7 Hot Buttons: The Heart of EVERY Sale (Part 3)

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

In the previous two issues of Influence It! Real Power For Women, you learned about the relationship between emotion and selling.

This knowledge is critical in your ability to understand human nature, emotions, and persuasion.

As the world-renowned neuroscientist Damasio showed, no decision humans make is based on rational thinking alone.

So, let’s continue on with the next four hot buttons in our series.

The fourth hot button is guilt. This is where you introduce the worst-case scenario. You pose the question, “What happens if you (the customer) don’t buy a certain product? Will they or a loved one be hurt or affected in a negative way?

Guilt is an emotion that we learn consciously and unconsciously from our parents, society, or faith. Growing up, we seek out approval and are taught to always be accountable for our own responsibilities. As a result, we often take responsibility for things that are not directly our fault. This just tends to be human nature.

A good example of appealing to a person’s guilt are manufacturers of baby car seats. You come up with a slogan or marketing campaign that tells parents they are great parents if they buy what you’re selling because that is a sure way of keeping your baby safe. See how it plays on a parent’s guilt? “If I don’t buy this or that, then I am not a good parent or one who doesn’t do or spend everything to keep my baby safe.”

When marketers play on the guilt hot button, one thing they are sure about is that people picture the “what-if” scenario.

The fifth hot button is exclusivity. This is when you appeal to a person’s sense of individuality or uniqueness.

What is it that makes exclusivity important in marketing? First, people are naturally drawn to things they cannot have. For instance, there are only 3 spots left – so what do people do? They jump up and run to the back of the room to be sure they are one of the “special” people to get one.

Next, we all want to belong and be a part of something bigger than ourselves; something that nobody else qualifies for. It’s like limiting the number of people who can get into the “club,” which makes people want to get in sooner rather than later. It has the effect of making us feel better about ourselves.

Finally, when it comes to our emotion of feeling exclusive, we want the benefits that come with being part of the elite group. For instance, not everyone can afford a Ferrari, so if you have one, people will automatically assume you are of a higher social and financial status.

The sixth hot button is vanity. Vanity is based on a sense of self-importance. It can be narcissistic or selfish. Research shows that an appeal to a person’s vanity is one of the greatest marketing strategies that is used. It taps into the desire for recognition.

A good example of this is the clothing industry. There’s been a controversy lately of whether clothing companies are misrepresenting their sizes on the clothes. I can tell you that the higher end clothes have smaller sizes for the exact amount of material for a lesser company’s same dress. They are all using different sizing systems. Why? Well, they say that companies are so obsessed with selling their clothing lines that they will do anything to appeal to a woman’s vanity – and yes, that vanity is applied to what size we wear.

I mean, how many of you put down your actual weight on your driver’s license?

The fallout for this tactic is when people purchase due to the appeal to their vanity and they end up being betrayed, they will do anything to justify that they made a good choice. You see, people don’t voluntarily say, “I am purchasing because I am selfish and hold myself as more deserving than the next person.”

This hot button is fairly subconscious, but it’s there.

The seventh hot button is salvation. Essentially, the idea is you will be saved from something or someone. It also means you will attain greater things if you can be persuaded to buy.

It really centers on the idea that we will be forgiven for our sins or the wrong doings we did in the past. It implies there will be a certain protection from bad things or people whose intent is to harm us.

I think this is a hot button for people searching for answers about their future. Sometimes people are obsessed about what will happen to them in the future. So when they find a “product” or something they can participate in that will in some fashion guarantee their future, they will jump at the chance.

I found this in my research and would like to share it with you. It’s an example of a fundraiser flyer.

This is a professionally written money maker. Let me reveal to you the emotional triggers buried in the author’s choice of words:

“You are hereby invited [flattery] to become a Member [exclusivity] of the Kennedy Center at a full 20% discount [greed] and gain [greed] the special privilege [exclusivity] to purchase advance tickets before the general public [exclusivity] to the finest [exclusivity] Kennedy Center presentations.”

You might quickly conclude from this example that the more emotional triggers, the better, and you’d be right. But notice, too, how focused the triggers are in the Kennedy Center piece. They operate within a pretty narrow range: flattery, exclusivity, greed. They reinforce each other harmoniously, urging the reader toward a purchase decision.

This is a perfect example of combing the hot buttons so you can leverage even more emotion from your target.

[This is only one of the many powerful articles in this week's Influence It! Real Power for Women free ezine. To enjoy the full issue, jam packed with insightful information on strategies to enhance your personal and professional life to achieve ultimate success, you must be a subscriber. Sign up for your own free subscription NOW by clicking here!]

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