How Emotional Needs Lead to Tremendous Value and Sales

Emotions Impact Consumer Behavior

BrandsMany salespeople assume that customers make buying decisions with a rational approach, analyzing details like features and financial aspects. However, research has shown that emotions shape the attitudes that drive consumer decisions and behavior. And, those emotions (or hot buttons) impact behavior far more than technical or functional factors.

Consider how people frequently buy name brand products over the generic alternative. If it doesn’t make logical sense to pay more for a product with the same ingredients why do they do it? It’s the emotional attachment they have to the brand.

Psychology Today describes it this way…

“A nationally advertised brand has power in the marketplace because it creates an emotional connection to the consumer. A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.” – curated from Psychology Today

Uncover Hot Buttons to Build Enormous Value

Emotional needsAll buyers are influenced by their emotions, however they may not realize it. While the reasons customers care about your products may not be obvious to them, your ability to uncover their  “hot buttons” and understand their emotional needs can have a very concrete impact on your sales success.

When you gain a firm understanding of your customer’s hot buttons you have powerful information to build value in your product. Consider that most customers would pay almost anything to realize their hot buttons and you can see how incorporating a connection between your products benefits and their hot buttons help increase value.

For example, a grandmother with knee pain might decide to just “deal with it” when faced with a pain cream costing $40.00 a tube. However, if that same cream could relieve her knee pain allowing her to spend quality time playing on the floor with her granddaughter it would be well worth it. In fact, if you asked her how much she would pay to have that time she might say something like”I’d pay any amount”.

The ability to spend quality time playing with your granddaughter is an emotional reason for buying the product. It’s a priceless “hot button” and connecting it to your product’s benefits increases value.

Discovering Your Customer’s Hot Buttons

To find your customer’s hot buttons you need to ask questions but before that, you need to gain their trust. Chances are a stranger isn’t just going to hand over emotionally charged information to you. So from the beginning of your interaction you need to establish rapport and sincerely listen and care about your customer’s needs. When they feel the can trust you and see that you’re not just about making a sale they’ll be more inclined to open up and tell you what really matters.

Emotions are What Drive Consumers to take Action

Having a conversation at a more emotional level also encourages your customer to take action. It’s human nature. Even something as simple as our fight or flight response is triggered by an emotion.

“In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something. In a physical confrontation, fear forces us to chose between “fight or flight” to insure our self-preservation. In our daily social confrontations, insecurity may cause us to buy the latest iPhone to support our positive self-identity.” – curated from Psychology Today


There are emotional aspects to the decisions and actions your customers take when considering your product. When you make a solid connection, uncover their hot buttons and show how your product can help get them what they want, you increase the chances they’ll say “yes” when you close.

Why Spock Was Wrong about Needs, Wants and Why People Buy

Needs, Wants and Why People Buy

If you have a closet filled with the exact same outfit and you wear it everyday you are either:

  • Steve Jobs,
  • from the future,
  • a consumer who buys strictly what you need based on logic.

If, on the other hand, you have a wide variety of styles and colors in your closet you, like the vast majority of other consumers, make your buying decisions based on emotion and what you want.

On today’s show discover:

  • …how to find out what your customer wants;
  • …how knowing what they want can increase the value of your product and the likelihood they’ll buy it from you.

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You’re Also a Customer

One great advantage you have as a salesperson is you’re also a customer. It makes sense to rely on your experiences as a consumer to excel on the other side of the counter.Think about the last big item you purchased. Maybe it was a car, a house, or a new computer.

When people are shopping for a big ticket items, like a car, they have valid, logical reasons for needing it but they also have specific wants, aspects about a new car that defy logic, things that have a powerful influence over their final decision. It needs to be red, it has to be a FORD, it has to look cool, I want a sunroof.

This influence isn’t limited to large purchases….you even make small purchases based on emotion and what you want.

Why are There so Many Types of Trash Cans?

Have you ever taken a look at how many different types of trash cans there are? There are metal ones, plastic ones, black, red and green ones, trash cans with wheels, with lids that come off and with lids that stay on. Why are there so many different types? It’s just a can to hold trash right?

Well, the only reason we have so many choices as consumers is because we buy what we want. If we only bought based on what we need, we would have just one model,style and color….it would be simple and logical. However, because there are people who want RED trash cans (even though it doesn’t make logical sense) red trash cans are available!

