The One Emotion That Can Drive Prospects To Make Decisions

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

There are many emotions that we experience when we are in front of a prospect. We may be nervous about the reaction we might get when we meet up. We might be concerned that we may miss a key component when we discuss the needs of the prospect. And we may feel buzzed and excited about the possibilities of doing business with this client.

make Decisions blue arrowsBut what about the prospect’s emotions? How do they feel about the situation? Might they be nervous and anxious about making a decision? Could they resist because they don’t want to be put under pressure?

The interesting thing about human emotions is that they have a major influence on decision-making. The reason for this is they drive our pain and pleasure centres in the brain. When we make a decision, it’s normally for one of two reasons…either to move away from loss, discomfort or pain, or to move toward benefit, pleasure or opportunity.

We tend to do more to avoid pain than gain benefits, so what kind of emotions will drive our prospects to make a decision to agree that our proposal will be the best for them?

Strange as it may appear, one of the biggest driving forces is fear. Fear of loss or fear of missing out on something has been a key component of advertising and marketing over the years, because advertisers recognise the power of this force. How can you use this knowledge to build a good relationship and rapport with the prospect?

1) Recognise that fear of loss, pain or discomfort is a key driver of decisions. Ask yourself; what are the benefits that the prospect would miss out on if they didn’t go with your solution? What profits could they lose if they chose a different option? The power of your solution should encourage the prospect to think about how much they would be without if they went with someone else?

2) Ask the prospect about the possible losses they would incur and whether these would be acceptable if they didn’t go with you. By encouraging them to think about the end results, they think more about the destination than the journey.

3) Encourage them to consider the benefits they would achieve with your solutions rather than the competition’s. These facts will allay the fears the prospect may have when they think of any changes that might have to take place if they chose a new supplier or went in a different direction.

4) Build confidence in the decision to go with you, so the fear of making a mistake diminishes as this assurance grows. Nothing gets rid of fear quicker than the power confidence gives to a person, so ensure you build that emotion in the prospect, and the debilitating effects of the fear of making decisions will diminish.

Put these ideas into action and you’ll see these major away-from emotions start to work for you rather than against you.

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 29 January, 2013

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