People Buy Emotionally – But What Does That Actually Mean?

The 5% InstituteSales Management People Buy Emotionally – But What Does That Actually Mean?

People Buy Emotionally – But What Does That Actually Mean?

We know people buy emotionally; we’ve all been taught that.



But what does this actually mean?



It means that people make buying decisions emotionally; then justify these decisions with logic. To further understand this concept, it helps to know who is making the decisions and who is justifying the decisions too.


The psychological theory of ‘Transactional Analysis’ tells us that there are three ego states within each person’s subconscious: everyone has an inner parent, an adult, and an inner child.


In his best seller, “I’m OK – You’re OK”, author Thomas Harris says, “It’s as if within each person there is the same little person he was when he was three years old. There are also within him his own parents. These are recordings in the brain of actual internal and external events, the most significant of which happened in the first five years of his life.”


We are programmed from our environment from a very young age, and much of this programming stays with us our entire lives- and creates our beliefs, values, attitudes and standards.


Our critical parent is always with us, telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. Our internal child is the emotional being within us; whenever we are mad, sad, happy, or scared, we are in our child ego state. And lastly, the adult is the logical, rational, decision making, information needing and seeking part of our conscious; never emotional, always weighing up the benefits and risks in every situation.


For your prospect to decide to buy from you, you have to awaken the inner child of the person, and get them emotionally involved. The child has to think, “I want this, I need it, and it will help solve my problem.” This childlike need is why in your sales process, you should ask questions that will evoke from your prospect, their “pain” or true, underlying and emotional buying motive. Once you have found the problems, you should continue probing to find the underlying reasons, the effect on your prospective client, previous efforts to correct the situation and the personal impact on them of continuing to live with the situation. A well-crafted questioning strategy will evoke a prospect’s inner child and an emotional decision to buy, assuming that your product is an appropriate solution to the problem and will actually solve their need to alleviate that pain.


Ok, so far, so good you think…


However – if you rush to close too quickly, you risk sabotaging the sale or creating buyer’s remorse later on. That’s because you haven’t properly involved the critical parent and the adult in the process, and the child will lose interest rather quickly. Then the parent will step in and say, “Can’t you live without this? You don’t have extra money to spend right now.” Meanwhile, the adult is asking, “Does this make sense for you? Is this the best use of your resources?” In this case, the child made an emotional decision to buy, but the decision was not justified intellectually, and now your sale is at risk because you haven’t involved their inner adult and parent properly. 


To involve everybody, make sure that after you diagnose your prospect’s problem, you pin down their ability and willingness to pay for your solution. As you ask questions about their budget, their adult can get involved and see if the expense makes sense for them. Then you should determine their decision-making process so you’ll know what it will take to get a decision. Questioning here will get them to let you know what may get in the way of proceeding with the sale.


Once everybody (parent, adult, and child) is on board and properly involved, you can move to the ‘presentation part’ of your product or service. In the presentation, you want to show your prospect how your solution will fix their unique problems/ solve their pain. Since you’ve already addressed their buying motive, budget, and decision-making processes, you’ve cleared out the three biggest objections in sales: Qualifying (suitability of product or service); price; and ability to make a decision. Therefore, your presentation should result in a yes-or-no decision from your prospect.


Not a ‘I’ll think it over, your price is too high, or call us in two weeks after my boss/ wife/ husband/ cousin’s uncle has given me feedback.


And most importantly, a buying decision should be firm and not subject to buyer’s remorse.


Make sure you learn to appeal to all three ego states within your prospect; help them engage why they should buy on an emotional level, but also get their inner logical reasons catered too as well.


Khabeer Rockley

Khabeer Rockley is a Sales & Business Trainer, and the Founder of The 5% Institute

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