tap into is a prospect's pain.

In fact, most of us follow the pain/pleasure principle, which is all about people avoiding pain and running towards pleasure. Nobody does anything until they can either anticipate that much pleasure will be derived, or they are in so much pain that they have to take action. That's when a person finally does something. When we literally anticipate or feel hunger, that's when we'll go get something to eat. Of course, the way this works with a hungry stomach applies also to emotional or psychological hunger.

The secret is to empathize with the prospects' pain. Show them that you know what they're going through. Let them know you understand what they're wrestling with. Then show how damaging it can be to themselves and to those around them if they continue on that path. And finally, prove how you can ease their pain or even eliminate it with your product or service.

Mauro Financial, a collections service for businesses, increased its response rate 700% on a direct mail campaign using this secret. The firm targetted business owners with high receivables. Most bill collection services promise to reduce businesses' outstanding receivables, but Mauro really grabbed its prospects' attention by sending a crumpled up sales letter in a small trash can from LumpyMail.com. The message: don't throw away your receivables because Mauro can convert them into cash.

You can't help but open it. And it worked so well because it offered to get rid of prospects' receivables -- one of the biggest pain points business owners deal with in some markets.

Emotional Hot Button #2

The second biggest emotional hot button that you can push is people's fear of losing money, or on the flip side, people's desire to save money.

Real estate investor Dave Merher used this principle with great success by sending tiny Guatemalan 'worry dolls' also from LumpyMail.com to prospects who were in foreclosure. Guatemalan children tell their worries to these dolls and put them under their pillow at night hoping to find their worries gone the next morning. In a very flat market, he got a 22% response rate when he sent the worry dolls with a promotion!

Here's why: A woman called as a result of the mailing and invited him to come over to discuss her situation. She showed him bags of other mail she'd received from banks, mortgage companies, attorneys and others, trying to buy her house.

When he asked her why she decided to call him, she said it was clear from the letter and the worry dolls that he understood her pain.

Emotional Hot Button #3

Our desire to look good winds its way into our subconscious decision-making again and again.

People go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy this one need. Women will wear a special pack of pantyhose so they don't show any creases or wrinkles through their garments. They'll walk all day in uncomfortable, high-heel shoes just to look good.

Men are just as vain. We don't wear ties because they're comfortable; we wear them because they look good. A man will spend an extra $20,000 on a car, so that when he shows up somewhere, people will think that he is important. Small entrepreneurs share commercial office suites so they can share a copy machine, a conference room, and a secretary and look more professional for clients.

Landscaping businesses continue to grow because homeowners want to impress their neighbors. Once a landscaper gets started on a block, he simply works his way down the street because each person wants to look as good or better than their neighbor. One of the most popular programs that we help clients with is the 'stay in touch' mailing programs from LumpyMail.com. Insurance agents, real estate professionals, and mortgage loan officers love to look good to their customers so they mail to their past customers on a regular basis, sending them holiday cards, or birthday cards. In doing so, the customers think much more highly about the agent, and the agent comes out looking good.

This was a strategy incorporated by Joe Girard, noted in The Guinness Book of World Records as the best salesman on the globe. He sent tons of mailings to past clients (as well as prospects) using an automated third-party system telling them how great they were, so that he would look good and they would appreciate that Joe cared about them.

Emotional Hot Button #4

This is probably the most overused hot button in marketing and advertising, but it works.

It doesn't even matter what the product or service is - they all use the same image. It's the image of a couple happily walking on a beach on some beautiful island with the wind rustling through their hair, the sand between their toes, and the sun reflecting off the crystal blue sea. They are pitching pleasure.

There is so much appeal to pleasure floating around on the television airways that it's become the primary message to anyone under 50 years old ' and a close runner-up to the over-50 market as well. This even works for unsavory products. Think about the ads that associate smoking cigarettes with the pleasure of attracting a woman. Beer commercials focus on young men who are the life of the party in a room full of scantily clad girls. Perfume commercials insinuate that women will attract the men of their dreams.

Two men tapped into this emotion and created a competitive market bubble for themselves. They knew that people felt frustrated in their lives, had a need to feel good and wanted to reward themselves.

These two fellows, by the name of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, found a way to give people pleasure. That's right, Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. They associated their high-priced, premium ice cream with the top of the line in self-indulgence. Because of Ben