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The Role of Emotion in Business Sales

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

In this short video, RAIN Group President Mike Schultz talks about how emotion plays a role in business sales.

It’s often been said that people buy with their hearts and justify their purchases with their heads.

Now, this might be a cliché, but it is true.

People think this is mostly a consumer thing. It isn’t. Business buyers buy on emotion and justify with their heads, too.

I know one particular situation where there was a consulting firm, and the consultants spent five months selling to a particular client and could not make the sale. No dice.

Now the ROI story, it was great. The company could invest $2 million and get $8 million in cost savings at a minimum over the coming years. But the consulting firm still didn’t sell it and they didn’t know why.

So, they talked again to the VP of Operations, who was the ultimate decision maker. They asked him, “What’s up?” and the VP told him, well, he’s still plugging away with the same old problems, that the issue reared its ugly head, that he was even called away from a vacation to come in and fix what was going on.

The consultant told us he was thinking about our conversations. He would have historically started calculating what this most recent breakdown cost, but this time he focused on the person. He said, “Well, where were you? What were you guys up to? Oh, that sounds great. Did the kids like it?” And he also said, “Sure, there’s money to be saved in fixing this particular issue and we’ve already gone over that, but beyond the financial case, one thing that’s true about this whole setup that we’re talking about is that this isn’t going to happen to you anymore.”

Interestingly enough, they signed the deal the next week and the buyer told the Board, “The financial case is too compelling. This demands our attention and we have to stop dragging our feet and approve it now finally.” And the buyer told our client to hurry up and get the project done because he needed to schedule his makeup vacation with his family.

When it comes to actually doing this: focusing on the emotion versus the financial part, you have to be subtle and careful how you weave it into the conversation. You can’t just say, “Do this and you’ll be happy. You’ll be less frustrated. You’ll get such respect and congratulations. And your family will love you more.” It doesn’t work quite like that. But never mistake the fact that, yes, even in business people buy with their hearts and justify with their heads.

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Topics: Sales Conversations