Sell the Dream, Not the Data

By Jack LaRue

In the retail marketing world, it's common knowledge that most consumer decisions are based on emotion. Once an emotional decision is reached, the consumer selectively seeks out data to justify that decision. It's easy to see the power of emotion in purchases like cars and jewelry. But in the tax and accounting world, purchasing decisions are made based on hard numbers and data, not emotion. Right? Not necessarily.
 
Business decision makers are people too. And I would argue that most business decisions are still driven by emotion, even if they're often different emotions than the ones that drive other purchases.
 
We want to do business with people we like. Like is an emotion. We want to do business with people we trust. Trust is an emotion. We make decisions that we think will make our businesses perform better, decrease costs, increase margins, grow revenues. Sure, the outcome of some of these can be projected with analysis and calculations. But we often interpret those calculations based at least in part on emotion.
 
Don't get me wrong; data and analysis are critically important. Without them, we couldn't be confident in our decisions. But the data we seek and the way we interpret an analysis are almost always influenced by our feelings and emotions.
 
Once you understand this, you can use it as a tool to create more effective marketing and sales messages. Sell the dream, not the data. Be likeable. Relate to customers and prospects on a personal level. Let them see that their world will be more successful and more relaxed when they choose to do business with you. Then, roll out the facts and data to support the dream.
 
Your experience and expertise are important. But they're a means to an end, not an end itself. As the saying goes, "It's nice to be important; but it's more important to be nice."
 
Read more marketing articles by Jack LaRue.
 
About the author:
Jack LaRue is the senior vice president, myPay Solutions, at Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting.
 

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