Don’t Try to Reason with your Customers

As a small business owner, you need to accept what sales and marketing professionals have always known: people make decisions based on emotions. In today’s world, we have the studies in neuroscience and consumer behavior to prove it. Big corporations use this knowledge to lure customers away from you but if selling is a game, you have home field advantage. You can provide vital, emotional connections that big chains can only dream about.

We like to think of ourselves as rational, intelligent beings but when it comes to making buying decisions, the reasoning mind simply can’t perform. In Antonio Damasio’s book Descartes Error, he shares his studies on measuring the connections between thinking and emotions. When presented all the facts necessary for making a decision, people were unable to make a choice when they couldn’t access how they felt about the options. In short, your marketing should engage your customers’ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

So You’re Not A Neuroscientist?

No worries, you can create effective marketing materials without taking a single brain scan. Your goal is to remember that your customers need emotional engagement in order to make a purchasing decision. How do you do this? Meet the customers on their level. What do they care about? What moves them? There are unlimited ways of presenting your products and services in a way that taps into the emotions of your customers and assures them you are a great choice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Stand for something. If you operate from deeply held convictions and are consistent in communicating those values throughout your product line, suppliers, services, etc, you will provide a clear, compelling lightning rod of attraction for those customers who are longing to see those values genuinely expressed in the marketplace.
  2. Relieve their pain. What problems can you solve for your customers? Are they hassled with overly occupied lives? Offer bundles or ready-made packages that save them time. Are they insecure about how to purchase your goods or services? Offer simple guides and examples they can follow or create pre-selected combinations that boost their confidence.
  3. Affirm them. Most people struggle with “looking good” or feeling like deep inside they’re not good enough. How can you market your products in a way that affirms these deeply held issues and increases their sense of personal worth.
  4. Use color strategically. Colors directly affect emotions and evoke a personal connection. Use colors wisely in creating displays, marketing pieces, and an overall environment that connects with your target audience.
  5. Create appeal. Your use of imagery and writing can inspire people, make them laugh with joy or cry for a cause. Well chosen photos tell a story that will affect emotions. What are the characters in your imagery? What emotions are evoked? Humor? Joy? Love? Mystery? Intimacy?

Loyalty Beyond Reason

If you truly love your customer and are able to create genuine emotion connections, the research is on your side. Love equates significantly into loyalty.  In a survey of 60,000 shoppers across 50 markets, they found that if a brand can increase its loyal shopper base by only 5%, it can expect an increase of sales of 10%. In today’s world of social media, each one of those loyal customers becomes your evangelist, spreading the good word about how you make life better.

No one said creating loyalty and authentic emotional ties in business is easy. Furthermore, just as in our personal lives, customer relationships need consistent, supportive nurturing. But worth it? Absolutely!


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