COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | JEFFREY GITOMER

Fifty shades of sales: putting emotion first, price second

It seems society is loosening up. The Internet, music, movies, book titles, TV, and texting have created an “openness revolution” not matched since the 1960s.

The recent explosion in popularity (and sales) of the "Fifty Shades of Gray" trilogy is leading me to believe the world of sales needs to loosen up as well.

Not "that" kind of loose. Shheeeesh.

It’s not that selling is particularly sexy or erotic – but it is definitely emotional. You, the salesperson, enter the sale full of emotion and do your best to transfer your emotion to the prospect – and even capture their emotion. Once there is emotional transfer and emotional agreement, the likelihood of a sale is much higher than a “professional” or “manipulative” approach or presentation.

To understand the concept of “Fifty Shades of Sales” more fully, you have to be aware of the way sales are made. The sale is made emotionally, and justified logically.

You have made a significant emotional investment in the sale. Your emotions rise and fall with the decisions of other people. Sometimes you score. Sometimes you don’t. Either way, there’s an overflow of emotional energy.

Customers are also extremely emotional:

• Before they take ownership (need, desire).

• As you’re presenting (risk, doubt, caution).

• When they take ownership (pride, gratification).

• When something goes wrong (fear, anger).

Even price buyers express the (emotional) need, want, or desire to own something.

After the emotional decision is made – then they logically hunt down, justify, or decide on the affordability of the price.

Your challenge is to harness prospect-emotion and create enough of a positive atmosphere and perceived value to purchase from you.

Great news: Your shades of gray, er sales, are within your total control.

Here are the emotional elements and actions that will create a buying atmosphere:

• Asking emotional questions about their experience and wisdom.

• Your passionate, compelling presentation.

• Your personal, transferrable, and consistent enthusiasm.

• Attitude that comes from your heart.

• Serving because you love to serve.

• Belief that the customer is better off having purchased from you – and believing that in your heart, not your head.

• Connecting personally and building meaningful rapport.

• Uncovering and understanding the motive (or motives) of the customer to buy.

• Making certain that your value message goes beyond your price. When value exceeds price a purchase occurs.

• Wowing the customer as a regular part of your process in sales and service.

• Using an emotional video from other customers as proof of your authenticity, quality, and value.

• Reassuring the customer after they purchase.

• Becoming genuinely interested in the prospect – a classic Dale Carnegie axiom.

• Doing more than is expected – a classic Napoleon Hill axiom.

• Giving value first – a classic Jeffrey Gitomer axiom.

That’s a sales list of qualities you can sink your teeth into. They’re real, they create emotional engagement, and they can all be mastered over time.

Take note: You determine your own emotion by the spoken and unspoken elements of who you are as a person.

Before you can enter the sales arena and best interact with customers and prospects, here are the elements you must possess to be the master of your emotional self …

• Your internal positive attitude.

• Your smile.

• Your self-confidence.

• The way you present yourself to others.

• The way you speak to others, both in tone and words.

• Who you seek to become as a person.

• How you live your life.

• How you earn respect.

• Your peer reputation.

• Your community reputation.

• Your online reputation.

• Your love of family.

• Daily random acts of kindness.

And the shade – the degree – of emotion you put into each of these elements, will determine the outcome of your sales effort, and your relationship effort, much more than your price, your insincere communication, or your closing tactics.

Beware and be aware: Closing the sale, finding the pain, and manipulation aren’t in the shades of gray spectrum– they’re black. Customers are smarter than that, and they see right through your phony words and process.

Practice safe sales. You got into sales to win, and make income beyond the safety of a salary – you’ll have to take risks along the way, but do not risk ethical violation of practice, or reputation threatening based on actions.

Your emotional success and your sales is totally up to you. When you combine and master the elements and strategies above, your outcomes will build your security.

That’s an emotion you can be at peace with, and bank on.

Gitomer is the author of "The Sales Bible" and "The Little Red Book of Selling." President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at trainone.com. He can be reached at salesman@gitomer.com.

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