The various musings of Michael Hiles

B2B sales professionals, use emotion to get more sales

As diverse and unique as we all want to be in our individual existence, there’s a common bond between every person who lives or has lived on this planet – emotion.

Granted, the circumstances and experiences we each face are unique, we all experience the same feelings throughout our daily lives. Each of us understand fear, pain, love, joy, contentment, etc…

A successful sales leader understands these fundamental emotions as the foundation to all behavior and motivation – and especially so within the business environment.

Not only within one’s own business and operation, but also within the context of a customer and their people as well.

Knowing how these emotional dynamics affect behavior becomes a key element in… well really ALL persuasion, but especially in marketing and B2B sales.

Understanding how to connect with the fundamental emotional state of a decision-maker or influencer in a B2B sales scenario is somewhat of a hidden art form.

There’s a lot of discussion around pitching and selling in a B2C transaction, but less so in B2B sales.

B2B product or service companies tend to do a pretty decent job of explaining the features and benefits of their value proposition.

However, especially in more technical fields, there’s a hollow space when it comes to the empathy of a customer’s emotional experience.

Most B2B selling is downright boring.

A good B2B sales professional is able to recognize an individual’s present emotional state surrounding their work environment.

That sales professional can then leverage the condition into the desire for a future-tense state brought about through the benefits of buying whatever service or product the B2B sales professional is representing.

So let’s explore some of the most common emotions associated with someone’s role in their day-to-day job:

First, the positive!

Pride

  • Pride results from the feeling that one’s work is good and meaningful. It demonstrates success and achievement within a supportive work environment.
  • Pride can come from individual accomplishments, but also from the work a team delivers or even the organization’s achievements as a whole.
  • Pride can be a great motivator and can increase job performance.
  • Pride can help build satisfaction.

Satisfaction

  • Satisfaction is common in well-organized work environments where employees are able to easily comprehend their goals.
  • A good organization has a well-defined path for employees to measure and achieve their goals.
  • Satisfaction comes from feeling there’s a purpose or defined meaning to the work being done.
  • The desire for satisfaction in the workplace is a component of the next emotional state, happiness.

Happiness

  • Happiness comes from a workplace where team members feel valued. These employees believe their work is important and worthwhile.
  • Happiness has the magical effect of increasing productivity and collaboration. An interesting dynamic of happiness is the transference between home life and work life.
  • If someone isn’t happy at home, it can also negatively impact their happiness in their work – and vice versa.

These three are the ultimate desire for every individual in every job in every organization. Pride, satisfaction and happiness are essential ingredients in projecting a future state by the B2B sales professional attempting to persuade a decision-maker or influencer.

In a nutshell, “Buy my stuff and you’ll somehow or another achieve an intrinsic level of happiness.”

This should be part of the goal for any B2B sales professional… convincing the customer of some level of happiness that will result from the value proposition.

Every human desires satisfaction and happiness in their work. If a B2B sales professional can successfully attach this desire to their value proposition, you’ve won someone over.

Now, the negative

So now we’ve highlighted the three major, positive emotions that represent the desired state for all employees working in an organizational role, let’s discuss some negative ones.

Jealousy

  • Especially common in individually competitive environments, jealousy can be very pervasive in a work environment.
  • While it might be perceived as a bad thing overall for organizational culture, it still exists even in the most satisfying, healthy environments.
  • As such, jealousy must be recognized and managed within the B2B sales process.
  • A person may feel jealous over someone else’s promotion or other preferential treatment – especially when the person perceives the other, promoted individual isn’t worthy of such.

Boredom

  • Boredom is very common in highly routine or uninteresting jobs.
  • This can stem from an individual having skills or intellectual curiosity outside of their limited role.
  • When employees aren’t stimulated or challenged, they’re likely to feel bored and unsatisfied.
  • This can result in a drop in productivity through a lack of motivation and/or carelessness stemming from the lack of concentration required to perform tasks.

Frustration

  • There exists many reasons an employee can feel frustrated: team member’s performance, lack of progression in their career, ineffective management, toxic politics, or many other situations.
  • Sometimes even the inability to perform tasks related to the job itself through lack of skills or other hindrances.

Apathy

  • If an employee simply stops caring about their job; or, feels their work is inconsequential, apathy can set in and severely damage productivity and the overall performance of the team.
  • Once motivation is damaged, job performance is going to suffer.

Anxiety

  • If a job entails lack of predictability, an employee can feel as if their actions will not have any effect on outcomes.
  • Situations far outside of the control of an individual can create anxiety, and especially in organizations going through cut-backs or when the future of their job itself is uncertain.

Fear

  • Finally, we come to the most powerful emotion driving all behavior – fear. Fear of loss…
  • “If I lose my job, I might be homeless and lose my family. I might not be loved anymore. My life may be destroyed. I’ll be warming up a can of beans with a Zippo lighter under the highway overpass!!”
  • Fear will cause people to do irrational things, and behave in unpredictable ways. Fear also stops people from taking risks or making decisions that could be perceived as risky.

A successful B2B sales professional understands how to leverage each of these emotions in individual context. Conversations can be shaped to engage a person at their emotional level, and produce a desired future state based on the discussions.

A good storyteller understands how to project a future state of existence that releases the tension stemming from the negative emotions.

While the negative emotions may be perceived as bad and undesirable, they’re essential in any B2B sales situation.

 

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