Closing the Sale: Facts versus Emotion

When it comes to making headway with stakeholders in an account, there are always two issues sales reps must confront: hard facts and emotion.

As an example, let’s say a company is considering replacing its current CRM system with your CRM. One of the primary considerations for you (the sales rep) is who was involved in choosing and implementing the existing CRM system.

Why does this matter? Let’s say the Chief Information Officer spearheaded the purchase of the original CRM system. This CIO might feel conflicted about what a switch to a new system might mean. He or she might think, for example:

It was very difficult to convince our team to adopt our current CRM. (Implied feeling: Frustration at the thought of facing the same difficulties again.)

If we change to a new CRM, it means I didn’t do a good job selecting our current CRM. (Implied feeling: Negative self-worth and feelings of inadequacy or failure.)

In other words, the fact that this person was involved in the original decision to purchase the existing CRM could affect the way he or she thinks about changing over to your CRM offering.  Each of these thoughts might be attached to a possible feeling, and those feelings might translate to objections for you as you’re trying to move the deal to the next step.

The problem is that people are often either not aware of their feelings, or they don’t articulate them. On your end, it’s difficult to address the CIO’s feelings of inadequacy or negative self-worth if the objection you hear is, “We don’t have the budget for this right now.”

There are lots of great sales-training resources out there that offer solid advice about how to deal with overcoming objections and master the psychology of selling. (If you’re interested in those subjects, here are some good links to check out, “Defining Consultative Selling,” http://www.vitoselling.com/, http://scoremoresales.com/).

What I can tell you is that, for every stakeholder who’s driven by emotion, there’s usually a corollary stakeholder who wants to see numbers. And when your stakeholder is driven by numbers, it can be extremely helpful to have your business case prepped ahead of time so you can illustrate the value of your offering in terms of financial impact.

business people with chartsThe Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is often the approving authority of the business case. The personality of a CFO is typically less responsive to emotion and feeling and more responsive to hard facts. These folks want to see on paper the ROI of a potential investment in an expensive technology solution.

Even if you’re not talking directly with the CFO as you move along in the sales process, it’s important to have that document available to your champions (i.e. stakeholders on your prospect’s team who are highly interested in adopting your solution and are thus “on your side”) to justify the investment to the CFO.

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4 thoughts on “Closing the Sale: Facts versus Emotion

  1. Pingback: Don’t Panic When Your Prospect Asks to Revise Your Business Case | ROI Selling for B2B

  2. Darin, another well-constructed insight on your part. Emotions do play a HUGE role in the decision making process. You are so right that they often get masked by other smoke screens that people offer up – as does the CIO in your scenario. It’s important to learn how to identify emotional triggers that people have and the emotional attachment or vulnerability they have with their current solutions.

    Even though CFOs and others will want hard rationale to support decisions, they TOO make decisions with emotional triggers. For one, risk avoidance is important to them. Even if a solution promises tangible ROI, a shrewd CFO will want assurances on how risks will be mitigated in implementing the solution in his/her company. A way of activating this trigger is to offer them peace of mind on how risks will be managed by following this up with the steps for doing that.

  3. Pingback: Don’t Overcome Prospect Objections, Prevent Them | B2B Strategy and Value-Based Sales and Marketing

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