I came across some interesting research about ‘emotional drivers’ the other day. Dr Dan Short of Arizona, USA, conducted a series of research studies that were intriguing as much as they were eye-opening.
Here is a quote from the research:
'In addition to my pool of 13 million subjects, I compiled a list of 723 emotional terms.
After eliminating terms that are too broad (e.g., good, bad), I found that, on average, the top ranking emotional terms registered with 15,500 hits. However, fear (once embedded in compulsory statements) registered with 182,900 hits.
Thus, when compared to other emotional terms, “fear” is 12 times as likely to be used to describe an event in which a person feels controlled by emotion.”
We’ve quoted on many occasions that buyers are driven more by emotions than by logic. We tend to see things in their emotional connections than in whether they will really ‘do the job’ for us.
For example, if you see a new outfit, you tend to think ‘Oh that looks great, I wonder how much it is?” This shows a leaning toward emotional feeling.
We don’t tend to think ‘Oh I wonder how much that outfit is?’ and then feel the emotion after we’ve logically assessed the situation.
So, what Dr Short’s analysis is purporting is that we are driven by specific emotions in driving our decision making. And what did he say was the number-one emotion, by far?
Why would fear be the strongest driver in decision-making?
H.L. Menken once wrote ‘The one permanent emotion of man is ‘fear’ – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety’. I think Menken hits the nail on the head. Our overriding need is for safety and security. We do all we can to make our families safe and secure. We feel that if we can just get that pay-rise or that new job, we will be more secure.
It’s an innate need in us.
We can apply this in many sectors, but especially when it comes to driving decision-making in our prospects.
How many times have you been in conversation and the prospect has said something like "We need to change this or we will be losing money’? Or "Our competition are starting to make inroads into our market share, and we have to respond’?
Many times, you will see the decision being influenced by the fear-factor…the worry or concern that, unless something is done, things will get worse.
Your stance in these situations should be ‘what would happen if you didn’t do something about this?’
This drives the prospect’s thoughts into the realms of fear, and will automatically cause them to consider what they need to do to build security again.
We’ve often said that, unless you get people out of their comfort zone, you run the risk of the current situation not being painful enough to elicit change. Fear is the strongest emotion you can use to make your prospect consider the best way forward.
So, think about your products and services and how they help make your prospect’s businesses and lives more secure. Think about how you can build the desire to change through wanting a more secure future or a relief from the painful scenarios they are going through at the moment. If you’re able to help them remove fear from their future decision-making, you open up a whole new wealth of opportunities.
Use this highly-charged emotion to drive sales forward.
By Sean McPheat, Founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training, sales training specialists