The best salespeople appeal to the heart, not the mind.

There’s a place for rational buying and its emphasis on functionality and benefits.  But what about the emotional connection between a buyer and the product or service?

Think about McDonald’s.

Does it actually taste better than its competitors?  Maybe just the fries.  But even then,  think about the notion that McDonald’s has good tasting fries: after all, the entire branding of the McDonald’s logo is focused on its “golden arches.”  There’s emotional value infused in how we conceive of french fries at McDonald’s.  Does McDonald’s have bigger burgers or better milkshakes than anyone?  Is McDonald’s healthier?

The material differences between McDonald’s and its competitors are marginal.

However, the emotional difference, with McDonald’s marketing itself as family-friendly, and especially children friendly, is huge.  The “Happy Meal” is an entire subset of the McDonald’s Menu dedicated solely to children.  The capacity of McDonald’s to tap into that sense of family separates it from the Burger Kings and KFCs that are its competitors.

Now think about Coca Cola.

How different is Coca Cola from Pepsi Cola?  Sure, while one is sweeter than the other, for the most part it can be agreed that the two products are very, very similar.  So why does Coca Cola have more market share than its very similar counterpart?

Again, it comes down to a different degree of emotional attachment.  There are just far more positive emotional associations with Coca Cola than Pepsi.  It’s rare to hear of a Pepsi fan, and even rarer an occasion to hear someone defend Pepsi in the way that Coke loyalists will.  There’s a reason for that: it’s hard to define what Pepsi represents, whereas Coca Cola has positioned itself as a company with aspirations for happiness and kindness – something that anyone can relate to:

Of course, emotions aren’t the only thing that ought to be considered when a sale is being conducted, but it’s certainly an important factor.

Next time you’re closing a sale, just remember that we make decisions as much – if not more – with our hearts as our brains.

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