As a professional network marketer, you know better than anyone else why someone should join your organization or buy from you. “Let me count the ways!” you might say to yourself, and then be tempted to list the facts and features and logical reasons why the opportunity or products make such darn good sense.
Resist the temptation and take heart—literally.
Even when the facts are in your favor, and especially when they’re not, there’s something more powerful than logic to attract, win and retain prospects and customers. There’s something more effective to help you sell both product and opportunity, and that “something” is emotion.
To illustrate the power of emotion compared to facts and logic, let’s use the example of two credit cards, my American Express gold card and my VISA card.
Which card makes more sense? The answer is obvious: VISA is free, flexible and can be used everywhere.
Why, then, do tens of millions of Americans carry the American Express card when there is a more logical choice out there? Beyond being a factual benefit or even an emotional benefit, carrying the card says something about who you are. It’s known as an “expressive benefit” and it is so powerful it defies logic.
It’s difficult to think of the American Express brand as an underdog in any scenario, but in my fact-to-fact lineup, it is. And therein lies a lesson for every business: the best way to compete against facts and logic is with emotion, by creating an experience and exceeding expectations at every point of contact with your customer.
First Love, Then Logic
Dale Carnegie says that we do business with those we like and trust (these are emotions). Seth Godin says the secret to generating word-of-mouth marketing is to do something remarkable. If you think you aren’t creative or just aren’t all that remarkable, think again. By definition, when you do something “remarkable,” it simply means you’re doing something that is “worthy of a remark.” You can do that, and so can everyone in your business, on a daily basis, because marketing is not a department, and neither is building your network. In fact, in many product categories or industries, the service is the marketing.
To paraphrase J.P. Morgan, people have two reasons for everything they do: the real reason, and the one that sounds good. The real reason is more often than not an emotional reason, while the one that sounds good is factual. People will come up with logical reasons to justify what is essentially an emotional decision—one based on how they feel or expect to feel when they buy or use your product or service.
That’s why your marketing must be built around both facts and emotion, but not in that order. Think of emotion as the vehicle that will get you inside the prospect’s world, past the gatekeeper and under the here-comes-a-sales-pitch radar. Facts are the passengers that jump out later. Connect to the emotions, before you try so hard to convince. Marketing should feel like it came from a good friend, not a word processor. It should be a dialogue, not a monologue. First show that you understand the prospect’s world and how to make it better; then, instead of describing products or features, bring the benefits to life.
Make Me Thirsty
Remember the “Got Milk?” commercials (not the “moustache” ones)? The California Fluid Milk Advisory Board tried for thirteen years to convince you to drink milk, describing the nutrients and telling you, “Milk does a body good,” and why you should drink it. Milk sales declined an average of two percent per year for thirteen years. When the ads instead connected to why you love to drink milk—because you just can’t eat certain foods without it—they brought the benefit to life with personality and humor. And they reversed the decline in sales. They didn’t change the product or the price. They only changed their message. Instead of telling you that milk tastes good, they made you thirsty.
A caution: I’m not talking about showing an emotion in your marketing or talking about emotions. People should feel an emotion from your message. Make them gasp, smile, wince, wonder, laugh, chuckle or even choke up. Victor Borge said, “The shortest distance between two people is humor.” That’s why so many companies use some level of humor in their advertising and marketing materials. Facts are cold and preachy; blah blah blah. But when you engage the emotions, people pay attention and remember your message longer.
Anyone who has flown Southwest Airlines can attest to that. An airline is an airline is an airline. Southwest is known for its clever, funny safety announcements, singing flight attendants and generally irreverent corporate personality. They also happen to have one of the more admirable on-time arrival records and earnings statements in the industry.
You don’t need a boatload of advertising or marketing dollars to harness the power of emotion in your business. Listen to your voicemail greeting, for instance. Does it give people instructions (facts) on how to leave a message? Do you think there is anyone doing business on the planet who does not know how to leave a voicemail message? Perhaps the place to start is by recording a new greeting that makes someone smile, or chuckle. It doesn’t have to be funny; in fact, it might just be something worthy of a remark. Better yet, it might even make someone thirsty.
TERRI LANGHANS is the author of The 7
Marketing Mistakes Every Business Makes
(And How to Fix Them) and the former CEO
of a $30 million national ad agency and marketing
firm. She now runs her own speaking and
coaching business, working with business owners
who want to stand out from the competition,
grow their business and get better results from
their marketing, without having to spend a
boatload of money to do so.