What Do Business Leaders Need to Make a Decision? Emotions.
It seems counterintuitive, but when it comes to making decisions, emotions overwhelmingly outweigh logic and reason. Nowhere is this clearer than in the boardroom, the one place that has more to do with logic and reason than the heart. Psychological research scholars have found that our emotions play a critical role in helping us organize and empower the intellect to make sound, rational decisions.
In a study by Seo and Barrett, the emotions of 101 stock traders were tracked and the research found that those who experienced the strongest emotions had higher investment returns. The reason is that emotions help us to prioritize facts and data so that we can make better choices.
There’s More At Stake In the Boardroom.
Clearly, B2B prospects are motivated by different emotions than B2C prospects. B2B concerns center around the fear of making the wrong decision, uncertainty about ROI, and indignation over lost business to a competitor. Indisputably, B2B emotions are more intense — the wrong decision could destroy a career.
How can you use the power of emotions in your business? Research by Greg J. Stephens, Lauren J. Silbert, and Uri Hasson found that stories cause people to develop thoughts, opinions, and ideas that align with the person telling the story. When you tell the story about the pain of your customer, and how you saved the day, you’ve created the type of story that will connect with your prospects. But most businesses miss this opportunity to infuse emotion into case histories, backing them up with facts and figures. Too many case histories are written as if buying decisions are a result of rational analysis of facts and data. They are missing the influence and power of emotions to lead prospects to your solutions.
A common mistake, however, is to contrive an emotional appeal where none exists. The key is to recognize that your prospect has emotions, and is already using them to make a decision about your product and services. To create resonance within a case history requires insight, knowledge and talent. For help, you can download a build a great story worksheet here.
You Aren’t Dramatic, Enough But Your Customer Is.
You probably think your product isn’t stimulating enough to produce sweaty palms and heart palpitations. But think “panic.” When it comes to business, panic is the one emotion that is prevalent, pervasive and strong. Panic and anxiety are often the final straw that ultimately leads someone to finally reach out and ask for help. How can you, your business, quiet the panic and give peace?
In the real world examples below, I’ll show you how a plumber, a filler metal and a computer software company used the emotions of their customers to tell their story:
RMJ Plumbing: The bed and breakfast owner was just placing the flowers in the vases when the international guests texted her to say they were 45 minutes away. The client had bypassed the traditional hotels, moving company executives to local B&Bs wherever possible in an effort to ease stress on its employees. At the same moment, there was a gurgling sound underneath the foundation as the septic system backed up…..
Hobart Welding: The stadium consistently exceeded capacity, the concrete was crumbling, and there was hardly a moment when fans weren’t storming the gates to get inside to witness, and create their own, memories of the men who wore red socks. There was no feasible window to re-build. With a newly-engineered filler metal that could withstand Chicago’s bitter winds and freezing temperatures, the Comiskey Park Baseball Stadium was constructed during Chicago’s bitter winter…
Workday: Your company-wide operating system is dying, robbing employees of critical productivity, and the analysis to make decisions. It is based on outdated technology that has already been patched, fixed and updated beyond reason, and cannot sustain one more upgrade…Watch the full Workday story here.
Build Resonance In The Boardroom
We already know that customers start their search processes with Google, and that they spend more time on customer stories than any other page when making a purchasing decision. Yet, most businesses stop too soon. They steer clear of the dark places of despair, sticking to the facts. Fill your customer stories and case histories with the raw, real details of your customer’s world. This is the place where you have the greatest opportunity to build resonance with the heart of your customer.
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