Finding Emotional Connection is The Most Critical Role In Any Sale

Drew Taylor

Think of a time when you headed into a prospect meeting and just knew it was going to go well – the proverbial slam dunk. You were armed with every fact and figure the prospect could possibly need to see the value of your firm’s services, your charts and graphs were beautiful. It simply wasn’t possible for them to say no. Any rational person would see your well-organized, fact-filled presentation and say yes to becoming a client.

Then they said no. No matter what you said, you couldn’t get them to move forward.

How did you feel? Shocked? Dumbfounded?

This situation plays out over and over every day in all areas of life. I’m guessing it has happened to you, more than once. It plays out most frequently in sales. Salespeople heap facts upon figures on top of other facts to show how much better their product or service is versus the competition. Yet, these situations are bound to fail because decisions – especially, important decisions – are not made logically, they are made emotionally.

Acclaimed neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California conducted research several years ago that highlighted the importance of emotions in decision making. In his book, “Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain,” Damasio profiled one of his patients, Elliott, who experienced damage to the area of his brain that controlled emotion. In all other respects Elliott was completely normal. Actually, he was a bit more than normal. Elliott ranked in the 97th percentile in IQ. However, due to his damaged brain he did not feel or experience emotion the way a normal person did. Damasio noticed that his lack of emotion severely impacted Elliott’s ability to make decisions. Even the smallest decisions were nearly impossible – choosing where to eat lunch took all afternoon, making an appointment would take 30 minutes or more, even choosing which color pen to use to write was an agonizing process.

Damasio’s research shed tremendous light on decision making. At the actual point of making a decision, even for people who are otherwise technically inclined, their emotions take over and play the most critical role. No emotional connection between the prospect and becoming a client most often means they are less likely to become a client.

Being More Human

So, how do you make this emotional connection? I’m glad you asked.

The first, and most simple, way to emotionally connect with a prospect or client is to be human. Practice and perfect your ability to tell stories. Most importantly, stories that make you human. Why did you get into the business you’re in (what personal, emotional factors led you to this industry or job)? What work have you done for other clients that is relevant to this prospect, and how did that client FEEL when the work was completed? Step out of your technical comfort zone and tell stories, become more human, and you will begin to connect more deeply with your prospects and clients.

The second way to create a strong emotional connection to your prospects and clients is to engage their emotional brain from the very beginning of your relationship by using an Emotionally Intelligent Client Engagement System. Using a systematic approach to engage the emotional needs and objectives of prospects will allow you to uncover those aspects of their lives that are the most important drivers of their decisions. You will understand what fills their Heart, what is top of Mind, and what enriches their Soul. Connecting your services to these emotional drivers of their lives will clearly demonstrate to prospects your empathy, how you understand and support what is most important to them, along with providing them the confidence they need to make such a meaningful decision.

I’ll be right up front in saying that an emotionally-based process is very counter-intuitive. It is not your typical checklist of things to gather in a discovery meeting, nor is it something you can send to prospects and have them fill it out before you sit down. It requires you to practice and perfect the skills that make you a true professional – listening, empathy, and client-centeredness. Without those skills, and constant work at improving them, an emotionally intelligent engagement system will not generate its maximum impact. This type of system will make many people (actually, most people) very uncomfortable because of its unorthodox structure. But why relegate yourself to the same results everyone else gets from using the age-old discovery/presentation approach? With practice, commitment, and flexibility an emotionally intelligent engagement system has the ability to significantly improve your client relationships and your success rate in closing business – a true WIN-WIN!

Drew Taylor is the Founder of DTaylor Group, a boutique strategic consulting firm and organic growth authority for wealth advisors and asset managers. He partners with firms to help them achieve their highest-potential growth resulting in stronger client relationships, increased employee morale and greater revenues and profitability.