Emotion is the driving force in today’s buying process, and sparking the right emotions can attract new leads to your business. Customers tend to make choices based on their feelings toward a product or brand. Sales professionals must pay attention to customer mood shifts because their emotions can change throughout the purchasing process.
To identify customer emotions, understand who your customers are. Knowing your customers’ personas provides you with perspective and makes it clear what their pain points, needs and wants are. Pain points are moments when the customer’s purchasing journey is not running smoothly. Ameliorating these moments and improving customer experience can positively impact their feelings toward your product or service, and your brand on the whole.
A customer’s emotions are also fueled by their motivators, which vary from person to person. When someone’s motivators aren’t satisfied, they can feel unhappy. Four motivators for a customer’s happiness are: function, benefit, emotional connection and purpose. These can apply to both products and your business’s customer service.
Some characteristics that are often used to identify customer personas include digital affinity, preferred methods of communication, channel switches and churn rates. Knowing all of this information helps identify customer emotions, their purchasing journey, and how to take action to develop products and services that feed their positive emotions toward your brand. When trying to determine why customers might be unhappy or experience pain points, be sure you ask: “What motivators are we not satisfying?” and “How do motivators differ among customer personas?”
Sales are affected by customer emotions because feelings drive our decision-making processes. Though many people may believe that such choices are purely logical, there is plenty of psychological research that shows the contrary. A positive emotional experience with your company can create loyal return customers who will help to drive new business your way, while a negative emotional experience can do the opposite. One area to pay particular attention to is customer service pitfalls, as a negative experience can damage your entire brand. Naturally, making sure that customers return time and again has a positive impact on your sales. Positive word of mouth generated by happy customers also drives up sales. A customer is far more likely to recommend your product to their loved ones if they’ve had a positive emotional experience with your brand or product.
Marketers use positive experiences to encourage people to buy your product. This can be done by creating images and videos that stir up positive emotions. These campaigns try to make customers feel relaxed, excited, happy or wanted. By connecting your brand with such positive emotions, customers will be drawn to your company and thus more inclined to buy your product. Campaigns can also help provide a personality for your brand, which in turn makes customers feel emotionally connected to it. That connection can be fostered through special promotions – like discounts and loyalty programs – which will also positively impact your patron’s emotions, your sales and help to boost your customer retention.
Every decision an individual makes is influenced by emotion, including what we buy. How we feel when we make a purchase determines whether or not we’ll make the same choice again. By ensuring customers have positive emotional experiences with your brand, sales can improve.
Emotions are unique to each stakeholder. Feelings may run steady or peak at various stages of the buyer’s journey for different individuals. In fact, emotions unrelated to the buy or don’t buy decision can enter the picture, too.
A common example of this is someone taking their frustrations out on a neutral party. This problem is even further complicated by the fact that the carryover of incidental emotions typically occurs without awareness. Sales professionals must always remember that emotions influence business decisions. Generally, these emotions fall into two categories: fear of loss or motivation for gain.
A poor decision has serious implications for the individuals, the team and your business. People fear they will lose credibility and possibly their job if a solution fails. After all, relationships and money are at stake. These factors create a burden for the decision- makers. In many cases, these emotions are strong enough to overpower the most compelling evidence for a buy decision.
In e-commerce, for instance, regret and the fear of losing out drive sales. When shoppers believe they are in competition with other buyers or if their desired product has limited availability, they are more likely to make a purchase. One example is Booking.com, which sends the following notifications when a customer selects a hotel:
These messages let the customers know about the hotel’s popularity and imply that they should make the booking before other customers do. They add to this urgency by notifying customers of dwindling availability and sidebar ads that promote their recently viewed hotels. Hotels.com uses a similar method, as the company notifies users of other customers who looked at the same hotel in the last hour and how many times it’s been booked in the previous 24 hours.
A successful solution offers recognition and financial gain. The buyer advances on their competition and gains the freedom to pursue other business goals. Just as a fear of loss can deter momentum, the motivation for gain pulls a customer through the buying process. This resolve is what encourages the buyer to explore solutions. Some of the motivators for gain are: enhancing status, making a dream come true, making amends, being defiant, feeling good or safe, forgetting their problems, making a statement and rewarding themselves. Working to provide these motivators will satisfy your customer because it fulfills the need that fueled their motivation.
Here are some examples of a purchase motivated by gain:
Sales professionals must identify buying factors, such as the set of facts, influences and circumstances that contribute to the decision to buy or walk away. Such motivations are dynamic and interrelated. Facts and circumstances continue to evolve as the customer progresses through the buying journey. Sales professionals must understand three key buying factors:
The case for change, stakeholder dynamics and the decision process are all external. They can be seen by watching how a group of buyers interact with each other and with the sales professional. However, these factors are often governed by unseen biases. Here are some common examples:
Purchasing decisions are affected by buying factors and biases, which are all important to understand.
In business, we’re reluctant to acknowledge the role emotions play in our purchasing decisions. We prefer to see ourselves as entirely rational beings. We want our choices to result from analysis unencumbered by our leanings. Rather than ignore the emotional factors, sales professionals can empower themselves by exploring the emotions at play on the customer’s side of the table.
To do so, they must first understand if fear of loss or motivation for gain drives the business decision. Second, they must uncover how the three primary buying factors influence the buyer’s journey. Finally, sales professionals need to explore cognitive biases at work. As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “If you would persuade, appeal to interest and not to reason.”
Additional reporting by Andrea Grodnizky.