David Sandler observed that "People make buying decisions emotionally." What does that mean? It's been explained that the prospect must be emotionally involved in the sale and the pain must affect the prospect on an emotional level; but what does that mean?
The answer lies in Transactional Analysis (TA). When Sandler developed the Sandler Selling System, he used Transactional Analysis as the human relations model to describe and define why people act the way they do. TA theory defines three ego states that influence our behavior - the Parent, the Adult, and the Child.
The Parent ego state is that part of us where information is stored about such things as what is good and bad, right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate. The Adult ego state is the logical, analytical, rational part of our behavioral framework. It weighs the pros and the cons, the plusses and the minuses, the upsides and the downsides. The Child is the emotional part of our makeup. It is where feelings are stored. TA theorizes that by the time we are six years old, we have experienced and stored a wide range of emotions that influence us throughout the balance of our lives.
The Child is where many decisions originate - not just buying decisions. It's that little six year old in us who, feeling a particular emotion at a particular time, says, "I want this," "I want to do that," or perhaps, "I don't want this," and "I don't want to do that."
Sandler recognized that the Parent wasn't going to judge whether a purchase was appropriate or not, and the Adult wasn't going to weigh the plusses and minuses of the purchase or the pros and cons of a particular vendor until the Child said, "I want it." Getting the Child to express that desire is the objective of the Pain Step in the Sandler Selling System. Getting prospects emotionally involved in the sale doesn't necessarily mean they have to be emotional - unhappy, angry, distraught, fearful, or any other specific emotion - or that they have to express an emotion. It simply means that their inner Child is saying, "I want it."
Why is your prospect's Child saying, "I want it"? Perhaps it's because you helped him discover something he didn't know before he met you. Maybe you helped him see his situation from a different perspective, which casts some doubt on an existing strategy. Perhaps you helped him focus on the real root cause of his problem. Maybe his Child is saying, "I want to know what this person knows" or "I want what this person has to offer."
Sandler also recognized that simply "hooking" the prospect's Child wasn't the answer, which leads to the second part of the observation. "People make buying decisions emotionally -- they justify those decisions intellectually." At some point, the prospect's Parent is going to ask, "Do you really need this?" and "Are you sure you're not acting too impulsively?" Also, the prospect's Adult is going to ask, "Can you afford this?" and "Are there better alternatives?" As a result of these questions, the prospect will likely have second thoughts and the sale that was "in the bag" will be put on hold. So, the Sandler Selling System has Budget and Decision Steps to satisfy the intellectual aspect of the decision. From the salesperson's perspective, these are qualifying steps; but from the prospect's perspective, these steps provide an opportunity for the Parent and Adult to be involved in the process. They get to specify under what conditions the buying decision would be considered appropriate and logically sound. With this information, the salesperson can present his product or service in such a manner that the Parent says, "Okay, this seems to be the right thing to do, you have my permission." The Adult says, "After weighing all the information, this makes good sense." And, the Child says, "Yes, that's what I want."
So, don't focus so much on how your prospects are feeling - their emotional state. Instead, focus on the reasons for their Pain and how your product or service can address those issues. That's the reason they will buy from you. Remember, you want your prospect's Child to say, "I want that."