People buy emotionally; we’ve all heard that. But what does it mean? It means that people make buying decisions emotionally; they justify these decisions intellectually. To further understand this concept, it helps to know who is making the decisions and who is justifying the decisions.
The psychological theory of transactional analysis tells us that there are three ego states within each of us: parent, adult, and child. In his best seller, I’m OK – You’re OK, author Thomas Harris says, “It is as if within each person there is the same little person he was when he was three years old. There are also within him his own parents. These are recordings in the brain of actual internal and external events, the most significant of which happened in the first five years of his life.”
For better or worse, our critical parent is always with us, telling us what we should and should not do. Our child is the emotional being within us; whenever we are mad, sad, glad, or scared, we are in our child ego state. And lastly, the adult is the logical, rational, decision making, information seeking part of our makeup; never emotional, always carefully weighing the pros and cons of any situation.
For your prospect to decide to buy from you, the child in him has to get emotionally involved in the process. The child has to think, “I want this, I need it, and it will help solve my problem.” This childlike need is why in your sales process, you should ask questions that will evoke from your prospect, his “pain” or true buying motive. Once you have found the problems, you should continue probing to find the underlying reasons, the effect on your prospect, previous efforts to correct the situation and the personal impact on him of continuing to live with the situation. A well-crafted questioning strategy will evoke a prospect’s inner child and an emotional decision to buy, assuming that your product is an appropriate solution to the problem.
So far, so good; but if you rush to close too quickly, you risk sabotaging the sale or buyer’s remorse later on. That’s because you have not properly involved the critical parent and the adult in the process, and the child will lose interest rather quickly. Then the parent will step in and say, “Can’t you live without this? You don’t have extra money to spend right now.” Meanwhile, the adult is asking, “Does this make sense for you? Is this the best use of your resources?” In this case, the child made an emotional decision to buy, but the decision was not justified intellectually, and now your sale is in jeopardy.
To involve everybody, make sure that after you diagnose your prospect’s problem, you pin down his ability and willingness to pay for your solution. As you question him on his budget, his adult can get involved and see if the expense makes sense. Then you should determine his decision-making process so you’ll know what it will take to get a decision. Proper questioning here will get the critical parent involved in stating what it would take in the way of a presentation to move forward with the sale.
Once everybody (parent, adult, and child) is on board and properly involved, you can move to the presentation of your product or service. In the presentation, you want to show your prospect how your solution will fix his problem. Since you’ve already addressed the buying motive, budget, and decision-making processes, you’ve cleared out the three biggest objections in sales: suitability of product or service; price; and ability to make a decision. Therefore, your presentation should result in a yes-or-no decision from your prospect – not a think it over, your price is too high, or call us in two weeks after the boss reviews it. And most importantly, a buying decision should be firm and not subject to buyer’s remorse.
Learn to appeal to all three ego states within your prospect; help him justify the emotional need to buy. Then you will see buying decisions made more quickly and you will also see your buyers remaining committed to the decisions they make.
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