Wants, Needs and Why People Buy

When faced with a purchasing decision Wants generally outweigh Needs and in many cases you may even want something you don’t really need at all. (I don’t know about you but I can think of a dozen things I’ve bought over the years because I wanted them even though I really didn’t need them).

Take jumping out of plane for instance. You don’t NEED a parachute to jump out of a plane, but you probably WANT one! In this case the WANT is WAY more important don’t you think?

It’s Highly Illogical

Why people buy, it's not logicalIt’s common to find sales books that tell you to build value by showing the customer how your product meets their needs. It’s a good place to start but if you really want to excel in sales show them how your product gets them what they want! That’s far more important to your customer.

For this reason, Mr Spock would have been a terrible salesperson. He was WAY too logical. Remember, whatever you’re selling your customer can get in a dozen different places but if you can show them how your product gives them what they want they’ll buy it from you.

How do You do Find out What they Want?

Well, along with the probing questions you ask to find out what they need, incorporate questions to find out what they want and look for that emotional response.


Using a two step process identify your customer’s needs and then understand them.

  • Step one Identify the need with a question like:
    • What prompted you to call in today?
  • Step two understand the need with questions like:
    • How long has that been an issue?
    • What else have you tried?
    • At it’s worst, how bad is the pain?


Now, use the same process to identify your customer’s wants…their hot buttons, the emotional reason they want to resolve their need.

  • Step one identify their wants (or hot-buttons):
    • Once we get rid of that back pain, what’s the first thing you’ll want to do that’s difficult for you to do now?
  • Step two understand their want and especially their emotional attachment with questions like:
    • Why is biking so important to you?
    • How will it feel to be back on your bike again?
    • Where do you like to ride?

Some salespeople struggle with this because it seems counter intuitive…. I’m supposed to be talking about my pain product not about their love of bike riding right? (wrong).

When you discover your customer’s wants a lot of great things happen:

  • You strengthen your connection with them which helps build trust and value (you’re not just another salesperson)
  • You actively engage the customer in the buying process (engaged shoppers become engaged buyers)
  • You have the ability to demonstrate how your product not only meets their needs but also gets them what they want

That makes you and your product far more valuable.

Today’s One Two Punch:

Discover your customer’s wants and create a stronger desire for your product


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Who Should You Sell To?

Selling Through The Middle Man

It happens all the time you end up talking to someone other than the person who needs the product and it seems to end with “I’ll talk with them and get back to you.” If only there was a better way to handle that situation…well as you may have guessed, there is!

On today’s show discover:

  • …how to more effectively build value when you’re talking to the “middle man;
  • …how to uncover emotional hot buttons that have impact;
  • …and how to sell more when someone’s calling or shopping for someone else.
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I’m Calling for Someone Else

Have you ever heard this before?

“I’m calling for my husband” “I heard the ad and wanted to find out more about it for my sister”

In sales, this happens all the time. You find yourself talking to someone other than the person who will be using your product. It’s usually the wife, husband, mother, father, daughter, son or friend…some nice person who is doing the leg work and gathering information.

Problem is, this doesn’t fit the sales process. How are you supposed to sell to someone who isn’t there?

If you’ve tried to sell through one person to another you know how hard it is!

The phone rings, you pick it up and greet a customer named Fred. Before long you find out he’s calling for his wife Wilma. So you work with Fred to find out what Wilma needs but it’s hard because you’re not talking with her directly. (and he doesn’t seem to have all the answers)

You paint the best picture you can, but it doesn’t really seem to resonate with him. You go for the close and Fred says “ well that sounds good….I’ll talk it over with Wilma and get back to you.”

BUMMER…lost another one.

You’ve seen top salespeople close these calls so you know it’s possible but what exactly do they do? If you asked them they would tell you  “sell to the person you’re talking to.” In other words they don’t try to sell to Wilma, they sell to Fred.

I know, you’re thinking “well sure if Fred wants to use the product too it’s easy but what if he doesn’t need the product?” No problem, you still sell to Fred….here’s how it works.
You greet Fred and build rapport, as always, and at some point he tells you he’s calling for Wilma. You start asking probing questions to understand Wilma’s needs. So far, the process is the same as always. However, when you start exploring hot buttons you shift your attention to Fred.

Why switch to Fred? Because in-order to make the sale you need to build value and to do it so it’s meaningful for Fred you need his hot buttons. So, you work to understand, on an emotional level, why he wants to help.

