No Emotion, No Sale

You hear a knock on the door, and open it to a salesperson.  Or, you’re at a conference perusing the vendor floor and a representative stops you. What does it take for you to stop and seriously consider the pitch being made?   What does he need to say? Is it the logical argument? What if they bombard you with facts, figures, and statistics?

Chances are that won’t work.  What will?

It’s simple: the emotional appeal. It’s when they express enthusiasm and passion and discuss why the application is so important to you. It is this emotion that guides the major decisions we make in our lives and careers—not facts and figures. This same power carries over to presenters and their audiences. It’s puzzling that many presenters focus their attention on the facts and leave emotion behind, when in reality, it’s a speaker’s ability to make an audience feel something that eventually closes the “sale.”

People, both in their personal and professional lives make decisions that they feel are the right things to do rather than simply the logical things to do. Take, for example, Eric Bernstein, the chief operating officer at eFront, a leading provider of software solutions to the financial industry. I once saw Eric give a speech in 2008, right as the financial crisis was gaining traction, during an industry event where a dozen speakers were on the agenda. While speakers that day stood behind a lectern and blandly discussed risk management metrics and bar charts, Eric did the opposite. Like a great actor about to deliver a command performance, he approached the spotlight with zeal and confidence and packed a wallop, earning both thunderous applause and rave reviews.

His presentation spoke to the audience’s aspirations. He passionately discussed their concerns and helped them to understand how the appropriate risk-management software was not only a defensive tool for recovery but also an offensive weapon for profitability. It was a perfect blend of “I feel your pain” and “we’ll get through this together.” It was an emotional call to action, delivered at a time when people seemed to need it the most.

Bernstein’s secret? “It’s shocking to me how important emotion is in our business,” he later told me. “I want the client to feel that I am not just a software vendor; I’m their partner. The majority of my job is to transform something from whatever it is to what I want it to be. Ninety percent of that is the human element.” It’s Bernstein’s ability to communicate emotion that has allowed him to successfully convert countless prospects into clients at eFront.

The key to success often lies in a salesperson’s ability to believe as strongly in the solution being sold and the value it provides as the person sitting across the table. If you can find a way to communicate that trust in an authentic and emotional way, you do more than sell a product; you forge enduring bonds.  Never considered yourself a salesperson?  When you give a presentation, you are one.  Just like the successful sale of a product or service requires an emotional connection between the vendor and prospect, the successful sale of a message to your audience requires an emotional connection as well.