How To Push Your Prospect’s Hot Buttons

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Red button Hot “Find the prospect’s hot buttons!” “Push their hot buttons!” We’ve heard these thoughts before; but what do they mean? Is it to say that as a sales person you should try to discover your prospect’s primary areas of interest? How do you push those so-called buttons anyway? How do these hot buttons help you close sales? Exactly what is a Hot button?

The Hot Button
For most sales people, the term Hot Button refers to some topic, product or service-point for which the prospect has very strong interest or desire. With this avenue of thinking, many sales people look to the benefits their product or service offers. They think, ‘find a benefit the prospect likes and push it to make the sale.’ Unfortunately, this is a mistake.

A Definition
Merriam-Webster defines the adjective, “hot button” as, “An emotional and usually controversial issue or concern that triggers immediate intense reaction.”

The key words to remember are emotion and intense. A benefit does not usually create an emotional reaction that leads to a buying decision. Also, understand that the fear of loss is a far more intense emotion than the desire for gain.

Find Hot Buttons
To find the prospect’s emotional triggers, you need to find their problems. Unearth the prospect’s problems and pain and you will discover their hot buttons. Then present how your product or service will solve those problems, and you will be pushing those hot buttons.

Don’t Confuse Interest and Desire with Hot Buttons
Often when a prospect mentions some area of interest, the sales person assumes such is a hot button, and relentlessly pursues the idea. However, such initial areas of interest usually just scratch the surface of the prospect’s situation.

Also, keep in mind that today’s modern buyers are smart, and are not too quick to reveal their emotions and concerns, as they know doing so will weaken their negotiating strength. In addition, the prospect’s true hot buttons, those areas of serious problems and pain, may not be immediately evident, even to the prospect.

Solutions to Problems = Hot Buttons
You need to have a systematic method of asking questions to uncover the prospect’s problems. Find areas the prospect is losing, hurting or suffering in some way due to the lack of your product or service. Exemplify those areas of problems and pain, and then present your solution and you will hit the hot buttons on the head.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 16 January, 2012

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