Ep. 272: 4 Powerful Emotions That Sell and Close Deals

Selling with Emotion

“People don’t ask for facts in making up their minds. They would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.” ~Robert Keith Leavitt, author

Who should listen: Any sales professional looking for strategic advice about how they can use key emotional appeals to increase their sales volume.

Key idea: Practice actively listening to discern which emotional appeals will successfully persuade a specific prospect to buy.

Action item: Take the time with your next prospect to use your emotional intelligence and actively listen for their pain point. Appeal to their worst-case scenario, and position your product or service as the solution that can help them avoid that pain.

In this week’s Silver Dollar episode, we talk about four emotions that skilled salespeople can use when persuading a prospect to make a purchase or agree to do business together. They are:

  • safety/security
  • frustration
  • desire/hope
  • altruism

Of course, there are many more emotions you can use in a sales pitch, but these four have a winning track record and can be applied to a wide range of products, services, and circumstances.

Connecting emotions to actions

How you appeal to these emotions, and your rate of success in using them appropriately, will largely depend on your ability to discern what motivates your prospect—that is, you need to be skilled in active listening.

You then need to make an association between that motive and your product or service—that’s your skill as a salesperson coming in to play.

Finally, you need to select and use the appropriate emotion to activate the motive—that’s where this week’s episode can help.

When listening to or watching this week’s episode, pay particular attention to the reasons we give for why appeals to these emotions work. While we provide you with examples for how and when to use each of the four emotions, knowing the reasons for their effectiveness will help you to apply them in a variety of situations outside the scenarios we present.

For example, altruism is the belief in or practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others. Scholars contend that our willingness to help others is both a part of human nature and a learned social behavior. Whether altruistic behaviors are truly selfless is debatable but, as a persuasive appeal, altruism is effective precisely because it generates various sorts of rewards, including helping people overtly feel good about themselves.

Knowing this, you can use an appeal to altruism—either subtle or obvious—to connect a prospect’s purchase or agreement to do business with a positive outcome for someone else. That good feeling is often sufficient motivation to act. Altruism is so powerful as an appeal that it’s often the sole appeal used by many nonprofit organizations to solicit donations.

Before ending, it should go without saying that selling with emotion is not an attempt to manipulate a prospect in any way. Think about the stereotypical used car salesman and you’ll understand precisely what not to do. Your goal is to help your clients—they are, after all, the ones with the most skin in the game—and to develop the trust that will lead to a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.


Connect | Resources

For more information about using emotional appeals to improve your sales, check out these resources:


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