Imagine that Fred’s calling because your product might help reduce the pain Wilma has in her back. You might ask Fred how long it’s been a problem for her, what else has she tried, does it seem to be getting worse or better, so you have a better idea of what’s going on with Wilma.
But then as you transition to uncover hot buttons you ask Fred,

“How do you feel when see Wilma suffering with this pain, how would it make you feel if you could do something to take her pain away, how has this pain been affecting you Fred?”

Now you’re uncovering powerful emotional hot buttons and you’re bringing Fred into the sales process.When you build value it has meaning for him.

…“Just imagine seeing Wilma smile again, knowing she feels better, she isn’t in pain and you helped her. Best of all you can go out dancing again like you used to when you first met, she will be so thrilled. Helping her get her life back, is really what’s most important to you isn’t it Fred?”

In the end, you’re helping Fred make a good decision so Wilma can feel better and you made it happen by selling to the person you’re talking to.

Today’s One Two Punch:

Sell to the person you’re talking to, and make more sales

Ways to subscribe to The K.O. Sales Coach

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Selling The Dream

It’s Priceless

Successful salespeople know that selling a product is really more about selling what the product will do for someone. In order to build real value, it’s important to find out how your product or service can help your customer realize their “dream”.  When you can do that, price is no longer an object because for most people their “dream” is priceless.

You can build immeasurable value in your product by tailoring your presentation to the customer’s needs, wants and hot buttons so that you’re no longer selling just a product, you’re selling the dream!

The Path to the Dream

Before you can sell the dream you need to know what the dream is. There is a logical path you need to follow in order to determine what your customer really wants. What is it that is so important to them that you can’t place a price on it? Selling the dream requires you to know your customer’s hot buttons which you find out by asking

Selling the dream requires you to know your customer’s hot buttons which you find out by asking open-ended questions. For your customer to feel comfortable enough with you to answer these questions you need to establish trust and rapport. You build rapport by being a good active listener, conveying empathy and making a connection.

The Path is Simple

  • Make a Connection -> Convey Empathy and Listen Actively ->
  • to Build Trust and Rapport ->
  • Ask Open Ended Questions – > Uncover Needs and Hot Buttons ->
  • Sell the Dream

Make a Connection

In the post, You Had Me at Hello we reviewed how to make a solid connection with your customers. This connection, in conjunction with your empathy and supportive responses, will set the stage for you to find your customer’s hot buttons and understand what their “dream is”.

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is active listening combined with empathy.

Empathy is – Understanding how someone feels…or walking a mile in their shoes.

Active Listening is – Making a conscious effort to really hear what your customer is saying. Listening for more than just their words.

Sometimes we confuse empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when someone feels sorry for you or takes pity on you. (not something that most of us like). Empathy is understanding!

Here’s an example of empathic listening  “So you’re concerned that if you don’t do something about your weight now it may get worse and really impact your health.” In this example, we communicated empathy when we said that they are concerned. That’s their emotion about the situation. It’s how they are feeling. We also showed good active listening skills by paraphrasing back what they said.

Here’s how sympathy would sound. “I am so sorry that you are overweight and unhealthy.”   Not the same…..this sounds like you’re pitying the person. If someone said something like this to you it wouldn’t feel good would it? You wouldn’t feel like this person “gets you” or understands where you are coming from.

Open Ended Questions

Now that you’ve established rapport and made a connection you can engage the customer in conversation and use open-ended questions to uncover their needs and hot buttons. Before we talk about which questions we want to ask we should take a closer look at the difference between “NEEDS” and “HOT BUTTONS”

Needs are – The symptom that has resulted from the health concern the customer has. Most customers will live with their symptoms and some will even choose to live with them instead of spending money to resolve them.

  • A Headache is a symptom
  • Knee pain is a symptom
  • Trouble sleeping is a symptom

Hot Buttons – These are the “EMOTIONAL” reasons the customer wants to resolve their health problem. Most customers would pay ANY AMOUNT to realize their hot button. When asked they would say, to them, their hot button is priceless!

  • Spending quality time with your grand-kids
  • Having your independence back
  • Being able to dance with your wife again

As you might imagine, when you can show the customer how your product helps them achieve their hot-button the price becomes an insignificant factor. After all, they would pay anything!

When all you can do is show them how the product can help with their symptom many will just “live with it: instead of spending the money.

So what’s the plan?

Work HARD to get your customer’s hot button so you can help them see how the product will get them what they want.

**Stop Selling the Product and Start Selling the Dream!**