What REALLY drives people to do business with you? You might think it's your expertise, product knowledge, great service, or even competitive pricing. Sure, all these factors are important, but in today's crowded marketplace they are not enough to distinguish you from the others who offer the same products or services as you.

The Number 1 Factor in Effective Selling

There is one powerful distinction in sales that gives certain professionals a profound advantage: Regardless of what you're selling, whether it's products, services or advice, people buy based on feelings. They decide to buy when they experience certain feelings about a product or service AND the person offering it.

Those who put this distinction into action consistently produce excellent results--they seem to be born with "the golden touch." On the other hand, those who don't know how to evoke feelings in the selling process constantly struggle with inconsistent or mediocre sales.

Your prospects may analyze the quality of your product, service, or price, but in the end, feelings are the juice that motivates them to decide whether to do business with you. If you already have great products and services and you want to take your sales to their true potential, you must "sell the feeling."

Most salespeople are aware that buyers are driven by emotions, but very few know how to evoke the right emotions intentionally. The so-called "natural-born salespeople," who consistently produce great results, are able to do so because they know how to 1) create great rapport with their buyers, and 2) reach them on a feeling level with respect to what they are selling.

The 3 Feelings that Motivate People to Do Business

Take a moment and recall a great sales experience where you were the customer or client. What made it great and what did you feel as you interacted with the person providing the product or service? More than likely, you felt the three feelings, universal to human experience, that people need in order to feel motivated to do business with someone:

* Trust - People feel they can depend on you--that you mean what you say and you'll do what you say.
* Confidence - They feel you have the goods, the know-how, the competence, and expertise to meet their needs.
* A feeling of being taken care of - They feel you have their interests at heart and that you'll take care of them throughout the transaction, and beyond, if necessary.

In our Sell the Feeling sales seminars, we routinely ask attendees to tell us about their most positive experiences as a customer or client. Invariably, the experiences they recount were with a salesperson or provider who evoked the feelings of trust, confidence, and a feeling of being taken care of.

How to Sell the Feeling

We want to leave you with something that will help you get to the heart of the matter and sell the feeling. As soon as you use this it will start working--not in a week, a month, or a year--but right away!

Every salesperson worth his or her salt knows that questions are one of the most important tools in sales and are key to personalizing any sales conversation. However, most professionals only ask what we call "information questions"--the standard questions designed to find out what your buyer wants with regard to your product or service. Information questions are essential, but they rarely get to the heart of what motivates someone to buy.

In our book, Sell the Feeling, we focus on three kinds of questions that evoke the feelings that motivate people to do business with you. One of these is what we call "emotional needs questions." These questions are designed to elicit the feelings your prospect anticipates having as a result of owning or using your product or service. When you address emotional needs, your prospect will feel trust, confidence, and care, at a level that goes way beyond what normally occurs in a typical sales conversation.

The most powerful emotional needs question is: "What's important to you in (or about) x?" For the x, you would substitute your product, service, or you as the provider. For example:

* What's important to you in a car?
* What's important to you in a computer service plan?
* What's important to you in a financial adviser?

Since you are looking to evoke positive feelings, we recommend you tag on some language about the product or service that will trigger a more emotional response as your buyer considers your question:

* What's important to you in a car that you would absolutely love?
* What's important to you in a computer service plan that would be ideal for your company's needs?
* What's important to you in a financial adviser who would be your first choice to work with?

It's important that you ask the emotional needs question BEFORE launching into any detailed description of your product or service. Once your buyer answers the question, you may want to ask, "What else is important?"

Finally, when you describe your offer, address the emotional needs the buyer has given you, using his or her words. These words are keyed into their emotions, and when you use them you will tap into what they want and need to feel in order to do business with you.

Remember: People buy based on feelings. Find out what they need--what's REALLY important to them--and sell the feeling!

Author's Bio: 

Larry Pinci and Phil Glosserman are business coaches and corporate sales trainers based in Los Angeles, California. They work with companies and individuals in a variety of industries throughout the U.S. Their book, Sell the Feeling: The 6-Step System that Drives People to Do Business with You, was awarded U.S. Book News Best Business/Sales book of 2007. People who have attended their corporate sales and business referral-building seminars have seen their sales volume increase 24 to 250 percent in just one year. For more information and resources on how you can successfully influence your customers, clients, and prospects--in any market--go to sellthefeeling.com.