February 9

Using the One-Two Punch of Logic and Emotion in Your Presentation


Think back to purchasing your last car.  Did you buy it because it checked off a list of features?  Or did it just “feel” right?  You’ve probably heard the statement: Buyers buy on emotion and justify with logic.  Yet too many sales presentations speak to business buyers as if they were only using their heads to make decisions, and not their hearts.  Logic is rarely enough in sales.  Simply ask any salesperson who’s ever lost a deal to a competitor with an inferior solution!

Failure to engage the emotional brain in your sales presentations today is a costly oversight.  Studies show that the most persuasive cases require a one-two-punch of logic and emotion.  Sure, it’s necessary to logically present and support the facts, but a long, logic-laden presentation can leave your prospect feeling beat up and ready to throw in the towel.

Engaging emotion in your sales presentation not only helps make your case and maintain attention, but it also increases your prospect’s ability to remember your message. Emotion is essential to learning, Dr. Immordino-Yang writes in her book, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain.  She goes on to say:

“It is literally neuro-biologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about.”

Here are 4 ways to use logic and emotion in your sales presentation:

1. Tell a story.

You’ve just presented the facts about your solution, now follow it with a story. Stories naturally trigger our emotional brain and have done so for thousands of years.  Stories allow you to show your message, solution or results in action, allowing your prospect to reach the conclusion on their own.  Personal stories or anecdotes especially can quickly illustrate your point and make an idea stand out in a sea of facts.  A great sales story can change the minds and hearts of audiences, differentiate you, and inspire action in a way that information alone simply can not.

Tip:  Read more here about leveraging the power of stories in your presentation.

2. Make it personal.

A great way to combine logic and emotion is to place your prospect in the shoes of a product user. Say you’re showing a medical device to a team of nurses and physicians.  You would simply describe the process through their perspective, i.e., “When Mary sees that a patient’s chart indicates that he needs to be tested, Mary would simply touch the display and enter her code.” This shift in perspective helps your prospect envision how they would use your product in their daily life, taking it from an intellectual exercise to a more emotionally-rich experience.

3. Interpret statistics.

Talking about facts and figures is often necessary, but if your presentation is simply one graph or pie chart after another, even the most analytical members of your audience may beg for mercy.  Make numbers more meaningful by interpreting those stats for your prospect. Why are they important to your prospect? What do those numbers mean? A two percent savings may not resonate with a mid-level manager. Explaining that this two percent savings will allow him to redeploy two full time employees during budget time likely would.

4. Incorporate metaphors.

The human brain can only take in and retain so much information.  Give your audience a needed break by using a metaphor to compare a lesser known item to something that is more familiar to your prospect. Researchers have found that the use of metaphors can increase activity in the brain’s emotional-related regions.  For example, I could spend ten minutes explaining a product tool and the various tools it combines and replaces, or I could quickly tell you, “this tool is like a Swiss army knife.”  Which does your brain prefer?

Don’t underestimate the powerful one-two punch of logic and emotion in your sales presentation.  As long as humans are still making the decisions, you must present your case on both a logical and emotional level in order to be successful.


Photo courtesy of U.S. Army


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