5 Ways To Sell Customers A New Identity Using Emotional Selling

January 03, 2017

how to sellYou know where so many retail salespeople go wrong?

They try to sell based on the features they think are important. The trouble with that is shoppers are unique; they have their own reasons why they buy things.

They want to buy using their own morals, values, and feelings.

Legendary speaker Tony Robbins tells a story about a time a woman in the audience said she bought a $2,000 Louis Vuitton purse. When he asked why she bought it, she replied, “Because it said something about me.” That luxury purse made her feel successful, instead of practical and frugal. As Robbins noted to the audience, she wasn’t buying a purse; she was buying an identity.  

Another woman in the audience volunteered that she had purchased her purse for just $30 and she was “damn proud of that fact because she wanted to be seen as pragmatic, and that’s what that purse did for her.”

The point is that one person’s reasons to buy a purse or any object isn’t better or worse than another’s; it is how these customers want to see themselves and how they want to be seen by others.

You’ve heard me say it plenty of times...people buy feelings, not things.

The old saw you sell the sizzle, not the steak is a form of that too.

Martin Lindstrom, in his new book Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends notes, “We desire whatever it is—the place, the person, the thing, the period in our lives—we’re convinced we’re lacking.”

Here’s the thing...

If your product or service helps a dad be a hero when he fixes the dishwasher drain, or helps a mom feel like a million dollars in a new outfit for the company party, or helps a customer see themselves in a new light as stronger, more fun loving, or more studious - then you’ve helped them bolster their identity.

That’s an emotional sale.

And when you work the fitting room and show that perfect dress…

When you build rapport for the guy to get the perfect engagement ring…

When you connect their heart to their purchase, they will love it forever.

Sorry omnichannel retailers - I doubt many love their online purchases as much as a brick and mortar shopper does.

Maybe that's why returns are so important to online shoppers. A ComScore study found that 60% of customers read a company's return policy, and 80% are influenced to buy or not based on what they find.

There’s no commitment.

No winning over.

No challenge to get better than you searched for.

Maybe that’s why apparel returns, in particular, run between 25 and 50 %

Maybe that’s why the buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) is yielding 30- 40% of non-pickups. There’s no commitment.

With 71% of buyers shopping online because they want to get a better deal.

They only bought it for price...

And I think a lot of customers settle for price.

Settle, Forget it.pngThat’s not to say some consumers don’t love a lot of the stuff they buy online, but that’s because they’re in a willing-to-settle-for-it kind of mood.

They got the coupon.

They downloaded the discount.

They feel smart.

More digital experiences are more diverting than truly rewarding.

Why do you think flash sales are so effective? The customer had no knowledge of whether it was a good deal or not or even if it would be something they really would love.  They got a low price and ordered without thinking.Love It Keep It-#2.png

However the real point of this blog is to help you help customers assume either a higher level of satisfaction with their own lives or assume a new identity. 

Carl Richards wrote about his aha moment when he realized he’d been buying cheap too much when it came to bikes. “We all know what happens with the cheaper bike. It breaks! It wears out, you replace it. And not only does good gear last, but when you buy cheap stuff, you get bored with it. I do not get bored with this bike, and that is why it is saving me money.”

Carl wasn’t being frugal; he found a bike he could love with no reservations. He got tired of settling.  He concluded his article with this…”Don’t just buy nice, buy what you love. If you don’t, you’ll end up hating, and replacing, until you do.”

That could be many of your shoppers too....

But do your employees know how to help a customer flirt with a product and take it home?  To love, honor, and cherish each other?

I doubt it because retailers have gotten into the settling business. It’s logical, it’s practical, and can produce reams of features.

But as Tom Hopkins, one of my earliest sales mentors says, “Logic in sales is a gun without a trigger. You can twirl it all you care to, but you can’t fire it. Emotion has a trigger.”

Here are five ways to make that emotional sale and get your customer to spend more and be happier.

First, ask yourself, “What emotion will this product give this customer?” This is to remind you, it’s not about you.

Second, based on your initial conversation and rapport-building, go deeper than what are they looking to buy and ask yourself, “Which of these five emotions is the shopper looking to receive from this purchase?”

Will it confirm or give them status?

Will it confirm or give them intelligence?

Will it confirm or give them pleasure?

Will it confirm or give them power?

Will it confirm or give them individuality?

Third, use that supercharged emotion you’ve identified they are looking for in your storytelling about the product, and paint a picture of how they’ll feel when they take it home.

Fourth,  share at least one story of a past customer’s experience who gained confidence from taking home an Armani jacket and showing up at the boardroom the next day, displayed their individuality at Christmas dinner with local artist place settings, or was able to create a memory book on their computer with your product.

Finally, reinforce those emotions by mentioning them in your close.  And it is important to tie those emotions into your follow-up personalized emails after they purchase it to help seed future sales.

When you discover the emotional state they are trying to achieve, selling the solution becomes easier.

See also, Rebuild Your Retail Sales By Removing Emotionless Apathy

Wistia video thumbnail - 5 Ways How To Make The Emotional Sale

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In Sum

After a punishing election cycle, most people doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts. When they show up in your store they are hopeful to attain at least one of these five emotional states - if not more.

Be different than the merchant trying to get shoppers to settle based on price.

Any purchase can give someone some satisfaction.

But does satisfied earn raving fans?


When you develop your retail sales training to include empathic skills so your employee can feel like the shopper and figure out what emotion they are trying to acquire, then not only have you made the sale, but your customer loves their purchase.

They don’t question it when they get home.

They just love it.  

And no one questions why they bought it either.

In fact, they wonder where they got it.

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