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5 Tips on Building Emotional Connections to Motivate Sales

Posted by Michelle Kratzer on Aug 22, 2019 9:31:00 AM
Michelle Kratzer

We are not thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think.

- Antonio Damasio

Simon Sinek taught us to sell starting with WHY. Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon taught us the Challenger Sales method: take control of a conversation, and convey why not changing to your solution would result in pain. A combination of the 2 methods leads to sales-motivating emotional connections.



Ch...Ch...Changes - They're not just for David Bowie.


Getting clients to take on a new way of thinking is no small feat. Change is painful. Our brains are wired to resist change unless we are presented with a compelling reason.

So, whether your solution is a new couponing plan, management courses, implementing an employee survey system or updating a product, present the prospect with insight as to why the solution will work for their specific situation. As the Challenger Sales authors would say: make them see that the pain of the same is greater than the pain of change.


vulnerability is the key

Get rid of the veneer of perfection. Vulnerability is the key.


This is carried out most effectively by communicating a story. Remember: start with why, and be vulnerable so your message can be heard. In other words, make an emotional connection. Just in case you need a little brush-up on how to create the type of emotional connections that motivates sales, here are some tips.

5 Tips on Building Emotional Connections:
1. Be vulnerable

Vulnerability takes guts. It says I believe in myself and what I'm selling enough to be authentic. Be willing to talk about your own mistakes. Break through your own protective shield. Have the courage to connect to a total stranger.


2. Start with Why: Simon Sinek

  • Why - The core belief of the business or how it exists
  • How - How the business fulfills that core belief
  • What - What the company does to fulfill that core belief

Most companies begin a pitch by answering the question "What". That's backwards, and does not make an emotional connection. When you lead with "Why", you activate the feeling part of the receptive limbic brain. Instead of activating the left brain, which will stop to fact-check you, the right brain produces an emotional response before it produces a cognitive one. Speak directly to the part of the brain that controls decision making.


golden circle

Are you telling the story backwards?

3. Tell a story

You are leading your prospect to change their behavior, and change is scary. Our bodies actively resist change. Try to reach the heart. The prospect’s brain will store meaningful heartfelt connections faster and more efficiently than a barrage of data. Speak to the part of the brain that processes emotions and makes decisions.


Learn how to tell a compelling story
4. Learn how to say it

Learn effective communication. Our brains are wired to engage with each other’s emotions, not facts. Check your tone of voice and nonverbal clues.

  • Tone that indicates empathy and knowledge:

Pitch - speak a little lower

Volume - not speaking loud enough tells a prospect you don't believe in what you're selling

Speed - most people speed up when they're nervous. Slow it down.

Diction - use the appropriate word at the appropriate time.

  • Nonverbal Cues that indicate honesty and openness:

Arms unfolded

Hands open

Feet flat on ground


5. Listen empathetically. Look into your prospect’s eyes. What do you see? Fear, anger, hurt, excitement, etc.?

Listen well using:
  • Awareness
  • Encouragement
  • Reflection

Be quiet for long enough to hear their story. It will tell you your next move. Even if a prospect is telling you “No”, they are giving you valuable information and insight into their situation. Get used to saying “Please, tell me more”.



I'm listening


Your prospect must know that you have their best interest in mind. Establish trust by caring.


Why is this important to YOU?


The Challenger Sale

Because it works. 120 days after implementing the Challenger Sales method, companies saw up to 15 times the median ROI in top line revenue. 3 months after Challenger Sales training at Xerox Corp., their salespeople attributed $65 million in contracts to their new Challenger skills. 

The Challenger mindset can be applied to non-sales situations, too. The second book in the Challenger series, The Challenger Customer, takes on advertising and marketing, making the point that we don't need more marketing materials. We need better ones. Why add to the same stack of advertisements that haven't worked in the past? Instead, gather commercial insights into your prospects and present a new way of thinking.

Start with Why

Simon Sinek points out that starting with why doesn't only help sales succeed. It's the type of thinking that starts whole movements. Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. are great examples of human beings living your their why (or their beliefs). These individuals changed the world. Can adopting this philosophy also change your business?


Remember: anyone with an open heart, willing to take on the role of coach or teacher can use this approach. Start with why and make an emotional connection with decision makers through storytelling. Take control of the conversation with commercial insight on what the customer really needs and listen actively to what your customers are saying. Then see if your sales numbers start to climb.


Any time you need help getting great insights, we are here to help. Click on the image below to contact us today!


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Topics: Sales, Business Strategy

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