How do you make your prospects feel as they move through your sales pipeline?
On a number of occasions I’ve met with startups who talk about prospects in their sales pipeline like a percentage, a statistic. When you think of them as stats to convert, you miss out on one of the most powerful drivers of customer motivation.
Emotion. Emotion creates motion.
According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, companies that connect with customer’s emotions enjoy huge returns.
Emotions that drive your customers
The study measured feelings that drive customer’s behaviour, they call them “Emotional motivators”, and apparently provide a better indicator of future buying behaviour than metrics like brand awareness and customer satisfaction — which baffles me a little, because satisfaction is a feeling.
Source: adapted from Harvard Business Review
How to connect with your prospects
The “Emotional motivators” vary across sectors, out of 300 motivators, here are the top ten that drive most profitable customer behaviour across all sectors.
This could be irrelevant if you’re just starting out, where you have few happy paying customers. But, it’s useful to know the highest returns were achieved when brands focussed on customers already fully connected: by maximising their value and attracting more of them to the brand. So, how do you look after happy customers? How do you keep in touch with them?
Emotional motivators vary across the customer’s journey; the example given was for a credit card, where early on the in the journey, the desire to “feel secure” was critical. Later on, when cross-selling, the dominant emotional trigger was the desire to “succeed in life”.
What this means for your sales pipeline
The sort of research to implement requires humungous data collection, analysis and testing, something you might not have resources, or possibly the data points, to implement.
But here’s simple way of applying emotional engagement for your startup or freelance sales pipeline.
Begin by thinking about your customer engagement goals, which broadly fall into five categories:
- Earn (prefer to ‘win’ because you are earning their custom)
- Cross-sell/ up-sell
Then do this:
- From the list of emotional motivators, pick five you think might be relevant to your prospects/customers
- Match each motivator you think might apply during each engagement goal
- Ask yourself, what can you do to connect with prospects at each stage? Questions to ask yourself in the right column of the box will guide you
Over to you
This might not be the most scientific approach, but it’s a start. The ten emotional motivators in the table were dominant across all sectors, so it should be applicable to most businesses.
Think about your prospects in your sales pipeline you’ve yet to earn as customers, and your customers you’ve already had the privilege to serve, and how you can engage them, authentically.
Authenticity is critical so you don’t come across as manipulative. You can tap into your authentic power by reminding yourself of your purpose to serve and share your unique gifts and talent to better the lives of others.
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