Sales professionals in the IT space are often saddled with the stereotype of being tech-savvy types who can rattle off the specs of their latest product at the drop of a hat, but who may find it difficult to frame their offerings in a way that resonates with the broader aspirations and critical pain points of their clients.
Although this stereotype is largely unfounded, it is true that it can be difficult to capture the emotional appeal of many IT product and service offerings. While the typical VAR's menu of product and service offerings may help improve efficiency and increase organizational effectiveness, it can sometimes be difficult to connect the dots between these incremental operational attainments and the emotional aspect of business ownership and management.
But according to a number of well-known sales gurus, connecting emotionally may be exactly what you need to do to make the sale, particularly in these difficult economic times. From a rational decision-making perspective, clients might be compelled to err on the side of caution and put some capital expenditures and upgrades on the back burner for the time being. In order to help these cautious clients across the finish line, you have to present your case in a way that makes sense in terms of both dollars and cents and gut-level intuition.
Are you ready to ratchet up the emotional appeal of your sales pitch? Use these techniques to hone a technique that blends facts and figures with emotional intelligence.
- Use emotional appeals subtly and sparingly. Many buyers in the IT space are highly educated, worldly types who have refined tastes and powerful BS detectors. Emotional appeals can pack a powerful punch, but if you come on too strong, you might wind up alienating a discerning client. Tread carefully, take cues from their reactions, and remember that when it comes to using emotional appeals in the IT space, less is often more.
- Project empathy. Conveying a strong sense of empathy is the idea at the core of the emotional approach to sales. By demonstrating to your client that you feel his or her pain, you'll increase rapport and build trust. This, in turn, will help your client feel comfortable and persuade them to offer up details that could help you pinpoint their challenges, objectives, and pain points more accurately.
- Cultivate an awareness of your clients' moods and personality. One factor that can determine the success of sales tactics that appeal to emotion is having an accurate read of your clients' psychological state, worldview, and behavioral patterns. It may help to familiarize yourself with one of the simple personality classification systems that are designed to help sales pros get a read on clients and prospects. Pay attention to the way that they react to different circumstances and situations and tailor your pitch accordingly.
- Try to pick up on emotionally laden language and gestures. Even if your client doesn't come across as the emotional type, you can still pick up on clues that you can use to tailor a more effective sales pitch. Listen to the words that they use to describe certain projects or challenges, and watch for changes in facial expressions or gestures. Even minute shifts in language and non-verbal cues can yield inside information about the client's anxieties, fears, and pain points that you can use to shape your emotional appeal.
- Manage your own emotional responses carefully. Although it may seem counterintuitive, one factor that will impact your ability to appeal effectively to your client's emotions is learning how to modulate your own emotional response. Aim for an air of empathic sincerity and try to maintain an even keel throughout the course of the meeting, even if your client becomes animated, enthusiastic, or upset. That way, you'll have the distance you need to assess the situation and select the most potentially effective emotional appeal at any given moment as the situation develops.
How does emotion factor into your approach to sales? Do you think IT sales could benefit from more gut-level emotional resonance, or do you prefer to stick to facts and figures when you're delivering your sales pitch? Pitch in with your two cents in the comments.